Model houses are in pristine condition because they've never been lived in. They're decorated to show off the best features of the house, not necessarily to be comfortable when lived in. Landscaping is fresh, lush and green. Transform your home to look like a model home without spending a fortune.
Remove personal mementos and photos. When you walk into a model home, the builder wants you to imagine you live there, not that you're invading someone else's home. Go through the house with a basket and remove anything personal. For example, if you have a hallway of family pictures, replace them with artwork. If the frames and matting of the current pictures on the wall match, use them, and replace with botanical prints, black and white landscapes or other impersonal pictures.
Get rid of clutter. Go through the living room with a big basket. Remove anything that doesn't belong there and put it in the room where it does belong. Do the same thing with each room of the house. Go through the rooms again, this time removing one-quarter to one-half of the accessories, knickknacks and decorative items. A model home doesn't have tablescapes on the coffee table or bookshelves filled with collections. In fact, it may not have a coffee table in front of the sofa at all, because it takes up too much space and makes the living room look smaller.
Remove furniture. Remember that the idea is to make your home look its best and that means roomy. If you've got a loveseat, couch, three chairs, coffee table and two end tables in the family room, consider removing the couch and a chair, or the loveseat and two chairs. Put them in storage.
Clear off the kitchen and bathroom counters. Leave a few well-placed accessories but remove the coffee pot, blender, knife rack, dish towels and cooking utensils. Put shampoo, conditioner, soaps and other personal care items in a basket and put the basket in the linen closet.
Clean everything. Wash the windows, windowsills and floors. Clean the carpets, drapes, curtains and upholstered furniture. Wash down and wax all wood, including baseboards, door frames and cabinets. Spray what can't be cleaned with an odor remover. Model houses smell new and are sparkling clean.
Paint walls a neutral color. It doesn't have to be white but it should be light. Light colors open up a room and make it look bigger. Decorator colors are a personal choice. While you may love the sea green walls in the master bedroom, someone else may think it looks like a hospital room.
Neaten up the landscape with fresh plantings of annual flowers, grass seed and, if necessary, new bushes in the front yard. Trim back overgrown hedges and trees. Remove any debris. Paint the front door. Place pots of flowers by the entryway. Look at your yard from the street, as that's the first impression someone gets of your home.
Tips & Warnings
- Clean, remove clutter and spruce up one room at a time, rather than trying to get the whole house in shape at once.
- Open windows and turn on fans when using cleaning chemicals.
- Realtor.com: Get The House Ready
- "Talking Dirty With the Queen of Clean"; Linda Cobb; 2004
- Bankrate.com: "Setting The Stage for A Sale"; Dana Dratch; May 2005
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images
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