Aug 26, 2017 by - diane Plant

A Stress-Free Selling Experience, Part II: Interior Packaging

Read Part I Here

Light, colour, sound and smell are the tools we will talk about to create a more exciting and saleable interior. These can all be used at very little cost. 


  • Clean windows are a must. 
  • Use adequate wattage in light bulbs. 
  • Replace older fluorescent lights which darken with age. 
  • Mirrors magnify the feeling of light and space. 
  • Track lights create a high-tech look. 
  • Open drapes and blinds during the day prior to showings. 


Keep colour neutral and light when selling a house. Here are some guidelines: 

  • White is the most popular exterior colour. 
  • Shades of white, off-white and very light pastels are the safest choice for the interiors. 
  • Highly patterned wallpaper is not a safe choice. 
  • Bright colours should be limited to accent colours like fresh cut flowers, towels, area rugs and shower curtains. 


Smell can work for you or against you. It has a very important impact from the moment the front door is opened. 

  • The smell of newness is positive-achieved by latex paint on walls or urethane on floors. 
  • The smell of cleanliness is very important to the ambiance of your home. Lemon oil or lemon wax can help create a lasting freshness. Fresh cut flowers or pot pourri are effective. 
  • A pot of boiling water with a stick of cinnamon or a bowl of vanilla in the oven create a heartwarming effect. 
  • Baking soda absorbs odours in the fridge. 
  • Avoid strong pet odours, tobacco, cooking oil or gas.

The Entrance/Foyer 

The purchaser’s first impression is created at the entry. This is where you can make a big statement. 

  • Repaint the entry using light, neutral colours. 
  • Move an attractive piece of furniture or antique to the entry. It will have the maximum impact here. 
  • A wood floor might require a fresh coat of urethane. 
  • Tile or linoleum floors should shine. 
  • Brass or porcelain switch plates are more impressive than plastic. 
  • Replace your tired-looking hall light fixture. 
  • Make sure this area is well lit. 

The Kitchen 

The greatest interior focal point in the sale of your house. Extensive improvements might be necessary and should be considered seriously. 

  • Make sure the room is clean of smells. Here is where the cinnamon or vanilla trick works well. Ground up lemon is another great idea. 
  • Counter tops should look spacious and large. Remove all appliances, storage jars, bread boxes, etc. “Soft Scrub” works wonders on counter tops and sink stains. 
  • Make sure taps are drip-free. 
  • All appliances left out should be spotless and shiny. Caked-on food gives bad housekeeping signals. 
  • Clean the burner wells on stoves and ovens. The oven door and inside should be free of grease. 
  • Take everything off the top of the fridge, microwave and radiator caps. Clear all magnets and papers from the front of the fridge. 
  • Make sure all appliances and the garburator are in good working order. 
  • New kitchen knobs, door fronts and light fixtures help an outdated kitchen. 
  • Repair or replace chipped counter tops. 
  • Replace badly-worn linoleum flooring with no-wax flooring or tiles. 
  • A freshly-painted kitchen is a great investment, especially if you can do it yourself. 

The Bathrooms

  • Once again make sure all taps are drip-free. 
  • The tub is the most focused upon area of this room. Is there mildew? A bottle if “Tilex” can be instrumental in making the grout mildew-free. (Straight bleach is often not as effective.) Check the paint on the ceiling in the tub enclosure. Replace seals around the tub and basin. 
  • Update wall hardware with new towel bars and hooks. Select finishes that say “quality.” 
  • Replace an old toilet seat if necessary. 
  • Replace an old light fixture with a new style of strip lighting or make-up lighting. 
  • Refinish an old porcelain tub using a professional porcelain refinishing service. 
  • Place all personal care articles out of sight. 
  • Freshen the air with lemon scented products. 
  • Bath towels convey quality and warmth, colour and richness—put out new fluffy towels and a new shower curtain. 

The Living Room/Family Room/Dining Room

Buyers look for elegant and impressive living rooms to make the right statements to their friends and relatives. Here are some steps that can be taken: 

  • Keep fireplace mantels free of mementos and pictures to make the room look uncluttered. 
  • Use props around the fireplace such as logs, a pretty screen, etc., or have a cozy, crackling fire during the winder to set the right atmosphere. 
  • The strategic placement of a mirror over a mantle or across from a window can make a room look brighter and larger. 
  • Clean fireplace of ashes. 
  • Remove coverings from sofas and chairs provided the upholstery is in good repair. 
  • Clear the coffee table, end tables and dining room table of all clutter. 
  • Clean windows and light fixtures. 
  • Make sure all cosmetic plaster cracks are repaired. (This applies to all rooms in the house.) 
  • The liberal use of fresh cut flowers and plants will enhance the environment. 
  • Professionally clean wall-to-wall carpet or large area rugs. Sand or refinish stained hardwood floors. 

The Bedrooms 

The bedrooms are instrumental in the purchasing decision, they can create the reason to make an offer or turn people off. 

  • Make sure all jewelry, money and valuables are put away, not simply in dresser drawers. 
  • Free night tables and dressers of all clutter. 
  • Make sure the bedrooms are spotless. Have rugs and windows cleaned. Here again a fresh lemon smell works wonders. 
  • Closets are very important. Most people are concerned about ample closet space. Go through your closets and clean out all clothes no longer worn or out of season. Rubberized Wire closet organizers do a great job of helping fully utilize space. 
  • Mirrored closets doors create a sense of drama and the illusion of size. 
  • Bedrooms should be well lit. Spot lighting in the master, bedroom gives an updated look. 
  • Children’s rooms are often filled with toys and books long forgotten but visible. 

If need be, hide things in a storage space or under the bed. 

The Basement

  • Sweep and vacuum thoroughly. 
  • Stack boxes neatly and out of thoroughfares. 
  • Paint concrete floors in oil-based gray. 
  • Paint stairway and railings to the basement. 
  • Clean the exterior of the furnace and humidifier and make sure they are in good working order. 

An old furnace looks well-maintained with a fresh coat of silver paint. 


A well-organized garage speaks well of you as a thoughtful owner. 

  • Clean up any oil stains from your car. 
  • A coat of oil-based gray paint looks terrific on the concrete floor pad. 
  • Hang garden tools and loose articles on the wall. 
  • Keep the garage neat and organized. 
  • A garage door opener is an asset. 

Swimming Pool or Spa

If you have a swimming pool, make sure it is clean and that all equipment is operational. 

  • Repair or replace broken tiles. 
  • Patio and concrete decking around the pool should be clean and weed-free. Cracks should be repaired. 
  • The pool filter and heating equipment area should be cleaned. 
  • Replace worn or broken pool equipment (brushes, hoses, sweeps, pool covers, etc.) 
  • Have a professional service remove stains or refinish the pool surface if necessary. 


Packaging your home properly will help you achieve the most money, as quickly as possible with the fewest problems possible. 

You will increase the sale ability of your home by showing attention and understanding of the purchaser’s needs to visualize your house against a neutral backdrop.


Weekly articles that cover every aspect of the real estate industry, growing your business, personal development & so much more.

Discover more stories