Bookcases, their purpose and style there of, can be most controversial when it comes to staging.
If you are a lover of books, a bookcase loaded from left to right on each shelf with rows, and even double rows, of books is likely a comfort to you. Bookshelves are merely a functional way to house your precious collection of books, along with other little personal trinkets and keepsakes. Seeing a room “wallpapered” with your books and collectables likely means comfort, bringing you a warm and fuzzy feeling in the room.
Unfortunately, not everyone gets the warm and fuzzies from a room with bookshelves packed to the hilt; it’s pure claustrophobia for others. To these folks, the walls seem to close in, and they may find the space small and excruciatingly cluttered.
This is particularly true when your home is on the market and being viewed by potential buyers.
When it’s your home, the opinion of others is not what motivates you in how you live or decorate your home. However the game changer is when it’s time to sell your home and your home becomes a commodity for purchase. Those important buyers are looking for the perfect candidate for their next home. The buyers’ perceptions of your home is what motivates them to their perceived value of your home and what they are willing to pay for it.
What’s more important now is that you show off the bookcases to their full potential, most especially if they are built-ins, so the buyer can appreciate the value of the architecture in itself. Event if the bookshelves are not built-ins, you don’t want to encompass the room with too much on the bookshelves. If all they see are over-stuffed, packed bookshelves they only a hodgepodge of chaos.
That’s not what you want you want your potential buyers to feel if you want them to fall in love with your home.
Stagers suggest that homeowners with over-stuffed bookshelves pack up one-half to two-thirds of the amount of books, allowing for some space on the shelves. This allows for breathing room for the eye when viewing the space.
In contrast, you do not want to empty the shelves completely. For built-ins, a nice arrangement of “styling” to accentuate the bookshelves should be done, such as the example in the picture. If they are not built-ins and you remove all items, you’ll end up with a piece of furniture with no purpose to the room, which would be better removed from the room than left empty.
Remember that less is more in staging, but empty is not more. Strike a balance with your bookshelves, allowing some space between items. Don’t be afraid to use some decor pieces intermittently in the shelves for interest. You can orient books in both horizontal and vertical positions for contrast. Keep in mind, homebuyers are looking to buy the home itself, not your collections. If you show them how great it can all look, they will want to linger in that room and begin to appreciate what your home can be, which is what staging is all about when selling your home.