Home stagers are a wealth of knowledge, especially when it comes to tips on how to clean, brighten, and clear up the space in your house. They’re the ones who need to whip your home into tip-top shape before a sale, after all. While they’ve bestowed a lot of wisdom on us this year, here are the three best tips home stagers shared with us in 2020.
If you want the illusion of space, ditch the end tables
Picture a classic living room setup and you probably envision a couch flanked by two end tables. But some home stagers revealed that these tables aren’t really serving a purpose—they’re just creating visual clutter.
“It isn’t necessary to have an end table next to every seating arrangement,” Katie Hilbert and Kari George, owners of the Home Sanctuary, a home organizing, styling, and staging company in Louisville, KY, told us in April. “It clutters the space when it looks like you have too many pieces crammed into one room.”
If the only purpose of an end table is to be a spot for a lamp, you should add a floor lamp and get rid of the table, echoed Joni Rentz, president and CCO of FØRM, a New York City-based interior staging and design company. Plants are another option, added Adrian Dagli, founder of Interior Wanderer.
“An olive, fiddle, or even a smaller snake plant adds so much life and energy,” Dagli said.
If you want your home to look less cluttered, use closed storage
Open storage and glass cabinets are an ongoing trend in home design, but the reality is that they can just add to the illusion of clutter in your home. Home stagers note that for a cleaner look, you should use closed storage.
“Glass cabinet doors are gorgeous if you are neatly storing beautiful items such as china or glassware,” Lisa Quinn, founder of Lisa Quinn Home in Nevada County, Calif., and author of “Life’s Too Short to Fold Fitted Sheets,” said in early December. “When you are seeing cereal boxes and canned goods, not so much.”
If you struggle to keep things stored in a tidy way—sometimes due to no fault of your own—hide the mess with matching bins, boxes, or jars.
“When you can see what’s in your storage, it’s just one more thing to see,” Quinn said. “It appears cluttered to the eye even though you’ve organized these items. There’s no place for the eye to rest.”
Working from home is tough, so clear your mind by cleaning your desk
One of my favorite sayings is, “A cluttered space is a cluttered mind,” and home stagers tend to agree. With more jobs going and staying remote, you’ll be more productive with a decluttered space. That means putting away things like beauty products, books, and photos.
“If you get it out of the way, you’ll feel like you can really approach the day in a fresh way,” home stager Meridith Baer told us in September.
And eating at your desk? Don’t do it.
“Even if you just pull back for five or ten minutes and go to another room to eat, not only do you get to fuel your body, but you also get that mental break that you need,” home stager Pat Evans said.