Staging Kids’ Spaces: Tips from the Pros
GREATER TORONTO – Some of the warmest spaces in any family home are those dedicated to kids – whether they are bedrooms, nurseries, play nooks, or quiet corners for reading and homework.
For home sellers, however, those beloved spaces can present some of the biggest challenges when it comes time to start staging. How can you keep an interior space’s atmosphere comfortable for your child, without distracting buyers from envisioning their own plans for it?
To find out, we asked for some insider tips from Kit Lee, a staging specialist and co-founder of the GTA-based 2 Sisters HomeStyling. Without further ado, here are her top strategies for tackling children’s spaces when it is time to stage:
1. Declutter the space.
“Most people won’t be able to see through a room that is packed with furniture, or envision a functioning den if it is cluttered with toys,” explains Lee, adding that de-cluttering can be broken into a few simple steps:
- Go through your child’s toys with them and let them pick five of their favourites – these will be the ones that they are allowed to keep out during showings.
- Others should be stored away in the basement or garage, until showings are finished.
- “Depersonalize” the space by removing personal photos and, for your child’s privacy, any artwork or documents with their name on it.
- Check the front entryway for strollers, wagons, and scooters. These, too, should be stored away in order to maximize curb appeal and ensure the safety of buyers/agents.
2. Create hidden storage.
“Your child’s bedroom, playroom, or game room needs to be changed and staged to appeal to a general buyer’s life style,” says Lee.
Since tidiness is key for preserving that appeal, Lee recommends the following strategies for keeping storage vessels out of mind and out of sight:
- For bedrooms and playrooms, place small toys in covered baskets, and keep them tucked away in a corner.
- Consider investing in “under the bed” storage containers, which can be used to store daily items like diapers, books, towels, and shoes.
- If you have larger items such as strollers, car seats, and sports equipment, tuck these away in either the garage or the trunk of your car.
3. Keep it gender-neutral and generic.
“Buyers need to be able to see a room and visualize how they’d position their own furniture,” says Lee. “When it comes to staging, you want to showcase a spacious floor plan and the practical function of a room.”
One of the best ways to do that, adds Lee, is by following these steps to eliminate visual distractions:
- Remove cartoon stickers, wallpaper, posters, etc. from any walls and furniture.
- If the walls are painted in bright colours, consider repainting them with a more neutral tone such as light grey, soft green, or off-white.
- While “loud” and brightly-coloured bedding patterns are favoured by many kids, it is best to replace these with gender-neutral linens featuring a simple design, if any.
4. Designate a single space for play and creativity
“The biggest challenge in this situation is how to keep your house in a ‘showing ready’ state while you and your children are still living in the property,” explains Lee.
Since that mean children will still need somewhere to play and study, she recommends the following tips for establishing one, without having a major effect on your property showings:
- Pick a small space located in your family room or a child’s bedroom. This may only be realistic if you are working with a larger property.
- Keep several toys and books on hand, or set up a desk. During showings or appointments, you will want to store the smaller effects in covered baskets and containers.
The final step: decorating with a stager
Once you have packed, decluttered, and painted, Lee recommends hiring a professional stager – a crucial step if you want to get the highest offer for your home. Services provided by your staging team will include:
- Creative furniture placement, fresh styling, and artwork.
- Placement of accessories, case goods, and rental furnishings if necessary.
- An objective and experienced “second opinion” on interior design.