[Image] The heart of the home: a great kitchen can add up to 5-10% to the value of a house, so it’s worth staging it well – as per this masterclass from our Thorpe Road sale 

If you’re gearing up to sell your home and are keen to ensure it’s looking its best, some shopping or even decorating could well be on your radar. Yet you might understandably be wary of investing much money into a home you’ll shortly be leaving.  But there are ways (and pieces) you can purchase to help bring style and order to your home, which you can then take along with you to your new space, too – win-win!
Before we delve further into specifics, it’s worth taking a little time first to objectively overview your space and identify key areas that might potentially put off new buyers, or some aspects which could be improved to make your home more appealing. It’s always worth speaking with a local estate agent (ahem, hi there) to get their honest appraisal before you get going, along with identifying what budget you’d be willing to spend: as experts on the local market, they’ll be able to advise on whether retiling your tired bathroom is likely to add on another £5k to the asking price for a £500 outlay, or if newcomers to the area are looking for home office spaces over nurseries or playrooms, so you can target your makeover to your likely buyer type.
Now can also be a great time to have a thorough clearout: do you really need to keep the toys your kids no longer use if you’re not planning to grow your family? Have you amassed more clothes and books than you can realistically fit in/on your wardrobes and shelves? Are there any old bits of furniture and art from your student days that just don’t match your current aesthetic? A thorough declutter at this stage will not only make the house look better by default, it’ll also save you time and effort later when it comes to packing up.
Once you’ve established your key staging objectives and cleared things up and out, it’s time to (conversely) do a little shopping to pull everything together! Our resident writer, interiors stylist  Joanna Thornhill, recommends breaking this down into sections: storage, spruce-up, soft furnishings and styling. Read on for the full lowdown on how to achieve each step: 


[Image] Classic String shelving helps keep floors clutter-free and can be easily removed when you leave, too, as seen in our recently sold listing on Worsley Road  


Too much ‘unhomed’ detritis can throw up red flags for prospective buyers that there might not be enough storage potential in your home, so it’s well worth investing in some furniture additions to create a sense of order and space. You might understandably be reluctant to splash out on building in fitted cupboards, or likewise keen to avoid investing in large pieces of freestanding storage that might be unwieldy to move or potentially not fit into your new abode. In this instance, modular’s the way to go: look to modular shelving systems to provide the flexibility to tailor your storage to the requirements of the space, knowing that you can reconfigure them, add on or even sell off unnecessary elements once you’re settled into your next space. 
For a classic, mid-century look, consider in the String system (available via Utility Design), as seen above – with its eminently reconfigurable options, it’s a versatile investment with a timeless aesthetic. If you’d rather not drill into your walls, however, check out the super-fun new range of pastel-hued metal stackable storage cubes from Peg & Board – simply add what you need then when the time comes to clear out, they can even double as moving boxes. 


[Image] A simple repaint in a warm neutral, along with a set of fresh white sheets, can transform a tired space, as seen in our recently sold property on Thorpe Road



Tired corners, scuffed paintwork and grubby windows can all signal to potential buyers that there might be bigger problems lurking under the surface. So as well as sorting out any snagging or repainting any particularly grotty walls, think about any other simple buys you can bring in to give an instant smartening-up.
The window area in this master bedroom is a great example: by incorporating a macrame swing seat and popping a few choice pieces of furniture around it, an otherwise redundant corner is transformed into a chic reading nook (find similar at LaRedoute, or skip the need for fixings and go for a cute accent chair instead, like the woven Farrah at Oliver Bonas).  Cast your eye on any lonely looking corners elsewhere, too: while space and flow are super important in home staging, creating mini ‘stories’ within redundant nooks can give potential buyers the opportunity to imagine different uses for the space, such as adding in a fun bar cart to a dining room alcove (Habitat have several well-priced options which can be collected from your nearest Argos store). All these accent pieces can easily follow you to your new abode, too.


[Image] Make an impact on potential buyers with bright, graphic prints and patterns, as seen in Park Grove Road (a recently sold property’s) living room
Soft furnishings
Textiles can be a really great (and transportable!) way to give a room a completely different feel in an instant – simply chuck them into a room and the work is done. Just switching out some tired old duvet sets for fresh white or bold patterned sheets can be transformative in a bedroom, and a new set of cushions on a sofa or armchair can elevate any tired or stained seating. A well-placed throw can also hide a multitude of sins as well as provide a cosy, layered look. While traditional schools of thought might promote sticking with neutral patterns and designs, again speak to your estate agent to get a good idea of your potential buyer – in our corner of East London, generally speaking a more trend-led style works well whereas in a rural country cottage, this would likely warrant a different approach.
Rugs are another great way to not only add pattern but also help define a space – particularly useful in open-plan layouts. Floor Story and A New Tribe have stores in nearby Hackney but are both run by Walthamstow-based owners, and offer a brilliant range of rug options; the former specialise in vibrant designs and shapes while the latter have a veritable Aladdin’s Cave of vintage Moroccan rugs. Opt for the largest size you can, to visually ground nearby furniture: if placing one by a sofa, ensure it’s big enough to run underneath and if you’re adding one under a dining table, try to ensure it’s big enough for all your dining chairs to fit comfortably on it as well. Then once you’ve achieved your sale, simply roll them up and move them on with you.


[Image] A curated display of plants, art and decorative objet creates a lived-in yet aspirational feel (and you can take it all with you when you move). Image taken from our recently sold listing, Forest Drive West  


Now for the fun bit! Those artfully arranged decorative touches really can pay dividends at this point, to ensure your space feels finished, homely and ready to move into. Here’s a few take-with-you touches to consider:
- Breathe some life to your space with a smattering of houseplants and a few well-placed bunches of flowers: The Every Space in Walthamstow has a huge collection of both, alongside some other homely props such as books, vases and artwork. Go for a mix of larger floor-standing foliage and smaller succulents you can dot across shelves and surfaces – just avoid anything overly fragile that might struggle in the move. Opting for dried flowers also gives you more bang for your buck than freshly cut varieties, too: split up a bunch into more casual posies to dress key spots like side tables, a hallway console and even by the bathroom sink.
- Decorative ornaments and objects bring character and personality to a space: make like a shoot stylist and try grouping small arrangements in threes, playing with staggered heights (this will bring visual interest and is easier for the eye to move around than evenly spaced, disparate pieces, which can read as disjointed). We always love browsing in Venner on Francis Road for a great range of decorative pieces, many of which are made by local artisans.
- Finally, think about scent: while freshly baked bread might be a bit of a cliché (and could even trigger people with lockdown-sourdough memories!) a delicate, inviting aroma wafting throughout the home can really help tie everything together and create a stronger memory of the space in the buyers’ mind. We love the range from local GP-turned-candlemaker Make & Create: made with essential oils and eco-soy wax, her reed diffusers (the range is available in person at Borrowed Light in Walthamstow) could be a good flame-free alternative for setting that scent scene.
And of course, if you're thinking of selling and you’d like any further advice on styling your home, do get in touch! You can call us on 0208 539 9544 or email us on - we'd love to hear from you.



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