Of all the rooms in a house to stage, the dining room or dining area is probably the easiest. All you need is a table and chairs and a few accessories and you’ve got yourself a dining room. Here are a few guidelines to help you:
Who is your most likely buyer?
Before you do anything else think about who is the most likely buyer of your house. Do they have kids? what lifestyle do they have? How will they use their dining space? Once you get clear on this, the space you give to a dining room, the way it’s laid out and how it’s accessorised will all be easier to do.
Having said that, every property needs a dining area, whether this is in the kitchen, as part of an open living/dining area (see picture below) or a more formal dining room. All buyers want somewhere to sit and eat (even if in reality they always eat in front of the TV!).
Many formal dining rooms aren’t used very often and become either a dumping ground for piles of paper or ironing or serve as a makeshift office spread out over the table. This may be how you live but buyers want to see a room or space that clearly communicates ‘dining room’.
A lot of formal dining rooms have too much furniture in them and it’s often quite heavy ins style. Dining rooms don’t need much – a table and chairs and a buffet or console if there is room. If you have a large china cupboard consider storing it or, if the top comes away from the base, just store the top and leave the base. Buyers need to be able to walk easily around your dining space. If you have an extendable table removing a leaf will give more room or think about storing some chairs. Just because your table seats 10 doesn’t mean you have to show the extended table and all the chairs. One staging trick is to move 2 of the chairs and place them either side of the console table. If your room or space is small, a round table is usually a better fit. A glass top is good as it looks less heavy.
The fixed elements
WALLS: As dining rooms aren’t used very often owners sometimes paint them in a darker colour or hang wallpaper. The wallpaper has to go – it’s such a personal choice so probably won’t be to your buyer’s taste. Think carefully about the paint colour. If it makes the room look dark or the colour isn’t for everyone then you will need to repaint with a lighter, warmer neutral. Buyers are looking for ‘light and bright’.
FLOORS: Dining rooms aren’t a high traffic area so the floors are usually in good condition. If you have crazy coloured carpets then you will need to swap for a lighter more neutral colour or look into polishing the floor boards if you have them – always a winner with buyers.
WINDOWS: Simple window treatments are best in dining rooms (as for any room when selling). Heavy or highly patterned curtains will need to go. No covering is better than distracting or dated coverings. If you have dated vertical blinds in your dining room, and lots of houses I see do, then push them right back to let the light in
The ‘Fluffy’ stuff
RUG: If your room is large a rug is a good but not essential way of zoning the table but make sure it’s large enough to place the chairs on.
ARTWORK: is important in dining rooms as it provides a bit of interest on those blank walls. Choose an artwork that is in keeping with a dining room (abstracts, landscapes etc) and doesn’t put people off their food. The best place to hang the artwork is over the buffet or console table.
ACCESSORIES: You don’t need lots of accessories in a dining room. You’ve got only 2 places to play with: the console and the table. For the console, go for height with a vase or lamps or candlesticks. Remember that groups of 1, 3 or 5 at different heights work best or choose 2 of the same thing (e.g. lamps) for each side of the console. I personally don’t like setting the table when staging. I think it looks contrived – most people don’t live this way! However some agents and photographers disagree with me and like to formally set the table for the photos (this usually happens after I’ve left for the day, see below although this one is fairly restrained)
All a table needs is a vase of flowers or a bowl filled with one type of fruit (e.g. lemons) or 3 similar objects (e.g. candle in a storm lantern) down the centre of the table. You could also try a casual pile of plates and maybe a jug to give a very informal indication of a ‘set table’ (see top photo for an example).
LIGHT: Make sure the dining room has sufficient light. A pendant light over the table is a great feature if you have it. Just make sure the style of the light reflects the style of the house and isn’t too dated. You can change your pendant light to a ‘funkier one’ relatively cheaply.
All above images are from my home staging projects (either client consultations or furniture hire) unless stated.
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I’m Imogen Brown, a home stager based in the Western suburbs of Brisbane. If you are about to sell your property and would like an objective eye and some help in preparing and merchandising it to appeal to your most likely buyer then give me a call on 0432 994 056 or contact me through my website