2019 Design Tips for Luxury Homes on the Market

Posted January 29th, 2019 by Richard Pretsfelder, Sophie Smadbeck

Thinking of selling your townhouse in 2019? Follow these design tips from New York’s top real estate stagers

If you’ve ever scrolled through homes on the market with the feeling that only owners with far more impeccable taste than the average New Yorker put their homes up for sale, you’re not entirely wrong.

The inviting furniture arrangements, the way just the right amount of art hangs on the walls -- even that knit throw blanket that makes you want to put your feet on the ottoman and flip through Vanity Fair -- are indeed the result of a keen eye for design. It’s just often not the owner’s.

Behind the scenes are talented real estate stagers tasked with bringing rooms to life, while highlighting a home’s architectural bones. We talked to two of the best in the business about design trends for 2019 and simple ways to keep your home feeling new and modern if you plan to sell.

Jane Saidenberg, managing director of the New York team at Studio D, has staged over $1 billion in real estate properties. Duo Ashley Quinn and Christina Slater lead staging projects at Interior Marketing Group, the country’s largest luxury real estate interior design firm. Here’s what these experts had to say.

Emerging Trends

Bright is the new black.

Look for bright whites with a strong accent color in 2019, a trend that all three designers noted as a favorite emerging aesthetic. “Our team has loved serene rooms with jewel tones, like gray with a purple velvet pillow,” Saidenberg said.

In an Instagram-saturated world, contrast has also emerged as a trend, in terms of both color and texture. “In 2019, we’re seeing a transition away from cool tones and soft neutrals towards stark whites,” said Quinn, VP of Creative Services at IMG. “We’re also seeing clean, crisp white walls with white furnishings, adorned with textural elements or a pop of color.”

This room-defining “pop” could be strong accent like a throw pillow or vase, but it can also be striking artwork -- something owners often overlook. “Art is often something people think of last, or as something separate from the rest of the design, but really great artwork can make a big difference,” Saidenberg said.

Christina Slater, Co-Staging Director at IMG, expressed a similar sentiment. “Sculptural pieces and bright artwork add interest while maintaining a minimalistic appeal,” she said.

Texture is another way designers are off-setting white walls and minimalist rooms, using throw blankets, drapes and pillows to add textural contrast. “Fabrics and textiles like boucle, oversized knits, and suede add drama,” Quinn said.

Staging to Sell

Letting the home shine.

The overall aesthetic is certainly one element of real estate staging, but designers are mindful of letting the core elements of a home remain the star. After all, it’s the Greek Revival facade, exposed brick, or high ceilings that set the stage for a new owner to make the property their own.

“Everytime we go into a home, we feel it’s super important to look at the bones, the architecture, and price point,” Saidenberg said. “We can’t infuse too much personality of the furnishings.” This balancing act is part of why a single accent piece against a minimalist room works so well.

Studio D’s staging of 6 West 83rd Street in the Upper West Side demonstrates this dynamic. By pairing simple, mid-century sofas in the living area with mirror panels to emphasize the room’s natural light, the designers create an airy feeling that draws buyers to the room’s floor-to-ceiling windows.

If you’re looking to put your own home on the market, adopting a minimalist strategy can give you a simple guideline to follow that lets your property become the star.

Where to Start

If you’re just starting to think about selling, but aren’t ready for a full transformation, Seidenberg offers two easy tips to give your home an immediate, market-ready boost.

First on her list: “Paint, paint and paint.” The equivalent of an anti-aging wand for your walls, a fresh coat of paint can take years off your interior.

Secondly, replace your regular linens with a crisp, modern set for photoshoots and showings. “New linens make the bed look sensational,” she says.

Thinking of selling your home? Let us help. We’ve led the New York townhouse market since 1972, and we work with the best in the business. Let’s talk: info@lesliegarfield.com.

All photos of 6 West 83rd Street