‘I love the process of transforming a property into a beautiful home’ – how a Muswell Hill property stager styles interiors to appeal to all
- Credit: Archant
Janine Shalev of JS Property Staging talks about transforming sale and rental properties into stunning homes people can see themselves living in
When it comes to buying or renting a property, first impressions count. If you can imagine yourself cooking in the kitchen, sitting on the sofa and sleeping in the bed, then it’s more or less a done deal, says home staging expert, Janine Shalev.
“When someone walks into a room, they need to have a positive emotional response” she says. “The more beautiful and liveable a property looks and feels, the more they will be able to visualise their own belongings in there and make an offer.”
Janine renovated and sold her first home more than 30 years ago, doubling its value in less than 12 months. Since then, she’s gained a wealth of skills and experience in property styling and renovation, and in 2013 she launched her first north London-based home staging company, which was rebranded as JS Property Staging last year. Together with her team of assistant interior stylists, she helps developers, home owners and landlords achieve success with their own investments.
“The idea behind staging is that you’re transforming a property into the sort of home that someone would aspire to live in while making it appeal to the highest number of people,” she explains. “Ultimately, you’re helping them to see its true potential and encouraging that connection.”
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But the initial connection happens long before stepping foot inside the property, she tells me. “Most people look online when searching for somewhere to live, and we can be heavily influenced by attractive pictures. How the photographs are taken, the placement of the furniture and natural light is incredibly important if you want to maximise viewings.”
For Janine, the staging process is about creating a home that is both alluring and practical. Using her own collection of luxury furniture and accessories, her aim is to make interiors look as bright, spacious and inviting as possible. Her style is contemporary and cosy – neutral, warm tones with splashes of colour, lots of soft textures and plenty of greenery.
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“The key is to try and feel how the viewer will feel,” she says, “which I do by asking myself a few questions: is there enough light? Does the furniture make the most of the space? Is it warm and welcoming?”
Despite the meticulous effort it takes to stage a home, Janine hopes that the viewer doesn’t pay too much attention to the details. “The idea is that they don’t notice the colour of the sofa or what the artwork is – it’s more about creating a lovely environment where they can see themselves living.”
As a general rule, she avoids using ‘on trend’ furniture and colours which could put some people off. “I try to steer clear of trends generally,” she says. “When copper and green velvet were very fashionable, I avoided them as they reflect a particular taste. I always dress a property to appeal to the widest possible audience.”
But how do you decorate a house in a way that appeals to everyone? Like many things, interior style is subject to personal taste – while one person may prefer a sleek and modern look, someone else may favour a traditional or eclectic home. “What influences a buyer’s decision isn’t as much about whether the furnishings reflect their personality, but whether they think ‘this is how I want to feel when I’m in my home’,” explains Janine.
That’s not to say it’s a one-size-fits-all approach, though. There’s still an element of tailoring the style according to the property’s size, location and buying or renting audience.
No matter how big or small the project – whether it’s adding accessories to a semi-furnished apartment or an entire building refurbishment – the focus for Janine is always to maximise the client’s return on investment.
While some developers or homeowners may be reluctant to part with more money when trying to sell or rent a house, the success rate of staging speaks for itself. Janine tells me that on average, a home that she has styled sells for 10 per cent more and twice as quickly than when it had previously been on the market. “When a property sells it sells better when it has been staged, there’s no doubt about it,” she says.
“I do get a huge amount of pleasure knowing my work has helped to make a sale more successful, but that’s not why I do it,” she goes on to say. “I love the process of transforming a property into a beautiful home – somewhere where I would want to live myself. People often say that it must be wonderful to feel as though I’m in a doll’s house, making everything look pretty, and it is. It’s such a fun and rewarding job.”
Visi jspropertystaging.co.uk for more information.