Styled to sell: Tips that make your home appealing to buyers

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • October 3, 2015

We all know the feeling.

You’ve decided to put your home on the market. You’ve lived in it for a while. Decorated it. Renovated it. Upgraded it. Made lots of improvements. It looks great.

And it really does look great. It reflects your lifestyle. YOUR lifestyle. And that’s just the problem when it comes to selling a home.

Sorry, but it’s not about your style. It’s all about the potential buyer for your home. They need to be able to visualize their life (and belongings) in your home. If they can, they get excited and put your home on their favorites list.

And the process of styling your home for resale is a little tricky and most homeowners have difficulties handling it. Why? Because selling a home and moving under the best of circumstances is stressful, emotional and exhausting. The need to take a critical look at how your home appears to an outsider is tough for most homeowners.

Declutter and remove personal items and add fresh flowers for a look that says "welcome to your new home." This Clara space-saving apartment sofa and ottoman are by Pottery Barn. Photo: Pottery Barn.

Declutter and remove personal items and add fresh flowers for a look that says "welcome to your new home." This Clara space-saving apartment sofa and ottoman are by Pottery Barn. Photo: Pottery Barn.

As a Southwest Florida interior designer, my Resale-Ready service helps homeowners cut through the clutter (literally) and determine what’s important to potential buyers. It helps to make the difficult decisions and allows the homeowner to make a sale and get on with their lives. My role is to showcase the home’s best features so it will sell quickly for the highest possible price.

And while we can’t magically add more square footage or an extra bedroom or bathroom, what we can do is this:  Make your home look fresh and new to potential buyers.  We can make them visualize their furnishings and accessories in your home. We can make it look larger and more spacious.  Like a model. We can tempt buyers to put your home at the top of their list.

Let’s face it.  You look at your home every day.  A professional, fresh set of eyes and a plan can change everything.  For a potential buyer and for you to enjoy while your home is on the market.

My top tips for homeowners preparing their home to sell:

First impressions are everything.

Start with the exterior. Replace your mailbox and your house numbers.  Something pretty and fresh. Head to Lowes or Home Depot and pick up colorful annuals.  They go a long way to saying "welcome to your new home." Pressure spray the driveway and sidewalk.  Clean out all of the grunge.  If you have pavers, give them a shiny coat of sealer. Purchase new light fixtures at the front door and garage.  These are very inexpensive and make the house look clean and cared for by the owner (you). Touch up exterior paint where needed.  If the house is in desperately in need of paint, go ahead and invest in a complete redo.

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Remember:  you are competing with lots of other homes on the market. Have the windows professionally washed. Hire a lawn service to fertilize and edge.  Have them come back periodically until the home sells. Buy a new welcome mat. Purchase two large ceramic pots and fill them with flowers at the front door.

Now your home says "Come inside!"

Invest in a professional opinion.

You are too close to your house. Have an evaluation done with designer or staging company that will prepare a list of changes that you can follow and complete yourself or hire the professional to get everything in perfect order. This is a small investment to sell your home.

It’s not about you anymore.

If buyers cannot visualize their life in your home, it’s simple. They walk. You have to show them how they will love living in your home. How? Remove all personal items. Replace with fresh flowers or books. Store excess furniture so you can open up your home. Pack up everything you can live without. Clear countertops.  Repaint accent walls in a neutral shade.

Declutter.

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You are going to pack up to move eventually so declutter now. Go minimalist. It may not be the way you live but it is the best way to show your house. Clean out every drawer and closet and pantry because buyers look in every single corner of your home. If your linen closet spills out into the hallway when you open it, a buyer assumes that you don’t have enough storage space. And they go on to the next house.

Create space.

Envision the way the space should be used. Is your furniture smashed up along the walls? Is there a corner in your living room that would be a great placed to read? Group the furniture in ways that would make sense for the intended use. Make sure to have flow and walking areas through the room. Buyers must be able to envision themselves living in your home and the best way to do that is to show them a comfortable seating area.

Freshen it up.

Have your home professionally cleaned from top to bottom until it shines. Paint window sills and baseboards. Give your bathrooms a spa look with fresh paint and new towels and rugs. Replace any mirrors and lighting that are dated. It’s a good time to switch out your switch plates for a clean look. Opt for light colors on the walls that will reflect the light.

Take a step back.

When you are finished, take a long look at your home. Does the exterior say “welcome home?” Does it look like a model home with space and a comfortable seating arrangement?  Does it have a fresh, clean, decluttered look?  If the answer is yes, it’s time for the sale sign.


Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog

Home Inspirations: Chipping away at paint color

It's the first Saturday in March and daylight savings time is kicking in tonight. Spring is right around the corner. This means that most of us are thinking about a little interior change to mark a new season. And one of the best (and easiest) ways to enhance your space is with color. Check out my article this morning with tips on how to avoid color confusion. And happy spring! 

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• March 8, 2014

Make a statement in an entry with a bold accent wall in Sherwin-Williams “Naval” for Pottery Barn. 

Make a statement in an entry with a bold accent wall in Sherwin-Williams “Naval” for Pottery Barn. 

Make a statement in an entry with a bold accent wall in Sherwin-Williams “Naval” for Pottery Barn. Photo: potterybarn.comThere you are standing in a paint store surrounded by thousands of paint chips...all colors, shades, textures and palettes. Even if you decide to paint the entire house white, there hundreds of choices of white. What's a home decorator to do?

Selecting paint colors is overwhelming for most homeowners. Books have been written about this subject and it is impossible to condense it all into one article. As a Fort Myers interior decorator, it is my most requested service. The phone call often goes like this: "I have no idea what colors to paint. Can you just come over and chose for me?"

Photo: Benjamin Moore

Photo: Benjamin Moore

This is not a joke. And neither is selecting paint for your walls. It is the most important part of your decorating.  It makes the most dramatic change in your space and most important: if you can only implement one change in your design plan, select color. It is the most value for your money.

The wall is not your enemy! Done well, paint color choices will change the space. And it will make you love it when you walk into the room. And loving your home is the goal.

We know a lot about what color means. For example: Blue gives us a sense of peace. Green can be a healing color. Yellow and orange are happy colors. Red is energizing (Trouble sleeping? Don't use it in a bedroom!). And the list goes on and on.

Andyou have to consider lighting throughout the day, undertones and lots of other factors. And you cannot possibly pick a paint color from a one inch swatch. And you absolutely have to test the paint before committing to an entire wall.

To give you a few tricks of the design trade that may help in your paint color selection, consider these tips. And don't forget, if you just cannot make a decision, call a professional who is trained in color planning.  We thrive on these challenges and do this every day.

• Rule number 1: It's all about you! Coco Chanel said that "The best color in the whole world, is the one that looks good on you." Why would you paint a room that does not flatter you?

For a bath select colors that are tranquil and reminiscent of the sea. This Pottery Barn-inspired bath with Sherwin-Williams “Krypton” with a calm, clean white.

For a bath select colors that are tranquil and reminiscent of the sea. This Pottery Barn-inspired bath with Sherwin-Williams “Krypton” with a calm, clean white.

• It's fun to break decorating rules but this is one I never stray from: When selecting new colors, follow nature as your guide. Mother Nature has perfected the color palette so imitate her. This is a rule I always follow.

•  Stick with two or three (at the most) paint colors for your home. The result: Beautiful and restful. You can add more color with accessories. Don't try to put all of your color on the walls.

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• Connect your rooms. Don't make each room a completely different color. You want to have a plan so the house makes sense. An idea my clients seem to like: paint all of the main rooms (living room, entry, kitchen) a neutral shade. Use color in the bathrooms, bedrooms and den. I also like to paint the master bedroom and bath in coordinated shades to give it a hotel/master suite feeling.

• One trend to consider: No more white ceilings! Check out the decorating magazines.  We are now using color on the ceilings or a cream shade. No more super white.

• Neutrals: You can't go wrong with these. Pure and simple. If your natural light is great, neutrals in the main rooms are so easy to live with and make it easy to add color in accessories, wall treatments and more.

• Finishes: often a trouble spot for homeowners. The rule: Pick paints with a bit of shine, such as satin and eggshell, in high-traffic areas, kitchens and bathrooms. Use semi gloss and glossy paints and enamels to emphasize moldings, wainscots and banisters. Flat finishes are best for ceilings and imperfect surfaces because they hide flaws. Glossy sheens emphasize problem areas.

Pottery Barn’s twilight blue Matine tolie bedding is a perfect accent color for Sherwin-Williams “Functional Gray” walls. Photo: potterybarn.com

Pottery Barn’s twilight blue Matine tolie bedding is a perfect accent color for Sherwin-Williams “Functional Gray” walls. Photo: potterybarn.com

• You get what you pay for. It's true.  I give my clients the same advice as when they are purchasing a sofa: buy the best paint you can afford. It does matter. It looks prettier, has more pigment and will last longer. Premium paint also spreads easier, needs fewer coats and will hold up against repeated cleaning.

• A word about gray. This is definitely the new beige. And it is gorgeous with some version of it working in almost every home from a beach cottage to an estate home. It also works with almost any color palette or pop of color. It can be classic, sexy, shimmery, sexy, calming.

• Make an entrance. Don't forget the front door. And you can be very brave here. Go with something strong and bold that makes a statement. It is the easiest color change of all.

Need help visualizing color for your rooms?

Pottery Barn and West Elm have partnered with Sherwin Williams to create seasonal palettes to coordinate with their furnishings. Details: sherwin-williams.com/architects-specifiers-designers/color/find-and-explore-colors/color-collections/west-elm-collection/.

In addition, Ballard Designs has teamed up with Benjamin Moore to offer advice on paint colors to compliment their designs at howtodecorate.com/category/decorating/paint-colors/.

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or email wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog

Read more about color:

It's a wrap: Trimmings personalize design style

 
Colorful trimmings are a beautiful accent in any room and personalize a home. Photo: Brunschwig & Fils.

Colorful trimmings are a beautiful accent in any room and personalize a home. Photo: Brunschwig & Fils.

 

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• August 2, 2014

They are pretty and colorful. Beads, tassels, glass, feathers, shells, wood, metallic threads, metal chain, leather, ribbon, jute and almost anything that you would want. Trimmings...they are the bling of design. The finishing details for a decorating project. The embellishments that personalize and make your interior design unique.

And as a Fort Myers interior decorator, I can tell you that trims are a hot home accessory right now. A gorgeous accent for any room, they are like adding a beautiful piece of jewelry to an article of clothing.

 
Beaded tiebacks add a designer touch to draperies. Photo: Kravet.

Beaded tiebacks add a designer touch to draperies. Photo: Kravet.

 

When shopping for fabric for my clients, it never fails. I always end up going through the trimmings. They are inspiring and give me great ideas for new projects. And some uses may surprise you. They are easy to do and can add just the perfect, custom-made touch for minimum effort.

Amy Jimenez, manager of the Kravet showroom at Miromar Design Center in Estero, says that embellishing through the use of passementerie, the French word for trimmings, can be a fabulous way to turn your project from ordinary to extraordinary and adds the finishing touch to a skillfully designed interior.

"Trimming comes in a variety of sizes and styles including cording, gimp, brushed fringe, beaded trim, flat tape, tassel fringe, and bullion, just to name a few, and can be used for both decorative and functional purposes. Modern day passementeries are being made with a diverse selection of materials besides fabric and Kravet's trade-only showroom has an extensive collection of the latest, in-vogue trim collections for designers to source for their clients."

Change the look of a sofa and the entire room with multiple applications of fabric.  Photo: Kravet

Change the look of a sofa and the entire room with multiple applications of fabric.  Photo: Kravet

And that's just the beginning of the many ways to use these beautiful trims. Check out a few of these ideas and the next time you are shopping for fabric, spend some time going through the trimmings for decorating inspiration!

• Trim the edges of store-bought drapery panels with a beaded trim or flat, wide tape to give them a custom look.

• Use flat tape and other trims to accent a cornice.

• Decorative accent for lampshades.

• Select feathers, woods, shells or beads to enhance a throw pillow.

 
Beaded tapes, cords and fringes and tapes accent pillows and furnishings. Photo: Kravet.

Beaded tapes, cords and fringes and tapes accent pillows and furnishings. Photo: Kravet.

 

• Use a trim tape to trim a table runner, placemats and napkins.

• One of my favorites for a small powder room: an exotic trim tape for a border.

• Customize bedding with flat trim on the edges of skirts, sheets and pillow cases.

• Add fringe to a comforter or duvet cover.

 
Lindi fringed duvet cover from Anthropologie. Photo: Anthropologie.com.

Lindi fringed duvet cover from Anthropologie. Photo: Anthropologie.com.

 

• Pom pom trims are so popular right now that we see them on everything from pillows to shower curtains to throws. And for something fun and trendy without spending a fortune...pom pom a scarf!

 
Tory Burch pom pom trimmed scarf. Photo: Tory Burch.com.

Tory Burch pom pom trimmed scarf. Photo: Tory Burch.com.

 

• Select a pretty trim in an accent color and use it around the edge of dining room chairs.

• Use trims to enhance mirrors and photo frames.

• Jazz up a plain shade with an accent border around the edges and for the top valance.

• Embellish a table cloth with trim by wrapping it around the edge of the table.

• Cover a plain bulletin board with your favorite fabric and trim it in something beautiful and it comes a perfect inspiration board for your favorite decorating ideas, photos and fabric/paint swatches.

• Wrap small presents in trims for a memorable gift!

• As an accent in any room, pickup a few of your favorite, colorful trims on sale and fill a large, clear jar or vase.

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog

Time to hire a professional? Tips for working with an interior decorator

Time to hire a professional? Tips for working with an interior decorator

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• July 6, 2013 


Home sweet home says everything about us and our lifestyle.

Do you love what you see when you walk into yours?

Does it make you feel happy, calm, relaxed and glad to be there?

Or is it a constant work in progress that seems to never end? 

If you are feeling a little overwhelmed, keep two important facts in mind:
#1 You don’t have to be rich to have a beautiful home. Really. It's not just for the rich and famous.
#2 Decorating is about beautiful things that enhance what you already have and living well in surroundings that speak to your lifestyle. In other words: Quality. Not quantity.

Sometimes we all need a little help. A new pair of eyes to offer some solutions. A professional interior decorator can make all the difference.

Maybe you want to update a bathroom. Create a beautiful bedroom.  Redo a kitchen for entertaining.  Replace old carpet with wood or tile.  Change paint colors or go all neutrals with pops of color. Create conversation areas in large open living areas. Blend old furnishings with new to fit your lifestyle. Update your lighting.  Add new accessories.

Photo: Benjamin Moore

If this is your first time working with an interior decorator, you may be a little nervous. There are a few tips (right from the source) that will help and give you exactly what you need to know before the first appointment!

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Try these (FREE!) decorating tips at home

In this week's Home Inspirations column I thought I would share a few of my favorite decorating tips! 

 

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• August 27, 2011

 

When I speak to organizations throughout southwest Florida, I always offer some tips that my audience can actually go home that day and either try them out or include them in the decorating plan in their own homes. 

Try some of these ideas for making quick changes that may make you like your home a lot more! 

The best news: Many of them are absolutely free or will cost very little to implement. My top decorating trips that anyone can implement are listed below. Give them a try! 

• Keep your decorating plan simple and uncomplicated.

• Declutter. It makes all the difference: Start with the refrigerator magnets and work through old stacks of magazines. Then remove some furniture if your room seems too crowded.

• Color is a decorator's most valuable tool and it can be yours as well. Follow this color rule for distributing color and you can't go wrong: 20% walls, 30% furniture, 10% accessories.

 • When selecting paint colors, follow nature as your guide. Mother Nature has perfected the color palette so imitate her. This is a rule I always follow and I have never been sorry.  See below:

Photo of nature's colorsOne of nature's color palletes photographed at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.

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The weekend search for antiques and other inspirations

One of my favorite things to do its to hit the road in search of new treasures for my clients and for myself.  This past weekend it was off to the final extravaganza of the season at Renningers Antique Market in Mt. Dora.  On the way back to southwest Florida I stopped in Arcadia's historic district to browse at some of the antique shops.  Spectacular Spaces found some great inspirations for accent pieces.

Below, from the Vintage Garden in Arcadia.  Filled with shabby chic antiques and garden decor.  

 

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