Make Your Lighting Shine!

A┬ácommon problem I see in clients’ homes is outdated lighting, both on the exterior front and inside. Updating your lighting makes a big difference in how your home looks, whether for selling or staying. Ceiling fan lights are prevalent in 80% of the homes I see, and although I don’t have a problem with them if they reflect current styles — dark blades, contemporary, sleek, simple shades — I always seem to run into the “blonde” ones with the elaborate, fluted shades that are straight out of the 80s. If you haven’t changed out your lights in 15 or 20 years, it’s time to think about doing so, especially if you’re selling. Semi-flush lights are generally more stylish than flush dome lights these days. Avoid brass finishes and go for black or bronzed “iron” looks, chrome or matte nickel finishes instead.
New, attractive ceiling lights can be purchased for anywhere from around $25 to hundreds of dollars (try Bellacor Pro online to check out a huge selection).
Replace Colonial style chandeliers with contemporary drum styles, elegant beaded styles, traditional classic shaded lamp chandeliers, or Mediterranean looks instead. Fit the chandelier to your dining room furniture and, to a lesser degree, house style.┬áDon’t forget to upgrade wall sconces as well, again eliminating any Colonial bare bulb looks.
Another major lighting faux pas that I see very often is the movie-star bare bulb look around vanity mirrors. That look dates any bathroom by several decades. It can be easily updated with simple frosted down-light sconces (check out Restoration Hardware for some classic looks). If you have fluorescent “box” lights in your kitchen, upgrade to either recessed lights or small track lights on curved chrome tracks. Be sure to use the maximum wattage bulbs allowed for your fixture to make your house look light and bright to buyers.

Different areas of a house need to shine in the summer!

Now that warm weather is here, it’s time to emphasize all the outdoor recreation and relaxation areas of any home on the market . . . whether it’s a 7 bedroom mansion on several acres with a large in-ground pool and tennis courts, or a 1-bedroom apartment with a balcony or patio. Curb appeal becomes even more important — now’s the time to add large urns of flowering plants to front steps, porches, and all patios. Spruce up the landscaping with dark brown or black mulch (the “in” colors), flowering annuals along walkways or around lampposts and curbside mailboxes, and prune the bushes everywhere, but especially in the front of the house and alongside the foundation. If there are any “empty pockets” of missing plants, be sure to fill them in with ones that match the neighboring plants. Look to create solid “masses” of no more than two colors with annuals in the foreground of foundation plantings.
Make sure you replace any worn, broken patio furniture with new furniture that fits the style of your house — but make sure it’s on-trend in the newest colors. For instance, a Victorian house looks best with wicker furniture, but the dark resin “wicker-look” is the most popular right now. A cabin or barn-type house looks great decked out with Adirondack chairs in painted colors that match the trim on the house. Sling-back chairs with bronze or dark frames or tightly-woven rattan outdoor furniture look great with traditional colonials, ranches, or contemporary homes.
If your home has a patio with nothing on it, stage it so buyers know what it can be used for and can see how much the space adds to the entertainment value of your home. You could add not only a table, chairs, and umbrella, but a firepit, couch and coffeetable, and potted trees or plants in the patio corners. For a small balcony or patio, stage the space with a bistro table and chairs so buyers can picture themselves having a drink or coffee in this outdoor “room.”
Be sure all your outdoor lights work for buyers who might drive by at night or even visit at night — you want your home to look brightly-lit to show warmth and its features. This would be a good time to invest in some uplights at the base of focal-point trees in both the front yard and back. And if you have a worn or broken fence, get it stained, painted, and fixed! Make sure the grass is cut, and if you have a pool, keep it dive-in ready so it looks like it’s not a maintenance chore!