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What does a photo tell you? A lot if you are hoping to sell your house.

With the widespread use of home stylists in property, the competition has never been stronger if you’re a vendor trying to catch buyers’ interest.

If you are styling your own property for sale, paying attention to the small details could make all the difference in how good your property looks in the marketing images – and how many people you manage to attract to your open homes.

Last week I helped a friend style her modest family home for sale. All the really hard work had been done – the repairs had been completed, the property had been de-cluttered, and everything was sparkling after a really good clean. But there were still some small touches that would really show in the photographs.

One in the particular was the main bedroom – as seen in the below smartphone snaps. In the first image, the main bedroom looks a little dark and there is a side table that clutters the area next to the bed. The ensemble is also missing a valance.

As my friend is selling to move and has tHicks Real Estatee young children, her budget for styling is virtually zero. We needed two side tables to show the bedroom’s proportions – and luckily a local charity store had a not-quite matching pair for $15.

Using some lamps that she had on hand, setting the side tables next to the bed better showed off just how big the room was, and also helped to throw a soft light.

We finished the bed off with some of my own cushions, and solved the lack of a valance by wrapping the bed base in lace curtains, also from the charity store ($6).

Too often you see images of properties where the photographer – usually because they lack the skill – has closed all the curtains and blinds. Unless there is something really unsightly outside, it’s a much better idea to open them – and in the images of this bedroom, simply opening the blind makes it look a lot more inviting.

Room-by-room styling tips


Lawns should be green and leaves should be raked. Plants and lawn edges should be trimmed. If you have lots of pots, consider grouping them together and tuck away any that are a bit unsightly.

Check outdoor blinds and shutters for any loose ropes, frays or anything that makes them look worn.

Add furniture to outdoor entertaining areas if you don’t have any to show their potential. I lent my friend an outdoor chair and table and it transformed her back patio from a vacant space into an area you could sit and read a book, or enjoy a cup of tea.

Bathroom / Toilet

Remove all clutter – including shampoo bottles and toothpaste containers.

Remember to clean the windows and mirror.

Clean the grout and consider refreshing it – there are plenty of products that help grout look renewed without actually regrouting.

Add new-looking towels.

Pack away the garbage bin and toilet brush out of sight.

Kitchen / dining

Generally you can put away all small appliances – not having a toaster, kettle etc on the bench lets buyers see how big the bench spaces are.

Add some fruit or flowers for colour.

If you have overhead benches that you sit things on top of, remove that clutter. Don’t assume the photographer will do it.

Pack away all visible power cords – or bunch excess cord with rubber bands out of site.

Remove magnets and pictures from the front of the fridge

If your dining table is clutter with a lot of chairs, or has oversized chairs, consider removing some of them or swapping in smaller chairs from a friend during your sales campaign.


One of the biggest problems in loungerooms is that they can be too cluttered with furniture, either blocking the path through or making the room appear small.

Take my friends Sue’s house. They have big comfy lounge chairs that are great to sit in but take up lots of space. We solved the problem by removing one of the single lounge chairs altogether and pushing another snugly into a corner.

We also tucked away all power cords and put the set-top box, which had been sitting on top of the television, out of sight.

The living room carpet was in particular need of cleaning, and some daggy ‘70s lights had already been swapped out for a simple light fixture.

The room certainly didn’t look as swish as a professional stylist would have made it, but the simple changes made it look big and open – perfect for the young family market that the house is being aimed at.

Story by Carolyn Boyd is a property journalist and keen follower of Australia’s housing market.

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Hicks Real Estate is a Brisbane based, full-service real estate agency supporting buyers and sell as well as renters and property investors. With almost 20 years experience in the local market, we are the real estate experts you can rely upon.