Q: My home is going on the market. How do I style it for summer viewings? Interior designer Natasha Rocca Devine offers her expert advice.
A: Staging a home for viewings is a seasonal business and different things matter at different times of year. Summer is a sensual season and it’s particularly important to evoke all your senses. Take full advantage of the brighter longer days to show off your home at its best.
When I’m preparing a home for summer viewings, my first priority is the window treatment. The windows will enhance the overall space, but the bright summer light will also show up anything that’s worn or dirty. Clean the windows and consider painting the window frames, even if you’re not painting the rest of the house. If the curtains are at all dirty, take them down and wash them or have them dry cleaned. If the blinds are dirty or broken, remove them. It’s often better to have no curtains or blinds at all than shabby ones.
The second thing to consider is the garden, terrace or balcony. Have some kind of seating in place to show that the outdoor space is connected to the house, but a different zone. If there’s a lawn, mow the grass. It doesn’t have to be perfect! Just make it look like an interesting space that you’d want to be in.
Thirdly, create a theme and style the home around it. There are different ways of doing this. Some people take a favourite movie and bring it to life with little touches around the house. Or, if it’s a seaside property, you could follow a beach house theme. The key is to pick a theme you can believe in. Look at what’s already in the house and create your story around it. For example, if you love plants and have lots of them around the home, you might consider a biophilic theme. That’s all about bringing nature inside with emphasis on plants, natural wood, natural fibres like linen and wool, rattan chairs, green throws, and artwork based on nature or landscape. Remember to tell your estate agent about your theme as it will help them to sell the property. It’s so exciting when you walk into a home and find there’s a story to go with it.
Some people theme their home around a place they love to visit. This can be done subtly and with very little expense. For example, if your theme is Italy, you might have a big jar of pasta and an Italian cookbook in the kitchen. Since summer is all about connecting I’d suggest you focus on the dining area and do a little tablescaping to help people imagine themselves into the space. That could be as simple as setting the table with espresso cups and a jar of biscotti. I always associate Italy with bright colours, so that might be expressed with one of two vibrant cushions or a runner on the table. Brightly-coloured flowers will really add a taste of Italy but fresh flowers need to be replaced regularly. Unless you’re prepared to keep doing this all summer, consider investing in some good quality silk flowers. Bunches of silk flowers from Dooro, and similar retailers, start around €100. They’re not the same as the real thing, but they look the part and will last you all summer. Other Italian details might include a print from a favourite Italian movie or a framed photograph of Italy. There’s no need to spend a lot of money. You can download a print for about €10 and buy a frame from JYSK or IKEA. Then play music that brings the theme together and light a candle that smells of Italy. But don’t overdo it. If each room has one piece relating to your theme – that’s plenty.
In general, preparing a property for viewing, less is more. People will want to move around the home and you’re often better to take things out than to add new pieces of furniture. The permanent features – like the kitchen and the bathroom – should look as new as possible, but these can be combined with older vintage pieces. I like mixing old and new. It’s sustainable and it saves you money. Finally, not everyone can afford to move offsite for viewings. If you’re still living in the home, remember to make the beds as neatly as possible. You can’t go wrong with white sheets. Iron them, place a throw over the end of the bed, and add an accent cushion.
People tend to overcomplicate styling. Keep it simple! Once the home is clean, fresh, and you can move around the space, that’s all the matters.
The-Step-by-Step Guide to Designing & Styling Your Home (2023) by Natasha Rocca Devine is available to pre-order. See theinteriorsnrd.com