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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Model Home Effect

Whether you’re selling your home and want to appeal to prospective buyers, or you’ve just bought a new home and want to show it off to its best advantage when your first visitors arrive, you can learn a lot from how model homes are presented. The best way to make a viewer “feel at home” is to create an environment that appeals to the majority of people. That means avoiding highly personal styles of décor that, although they may make a bold statement about who you are, may not be welcoming to buyers and other visitors.

While you can’t recreate the feeling of a perfect display home without starting from scratch, there are some valuable techniques to be learned that can start you on your way. A feeling of spaciousness is one of the first impressions you get when visiting a model home. You can duplicate that same open and airy feeling in your home in a variety of ways. First, choose light and neutral colours as the basis of your décor. But what if you like bold and dramatic colours? No problem. You can introduce these colours as an accent in pillows, artwork, table or bed linens, and the occasional accessory such as a bowl or vase with bright flowers. Highlighting your favourite colour with accent pieces against a neutral background will give your décor that added punch, and a bright splash of colour will attract the eye rather than overwhelming visitors with wall-to-wall chaos. Introducing colour as an accent also gives you the option of making a major change in your décor quickly and inexpensively, simply by changing some key accessories.

Spaciousness can also be conveyed through opening up sight lines. Avoid furniture placement and drapery treatments that tend to block off your view of other areas of the house, or restrict the movements of your visitors. Remember, open and airy also means an easy flow from room to room.

‘Less is more’ is the standard when it comes to creating the model home effect. A common mistake that many homeowners make is having every collectible they own placed out in sight. While we all have personal treasures that we’d like to display, if you go overboard your prized possessions will simply get lost in what looks like a lot of clutter. Choose a select few pieces that complement each other and have a similar scale and just showcase these items. Professional decorators favour the ‘rule of three’, clustering pieces in groups of three for maximum effect. You can pack away your other fine pieces for the time being, and then have the pleasure of replacing some of your current display items every time you feel like a quick and easy change in your room’s look. You may even find that you enjoy changing your accessories with each change in season.

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