Living Large in a Smaller Home

For years homeowners worked towards buying the “bigger is better” home to raise their families,  for entertaining, and to keep up with the Joneses, etc. So now that many of the baby boomers are looking towards retirement, and the rest of us are apprehensive about the economy, Americans are beginning to warm to the idea that less is more when it comes to the size of their homes and that decrease is the first time in 30 years.

Through the years of people owning larger homes, home staging companies came to be as a sales tool.  Now with the change to smaller square footage, staging experts are teaching folks to rearrange their furniture to take better advantage of the space, maximize floor space and enhancing each room to identify it’s actual purpose, i.e., a dining room rather than a computer cubby.

Uncovering the rugs to reveal the hardwood floors and decluttering the pictures or decorations from the walls, allows the buyer’s eye to see what the home actually looks like versus seeing only the “Sellers Stuff”, is advise from staging professionals.  Also clearing clutter and appliances off kitchen counters gives the appearance of a larger kitchen.

Removing clutter is only one part of getting a smaller home ready to market. Lots of us have purchased large, overstuffed furniture that just doesn’t fit into a smaller home and it’s time to scale back. Remove pieces that are overshadowing your rooms.

Smaller homes need to be painted in a color tone that moves through the house without using high contrast colors. Too much color or too dark colors can make a home feel much smaller.  Also the flooring should be consistent through the house to appear to pull a buyer’s eye from room to room, which maximizes the perception of space.

Clean closets and lots of storage are key factors for many homebuyers.  If the closets appear overstuffed it tells the potential buyer that there is not enough storage space in this home, so clean out at least half of what is in your closets and store off-season clothing elsewhere. There are many wonderful alternative storage pieces available these days, so look into finding a place for those items elsewhere in the home, garage or consider renting a storage unit for a short period.

There are many ways to make a smaller home work for you. Do some research and figure out if your really “need” all the items you are bringing into a home. Could some of it be pared down? Perhaps if you have been storing all of your children’s memorabilia (or junk) all these years and you are planning to move into a empty nester type home, then it’s time to make a call to the children and ask them to come and get their things so that you can go forth into your new home with less worries about continuing to be the unpaid storage unit for them.  The rule is, as it has always been, Less is More!

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