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Stage your cottage like an expert

Blog by Susan Brown | June 8th, 2017

Think city homes are the only properties that benefit from staging? Think again. Staging can take your cottage from available to enticing in the eyes of a prospective buyer.

Many of the same pieces of advice for staging any home apply to cottages, but there are a couple of unique considerations for cottage-sellers that might help nudge offers upward.

Tip 1

Clean the place. This is probably obvious, but with cottages, it’s especially important. Many cottages are “shoes-on” homes for practicality’s sake. But while the dirt, sand and bits of the forest may be happily ignored by you, they will make your cottage look shabbier to a prospective buyer. Give the floors a good clean, and a polish if they’re wood. Fix any broken tiles, scrub stains, remove or switch out tired rugs, wash windows, and pick up your mouse poison and ant traps – they come with the territory, but there’s no need to remind your buyers of that!

Tip 2

De-clutter. Cottages are notorious for collecting stuff. Oddball gifts, nature-art projects from the kids, furniture, books, and odds and ends you don’t use at home often end up at the cottage “just in case.” Clear out spaces (including cupboards) as much as you can by getting rid of knick-knacks, magazines, and extra fixtures and pieces of furniture that aren’t necessary. Make your cottage look spacious and serene.

Tip 3

De-personalize. Now that you’ve decided to sell, it’s time to start packing up the stuff that makes your cottage yours. This may be an uncomfortable or bitter-sweet task, but think about how you react to a new space as a prospective buyer – you need to be able to picture yourself living in it, with all your particularities and uniqueness, not the owners’. So take down family photos and remove flags, sports memorabilia and other items that mark the place as yours. If you have stuffed animals or fish, consider removing those too.


[Photo caption] Declutter your indoor space as much as possible.

Tip 4

Beautify your exterior. Power-wash your siding, windows, eaves and deck. Slap on a fresh coat of paint or stain. Plant flower pots or hang a natural garland or wreath, depending on the season, and get rid of any junk piles, falling-down outhouses and other neglected detritus of a cottage well-used. Your goal is to make your cottage look inviting and well-cared-for.

[Photo caption] Get rid of water toys, buoys, etc. to showcase your view.

Tip 5

Organize outdoor space. Stow beached boats, water toys, ATVs and other outdoor equipment in a shed or garage, or store it elsewhere if possible. With the exception of a beautiful cedar-strip canoe by the dock and one power boat in the water, more stuff can take away from the view from your deck and the pots of wildflowers festooning your walk. Clean and unobtrusive outdoor furniture that illustrates the possible use of a deck or gazebo are exceptions – they can add to the buyers’ imaginings of how they might use the space.

Sometimes, a professional stager is a good investment. Susan will bring one in when needed. For more do-it-yourself tips, drop her a line.