Katchart DIY DVDs
For Design and Decorating of Homes and Property
Staging to sell  /  Defining to set up  /  Redefining to make over


Katchart Design & Decorating Articles
© 2012. 2013 Katchart LLC  

Introduction: This article explains, with examples including before and after photos of a staged entry foyer, the importance of first impressions and how to make them for any design and decorating Project. This topic is dealt in detail in all Katchart's  Design & Decorating DVDs: STAGING FOR SELLERS for staging houses and other properties; DEFINING PROPERTY for new home set-up and decorating; and REDEFINING PROPERTY for room and space makeovers.  


People are going to (emotionally) react to what their senses, particularly sight, perceive. They may or may not be conscious of what they are feeling and why, but they are still going to have an emotional reaction (because their brains are processing the data from their sense). When it comes to selling property the goal is to have that first reaction (or first impression) be positive, because positive first impressions get buyers thinking about potential, how they would decorate, etc. while negative reactions make them want to leave and are hard to overcome.

The purchase of property is very much an emotional decision by the buyer. After the price and location issues are dispensed with (and, generally, most serious buyers will not even visit before price and location are dealt with), the decision to buy property is almost 100% emotional. So, making good first impressions, is the key goal of staging. This is achieved by presenting each room or space, and certainly the important ones for buyers, optimally. Optimally means: the strong points are emphasized; the weak points are de-emphasized; the buyer is confronted with a first image that is comfortable and warm: and, in almost all cases, the room or space is made to appear as large as possible.

In this before and after example from Katchart’s STAGING FOR SELLERS DVD package, we are using the Entry Foyer to a lovely home. In terms of First Impressions, the only thing that will have a prior effect on buyers is what is called the curb appeal or what they see and how they react as they are driving up to the property. So, for the interior of the property, the Entry Foyer is literally going to be the buyer’s “First Impression”.

Referring now to the “Before Staging photo below on the left, the first impression will not be a good one. Why? It is over-crowded; the #1 mortal sin of staging. Overcrowding is too many furnishings and/or furnishings that are too large for the room or space. Either will result in a negative first impression.

This foyer is small to begin with and there are simply too many furnishings in it and some pieces (most notably, the lovely settee) that are too large this space. The little end tables on either side of it add to the over-crowding problem. Even the floor plant on the right side is too large for this space.

The door wreath is another problem. Not only is it large, but when the door is open, it ends up on the left side in the buyer’s line of sight creating an unbalanced appearance with the majority of furnishings on the left side. Balance is another key design element of any form interior design. People will have a negative reaction (consciously or unconsciously) by an unbalanced presentation. The wreath is also causing another problem with the curb appeal of this house. (See the addendum to this article below.)

Copy_of_aa10_131.jpg            Copy_2_of_aa10_131.jpg

Referring now to the After Staging photo above on the right, it should be apparent what we were doing and why with our staging design. What we doing: with as few (right-sized) furnishings and accessories as possible, creating a larger, roomier presentation for that positive first impression. The settee and large floor plant were moved to other, more appropriate, locations. The end tables and the wreath were stored. This foyer is now balanced; is not over-crowded; and seems much larger. [In person, the effect is even more demonstrable.] A good staging job creates a good first impression and shows off the room or space in way to get the buyer’s imagination working on how they furnish / decorate it.

   We have added the before and after photos of the front door (closed) below. The after will always make a good first impression.
   The property has a lovely, black door (and front doors have a major impact on buyers), It is usually the foal point of the the “curb appeal.” So when it come to the ultimate first impression, the front door is usually IT.
   Referring to the Before Staging photo, this wreath (whether or not you find it attractive) is too large and is hiding the door. The front door is a natural focal point (meaning it stays with the property) whereas the wreath now becomes a created focal point, hiding what the buyers really want to see.
   The irony is that this door is a wonderful selling feature and anything other than a fresh coat of paint done to this door is going to detract from it and the first impression it would otherwise make. We think the After Staging photo demonstrates exactly what we mean.

Before Staging

One last thing to point out. The metal-work accessory added over the door (which the owner had lying around in the garage) was chosen because it compliments the door and does not compete with it. In plainer words, it works with natural loveliness of this front door to create and even more compelling first impression.

After Staging