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Minimalist Chic Design for your Home

March 31 2010

Even if your home is a museum-quality space that regularly draws acclaim from friends and strangers for its tasteful décor, conventional wisdom dictates that less is more when it comes to inviting prospective buyers in for a look. Remember, in selling a house, you want buyers to be able to see themselves in the space, which can be hard to do when your style is overwhelmingly present.

At the same time, the absence of any style whatsoever can fail to attract buyers who need a little help imagining a home’s potential. Too vanilla an approach makes for a boring presentation too easily forgotten or overlooked.

As with so many things, the key lies in striking a perfect balance. Easier said than done, of course. But let these simple steps direct your home makeover, and in no time you’ll have an inviting, attractive home that doesn’t run the risk of overwhelming anyone. As always, if you have any questions or just need a little extra guidance, you can always consult a Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate sales agent.

Edit Your Walls

Put your ego aside and take a critical look at what hangs on your walls. Some people like to cover every available inch with artwork that showcases their in-depth knowledge and appreciation of French baroque painting, or African art, or arts-and-crafts design. For others, it may be mementos from travels around the world or photos of friends and family from near and far.

As wonderful as these ensembles are, and as meaningful as they are to you, they won’t necessarily strike a potential buyer the same way. Moreover, overcrowded walls can make a room feel smaller. The best advice in these instances is to pare down. Try removing half of your wall art as a starting point. Doing so will let buyers see more of the surrounding house and better be able to imagine how their own style might work there, too.

At the other end of the spectrum are those homes where it looks like you haven’t ever really moved in. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, it may actually make sense to dress up your walls somewhat in these instances. A completely bare wall makes any imperfections glaringly apparent, and it can also prove uninspiring to prospective buyers who have trouble envisioning a space’s potential. No need to make a major investment here. Simply arrange a few coordinating prints in matching frames on one or two walls in each room. A local art museum gift shop can be a great source for inexpensive prints – as can a nearby home goods store. 

Use Select Accent Pieces to Create a Cohesive Look

Simple accent pieces are a great way to give a home a put-together feel without having it seem overdone. Invest in a few new throw pillows, a coordinating vase, and a rug that helps pull together the colors of the walls and furniture, and you’ll have instant style with minimal expense. Little things – like a fresh bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter or a few artfully arranged books and magazines on the living room coffee table – can give a home a wonderfully lived-in feel without telling too much about the people who live there.

Ask a Good Friend to Be Brutally Honest

We all have them: The friends whose opinions, as well-intentioned as they may be, sometimes cut just a little too close. Now is the time to enlist their help. Invite them over and ask them to give you an honest appraisal of your home’s décor as a potential buyer might see it. Even when you can’t, these friends will be able to identify where there’s still too much – or where there’s not enough. An outside opinion really helps when it comes to editing your own living space. If asking a friend doesn’t feel comfortable, you can always consult a Better Homes and Garden Real Estate sales associate for advice.

Update Your Fixtures and Lighting

Revamping outdated wall and lighting fixtures can give an instant style boost to your home. Take inventory of each room in the house and note where simply swapping out an older dusty chandelier with a more modern, streamlined pendant fixture could help update this space. It could be even easier than that. Just replacing wall switch and outlet covers with new, matching plates can show off freshly painted walls and add sparkle and shine at very little cost. Consider light bulbs as well. Adjusting your wattage up or down can add brightness and warmth to an otherwise gloomy room or transform an overly-lit, antiseptic space into one with cozy charm and appeal.