Top Integrative Design Tips for Quick Real Estate Sales

Add color, clear the clutter, bring up the ch'i, and attend to irregular design details for quick, profitable real estate sales.
06/10/2013 02:01 pm ET Updated Aug 10, 2013

I love when my real estate clients invite me to an open house. I see so many interesting homes for sale, including New York City apartments and townhouses, Paris apartments and hotels, modern architecture in Sydney, ocean views in Hawaii, and, of course, the gorgeous mansions and charming cottages here in the Hampton's, on the eastern end of New York's Long Island.

Over the years, I've noticed many real estate brokers advising their clients when selling their homes to paint the interiors a neutral color like white, beige or gray. This seems like good logic, believing that a neutral color will appeal to a wider spectrum of buyers, and that bright colors may distract or offend a potential buyer's desire to buy. The premise, though, is flawed, because interiors that are all white or gray leave even the most beautifully decorated and luxurious homes feeling dull, lifeless, and unmemorable.

I also sympathize with the brokers who are constantly trying to get their clients to clear clutter. Clutter is a deep, emotional issue. Many sellers are resistant to clearing clutter, often not seeing how disordered their home has become. The problem with clutter is that it sets up blocks in the homeowners' life and creates physical resistance, which is counter to the goal of a quick and profitable sale. To the seller, clutter is personal; to a potential buyer, it is unappealing. Clutter thwarts sales.

Positive, beneficial, flowing ch'i -- universal life force energy -- is imperative to quick, profitable real estate sales. The same energy that beats your heart, and keeps air moving through your lungs, also circulates throughout every living environment, including houses, apartments and other real estate properties. Ch'i is also constantly flowing and circulating through and around every door, window, wall, room and the furnishings in a home. When ch'i is elevated and flowing smoothly in a home for sale, potential buyers intuitively feel the good health and well-being, creating a greater desire to buy.

My job as an integrative interior designer is assisting my real estate clients with ancient Feng Shui practices, coupled with modern color and design advice, while aligning the physical environments with the available energy in the natural world.

So, here are my top four proven C3D (color, clutter, ch'i, and design) tips I advise both my seller and realtor clients alike for fast and profitable real estate sales:

1. Add color to your spaces with soft furnishings like throws and pillows. Color is visual energy and attracts the buyer's eye. Buyers often see many houses in the course of several weeks and vibrant color positively differentiates your property. Realtors often report potential buyers will remember a home based on just one colorful pillow, basket or simple flower holder. Notice, I'm not saying you have to re-paint any rooms, just give potential buyers a colorful reason to remember your home.

2. Clear the clutter. Albert Einstein said, "Out of clutter, find simplicity." Store away out-of-season coats and clothes, shoes, chotchkies, and family photos. Make sure pathways and hallways are clear of clutter so buyers can move easily from room to room. Especially keep the areas near the main entrance and mud areas clean, clear, and neat.

3. Imagine a trip to the ocean, a walk in the woods, or hiking in the mountains. That wonderful open and free feeling is your connection to universal life force energy, what we call ch'i. Consciously bring that healthy ch'i to the entrance of your home by potting colorful flowers and plants at your front door. Also, as potential buyers walk through your space, provide them with bursts of life, including fresh flowers, an aquarium, pictures and photographs of nature, and as one client successfully accomplished, play spa music that includes birds chirping and water falling in the woods.

4. Utilize classic Feng Shui solutions for irregular design details. For example, to a potential buyer, a wall blocking the entrance inside your front door or down a long hallway unconsciously represents obstacles to buying your home. Add a mirror or vibrant piece of art to mitigate the potentially obstructive energy, sending a very clear message to every potential buyer that your home is energetically open, alive, and ready for sale.

Add color, clear the clutter, bring up the ch'i, and attend to irregular design details for quick, profitable real estate sales.