Design for the Season: Model Homes and Clubhouses Staged to Sell

Design for the Season
The Rio Grande adding rug, pillows and Fall accessories. Credit Lisa Stewart Photography.

Design for the Season to Sell Manufactured Homes

It’s magic. Just like when the magician moves scarves through the air, moving and adding seasonal decor to your homes and clubhouses can make sales reappear. Sales can leap if you design for the season.

This is true even after a home has been in inventory for longer than you had wished.

Design for the Season
The dining area with larger artwork, table set, and ready for Spring image. Lisa Stewart Photography.

Clayton Homes of Desoto, Texas, asked The Lifestylist Brands to update its existing homes. They asked that we use as much of the existing decor as possible.

Yes, this seems like a tall order, but it’s something that good interior designers and merchandisers can make work each day.

Rearranging furnishings and decor expends a great deal of energy. However, an earlier, important step in the process is to rid the home of dated, damaged furniture and decor. To keep that old stuff only makes the home look and feel used. Rather, we want to show the beautiful new home it is!

Work Only With the Best Options You Have

It’s so easy when you are busy selling homes to forget what happened to the leg of a sofa, or for upholstery to get stained or faded and remain on the floor. And many times, it’s difficult to buy something new. So what do you do?

Our goal at The Lifestylist is to get customers excited about moving into a new home, a place no one has ever lived, a place where the owner can start a new life. It’s important that the home looks as fresh as your customers’ dreams.

Customers look for bright, open floor plans. So now more than ever, it’s important that curtains are pulled open, blinds are up and windows are washed.

We want to fill your home with natural light!

Every lamp in the home is turned on in the months when we are short on daylight. And every lamp and fixture should use an LED bulb. Energy-efficient bulbs cost a little more off the shelf, but they last for decades. And you can take them from house to house as places sell.

Design for the Season
Christmas-themed pillow covers are easy to change out after the holidays. Photo credit Lisa Stewart Photography.

Re-staging for the Season

In the process of re-staging the Clayton homes, we decided to take a little extra time to stage a few homes for the holidays. We did a two-day professional photo shoot for images that could be used on social media, in advertising and for editorial opportunities.

Plan photos that will be useful so you can have them ready upon request. For Instagram, you will need a square shot, yet advertising or your website might need more overall room shots. On other social media, where images are small by comparison, it’s better to have a focal point in a room that is easy to view.

We decided to do staging with the Rio Grande model for Fall, Halloween and Thanksgiving. And we used the Drake for Winter and Christmas. This gave us plenty of opportunity to design for the season with different looks and styles that could appeal to a range of buyers. And it worked well, because the models come at two distinctly different price points.

Area Rugs and Pillows Help to Design for the Season

For the Rio Grande, the first thing we did was add color and texture to the main room. Area rugs are an easy and inexpensive way to add color, and with so many of our homes having rooms with wood or tile flooring, it’s good to achieve a warmer and more inviting look.

Area rugs also offer an easy way to seasonalize your home — use a rug with darker, warmer colors in the cooler months, and change out to a sisal or lighter green colored rug in the summer.

Pillows provide yet another easy and inexpensive way to change the look of your homes. It’s fun to have cases sewn that allow you to change out looks and easily store away out-of-season designs.

Our first priority always is to sell homes, not decor kits. So we want to make sure that the staging helps accent the important attributes of the home, rather than being the focal point. In the Rio Grande, we decluttered the open shelves above the kitchen cabinets and took everything but a few focal pieces off the countertops and island.

Design for the Season
The Fall themed tabletop adds personality to the entire home Image. Credit Lisa Stewart Photography.

Develop a Theme that Helps Design for the Season

Pick a theme that is consistent throughout the home for a clearly well thought-out decor. The last thing you want is the impression that you’re designing randomly with items you found in a storage closet.

We like to pick not more than three colors to focus on, so the palette doesn’t get too busy or steal attention from the home. For the autumn theme, we went with those lovely fall colors, foliage and foxes. During Halloween time, we found cute vintage accessories and key orange accents in each home. And for Thanksgiving, we went with a theme of giving thanks and reminding people how appreciative we are of their business.

Most importantly, notice that a lot of items were used in all three looks. We simply changed out the main themed items.

How to Work with a Centerpiece

Don’t forget tabletops when you want to seasonalize your homes. It’s hard to believe how many models overlook this very important part of the home: plates, napkins, and placemats add texture and color to a room that might only have wood floors, wood furniture and painted walls.

The Drake model was a perfect example of a home that was full of hand-me-down furniture and decor items that not only hurt the look of the home, but made it feel dark.

We pulled out some cream upholstery from another home, as well as chrome cocktail and end tables. The results were amazing. This change helped the home to sell quickly, and orders were placed for custom homes as well.

Using large artwork also helped this home feel upscale and updated … and this was wall art stored away in a closet that came to us at no cost.

Design for the Season
Winter Grays for a more contemporary look. Credit Lisa Stewart Photography.

Try a Vintage Look in Your Next Redesign

For Christmas, we did a vintage RV/mobile home theme that was a huge hit.

Did you know that vintage-styled mobile homes are trending? You’ll be seeing a lot of this during the 2018 holiday season. Nearly every recent furniture market we tour notes this practice.

For the winter wonderland, we used a very cool color palette of grey and cream, which had a rich and contemporary feel.

Just like every retail store you visit, we need to keep our homes looking updated and providing customers a reason to come back. By using a design for the season and taking the time and investment to photograph your hard work, you’ll keep traffic up and sell more homes.

Get more from Suzanne Felber at The Lifestylist.