Photo: Dan Kalleres - lots of possibilities with pillows!
You’ve de-cluttered. You’ve de-personalized. Now it’s time to accessorize. Where can you get a lot of bang for your staging buck? Try looking at your pillows and throws!
Accent pillows come in all varieties of sizes, shapes, colors and textures and can be used for sofas, chairs, benches, beds and such. A throw is a small blanket that can be used to “throw” over a chair, a sofa, beds, benches and such as well. They come in a wide variety of fabrics, colors, patterns and textures.
Accenting a piece of furniture, such as a sofa or chair is easy and inexpensive. It also allows you a chance to either bring in a pop of color to an otherwise neutral space (if your sofa is beige, for example) or tone down and ground an otherwise loud piece of furniture (if your sofa is bright red, for example). If your space is very masculine, with heavy, dark furniture, softening the room up to appeal to female buyers is easily accomplished by adding pillows and throws. Here are some tips to look for when considering how to accessorize your furniture with pillows and throws:
Photo: Dan Kalleres - throws are very versatile!
Look at all the items (furniture, art and accessories), colors and textures in the room. Don’t just focus on the piece of furniture you want to spruce up and forget about how your choices will make the rest of the room look. You may want to highlight the wall color in the room by bringing in an accent pillow in the same color. You might need to balance one end of the room by bringing in a color that’s featured on the opposite side of the room but is under-represented on this side. Make sure your choice works for the entire space.
Pick your colors carefully. Just because the walls are green doesn’t mean that any green throw will work. You may need to take a sample of your wall color with you when shopping for the right accessories to make sure you get the correct color. If you can’t, make sure you save your receipts and can return or exchange the item if you grab something that doesn’t work.
Highlight with texture, not just color. Buyers that look at homes can’t resist running their hands across a pillow with a great texture or a soft, comfy throw blanket. It helps give your home the “warm and fuzzy” feeling you want buyers to leave remembering. Chenille throws work very well in that category. In the right setting, a fuzzy pillow might give the right response. Every house and style is different.
Don’t over-accessorize and don’t under-accessorize. If you put so many pillows on a bed or a couch that you can’t sit down comfortably on it without removing them first, you’ve over-accessorized. Buyers should feel welcome to sit down in any room of your home and imagine how they would spend their time living in it. If you don’t have any pillows or throws on your furniture, you’re likely missing out on a great opportunity to introduce a pop of color here or there that can add excitement and warmth to what may be an otherwise plain space.
What about the cost? There are plenty of stores to choose from that sell pillows and throws and the prices can range from extremely affordable to seemingly ridiculous. Big-box stores, like Target & Wal-Mart have a decent selection and affordable prices. More specialized stores like Home Goods or Tuesday Morning may have some great bargains. Department stores may be a little higher in price, but usually have a good selection. For certain styles, stores like Pier 1 Imports or World Market might be the way to go. You can expect to spend between $10-25 for most pillows without going overboard. Throws will vary in cost based on the material and can be found on clearance for as little as $5-10 or up to $30-40 for a higher quality one.
There is no set rule for how you display your pillows or how you ‘throw’ your throws. Typically, when staging a home, you want to work in odd numbers, so if you have four pillows, for example, you might put two on one side of the sofa and one on the other and use the fourth on a chair to break them up (three for the sofa and one for the chair). You could add a throw with the single pillow if you feel the look is too unbalanced. You can drape a throw over the corner of a bed or fold it neatly across the foot. The same holds true for sofas and chairs.
Sometimes a throw works well if you have an older piece of furniture that is showing some stain or other damage and you want to hide it but can’t fix it. A well-positioned throw can obscure the unsightly blemish on that chair and serve up some color at the same time!
Whatever you choose, make sure it fits your budget as well as the style you are trying to achieve and balance out what you buy against the other projects you may have on your staging to-do list. The accessories you use may not be the first item on your list, but they are like the jewelry for an outfit and without them, it just doesn’t look complete.
If you have a home staging question or would like to share a staging tip, please let me know. Send me a photo of your home staging dilemma and I’ll be happy to help!
Home staging tip: If you have pillows or throws that are “themed” such as hunting/fishing, pets, or religious beliefs, replace them with something that has a more neutral look that will have greater mass appeal. You don’t want to lose a potential buyer because your blanket has dogs on it and the buyer is a strict cat lover.
For more info: Check out design magazines or watch any current design shows to see what types of colors and fabrics are popular now. They may help give you some insight into the choices you can make for your home!