The Globe and Mail, April 22, 2006
Go fluff yourself
Planning a spring makeover? Don’t splurge, purge.
By Janice Lindsay
Excerpt from The Globe And Mail:
With real-estate season heating up, there’s a new professional getting busy.
The home fluffer, a.k.a. the stager, is becoming de rigueur for the good reason that she or he can boost your selling price. By editing out what isn’t working and organizing what is into shelter-mag spareness, the fluffer can make the most unprepossessing home look chic. Call it purging instead of splurging.
The downside is that if you’re selling, you don’t get much time to enjoy it. . . .
First impressions count. Our opinion of a place comes mostly from our first experience of it. Real-estate agents know that it doesn’t matter if the roof is new and wiring and plumbing are in tip-top shape: We “know” we like a place (or don’t) before we know why. Any visitor to your home is getting the same quick response. If you don’t like what it says about you, it’s time to fluff. . . .
Familiarity makes us blind. It is hard to change what you have stopped seeing. Fluffers come up with fast solutions because they come in cold and, unlike friends, they don’t have to be tactful. When Debra Gould of Six Elements in Toronto moves furniture around, her clients say things like “I’ve lived here for 10 years and it would never have occurred to me to do that.” . . .
What makes a place look spacious? Empty space! Edit, edit, edit. If you want to see how really full your rooms look, take some digital photos. They won’t look like those beautiful rooms in decor magazines. Gould says, “Don’t fill basements and garages waiting for the mythic garage sale. They aren’t worth the hassle and don’t feel nearly as good as just giving things away.” If you want an instant fluff, put it all on the curb for the neighbors or the Goodwill to take away. Think of it as giving all these objects a new life (I know, it’s hard to do). . . .
Like advertisers, fluffers organize rooms into quickly readable lifestyle scenarios — the reading zone, the garden room, the party zone. Furniture gets arranged so that the pieces talk to each other. . . .Collections are relegated to disciplined areas where they can be enjoyed without taking over. This is not depersonalizing; it’s replacing “me” decorating with something more universally appealing. . . .