Portland Home Staging: Living Room Guide

portland home staging living room

The Portland real estate market for single-family homes is cooling, and the most recent RMLS data shows 30% more homes on the market than there were at this time last year. Homes are spending an average of 75 days on the market before selling, more than they have in the past two years. Many sellers are having to slash their listing price or accept a low offer if they aren’t able to wait months for a full-price buyer to come along.

How can you sell your home more quickly in a buyer’s market? Marketing is #1 (check out our listing package here) but staging is also a key component. Research shows that staging a home can cut the number of days on housing market by one third to a half. That means, in the current Portland market, you may have an offer on your staged home after 38 days, while your neighbor’s unstaged home sits there for another month or two. 

We recommend a number of professional Portland staging companies for clients that want to stage a vacant home, but most often we work with what the seller has already, in their own home, and stage it for market.

Living Room Staging – 2019 updates

After buyers take in their impressions from the curb and the home entryway, the living room is often the first place they’ll walk into. The living room is the heart of the home. If you have an open floor plan — as many homes in Portland do — it should harmonize with the adjacent spaces like the kitchen and dining area, yet maintain a distinct feel. 

There are four key steps to successful staging:

  1. Paint. A fresh coat will do wonders! Bored with white? Zillow’s 2018 Paint Color Analysis found that living rooms painted “pinkish taupe” — tan color with red undertones — sold for 1.3 percent more than homes with living rooms of any other color. That translates to nearly $2,800 more for the average home. And, painting the living room is a job that can easily be done by the average homeowner in a weekend. Just be sure to paint well in advance of any home showings, and protect trim, floors and other surfaces. 
  2. Have a focal point. This basic design principle should be your golden rule for living room staging. Good focal points for the living room are a TV, a fireplace, a window or a piece of art on the wall. Everything else should orient toward that focal point, with as few distractions as possible. This means decluttering, removing personal items, etc. 
  3. Stick to the color pallet. A red or warm-brown couch will tone well with the pinkish taupe walls of your living room. Or, go with a complimentary green and blue for the furnishings. 
  4. Maintain a theme. Mixing furnishings and design elements from different eras or decorating styles is very tricky. Keep things simple — if the look is French countryside, don’t throw in a shag carpet. A Portland craftsman-style home will do well with midcentury modern furnishings and decor. 

5 Hot Living Room Design Trends

Whether you’re selling a home or just moving into one, this year’s decor trends are all about modern conveniences and getting back to the real function of the living room: To live and socialize. 

  1. Television art. Hiding the TV is fine, but why not show it off instead? Samsung’s new Frame TV looks like a piece of art when it’s not in use. It comes in wood, white, or metal for the frame frame and hangs flush to the wall. For the display itself, choose from the system’s stock artwork or pick a piece from your favorite Portland artist — wall decor does not have to match the furniture!
  2. Rethink the couch. Rather than featuring a cushioned bench that stares at the TV, window, or other focal point, today’s living rooms are encouraging conversation with alternative sofa types. “Turn away from straight, rigid furniture lines,” says Elle Decor. Options include couches with a curve, chaise lounges, or forgoing the couch altogether and replacing it with a couple of comfortable chairs — preferably tub-style. 
  3. Plants on the pedestal. Two major design trends this year are pedestals that can display multiple objects at different heights and charming succulents that bring a bit of green indoors. Why not combine them with a simple plant stand? Choose one with three or five levels and in a style and color that matches the rest of the living room. Succulents are a great option because they’re easy to care for, don’t make a mess, and blend well with a variety of aesthetics. 
  4. Touchable fabrics. If you’re worried home buyers might say “ouch” to your cactus, invite them in with draped fabric, blankets or pillows in new high-tech imitation fur or velvet. These fabrics emulate the real deal at a fraction of the price, and they’re a great way to add to the sensory experience of the space without going into color or “stuff” overload. 
  5. Mixed metals. They’re IN, according to Apartment Therapy, and a great way to feature one to two is to invest in an accent mirror. Not only is a mirror a piece of art everyone can love, they also reflect light to illuminate the space and make the room seem a bit larger. Or, replace a dated light fixture with a metallic one for a subtle but classy flare. 

Staging on a Budget – Quick Tips

Not ready to invest in new furniture and decor just to sell your home? We hear you! Here are our real-estate-agent approved home staging strategies that cost next to nothing and will make your home stand out from the crowd.

  1. Clean like you’ve never cleaned before. In the living area, this includes on top of baseboard heaters, inside light fixtures and the screens on the windows. If you aren’t sure how to clean something, Google is there to help.
  2. Organize and declutter. Home buyers are notoriously allergic to “stuff”. Make it easy on them and hide or get rid of it.
  3. Re-arrange. Your living room furniture is probably set up to function with your life, which is great for you, not for potential buyers. You want to make it easy for them to imagine living there, so mix it up. Pick a focal point, and arrange couches, chairs etc. around it. Just eliminate any furniture that looks too worn and lived-in — better to go minimalist!

Ready to list your Portland home? Contact our top 1% Portland seller’s agents.

April 15, 2019

Stephen FitzMaurice

Stephen FitzMaurice, Realtor is a top 5% real estate agent in the U.S. A Principal Broker in Oregon, Managing Broker in Washington, he has been licensed since 2003 for residential real estate sales. Call his team in Oregon at 503-714-1111 or in Washington at 360-345-3833.

4% max to sell a home in Portland and SW Washington.
4.25% max to sell a home in Salem and Bend.
Over 2,000 homes sold.