The Challenges of Staging Older Houses in Their Original State

Staging homes that are between 25-45 years old that have NOT be renovated can be tricky.  When all the bathrooms, kitchen and flooring are original it’s hard to know where to start and finish.  It can be risky and expensive to start renovations to sell unless you really know what you’re doing since you have to predict what the buyers are going to want.  It’s also very hard to live through renovations that someone else will get to enjoy. We always have to consider timelines (you don’t want to miss the Spring market), budgets and ability of the homeowners.  The one thing that has been reported over and over again is that you will receive 100% of your return on is a freshly painted house. Having said that….the paint job has to be really good or it can actually cost you money if it’s not done properly.

The homeowners loved their coloured rooms.  Every room was a bright blue, yellow, mauve or hot pink.  The realtor chose a paint colour and started to have the house painted before I joined in on the planning and staging process. When I got there, most of the rooms were already painted gray.

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BEFORE – A house with lots of colour!

This single home had a huge transformation in a very short time period getting it ready to sell.  Almost all the rooms and trim were professionally painted in a soft gray with white trim to complement the gray carpet and flooring. Even though the buyers will most likely replace all the flooring, the house is at least move-in ready and clean. Even the carpets had a good shampoo.  One easy way to update the house cosmetically is by decorating it in the current colour schemes.  Because I staged the house in the current trendy colours, buyers will be able to see the potential in the house if they want to do their own renovations.



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AFTER – this family room is much more inviting with the added colours through artwork and accessories. I was so happy to remove the track lighting since it had a cord all the way down the wall which just announced that there wasn’t a ceiling fixture.  Removing it looked so much better.  I brought in enough lighting so it doesn’t matter that there isn’t an overhead light.




AFTER – Bringing in a round glass table and 4 chairs made a huge change. I wanted to keep it light and airy but still show that there is lots of room for an eat-in kitchen. It also allowed me to add some colour by setting the table. I found the hanging pot rack very distracting so we removed the pots and put up some greenery in a basket instead. We didn’t have time to remove the ceiling hooks and paint the entire ceiling. Who knows, maybe the buyers might love it as much as the homeowner did?  Replacing the broken light covers was more of a priority.




AFTER – Since this dining room is adjacent to the living room I wanted the drapes to be the same. The homeowner also changed the light fixture which really helped. We moved the furniture around since I wanted to hang artwork on the far wall to create a focal point.




AFTER – this room is supposed to be the formal living room at the front of the house but since they didn’t have any furniture for that, we left it as an office but set it up so that buyers could easily see where to place sofas etc. the colour palette was carried through the whole main level. We removed the plug-in track lighting in this room as well.




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AFTER – completely neutralizing this power room with the gray paint made it look so much bigger and fresher.




AFTER – all I did in here was remove the clutter. I brought in white and green accents since the there is a green border of tile in the shower.




AFTER – I always tell homeowners that if they are planning on buying new linens when they move, buy them now so their house looks great for staging as well. You can never go wrong with white linens and then you can add layers of textures and colours. Since they didn’t’ have a headboard this artwork served as one as well as inspired the colour selection.




AFTER – this room wasn’t really being used but they had an extra bed so we brought it in here as well as some extra little dressers that were being stored in the basement. It’s always a good idea to show bedrooms furnished if possible since buyers have a hard time visualizing and gauging dimensions. Rooms always look larger with furniture in them.

It was amazing how much bigger the house felt and looked in the same light gray throughout, compared to when it was all different colours.



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