Home sellers often hear that they should depersonalize their decor so that their property appeals to the biggest swath of buyers. Yet in the latest episode of “One Week To Sell,” designer Taylor Spellman proves that this adage can sometimes undermine a sale.
In the Season 1 episode “Hardwood to Hard Wood,” Spellman visits Maplewood, NJ, a charming town that’s perfect for families. She’s called to a house that’s priced at a reasonable $625,000, but has been on the market for two months without an offer. Once Spellman steps inside, she understands why: This house is so generic, it just doesn’t make an impression on buyers and compel them to bite.
Spellman has just five days and $10,000 to turn this dull house into a desirable dream home. Here’s how she pulls it off, which offers some smart lessons on how to make a house stand out, whether you’re looking to sell or just want to impress guests.
Use rugs to cover up imperfections on wood floors
Spellman is delighted when she pulls up the dated living room carpet to discover hardwood floors. However, a previous owner must have stained these hardwoods around a rug, because the middle part of the room is a completely different tone.
Spellman knows that she’d need to sand the floors to fix this multicolored faux pas, but she doesn’t have the time or budget. So she brings in a large rug that covers most of the floor.
“This rug is absolutely huge, which is fantastic, because that means it’s going to cover up as much of the messed-up flooring as possible.” Spellman says. “Now, buyers will walk in and see a really great hardwood floor that just needs a sanding.”
Plus, she points out that by waiting to refinish the floors, the buyer will be able to pick a new color for themselves. It’s a win-win!
Give old furniture a new color
It’s not uncommon for sellers to leave some unwanted furniture in a home, hoping buyers will like it. So Spellman isn’t surprised when she finds a large, heavy hutch in the dining space. Spellman knows this bulky piece of furniture would be difficult to take out of the house, so she decides to simply paint it and make it work for her new design.
“It weighs about 5,000 pounds and is not going anywhere,” Spellman says, “so we’re going to paint it black to modernize it and it’ll be fine. Sometimes you’ve got to just go with it.”
When the hutch is painted, it looks great. It makes for great storage, and the black color matches the dining table. It just goes to show that even an awkward home hand-me-down can be an asset.
A tall headboard can make a bedroom look bigger
When it comes to the primary bedroom, Spellman knows the space needs a lot of work. The carpet needs to be removed, the curtains need to be replaced, and the walls need to be painted. However, once those fixes are done, the room looks great. It gets a ton of natural light, and it’s a good size.
Then, to show off the size, Spellman brings in some furniture.
“I’m also going to bring in a king-size bed with an oversize headboard to make the room look even bigger,” she says.
Stage your home with a buyer in mind
Spellman imagines a family will likely move into this house, so she wants to make the house feel kid-friendly.
“A lot of people, when they’re designing a home for sale, they just keep everything neutral and really play it down,” Spellman says, “whereas I like tailoring the room for the potential buyer.”
So in one of the bedrooms, she designs a perfect kid’s room. She paints a mountain mural on the wall and adds a tent to make it feel like a fun campsite.
“It’s going to be an extremely memorable adventure room and a total game changer,” Spellman says.
When the room is finished, it’s fun and unique, and will be a huge selling point for a family with kids. This amazing room proves that sometimes it’s wise to personalize your decor rather than play it safe.
Personalize with paint, since it can easily be changed
While the mountain room is tons of fun, Spellman wants to do something different in the next bedroom. She’s motivated to give this room a personal touch as well, but she wants to make this space feel a little more mature and feminine.
“I am going to paint the walls a two-tone combination of pink and white to add dimension and depth,” Spellman says. “I’ll be adding a full-size bed, a white dresser, and hints of pink and beige ballet decor to make this the perfect teenage dream room.”
Since paint is easily changed, if the buyers don’t like the color, they can simply choose something new. Score!
When Spellman is finished, the home looks amazing. The house went from a generic, forgettable space to one where home buyers could envision raising a family.
After the renovation, this house gets a swift offer and, as of the episode airing, it’s under contract. It looks like this is yet another successful Spellman project!