The Real Scents That Will Help Sell Your House


* Written by Neila Deen, Houzz

 

If you’re getting ready to sell your home, you’ve probably made a list of items to tackle around the house. Declutter your rooms, paint the walls, fix any broken or worn items. Certainly, maximizing the visual appeal of your home is essential when staging to sell. But there’s one very important task to add to your list: making sure your home has a scent that will please the masses.
What exactly is a crowd-pleasing scent? That may seem a matter of debate, since an aroma’s appeal can be quite subjective. But there are definite strategies to follow. Read on for five guidelines for creating a pleasant home scent for prospective buyers.

 

1. Start with a deep clean.
Cleaning your home when prepping it for sale means scrubbing the nooks and crannies of all hard surfaces until they shine, as well as washing or vacuuming all fabric items, such as bedding and drapes. This heavy-duty cleaning approach should eliminate minor unwanted odors and introduce a clean, refreshing scent throughout each room.
Try using unscented or subtly scented cleaning products — those that are plant-based or eco-friendly and natural can be good choices. If you do use ammonia- or bleach-based cleansers, look for ones infused with fresh scents like lemon to help negate the harsh chemical smell.
For carpets and rugs, a good vacuuming or steam cleaning should do the trick. Unless you’re on a mission to remove heavy pet odors, try not to use perfumed rug shampoos, since the heavy detergent odors tend to linger.
2. Eliminate food and pet odors.
Whether you’re a cat lover or a gourmand, you may no longer notice the odors from pets or cooked food in your home. But for a potential buyer, these smells are at the very least distracting, and in some cases may even be offensive. Remember, buyers are there to view your home and — hopefully — to imagine themselves living in it. You don’t want them focusing on any unwanted odors. To gauge whether such odors are noticeable in your home, ask a friend whom you can trust to tell you the truth.

In the case of food, it typically takes a couple of days for the smell to disappear after you’ve cooked something that has a pungent aroma. As a rule of thumb, try not to cook with pungent ingredients for four days prior to a showing. But if you regularly cook with such foods — again, rely on that trusted friend to let you know if any smells are lingering — more drastic measures may be needed. Options include having a professional steam-clean your upholstery and carpets and deep cleaning the kitchen with a fresh lemon cleanser. Another great way to remove food odors is to simmer coffee beans in a pot on the stove. Also, be sure to keep your spices in sealed containers. If possible, air out the home by keeping the windows open for several hours a day.
Eliminating pet smells might require a bit more than a deep cleaning. These odors often live in carpet, rugs and upholstered furniture. Popular carpet or upholstery cleansers might just mask the smell instead of eliminating it.
For heavy pet smells, I recommend having your carpets and upholstered items professionally steam-cleaned well in advance of your first showing. This will give any lingering detergent smells time to fade. If steam cleaning doesn’t get rid of the odors, replacing a still-smelly item with a non-upholstered version will go a long way toward making your home more appealing to a buyer.
One more tip: Be sure to remove your dog bed or litter box before a showing
3. Keep it fresh and simple.

When it comes to choosing a scent to permeate your home, refrain from breaking out the potpourri — and forget the conventional wisdom about freshly baked cookies. Instead, take the advice of professionals like Eric Spangenberg, dean of the University of California, Irvine Paul Merage School of Business. He cautions against using complex or mingled scents, because his research suggests that people can be distracted by a mixture of smells — they subconsciously spend a portion of their cognitive energy trying to identify the scent.
Spangenberg advises sticking with one simple scent, and according to the Wall Street Journal, the following are some of his top choices for open houses: orange, lemon, basil, tea, cedar, pine, vanilla and cinnamon.

 

 

Whether you choose to introduce a scent via reed diffuser, candle or fresh ingredients, make sure no other scent is mixed with it. Lemon should not be mixed with orange, for example. This will allow your potential home buyer to stay focused on the task at hand.
4. Less is more.

Introducing a simple scent to your home-staging efforts doesn’t necessarily mean you can drench the home in that one smell. Remember, less is more: You want potential buyers to appreciate the home, not be bowled over by an overwhelming smell of lemons.

 

One way to achieve a subtle scent is to use just one reed in a diffuser. Alternatively, if you select a scented candle, burn it briefly before the open house starts. Look to organic scented products — as opposed to synthetic alternatives — as they tend to be more muted and give off less of a chemical smell.
5. Let the scent reflect the space.

Finally, select a scent that is appropriate for the general environment and aesthetic of the home. For example, if you have a lot of wooden beams and walls, cedar might enhance the ambience.
If there’s no noteworthy natural feature nearby, don’t worry. For your clean and sparkling-white kitchen, a crisp lemon scent would certainly convey an uplifting feeling to a buyer. In other words, choose a scent that speaks to the general feeling of the home and underscores its positive attributes.
To read more tips on staging your home, check out these other Houzz articles:

See More Perfectly Staged Kitchens

Learn More Clever Strategies From Home Staging Professionals
9 Smells You Actually Want in Your Home

How to Style a Bar Cart


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If you’ve been keeping up with home décor trends, then you’re likely aware of the resurgence of the bar cart.

 

Originating as tea trolleys in the Victorian era, these beverage carts became a home for alcoholic elixirs after Prohibition ended. It wasn’t until the 1950s that these carts gained popularity, when entertaining and cocktail hours became a cultural norm.

 

When home architecture began to include built-in wet bars and spaces for entertaining in the 1970s, the bar cart became an image of the past.

 

But alas! Bar carts have made their way back into mainstream homes, pleasing cocktail lovers, Mad Men fans, and home décor enthusiasts alike.

 

Bar carts can not only be used to display your apéritifs, but also as a side table, nightstand, art easel, and more.

 

Want one in your own home? All it takes is a little creativity and a few must-have items.

 

1. Liquor
A variety of classic cocktails can be made with just these items:  vodka, gin, rum, tequila, whiskey, and bitters. Vermouth should also be at the top of your list: dry is a must for martini fans, while sweet allows you to make other drinks, like Manhattans. If you still want more variety, brandy and Aperol are great additions, as well as any flavored liqueur you enjoy (i.e. Cointreau, Frangelico, St. Germain).
 
2. Mixers
Must-have mixers for your bar cart include tonic water, club soda, ginger beer, and cola. In fall and winter, you may consider adding apple cider to the mix. These mixers give you the ability to create a drink for virtually any taste preference.
 
3. Citrus
A few lemons, limes, and oranges in a bowl are both a functional and decorative addition to a bar cart. Use them to make drinks, garnish, and add a pop of color to your cart.
 
4. Barware (glasses and tools)
A bar cart is nothing without the tools. You’ll need a cocktail shaker, measuring unit (like a jigger), stirring spoon, strainer, bar board, pairing knife, corkscrew, and a variety of glasses. Additional options are an ice bucket, muddler, zester, and cocktail picks. Bar tools come in a variety of styles, so you can easily find something that fits the aesthetic you’re aiming for.
 
5. Plants
Adding a plant or flower is another way to bring an air of freshness to a bar cart. A simple clear or white vase never fails, but you can also pick something colorful or quirky.
 
6. Trinkets
If your cart isn’t too crammed by now, it’s time for the fun stuff. Adding a random object that speaks to you is the best way to complete your bar cart. Books, clocks, candlesticks, artwork, etc. are all great pieces to add that finishing touch.
 
Feeling inspired to decorate your own bar cart? These ones are the perfect blank canvas.
 
Bar Carts
1. Velma Mirrored Serving Cart – $134.99
2. Victoria Serving Cart – $115.99
3. Dante Bar Serving Cart – $292.99
4. Metal, Wood, and Leather Bar Cart – $129.99
5. Renee Bar Cart – $499
6. Wood and Gold Bar Cart – $129.99
7. Healy Acrylic Kitchen Cart – $195.49
8. Hobbs Bar Cart – $269.00

 

Which Kitchen Countertop is Right for You?


Considering a kitchen remodel? Not all countertops are created equally.

 

With so many options on the market, it can be hard to decide what countertop material is right for your kitchen. While it may be tempting to choose a countertop based on aesthetic alone, it’s important to consider the pros and cons, durability, cost, and maintenance before making a decision. That’s why we’ve created a list of some popular options as well as some need-to-know details about each.

 

GraniteKitchen CountertopOnce only found in high-end kitchens, granite has made its way to the heart of more and more homes. This durable, natural stone comes in a vast array of colors such as beige, black, brown, red, white, and green. Because of its porous nature, granite must be sealed on a yearly basis. Even when properly sealed, it’s important to wipe up oils, wines, acids, and sodas immediately, as well as use a stone cleaner for routine cleaning. Cost varies depending on color and complexity, but has become more affordable with granite’s increase in popularity.

 

QuartzKitchen CountertopQuartz, often resembling granite or marble, is an engineered mix of mineral and resin. This extremely durable, low-maintenance material is a great alternative for busy kitchens. Quartz is harder and less porous than granite, thus, it does not require sealing or polishing. It comes in a variety of colors and patterns and looks great in both traditional and contemporary kitchens. Quartz is scratch, stain, heat, and acid-resistant.

Note: Because quartz is manufactured, it doesn’t have natural color variations and vein. When shopping, looking at a small sample rather than a big slab will suffice.

 

MarbleKitchen CountertopMarble is a timeless and stunning option for a traditional or contemporary kitchen and is usually the most expensive option. Carrara and Calcatta marble are synonymous with luxury and instantly give your kitchen an elegant look. However, marble is very porous and has a high probability of becoming stained. If you choose marble, it’s important to seal it frequently and properly. Also be wary – chips and scratches may occur.

 

WoodKitchen CountertopThose opting for a warm, traditional cottage kitchen may gravitate toward butcher-block-style wood countertops. These countertops do require regular maintenance in order to maintain the wood’s natural beauty, so it’s recommended that you oil the surface with a mineral oil every four to six weeks. If not properly cared for, wood countertops will warp and crack. On the plus side, properly sealed wood countertops are sanitary and you can cut directly on the surface without damaging knives. Wood is also heat-resistant, which means you can place hot pots and pans directly on the surface.

 

TileKitchen CountertopTile countertops are a great choice if you want something inexpensive that’s easy to maintain. Tiles come in a variety of different colors and styles and may be mixed and matched. In addition, you can install tile yourself. Make sure to use tile that is rated for floors or countertops, as wall tile is too thin and will crack easily.

 

LaminateKitchen CountertopLaminate is perhaps the most cost-effective option available. Not only is it durable, it’s also low-maintenance. Laminate is a great selection for those on a budget or those who want to keep up with trends. Laminate comes in far more options than the familiar wood copycat – both neutral and bright colors are available. Laminate countertops are water resistant but susceptible to scratches and heat damage, so be sure to use cutting boards and trivets when preparing and serving food.

 

ConcreteKitchen CountertopConcrete counters are growing in popularity, as they are now available in a variety of stains and colors. Concrete is a suitable choice for those with a tight budget and interested in self-installation. Cast concrete counters are stain resistant when properly sealed, but may develop small cracks. If you’re a perfectionist, concrete counters may not be for you; even when professionally installed, minor inconsistencies in color and texture may occur.


Need even more guidance? Take the quiz below to find out what countertop material is best suited for your taste, budget, and lifestyle.