When you’re selling a house, I fully believe that everything inside that house will have an impact on the impression buyers form of each individual room and of the house as a whole.

If you’ve read anything of mine before then you’re probably well used to me telling you to remove at least half of your possessions in preparation for a sale, but this post is going to talk about the importance of carefully choosing those items that do remain for your buyers to see.

Your furniture is really important to show the identity of each room and how it could be used, but I think it’s all the little extras like pictures, textiles and accessories that really bring the room to life and make buyers feel something.

When I’m styling a house, in particular for a photo shoot, I choose every accessory very carefully to create a certain image. Take the photo below from a recent styling shoot – it’s one of my own so it’s not the best photograph, but I want to show you that everything in that shot is playing a part.

Everything in this shot is there for a reason

Everything in this shot is there for a reason

  • The sunflowers, mug and fern are adding the much-needed vibrant colour to an otherwise muted sage-green room – without them, the room would appear rather flat. The fern helps to bring the photograph to life
  • The wooden box in the alcove is filling the ‘dead space’ and drawing attention to this lovely architectural feature
  • The copper kettle accentuates the ‘classic cottage’ image and provides a shiny reflective texture contrast to the rough stone of the fireplace and the limestone slab flooring
  • Even the log in the wood-burner is there for a reason – so we could light the fire for the professional photos but also to reinforce the lovely idea of having a cosy real fire on a cold evening. You can also just see behind the books that there is a basket of logs sitting on the floor, drawing even more attention to this great feature
  • The stack of books suggest activities that the owners could partake in if they lived there; wholesome activities that are often part of our aspirational lifestyle image. Even if they don’t actually happen in our busy lives, we’d still like them to be
    • The ‘Night Sky’ book is suggesting quietly that the sky here is dark enough to actually see the stars and the ‘Birds’ book indicates that there are birds to be seen – the target buyer for this cottage is someone who wants to live in a slightly remote location so these things could well be items on their dream home wish-list, especially someone moving out of a town or city
    • The OS map is of the actual location of the cottage, and I am positive that buyers with even the tiniest interest in walking would be itching to open up that map and start exploring!
    • The bottom book of the stack is a “British Architecture” book – again buyers of listed cottages like this one are likely to have an interest in this area so this may catch their eye and leave a positive mark
    • The open book is a travel book, laid open at a page which not only has a photograph that complements the colour scheme of the entire room, but also shows a place that most people would find attractive and like to visit. Again, it’s just helping to create the image of an aspirational lifestyle


Now have a look at just one section of a room in your house – what sort of lifestyle do the individual items suggest and what impression do they give as a whole? What could you remove, change or add to help create a positive lifestyle impression instead of a negative one?

I know that many of the things you have around you in your home are there because you need them, or because you personally like them. However there is an opportunity for you to shape the way that buyers see your house and if you’re prepared to sacrifice a little of your preferred lifestyle in order to improve the likely impression given to buyers, then there’s an awful lot you can do – for free I hasten to add!!

A little sacrifice by way of hiding or moving things around is likely to get your house sold for more money and get you moved into the home you really want to be in much faster, so I think it’s worth it. Do you?