While everyone knows that the square footage of a property is an important part of the home buying decision, very few sellers really take the visible square-footage of their home into consideration.
But what exactly is ‘visual square footage’ and why is it so important? In laymen terms, visual square footage is the perceived size of a home based on how large the space looks/feels when you walk in. For instance, I’ve seen many homes 1000 feet or less look and feel massive, and on the opposite end of the spectrum, I’ve seen homes I was expecting to be huge seem incredibly small by comparison!
The bottom line when selling your home is that the majority of potential buyers want space! Whether they are moving up or downsizing, most people aren’t looking for cramped quarters, regardless of the actual measurements of a home. They want to feel as if they have enough room to comfortably live in the space. This is where the idea behind creating ‘visual square footage’ comes in. That is to say, making a home look and feel open, spacious, and inviting, no matter the measurements.
This living room staged in one of my latest workshops conducted in Springfield, Illinois, is a great example of how visual square footage can effect the perception of a room. At first glance, this space felt much smaller than it really was due to having far too many furnishings and an unapproachable layout. By editing the furnishings and accessories, opening up the drapes to flood the room with natural light which also expanded the view, and rearranging the furniture to give it a more open layout, the visual square footage of this living area quite literally doubled in size!
While technically, the actual size of the room has not changed…the feeling of a larger and much more livable space has been created! We used the excess furnishings/accessories in other areas of the home that were lacking, which gave the home the added benefit of creating a sense of continuity between rooms, thus adding to the feeling of a larger house!
If creating visual square footage to a room is your goal, here are a few easy tips to help get you there!
1) Remove any area rugs over carpeting…area rugs over carpeting not only make a potential buyer wonder what you might be hiding, they also break up the layout of the room, thus making it feel much smaller.
2) Edit furnishings…by removing any unnecessary pieces while still showing buyers livable space, you are essentially creating the sense of a larger room!
3) Bring in as much light as possible…including natural light and lamps/overheads. Dark rooms tend to feel cave-like, thus making them feel much more cramped and a lot smaller.
4) Create a sense of continuity…which will make the room-to-room flow of the house much easier, thus making it feel more expansive. This can be easily achieved by breaking up matching furnishings and using them between rooms.
5) Minimize the paint scheme…and choose one main color that can easily flow between connecting spaces rather than painting every room a different color. This will further emphasize the continuity between rooms, thus making the entire home feel much larger.