As the design mastermind behind the multimillion dollar sale of many a celebrity home, Meridith Baer is one to sit up and pay attention to. A self-proclaimed storyteller, Meridith is not only an interior designer but a professional home stager.

Never heard of the art of home staging? If you plan to sell your home soon (or ever) then taking time to understand this unknown concept is worth your time. Here the designer explains why she does what she does and her tips for selling your house for more money and faster.

Q: Meridith, why is home staging so important?

Home staging is so important because it can sell a house 80% faster and for 20% more money than an un-staged home. The National Association of Realtors did a study and found that staged homes could sell 80% faster and for 11% more money. On average, we see about 20% more money for our staging. The first home I ever staged sold in less than 30 days to an all-cash offer that was $500,000 over asking price!

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Image Credit: Meridith Baer

Q: What are the main differences between home staging and interior design?

Home staging allows potential buyers to identify with the space and form a connection with the house as opposed to a connection with the owner. For example, we once staged a home that a single screenwriter was living in. We thought the house would be great for a family, so we turned the office into a child’s bedroom. A family ended up buying the previous “bachelor pad”!

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Image Credit: Meridith Baer

Q: Whose homes have you staged in the past?

We’ve staged for Gerard Butler, Katy Perry, Matthew Perry, Brad Pitt, Jay Z and Beyonce. Once we staged Scarlett Johansson’s house for a sale. When we walked her through to show her the staging, she loved it so much she took the house off the market and stayed!

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Image Credit: Meridith Baer

Q: Are there any rules of home staging which you follow?

There a few rules I always follow:
1. Use shades of white. White makes everything feel new and can even make a room look larger.
2. Make a great first impression. Statistically, you have eight seconds to make an impression on house guests. Painting the front door an unexpected colour sends the message that the home is well cared for.
3. Use fresh orchids to liven up a room.
4. Remove all personal pictures. Potential buyers can’t imagine themselves living in a home if it’s full of other people!
5. Use large mirrors to bring in more light.

LuxDeco Style Guide

Image Credit: Meridith Baer

Q: What are some design faux pas for trying to sell a home?

Leaving personal items out (like family pictures) [and] having too much clutter around the house – this makes a room feel smaller.