Just Property

06 March 2023 | Advice, Sellers

Selling Your Home? Boost Its Sales Appeal And Attract More Buyers

These top tips from property professionals and an interior stylist will help you attract even the most discerning buyers. 

When talking to agents about homes that sell quickly, the word “classy” comes up pretty often. What do they mean when they use it?

Megan Holden, an agent with Just Property Lifestyle, responds: “When we use the term, we mean 'stylish and sophisticated', well decorated, clutter-free and exuding elegance. Usually, a ‘less is more’ approach works well for this look. Fresh, uncluttered rooms go a long way to make the home inviting."

Ana Roberts of Just Property Upper Highway in KZN agrees. “The words that immediately come to mind are ‘neutral’ and ‘elegant’. Upscale homes are up to date but do not necessarily reflect any particular home fashion trend.”

Megan says that gracious styling will impact buyers’ perception and, therefore, the price they are prepared to offer. “Easily about 15% plus is obtainable simply by ensuring the home is decorated well.”

“Whilst the buyer is probably not buying the furniture, a well-styled home often sells faster and for a higher price than one that is cluttered and poorly styled,” says Ana. “Our property professionals often stage homes for photos as this attracts more viewings than poorly decorated houses.”

How to achieve the “upmarket” look

Interior stylist Melani Petersen shares her professional advice to help you make your home look sophisticated without going to great expense.  

  1. Declutter and clean

    Before anything else, declutter your home and give it a deep clean. That will give you a better idea of the canvas you have to work with and which features in your home can be dressed up. You may even be able to sell some of your pre-loved items, and that money can be used to implement some of the tips below.

  1. Key details

    Symmetry and texture are important for this look, as is attention to colour and detail.

    My favourite tip is to use oversized wall art and mirrors in living areas, bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchen. Beautiful lamps and plants are a lovely touch anywhere in a home and even your patio areas.

    Colour is a very powerful design tool that has a tremendous impact on any room. Use dark accents to take any room to the next level. Don’t be afraid to experiment with black, even if you use this on the smaller décor items.

Before After

  1. Upcycle your cupboards

    Don’t despair if your home has built-in cabinets from the ’70s. Replacing doors, or getting a professional to spray-painter in is a cost-effective solution, and you’ll be amazed at the difference new handles will make. Look at the before and after photos below; beautiful clean, crisp white with a spot of black to create contrast.

Before After

  1. Bathroom hacks

    Kitchens and bathrooms are the most expensive rooms to renovate, and outdated or chipped tiles can be a deal breaker for discerning buyers. If you do nothing else, it’s worth focusing on these rooms. Here are a few simple tips to make an old bathroom feel like new:

  • Remove all clutter

  • Use baskets to keep things organised and a tray trick for hand soap and cream 

  • Clean the grout on your tiles

  • Update your tiles with paint or tile vinyl 

  • In guest loos, use a small amount of wallpaper to create a feature wall

  • Add some greenery


  1. Be brave with paint and texture

    Wall colour can give a room a ‘wow’ factor without doing too much else. As long as the furniture and interior items are fairly neutral, this will be a very inexpensive way to create impact. You don’t even have to paint the entire rooma feature wall is just as much a winner. DIY detailing (see the image below) is simple and effective – fix wooden slats to a wall in a geometric pattern, and paint over them in a contrasting hue. Remember to pay attention to texture by combining shiny accents with matt.

  1. Design choices to avoid

    Making a home look sophisticated is as much about what not to do as anything else. Here are Melani’s top three design choices to avoid:

  • Matching flat furniture: matching sets lack visual interest and make a space feel one-dimensional. Mix and match textures, colours and materials to create substance in your rooms

  • Disproportionate pieces: scale is how an item relates to the size of the room. Proportion is the relationship between items. Take a walk around your house and look at each room. Does something just feel off in certain spots? If so, it might be the scale or the proportion of a piece. Take a hard look at the art and frames on your walls, the furniture, rugs, and lighting and make sure they actually work for that particular space

  • The wrong size rug: this is a common mistake because rugs can be costly. In an open-plan space where none of the furniture is against a wall, try to find a rug large enough to accommodate all the furniture 

Melani, Ana and Megan all agree that kitchens, bathrooms and living spaces are often the deal-makers or breakers. Using the tips above, ensure that these rooms are visually appealing, neutral, clean and uncluttered spaces, and it’s sure to have an impact on the price and the speed at which your home sells.

About Melani Petersen

Melani is an interior stylist who offers turnkey services in Renovations, Interior Styling, Design and Advice. Melani’s work is defined by this mission statement: “Intentionally not compromising the Form or Functionality of any design to deliver a completely balanced and satisfying service.”

All images in this article show Melani’s work and can be found online at 


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