A Fool-Proof Plan for Setting Up Furniture When Selling Your Home

Help the buyer see your home for all its potential with these six tips.

U.S. News & World Report

A Fool-Proof Plan for Setting Up Furniture When Selling Your Home

(Getty Images)

Square footage is important to homebuyers, so when you’re selling a house it’s important to maximize the space to appear bigger and highlight each room’s dual functionality to enhance buyer appeal.

A home seller can do this by decluttering, lighting up the room and especially by having your furniture strategically placed to show off the square footage. The layout will determine the visual size and flow of the room. Take note of how the furniture is currently placed in your space:

  • Is there a focal point in each room?
  • Are there easy pathways around the furniture?

Arranging furniture is an important step in the home staging process because it dictates how the buyer will perceive the space. A home stager’s plan is to avoid overwhelming the room with too much furniture. Focus on strategically placing furniture around the house that will enhance the positive features and space available in the architectural layout.

Before furnishing any room, a homeowner should draw out the floor plan of a room, including the placement of windows and doors. Every room should invite you in, rather than stop you from entering, so pay attention to the traffic patterns throughout the home. Use these tips to determine an ideal traffic pattern when placing furniture.

Doorway locations. It’s not appropriate to block a doorway, so if there is one entryway to a room, make sure seating is easily accessible. Put seating on either side of the doorway and avoid placing the back of the couch toward the entrance, as it makes the space feel uninviting.

If there are two doorways in a room, consider having the traffic pattern move behind the seating areas rather than through it.

Furniture placement. Start with the biggest piece of furniture, which is usually a couch or a bed. Have natural or architectural focal points in the room? Place the couch on the longest wall available. If the room lacks a focal point, place the couch on the first wall someone sees when walking into the space. If the couch is placed off the wall, make sure to have at least three feet of walking space behind it.

Hazardous edges. Try using tables with round edges to avoid hitting them. An oval coffee table can create a more comfortable flow in the traffic pattern, for example.

Space. Some rooms are small and there’s only one way in and out – if there is a limited traffic pattern, just make everything in the room as easily accessible as possible. Enough empty space for a person to get from point A to point B, with no obstacles in the traffic pattern, will maximize the small square footage of the room.

Off the wall. When a room has all its furniture up against the walls it can feel awkward to sit, talk or watch TV in the space. Create multiple seating areas by positioning furniture off the wall. Have couches and chairs facing each other to create a conversation area.

Furniture selection. Furniture is larger and tends to come in package deals – the more you buy, the more you save. But a deal like that can ruin a home’s flow. When setting up a room, be sure to avoid having too much or not enough furniture in the space. Also, have the right scale of furniture that fits in the room easily, and create multiple seating areas that justify the function of the room. Move unneeded pieces to the garage or a storage unit.

Another way to optimize space in a house to enhance square footage is to balance each side of a room. The room’s balance is determined by the placement of furniture and size of each piece. If all the large pieces are on one side of the room, the space will feel horizontally off balance. The space can also be vertically off balance if the furniture is too bottom-heavy or top-heavy.

The balance of the room can be affected by the height, width and weight of the objects collectively. In order to create balance throughout the room, use a floor plan and section it off into four quadrants by drawing a horizontal and vertical line connecting in the middle of the room.

Once you’ve drawn the lines, make sure there is an even amount of furniture and accessory items in each section of the room to avoid having an off-balance or lopsided space. Balanced relationships between objects can be either symmetrical or asymmetrical; you can balance the same (symmetrical) or different, but equally weighted, objects throughout the room (asymmetrical).

Few buyers can properly visualize the potential of a space – roughly just 10 percent of homebuyers. By creating balance in a room, the seller can direct the buyer’s eye throughout the space.

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