Tips for prepping your home for the market

I am on the hunt for a new home, I think I have a renovation addiction.

I have been living in my brand new condo for a year now and I’m finding the urge to renovate and decorate is coming back. It’s hard to upgrade a new home, I feel guilty for wanting to change what is perfectly new but give me a home in need of TLC and I’m eager to give it the love.

As I’m viewing homes both new and old I have seen a consistent trend in photos and in homes I have viewed in person. Not a good trend, but a recurrence of clutter time after time. It makes it very difficult for a potential buyer to see the functionality and usefulness of a home when most surfaces are covered with paperwork and muddle.

Even with the experience I have as a designer, it is still a challenge for me to appreciate the size of a kitchen or see the usable space of a countertop if they are piled with stuff! When showing a home it is a good idea to remove clutter off the fridge and put away as many items from your countertop as possible. The more blank space you can create in a kitchen the more my imagination can run with the placement of my items.

I also see an abundance of furniture in every home I visit. What I usually witness is a living room with a sofa and love seat and then the addition of a few random chairs or benches thrown in. The bedrooms almost always have an extra dresser or clothes stacked high on any flat surface in the room. TVs are stuffed in corners, teetering precariously on TV trays and sometimes even sitting on cardboard boxes. Beds are hastily made and the rooms are stuffy and dark. Open them up! Get the windows open and infuse the air with fresh clean scents like citrus.

Because you are planning to move (I’m assuming) it is a good time to start putting items away that you don’t use on a regular basis. Store extra furniture away and reduce the items hanging in your closet by half to make them look roomier. If anything can be taken off of the floor, remove it. The more floor space you can show the larger a room will look.

Strive to have ‘negative space’ between furniture pieces (in layman’s terms, don’t have everything pushed tightly together – show a little wall!) The airy look and negative space will give the illusion of bigness instead of something that is overstuffed.

Check your front entry, the outside frame, exterior lighting, doorknobs and doorbells to make sure they are in tip top shape. This is your only chance to make a first impression. If your mailbox is tired and rusty looking, replace it or revive it with exterior spray paint.

Clean exterior lights and give the front door a coat of paint, these items will give your home a needed face lift and will welcome future buyers with a fresh visage.

Now is the time to list, houses are flying off the market! My realtor is constantly receiving emails from me asking about this house or that. We will find it soon and I will certainly owe him lunch for all his hard work.

Kim Lewis is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre. Contact her at 403-343-7711 ext 227 or email her at