The first step to getting buyers to make an offer on your home is to impress them with its appearance so they begin to envision themselves living there. Here are seven tips for making your home look bigger, brighter, and more desirable.

1.  Start with it Clean

Before you can worry about where to place furniture and which wall hanging should go where, each room in your home must be spotless. Do a thorough cleaning right down to the little details like wiping down light switch covers. (We like to replace them if they are all mismatched, not to mention going from a toggle to a rocker switch can update the home instantly) Deep clean and deodorize carpets and window coverings.

2.  Put Away Your Clutter

It’s harder for buyers to picture themselves in your home when they’re looking at your family photos, collectibles, and knickknacks. Pack up all your personal decorations. However, you don’t want the home to seem sparse and lonely. Items can be grouped in 3s – no more than 3 items per shelf in a bookcase, or a small vignette of 3 items on an end table.

3.  Less Can Be More When it Comes to Your Furniture

When a room is packed with furniture, it looks smaller, which will make buyers think your home is less valuable than it is. Make sure buyers appreciate the size of each room by removing one or two pieces of furniture. If you have an eat-in dining area, using a small table and chair set makes the area seem bigger. Don’t use that oversized 4-Poster bed with the gargantuan armoire in your 10×12 bedroom.

4.  Rethink Your Furniture Placement

Try to highlight the best feature in each room. It may not be the way you live, but you don’t want to hide the fireplace behind the sofa (fireplaces are worth around $1000 on an appraisal here!). Picture a cozy, fireside conversation, how would the furniture be placed?

5.  Add Color to Brighten Your Rooms

Brush on a fresh coat of warm, neutral-color paint in each room. Ask your real estate agent for help choosing the right shade. Then accessorize. Adding a vibrant afghan, throw, or accent pillows for the couch will jazz up a muted living room, as will a healthy plant or a bright vase on your mantle. High-wattage bulbs in your light fixtures will also brighten up rooms and basements. Matching light bulbs in each room are key. You also don’t want to go for the blue/bright white if you have a more traditional home.

6.  Set the Scene

Make your bathrooms feel luxurious by adding a new shower curtain, towels, and fancy guest soaps (after you put all your personal toiletry items are out of sight). Pick up after your pets and put their beds away – they can leave behind smells that home buyers will notice.

7.  Make the Entrance Grand

Mow your lawn and trim your hedges, and make sure to pull those weeds! If flowers or plants don’t surround your home’s entrance, add a pot of bright flowers. Top it all off by buying a new doormat removing the cobwebs from the front door.