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Invite buyers into your home with a twist on a neutral theme

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When you invite prospective buyers into your home, you want them to imagine living there, because after all, buying is partly an emotional decision. This means that you need to minimise your own personal taste, making it more appealing to a range of buyers.

The problem is that many sellers take the word ‘minimalism’ to its extreme. They repaint their entire home one colour (usually white or cream), and in so doing, remove all the character and ‘homeliness’ from the house.

If you are arranging for a stylist to prepare your home for viewings, it’s a good idea to ask about a more appealing colour scheme, which although it still needs to be neutral, isn’t boring, lifeless and flat – as too much white can become. So to give you some ideas of how to achieve a neutral colour scheme for your home, whilst keeping a sense of luxury and character, here are a few tips from the team at Switch Real Estate.

Neutral isn’t just white

When people talk about a neutral colour, they often consider only white. This is a big mistake, because white is cold, clinical and unfriendly when it’s the dominant colour. A neutral colour palette actually consists of beige, ivory, taupe, gray, shades of white and even black!

These neutrals can also have undertones of pink, blue, green or gold for example, so it’s a good idea to use these colours as highlights, particularly in the furnishings. So if you want to opt for an all neutral colour scheme, one idea is to use a lighter shade for the walls (light gray is trending) with darker toned upholstery. Rugs can be a shade darker than the walls with furnishings and accessories using tonal shades of your main neutral colour.

You can also consider beige as the main colour, as there are lots of tonal colours, such as cappuccino and latte that coordinate well with more modern colours, such as soft aqua or pale tangerine. This gives depth, warmth and character to your home, rather than a boring, generic white appearance.

Minimise furniture, but keep it inviting

Think of a quality boutique hotel that you have recently stayed in for a weekend. Was it boring, sterile and characterless? It’s very doubtful that the interior design of your hotel room wasn’t welcoming, which is the same effect you want to generate for your home. This means that you need to de-clutter, helping potential buyers to see the amount of space available and imagining their own furniture in the room.

If you have arranged for a home stylist, then you can rely on their design taste to style your home for viewings. If however, you want to style your own home, consider removing some of the larger and possibly more outdated pieces. A neutral palette, as mentioned in the above point, also includes a mix of furnishings that are old and new, but also means a room that is complete. For example, if a room is crying out for long flowing gauzy drapes, then remove the old heavy drapes and replace with new.  Add textures, reupholster an old but comfy chair in a modern fabric, and keep a neutral palette. All of these actions will help to create a vignette in each room that appeals to potential buyers.

Opt for a simple style, but with character

In the point above, we talked about decluttering and mixing the old with the new. This doesn’t mean that you should strip your home of all its character. On the contrary, you have lived in your home for many years and it’s full of character! That’s what buyers want to see and feel in your home – that it’s warm and inviting. It might not be styled to their taste, but they have a good feeling when they enter your home.

So yes, you might need to remove a collection of vintage paintings if it has taken over your home, but one or two of these paintings in strategic locations, adds character. Rumpus rooms or dens are another area where style can get out of hand, so simplify the furniture and design of these rooms, making them more appealing to buyers. Restraint is a key term at this point, focussing on a neutral palette, refined furnishings, and a minimal presence that is designed to make buyers feel welcome.

This style might not be to your taste, but since your priority is to sell your home, you need to put yourself in their shoes. If you are already looking for another property or have already purchased a new home, think about your feelings at these viewings. Did you criticise their interior design and their colour scheme, but were still drawn to one of these homes? If the property was overly cluttered or felt sterile, it’s unlikely that you would have found it very appealing. Yet, despite the interior design faults, you were still more comfortable in one of these homes than the others. So your home doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to be perfectly resolved.

If you focus on a neutral palette, and an uncluttered style that still has character, you should have no problems attracting potential buyers to your home.


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