There’s simply no way around the fact that bigger is better, especially when it comes to selling and/or renting your home. New Yorkers know this, perhaps more than most, because we understand that square footage can be harder to come by than a cronut after the morning rush. Luckily, New Yorkers also know how to maximize the many small things in our lives: paychecks, tapas and, most importantly, our home sweet homes.
But when it comes time to sell or sublet our space, sometimes even we need a little help transforming that studio with an airshaft view into the charming and intimate pied-à-terre it’s always been meant to be; or metamorphosing our cluttered two-bedroom near Columbia — you know, the one that’s currently hosting eight freshmen — into the elegant, prewar classic six on the Upper West Side that will sell after the first open house.
It’s all about the art of apartment staging, and although you can pay a professional big bucks to do it for you, we at Manhattan Mini Storage have a few far less expensive suggestions that will make your little sixth-floor walkup with a shared bath “camera ready.”
“All right Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.”
The single most important rule to remember when staging on a budget is that less is more. You are about to invite strangers — yes, complete strangers with whom you have not had dinner and drinks — into your bedroom, your kitchen, your bathroom and — yikes! — your closet. These random folks off the street (think of them as prospective buyers) are about to get up-close and personal with all of your stuff — the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Do yourself and your broker a favor and remember the following:
PUT THE BAD AND THE UGLY IN STORAGE!
Be merciless. Remove everything from your apartment that you don’t use on a regular basis, won’t enhance the size and shape of the apartment — do you really need that console television from the 1970’s that’s only serving as a TV stand for your new flatscreen? — and that you aren’t comfortable having in full view of a potential buyer and/or renter. Take these items and store them at your local Manhattan Mini Storage.
These items may include: Seasonal clothing, tchotchkes (no — not the tchotchkes? YES — the tchotchkes), all valuables or precious items and documents and/or papers that you do not immediately need. Remember, it’s only temporary. And if you ever need to visit your mint-condition matchbox car collection, Manhattan Mini Storage is open 365 days year with extended hours. (Many of our storage locations are even open 24 hours!)
Rule of thumb: Tabletops and counters should be clean and spare; for every five family photos you own, display only one; one ottoman is better than two; and home offices should be neat and tidy.
IT’S STAGING, NOT INTERIOR DESIGN. A prospective buyer/renter isn’t going to care if you built a loom in your breakfast nook and wove all your own window treatments. All they care about is that you have a breakfast nook and that you have windows. The same can be said for the color of your walls. Light, neutral colors allow an interested buyer/renter to imagine what they might do with the color scheme — after they pay the full asking price, of course.
Rule of thumb: Bite the bullet, and paint over that detailed mural of Middle Earth that adorns your foyer.
You Are Not Alone.
An objective opinion about the space in your home can be incredibly valuable. You may be aware that to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night when you’re half asleep, you have to dodge the sharp edges of your glass-top coffee table, but nobody else does. Ask your broker and your friends for their candid opinion about what works in the space and what doesn’t. Do not be offended if they suggest that the dusty rowing machine on which you hang your unmentionables might be better off in storage.
Rule of thumb: Staging is about appealing to someone else’s fantasy of living in your space. It’s not about your sense of style. Avoid these pitfalls: Oversized furniture, lighting that is too dim or moody, elaborate place settings for an invisible dinner party (creepy), personalized art — the framed Teen Beat centerfold of Corey Haim is great for your high school locker; not your kitchen — and design choices that are too masculine and/or too feminine. (So nix the neon beer sign and the lacy bed skirt.)
Store and Stage.
Follow these simple tips for storing and staging your apartment, and before you know it, you’ll have so much space you may just decide to stay put.
Best of luck!
Check out these helpful articles for more tips and do’s and don’ts:
10 Staging Mistakes that Can Cost You a Sale – BrickUnderground.com
How to Stage an Apartment in New York City – FrontDoor.com