By LISA KLEIN
Staging a home is an important step in successfully selling a property, but in the luxury sphere, it takes a bit more finesse than slapping on a coat of white paint.
While the intent of staging is much different from interior design, it does take a designer’s touch to make the home warm and inviting while being devoid of personal touches that may turn a potential buyer off.
“Design is intended to reflect the homeowner’s specific taste, no matter what it may be, whereas the intention of staging is to remove the homeowner’s personal style and make it appeal to the targeted buyer demographic,” said Leia T. Ward, founder and principal of LTW Design, a staging design firm based in the Northeast United States.
While owners of multi-million-dollar homes likely have nice furnishings, they certainly do not all have the same taste, and it is important to make sure buyers can see how their style will translate into a new home.
“By removing the seller’s personal design, staging allows potential buyers to actually experience a home by envisioning themselves in it,” Ms. Ward said.
“We want them to feel that it is their home the moment they walk inside,” she said. “In order to accomplish this, we must remove the personality of the seller and stage it to speak to the buyer.”
For luxury properties, that means filling the space with items that still meet affluent expectations.
“Luxury properties require luxury staging, so we make sure to use high-end furnishings, create a monochromatic color palette, and implement large-scale art,” Ms. Ward said.
A neutral color palette does not necessarily equal boring. Ms. Ward, who has won several staging design awards, coined the term “warm minimalism” for her preferred look.
“It describes the clean and modern aesthetic that minimalists want, but also includes layers of textures to create a warm and cozy feeling and depth in a space that appeals to those who wouldn’t be drawn to minimalist homes,” she said.
Leading the way
The layout of the staged furnishings is important to consider as well, leading potential buyers through the home in an intentional way.
“Guiding principles when we are staging a home include identifying and highlighting all focal points and views and creating a floor plan to never obstruct the entry into the space but instead create the path you want buyers to take through the house,” Ms. Ward said.
This paints a picture for the buyer, showing them what their own life in the home might be like rather than forcing them to draw it for themselves. Once buyers can see themselves living there, the offers start pouring in.
“Our staging designs are extremely strategic and intentionally created differently for each property,” Ms. Ward said.
“Our goal is to make the home speak to buyers as soon as they walk in the door and for every room to get better and better through their entire experience of the property,” she said.
“This creates an emotional response which then translates into a higher and faster offer. We are not just marketing the interior space. We are creating a dream lifestyle.”