Less is More Mantra

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Don’t forget that a cluttered look can also come from too much furniture. “People tend to line their walls with furniture, one piece after another,” says San Francisco home staging expert Christopher Breining. When professional fluffers descend on a home being prepped for market, they often whisk away as much as half of the owner’s furnishings — and the house looks miles better (not to mention bigger) for it.

You don’t have to whittle that drastically, but take a hard look at what you have and ask yourself what you can live without. “You really only need two pieces of furniture per wall: A bed and a nightstand, say, or a dresser and a chair,” Breining said, adding, “Another rule of thumb: If you don’t use it regularly, lose it.” While you’re doing this sometimes-painful pruning, remind yourself that every square foot you free up is prime real estate in as a new commodity on the market.”

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