Make Room for Buyers

A cozy home must lose three-quarters of its clutter so it will be ready to sell.

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Hide CaptionShow CaptionThe real estate expert found this room to be out of proportion and overly cluttered.
Homeowners Angela and Mike Phillips have two cats and one dog, all in a 1,000-square-foot house. They are ready to move on to a larger place, but before they do, they need to sell their current one. The charming two-bedroom, one-bath home has many nice amenities, including a newly updated kitchen and crown molding, plus a large lot in a great location.

Real estate expert Bethany Souza arrives to give her no-holds-barred assessment of the home. She is impressed by the home's large lot, noting that it is a great selling feature. But after just a few minutes in the house, she notices some offensive pet odors that no amount of candles will be able to mask. Moreover, she finds the living room overcrowded with too many plants and bulky furniture.

She comments on the clutter in the office, adding that the room could be better used for a different purpose. In the guest bedroom, Souza questions why there is a bed in the closet. She thinks the homeowners are going to lose a lot of money in the sale because this room looks more like a closet than a bedroom. To get the money they want, she thinks they need to get rid of three-quarters of their stuff.

Designer Monica Pedersen agrees with Souza's statements and has a plan of action to take this home from cramped to spacious.

Step 1: Declutter the living room by replacing the out-of-scale furniture and losing the bold wall color.

Step 2: Transform the walk-in closet back into a guest bedroom by editing the clothes and furniture.

Step 3: Convert the office into a dining room to open up the space and flow with the rest of the house.

Carpenters Robert North and Chad Lopez have the skills and the tools to get the job done, and they're ready to start making it happen.

She also noted that the furniture is too big for the space, and there are too many plants and candles littered about. But the most overpowering thing in the room is the lingering pet odor, which is sure to turn off buyers. On the plus side, the chair rail and crown molding are very attractive, although the bold red paint underneath the rail may not appeal to some. The small dining area off the living room (not shown) looks more like a snack bar. Having the table pushed up against the wall in the small alcove makes the space looked cramped.