Portland winters are sunny only 29% of the time, which makes the days dark. Living north of the 42nd parallel means a generous 15 hours of light each day in the summer, but fewer than 9 hours during the winter. The sun would rather stay under the cover of darkness than get up in the morning — it’s no wonder you feel the same! Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) creeps in and threatens to sideline so many. If you’re trying to sell your home during this dark season, there are many things you can do to cheer up your space and make it bright and inviting during the PNW’s winter months.
Start with a Light, Neutral Palette
A simple way to make your home bright and inviting during the PNW’s winter months is to use a light, neutral palette. Paint those dark walls lighter. Use light colors slipcovers on furniture. Beige, light grays with warm undertones, and griege (gray + beige) are three color options that work well with almost any style and bring a breath of fresh air to any winter sale. Neutral linen colors and light taupes are also a great investment option. The warmer tones of these colors help brighten by reflecting light around the room. These neutral colors also help potential buyers envision their own belongings easily fitting into your home.
Add More Light
The thing that’s lacking the most during these months is light. There are a variety of ways to add more light to your space to cheer it up and warm it up.
Overhead light. This is your boldest, brightest source of artificial light. Office lights and public spaces are often lit with cool, blue fluorescents. Light of this color boosts your attention and reaction times, but it doesn’t make for a relaxing environment in the home. Consider changing out your lightbulbs in winter to warm up your space for all those who tour your home, whether online or in person.
Floor lamps. Place floor lamps strategically around the room to light up the darker corners, highlight artwork, or create an area focal point. When it’s time for a home tour, don’t hide even one square foot of your room in darkness. Make sure you’re illuminating all the beautiful details of your home’s layout and style.
Table lamps. Lamps can add extra warmth to a room, but also a dash of flair. They can be bold, colorful, delicate, or whimsical. There aren’t a lot of rules, just try to match the general style of your room and use scale wisely. Consider the activities done in the room, and where lighting would best support these the most. (A task lamp in your home office works well, under-the-cabinet lighting in the kitchen for when you’re cutting vegetables, etc.)
String lights and candles. This last layer of lighting adds ambiance and mood, just like you get all the feels at Christmas from the glow of the tree. But when it’s time to sell, these lights distract from the beauty of your home’s architecture. It’s best to take them down when your home is on the market.
Explore Natural Textures
Add life to each room by incorporating living things. Plants can clean the air and add movement and positive energy to a space. Spruce up a room with a flower bouquet! Swing by Trader Joe’s or your favorite grocery store and grab a bunch or two to make your space cheery and bright.
Add some natural fiber throws and accents to your space. Use a live edge wooden coffee table in your living room. Add some ceramic or rattan accessories. Incorporate stone, iron, and jute. These natural, neutral pieces will add a sense of warmth and can make a potential buyer feel much more comfortable in your home.
Invite In the Light
Opening your curtains and blinds will allow more light into your home. If you mount them higher and wider than the window, they can even make the room feel larger.
Mirrors actually invite the light in and amplify it. They’ll take any little bit of light and throw it across the room and into darker corners. Mirrors make your space feel more expansive, too.
Let your floors shine by removing any area rugs. A shiny floor works almost as well as a mirror to scatter light and brighten the space on darker days.
Your windows could probably use a little love, too. Any dust, moss, or debris will block light. A quick clean with a rag or a steamer can exponentially increase light and make a big difference in the Pacific Northwest winters. Trim trees and shrubs around your windows. You can also lighten your space by removing your screens.
Expand Your Space
You can also lighten and expand your space by simplifying what’s in it. Declutter. Open up your rooms by removing all you don’t really need. This increased spaciousness will lower stress levels and make your potential buyer feel like there’s a place for everything. It also allows them to breathe a little easier. And if there’s one thing you want, it’s happy, relaxed house hunters in your home.
You can add room for smiles by accenting with color. A cheery yellow throw pillow or artwork with a pop of bright inspiration are small investments that can do wonders for a darker room.
When prepping your home for the market, we can help you make it bright and inviting during the PNW’s winter months. We can also advise on cost-effective updates and finish selections like tile, carpeting, and fixtures. We always approach everything strategically for online presentation, in-person walk-throughs, and the most profitable outcome.
If you’d like to earn how to include staging in your pre-listing package, download our free marketing tool!