5 design hacks that’ll make your home more marketable

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    Everybody’s a style maven now, thanks to shelter magazines, Instagram, Pinterest and reality TV shows about house-flippers, so if you’re putting your house on the market this spring, you’ll need it to look as current as possible.

    Two reasons: Because most buyers do their first rounds of house-hunting online, if a home’s photos don’t sizzle, “people will click right past it,” said Maureen Rooney, a Keller-Williams agent in Glen Ellyn.

    And the days of buying a fixer-upper are long gone in this era when everybody’s busy. “If your house doesn’t look done, if it doesn’t look like the buyers can move in now and enjoy it for a while, they don’t want it,” said Leigh Marcus, an @properties agent based in Lincoln Park.

    We spoke to a few real estate agents and interior designers to gather five ideas about design trends you can tap when prepping your home to go on the market this year.

    VHT Studios

    Photo by VHT Studios

    Grey or beige? Greige

    Painting walls in neutral colors is time-worn advice from real estate agents, but Marcus says it’s more important than ever in the Internet era because they make rooms look lighter and more spacious when depicted in little photos on a mobile phone’s screen.

    Dark colors or complicated patterns are fine for furniture and other details that are going to look even tinier in those photos.

    Neutral walls don’t have to look bland. Layers of different neutral tones together can have a strong, simple visual impact, said Elizabeth Pasquinelli, an interior designer whose firm is called Debaun Studio. The photo above shows a bedroom in her two-bedroom Lakeview condo, which is listed by Marcus. It came on the market Dec. 12 and went under contract Jan. 3.

    VHT Studios

    Photo by VHT Studios

    For relief from neutral walls, use accessories that sparkle, as @properties Clare Spartz did in the living room of a three-bedroom condo she’s representing on Buckingham Place in Lakeview.

    Spartz, who’s also a home stager, put glass and metallic objects on the mantel, a glittering vase on the opposite side of the room and a metallic gold table next to the couch. Light glinting off them draws the eye around the room, “which makes you spend more time looking at it before you go into the next room,” Spartz said.

    Whether looking at a property online or in person, Spartz said, the longer potential buyers engage with a room, the more likely they’ll remember it after trooping through other properties.

    Ellen Davis, an interior designer in Glen Ellyn who’s refreshing her family’s home to put it back on the market in the spring, said sparkly things should be on every seller’s shopping list. “You’re taking down your family photos and personal items,” she said. Replace them with frames that glitter.

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