Real Estate Tips

8 Ways to Make Small Rooms Feel Larger

On October 15, 2012, in Staging Tips, by Melissa Tracey

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

When selling a home, you don’t want buyers to step foot in a room and suddenly feel cramped. They will quickly start questioning whether they’ll be able to fit their belongings in there and whether the home is too small.

What can you do to open up some of the tight spaces in your listings?

1. Remove furniture. Rooms packed overly full of furniture will not allow buyers to visualize their things in the space. Keep the furniture basics in each room, and then haul away the extras to a storage unit or somewhere else in the home that could use more furniture. Make sure the furniture is fit to the size of the room. For example, that canopy bed may be commanding too much attention in the master bedroom, making the room feel cramped and even blocking the walkway through the room.

2. Declutter. This is an obvious way to make a space feel bigger. It can have one of the biggest impacts to the perception of a room’s size. Have your sellers go through their closets and box up about a third of it. They can take the load to a storage unit or put into bins to store elsewhere in the home. When buyers open up a closet, you want them to see the spaciousness, not it filled top-to-bottom with your sellers’ belongings.

3. Find secret storage spots: Ottomans that can double-up as storage units too can help your sellers clear away clutter in a hurry. These can be useful particularly for sellers with children who need a quick place to throw toys and clothes prior to a showing.

4. Lighten the color. Dark colors on the wall can make a room feel more closed-in, whereas lighter tones on the wall can open it up. Cream colors and soft tones of greens and blues can help open up a space. Monochromatic color schemes, which is using colors all from the same color family, can go a long way in creating flow in a home and making a space appear larger too.

5. Let the light flow in. Tieback–or better yet, take down–the curtains and open up the blinds to let the natural light flow in from the windows. The more natural light that flows in, the more a space can appear larger.

6. Hang some mirrors. Mirrors can reflect light and give the illusion of depth to a room.

7. Opt for plain fabrics. Upholstery that is plain and neutral can make a space feel larger than upholstery with bold prints or stripes. To avoid the neutral blahs, however, liven up spaces by incorporating textured or small patterned items, such as with throw pillows on the sofa.

8. Make smart furniture choices. See-through furniture, such as glass tabletops, can open up a space. Also, armless chairs or sofas can make a space feel larger too. For desks, try stools that can be tucked underneath and show off more floor space than a bulky desk chair. Also, remove any floor lamps and instead use desk lamps or ceiling light fixtures for light.

Bottom line: The more floor space you can see in a room, the more open and bigger it will feel.

4 Mistakes Home Owners Often Make With Their House
On August 27, 2012, in Curb Appeal, Remodeling Adviser, by Melissa Tracey

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

When it comes to taking care of a home or remodeling, home owners can make some unwise decisions. ServiceMagic, a Web site that features a network of nationwide service professionals–including in home improvement–has an article “8 Things You Should Never Do to Your Home.” Here are a few common home owner mistakes that made its list:

1. Going overboard with remodeling. It’s easy to quickly let a budget go out the window when remodeling. For example, the ServiceMagic article calls “bump-outs” a waste of money; these are when you extend a wall by a few feet, such as to accommodate a bay window. However, the cost per square foot is so high that you might as well opt for a more sizable addition that can be done at a lower cost per square foot. Bottom-line: If you want to make a return on your investment, you want to keep your remodeling updates within the costs of your neighborhood and compared to similarly sized homes. (Also, see Cost vs. Value report to gauge average returns on investment on remodeling projects.)

2. Being in denial about your pet’s odor. Big or small, your pets smell and they probably shed too. Pets attach their smell to everything and guests who enter your home will immediately pick up on it. Experts recommend to have your carpets and furniture professionally cleaned every six months, and open the windows and vacuum frequently to help rid your home of any lingering pet odors.

3. Removing walls between rooms. Removing walls quickly can become disastrous if you don’t know if it’s a load-bearing wall. A qualified contractor should know which walls can be removed and which can’t.

4. Becoming the messy neighbor. Curb appeal goes a long way in separating the nice neighborhoods from the bad. After all, bad yards can even bring property values down in an entire neighborhood. Don’t be “that” person with the weeds and uncared for lawn, or that person who parks their car in the yard, the article notes.