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Selling your home? If it looks like THIS, it needs an overhaul

Signs are up. Notices went out. You’ve tidied, vacuumed and put fresh flowers in the vase. And yet two hours later, not one person shows up to your open house. Are you sure your home’s true colours are on display? Or, maybe it’s the colour that’s keeping people away. Designer Samantha Pynn tells us about overhauling your home with home staging before an open house.

I’m moving, so why should I spend money updating my home?

“When you’re not selling your home you can live however you want to live. But when you’re selling, it’s time to edit, clean and make the necessary repairs,” says Pynn, noting the goal is to create a space people see themselves living in, without having to look past clutter or bold colour choices.

Pynn showcases house transformations on HGTV’s Open House Overhaul. The premise of the show: a small investment can go a long way towards increasing a home’s market value.

Each episode, Pynn and her crew descend on homeowners about to hold an open house and offer to transform their rooms within 24 hours.

“What we’re doing is selling a lifestyle,” says Pynn. “It’s not just staging. We’re making these homes stand out in the neighbourhood.”

The Transformation

Stand out for all the right reasons, that is. Take Dagmar and Paul’s home, for example. The bright citrus colours they love – that remind them of the Mediterranean – evoke a much different reaction from prospective buyers. It isn’t until I transformed their lemon yellow and bright lime rooms with a soft, creamy wash of paint that they fully understand.

“They were blown away,” says Pynn. “They didn’t realize that they were sitting on such a gem and that their strong personality colours were really turning buyers away.”


Here’s a glimpse into Pynn’s design world. In an episode of Open House Overhaul, she helped a couple transform a bathroom before putting their home on the market. Watch this video for her design notes:

I’m selling my home. What’s your advice?

If you’re gearing up for your own open house this spring, here are some practical tips from Pynn:

  • Clear the air. There’s nothing like a strong odour to ward off prospective buyers. Stop smoking indoors, reign in pets that rule the roost, and make sure rooms smell fresh and clean.
  • Cross the finish line. From half-finished baseboards to closets without doors to staircases stained at the edges but bare in the middle, Pynn has seen it all when it comes to unfinished projects. Even if you have to hire a handyman to do it, it’s time to complete those loose ends.
  • Take it away. You’re going to have to pick and choose what to keep when you move, so why not start early? Nearly every episode of Open House Overhaul begins with Pynn’s crew removing furniture.
  • Cover it. Nothing sells a home quicker than a fresh coat of paint. Beyond the walls, look for cracked and peeling front doors, tired kitchen cabinets or dull furniture that needs sprucing up.
  • Fix it. Tighten loose faucets, replace cracked tiles, replace worn hinges – all of these small repair jobs add up, says Pynn, noting that even an empty house shows better than one in ill repair.

Like any TV design show, the highlight of Open House Overhaul is the reveal once the crew leaves and homeowners return.

“You can see their wheels turning, and they’re starting to think, ‘How can I keep my home? How can we make it work?’ Because all of a sudden, it’s a great home,” says Pynn.

Need a handyman to fix those odd jobs around the house before you put it on the market? We have a directory of handyman service professionals who can help!

If those projects are completed, why not contact one of our home staging professionals? Scroll through company galleries and be inspired by their portfolios. You’ll fall in love with their work – and maybe choose not to sell the place after all!

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