This question is asked frequently by our clients when they are preparing their houses for sale.
Bright spaces and well-lit rooms provide an inviting atmosphere, appealing to potential buyers for your home. Natural light brightens a room, making it look and feel bigger, and bringing positive energy to the space.
For living in a home, we rely on window coverings to help to filter light and provide privacy. When selling your house, however, window coverings are often removed and/or minimized throughout the home to enhance the lighting and draw the buyer’s focus to the view or outdoor space beyond the window outside.
The first step to showing off your windows is to make them sparkle! This will also allow for more light to come in through the window. We recommend a simple solution of vinegar and water to get them to shine.
This is also a great time to ensure that your windows are in working order and any screens are free from rips and tears.
Now that the windows are clean and in good working order, let’s talk about those window coverings. In most cases, window treatments will be sold with the home. Most buyers will want to keep only neutral coverings that will likely go well with their items or will prefer nothing at all so that they can customize the window treatments to their own taste.
Today’s buyers struggle to see past personalized or outdated décor. This will distract from the space itself and can make it hard for buyers to imagine their own furnishings in the space. This includes window treatments. Outdated window treatments can be a big drawback, making the room look dark (even when open), and can affect the entire look of a space.
As a general rule when selling your house, heavy draperies and swags should be removed. Outdated valances can look heavy as well and tend to block natural light so when possible, remove these as well.
“But these are custom window treatments. Do I still need to remove them?”
A popular question, as some clients feel that they should leave custom drapes and valences in place since they were designed specifically for the home. The short answer is usually yes, they should be removed. Draperies are often designed to block light and are visually heavy. You have enjoyed these window treatments when living in the space but in most cases, potential buyers will not feel the same way that you do about your custom curtains and valences. If you are not comfortable with removing the coverings in full, at minimum, remove a layer or two (if you are inclined to, you may offer the removed window coverings to the buyer upon the sale of the house).
Additionally, remove any window treatments that cannot be opened or are worn, damaged, or in poor working order. Clean any window treatments that are remaining in place – these get dirty and dusty over time. Cleaning may include taking draperies to the dry cleaner, and vacuuming or wiping down blinds and shades with a damp cloth. This will help to showcase your property and show potential buyers that the house has been well cared for.
You do not need to replace the window coverings that have been removed.
It’s okay to simply leave windows bare – I promise! No treatments are always better than the wrong window treatments. If privacy is not an issue, this is a great option.
If you feel that a window covering is needed for privacy, select neutral coloured blinds, sheers or light panel curtains.
- Install blinds inside the window frame whenever possible
- Hang panel sheers or curtains with a rod longer than the width of the window to ensure that the drapes can hang to either side of the window
Before the listing photos are taken, and before any showings or open houses, remember to open those window coverings to maximize the amount of natural light coming into your spaces. Open sheers and curtains and allow them to hang evenly on either side of the window frame. Blinds are traditionally roller or louvred blinds but either way, you want to ensure that they aren’t blocking the light from coming in. We recommend that blinds are staged two-thirds open – this allows for light to come in, but also shows the window coverings that are available for that window. If the view outside the window is less than appealing, you may open to leave the blinds down – if so, be sure to angle the slats down to encourage light to stream in.
When deciding what to do with your window treatments when you are selling your home, follow the golden rule - wherever you can, let the sunshine in!