Whether you’re putting a place on the market to rent or sell – or living in one – a small property presents unique challenges. There are many ways to create more space by both better using the existing square footage and employing things that trick the eye! Our list includes a bit of both to maximize what you have to work with.
WALLS, CEILING AND FLOORS:
Floors: Remove several small rugs for one big one. Or remove them altogether if the floor is nice enough. Arrange furniture so that pathways are as wide and clear as possible for easy navigation. This really opens up a home. Where possible clean, remove or replace any old, stained or fragrant carpet.
Walls: We know the basic rules of painting walls a light color in relaxing hues. In fact, keeping the décor monochromatic to go with them, with only a few items on a table or counter or shelves (no clutter) and any patterns soft and blended only continues this rule. If you must, do one wall in an accent color – and the rest in the most pale version if not eggshell if you want to jazz up a room without shrinking it.
Ceiling: It should be white, so as not to close in a smaller room. If there are narrow spaces, sometimes hanging an interesting light fixture high and close to the top helps bring the eye upward.
Then move on to the contents and decor.
First, pare it down to the minimum. If possible, remove furniture that’s too big for the space like a large sectional, or a recliner (even if your client has to have a small, temporary storage place).
Then arrange to create more open space, better flow, keeping walking paths clearer. You don’t want to have someone knock their kneecap on something enroute from the living room to the kitchen. If couches are pushed against the wall to “open up” a room, it’s actually better to pull them a few inches away to give the sense of extra space. Better yet, create a cozy sitting area around a mantle or TV, leaving room around it instead, leaving more of the room available around all sides.
Take leafs out of any dining table, stow extra chairs (especially if you have a chair) in the bedroom. Setting a table can make a home look welcoming – or cluttered and like a model home. I tend to think it should not be set.
The heart of the home – and the place to invest in updating renovation or surface sprucing up. At least update hardware. Clean the cabinets inside as well as out with a degreaser. If wood, rubbing with orange oil makes them look new and is a nice scent which trigger no allergies for clients. If they’re in bad shape, consider painting them – a light color of course. Have new dish towels, paper towel holders, etc. Here’s an example of how profound those simple changes can be from IsSheReally.com!Be sure the inside as well as the outside of the stove/oven, fridge, dishwasher and microwave are like new. Hide sponges etc. Have only a coffee maker out and hide a mixer and toaster to create space on the countertops. To decorate, keep it simple –just a breadboard with something on it, or a bowl with a lasting, colorful food like mandarin oranges or artichokes.
Try to create room to walk around both sides of the beds – if not, put the mattress on the wall furthest from the door if possible. Seriously consider removing the TV – it takes away from the sanctuary of the room and crowds a smaller space. Put light, solid duvet/sheets on the bed.
Put bright bulbs in all outlets. Push back the shower curtain or open up a shower door so the eye can go further in a small bathroom. Have only light colored, new towels in sight. And remove any toilet seat covers or rugs around it.
Bathrooms need the most space and tend to have the least storage. Put things away in that to keep surfaces clear. Clear the counters save a pretty soap dispenser or an unlit candle, and REALLY order the cabinets inside, because people will look and it does not help to see a jumble. Here’s a great DIY from FabArtDIY.com project to both use the mirror idea while creating storage!
Half empty closets make it look like there’s ample storage – start by eliminating seasonal clothes. And that includes linen closets and cabinets with cleaning supplies and canned goods.
We know this one: Clear the clutter! Kitchen, the entry table, bathrooms, closets and the garage are the places the most clutter collects. Pack up at least 30% of things from each room. Sell, donate or pre-pack these items – even if a storage place needs to be rented
Busy wall paper will only close things in. As will busy fabrics, or heavy brocades, dark colors, etc. Window treatments should be simple as well. No frilly valances, ruffly pull- backs or pillows.
Create the impression that things are bigger by hanging floor to ceiling grommet curtains on a when the window are not as big. Put mirrors on the TV console, kitchen cabinets or a whole wall to open space up. Reflecting a window or outdoor space is even better!
Here’s a great example of smaller windows being made “tall” by full wall drapery – and the total monochromatic color scheme mentioned earlier here. From ArchitectureArtDesigns.com.
Let in all the light you can! If there is a view, direct the potential buyer/renter’s attention to that first.
When you’ve done all you can, take a last pass around the house and remove yet another thing from each room if you can. There should be no extreme art, no personal photos, no piles of magazines or catalogues. Stash the toothpaste and cup, the dog toys and bed, etc… ahhhh!
Lastly, now that you’ve created more space, keep it squeaky clean. Floors sparkling, a spotless house is the best thing to create space.
Meet Your Contributor:
Rochelle Joseph is a Writer and Image and Marketing Consultant who has had experience marketing, renting, buying and selling her properties for over 20 years. She has written and edited for several publications, including the Boston Book Review, The Emerson Review, ZooBorns.com, WildLife Magazine, the Houston Zoo, The Wildlife Center of Texas, One Spirit Interfaith Seminary as well as AHRN.com. She currently writes at her great gifts blog at http://lookyhereu.blogspot.com and her animal blog at http://naturegirrrl.blogspot.com