Put on a fresh coat of paint. But use warm colors. People like to feel good and happy in an apartment. There’s a white by Benjamin Moore called Navajo White that people like to use but they shouldn’t—there’s too much gray in it. Benjamin Moore Linen White is very warm, and there’s another very dramatic Benjamin Moore called Abingdon Putty.
Minimalist is better than overfurnished, but some people don’t have any accessories, just ugly bare furniture. Then you need to add things. It’s a Pottery Barn generation: You may not like the look, but it sells, especially on the Upper West and East sides. It’s important to make your bed look luxurious. Buy new linens and pillows—you can take them with you. The Clutter Obviously, throwing out magazines and newspapers is essential, but what people don’t realize is that it’s just as necessary to reduce clutter inside closets. Neat closets look bigger, and in New York that’s crucial. Don’t forget to get rid of kid clutter. Cute stuff is still stuff.
The Kitchen Replace
old appliances, put in Corian countertops, paint dingy closets. You have to view it like a photo shoot: Lay a rug down, clear off the counter, fill a nice hand-painted bowl with apples. Lemons work, too. When cabinets don’t go all the way up to the ceiling, add ivy on the top and have it trail down a little here and there.
It’s not worth redoing bathrooms entirely, but the cabinet and medicine chest are easy to replace. If the tiles look bad, reglaze them and get a great shower curtain and light fixture. And if you put elements in that make it pop, people won’t even see the bathroom anymore. Lace curtains in the window, the right soaps, new fresh towels, soap bottles around the tub, and a dramatic print all work.
The Finishing Touches
Flowers definitely help add some drama, but it matters what kind. Peonies are great, but you need a substantial space. A tightly arranged bunch of roses in one color adds elegance. With very contemporary apartments, gerbera daisies are great. Don’t use anything perfumey—the smell of lilies doesn’t go over well. Candles work if they’re subtle. But what gets the best result is the smell of a place that’s really clean.