How to lighten up and sell a ‘sad’ home

November 21, 2022

There are definitely shades of psychology behind buying and selling property, with ‘love at first sight’, ‘gut feelings’ and ‘the heart ruling the head’ coming into play when making decisions. For sellers, how your home makes a potential buyer feel could be the difference between an offer and a ‘thanks, but no thanks’.

There are definitely shades of psychology behind buying and selling property, with ‘love at first sight’, ‘gut feelings’ and ‘the heart ruling the head’ coming into play when making decisions. For sellers, how your home makes a potential buyer feel could be the difference between an offer and a ‘thanks, but no thanks’.

Unbeknown to you, your property may make people feel sad. While there has always been anecdotal evidence to suggest the more natural light in a property, the better, the brains at the University of Sheffield wanted to formalise how natural light affects our moods. 

The research department showed 750 participants 25 different 3D simulations of living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms. Each simulation had a different degree of natural light, with some north facing windows and some south facing. 

The size of the window aperture also varied, as did the number of windows in each room, with participants asked to note down how happy or sad they felt when looking at each room. The results revealed that windows covering more than 40% of a wall induced the most happy feelings.

In the UK, our properties are not always blessed with oversized glazing (and we realise some of the smallest rooms in our homes may have no window at all!) but there are a number of tips and tricks for increasing the amount of natural light inside. Our advice is especially pertinent for sellers who are about to have their property photographed and for those who want to make a good impression during viewings. After all, you’ll want people to feel happy about your property and not sad.

Using mirrors is the most common method for increasing natural light and for good reason. The reflective surface will amplify what natural light there is and brighten the space. The advice is to place the biggest mirror possible either opposite a window or adjacent to it. If you can’t wall mount a mirror, a full-length, freestanding example will do the same job and it can even be angled towards the darkest point of the room for pinpoint illumination.

Painting your walls a light, neutral colour will always increase the feeling of space but the paint you use can also be a contributing factor. Dulux has developed a paint called Light + Space, which is like a mirror in a tin. This paint’s LumiTec formulation contains light-reflective particles that reflect up to twice as much light back into a room, when compared to its conventional emulsion paints.  

Window dressing is something we’re fond of in the UK and whether you’re a curtain, blind or even shutter fan, what’s up at your window may bring down the mood. Anything that obstructs the amount of natural light that streams through the glass needs considering when selling a property – including swags, pelmets, nets and ruched Roman blinds. 

Less is definitely more when you’re letting natural light in. If you’re not fond of a naked window, ensure all curtains, blinds and shutters are fully open when having photographs taken and during viewings. Another simple action is to clean windows inside and out – it’s surprising how removing even a fine film of dirt can make a difference.

Finally, if you don’t have an abundance of natural light, fake it! Light bulb technology has come on leaps and bounds in recent years and one development of note is the full spectrum light bulb. These examples usually have settings that mimic daylight, as well as the natural light seen at sunrise and sunset. Add these bulbs to ceiling fittings to improve the overall brightness of a room, or to table lamps and wall fittings to spot light dark corners.

If you would like more help and advice for getting your home ready to sell, please contact our team today.

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