Ask any realtor the top three selling points in a home and I guarantee “kitchen” will always make the list! It seems buyers are obsessed with the latest in backsplashes, current cabinetry and hardware, statement islands and endless countertops. Knowing the “kitchen” will be a top selling point is reason enough to focus your staging efforts on this “living room you can cook in” in today’s real estate market.
The good news is kitchen staging costs much less than a kitchen renovation and while it can’t sell the home on its own, good staging always helps the home put its best foot forward.
So what are the dos and don’ts of creating inviting culinary spaces that will immediately connect with buyers on an emotional level? Probably the number one rule of kitchen staging is “Keep it Simple and Don’t Over-Decorate.” Depending on the size of the kitchen, focus on 1-3 simple vignette areas that showcase a relaxed and healthy lifestyle. Your goals is to make every buyer that walks through the door think “this kitchen is all I need to be the next top chef, enjoy relaxed five-star meals every day, be healthy and in shape and enjoy a peaceful existence.” Read on for more dos and don’ts with finding just the right balance of functionality and décor for a kitchen that cooks up a “welcome home” vibe!
· Leave any dishes in or around your sink (they have homes, can go in the dishwasher, or at least need a good hiding place)
· Leave knives out (they just look … well … too edgy! Ha! I love a good corny pun!)
· Leave dish towels out (who wants to be reminded of washing dishes?!)
· Overclutter counters with all your daily routine utensils
· Keep out more appliances than just a coffee maker or decorative mixer
· Leave crumbs or sticky residue on counter tops
· Put a really tall decorative item on your island or bartop (it will most likely be right in the way when taking a photo of your kitchen)
· Leave mail, kids school work, etc. stacked on your kitchen counter
· Have chargers plugged in everywhere (stash them in a drawer or cute basket )
· Have a bowl of “past its prime” fruit and vegetables out on the counter
· Decorate the tops of cabinets (this just draws attention to the fact that your cabinets don’t extend to the ceiling)
· Leave magnets and photos all over the front and sides of your refrigerator (check out how busy they look through a camera lens!)
· Have a stinky trashcan!
And here’s what you can do to help a kitchen speak straight to a buyer’s heart! (and their checkbook!)
· Keep all dishes and utensils washed AND PUT AWAY
· Keep your knives completely out of sight
· Hide your dish towels
· Put away runners, mats in front of the sink or stove
· Store your small appliances (i.e., toaster, can opener, etc.) in a cabinet/pantry
· Hide your soap dispensers, paper towel holders, drying racks, scrub brushes, etc. from around the sink area
· Remember the “grapefruit rule” of display – only stage using items as large or larger than a grapefruit; smaller items (i.e., decorative salt and pepper shakers) don’t photograph well
· Create a cute coffee bar that makes you feel like you are staying in a hotel
· Use faux green apples, oranges, or lemons in a bowl as a decorative item; they add a great pop of color and look so healthy and happy
· Prop a cookbook on an easel next to the stove. Open it to a beautiful culinary masterpiece – who doesn’t want to imagine they could cook these delectable dishes if they only lived here?!
· Create groupings of “three” with decorative vases, bowls, oil dispensers, etc.
· Incorporate greenery – think small succulents or a bright green plant – it will make the kitchen feel alive
· Stage a wine bar/drink station with wine glasses and an attractive bottle
· Use a tray to anchor a grouping of decorative items
· Reduce the number of items in your glass front cabinets so that there is only 1-2 “things” or groups of “things” per visible shelf area (i.e., a single crystal bowl instead of three stacked together)
· Empty all of your trash and hide your trash and recycling cans before showings
Adding just the right staging to your kitchen might be the perfect way to invite a buyer to sit and stay a while … like forever!