Property styling is a very important part of preparing any property for sale and I truly believe property styling plays a larger role than many may imagine in getting many homes sold – and for a great price.
So I’ve been a supporter of BOWERBIRD Interiors for a long time, and I frequently refer sellers (and buyers) to Lauren Lewis and her team.
Lauren is the creative director of BOWERBIRD Interiors. She has many years of experience in interior design and she and the team at BOWERBIRD Interiors offer a range of services, for commercial clients and developers right through to homeowners, and home sellers.
Properties we’ve worked on together over the years include 5 Gilderthorpe Avenue, Randwick, 8 & 8A Bondi Street, Maroubra and 107 Fairsky Street, South Coogee.
Lauren and I recently sat down and had a chat about the value of styling and what sellers and homeowners need to know about interior design and property styling right now.
Lauren, how did you originally get into property styling? And when did you start BOWERBIRD Interiors?
I studied Nutrition at uni and worked in marketing for a while. But I always loved everything interiors-related. I used to attend viewings at showhomes for inspiration and dream about living in a designer home. When I had my first child, I wanted to do something that I loved and that allowed me to have the flexibility to spend time with my family, so that’s when I entered the industry and started to style houses with a friend.
BOWERBIRD Interiors started out as a side hustle in 2013, but opportunities kept arising and we became busier and busier as people became more familiar with the benefits of property styling. Eventually, we had to put in place some structure and infrastructure to keep growing at that pace. The business really gained its own momentum and I have loved every minute of it.
We know you as property stylists but you also work in other fields like commercial/development and curate furniture packages for homeowners. Tell us about the range of work?
Our Styled to Sell service was our bread and butter until 2019 when we started to understand the demand for a more permanent styling solution was required. Potential buyers attending house inspections loved our interiors and wanted to buy the property with the styling included in it. As we started to get enquiries from people wanting to style their homes permanently, we decided to launch our Styled to Keep service to furnish homes permanently. Fast forward 3 years and we now have a specialised team of designers who work with our clients to curate their dream homes, and we project manage the full process from ideation and design through to furniture purchase, delivery and installation.
Our commercial and development vertical has been growing too. We’ve had the opportunity to work with a wide range of commercial clients including property developers, offices and accommodations such as boarding houses and display suites.
You know I’m a big believer in the value of property styling, but what does good styling do for a property sale? Can you quantify the value it adds?
Property styling is a proven tool to help properties sell faster, for a higher price. Buying a property is an emotional purchase, so we create spaces that instantly connect with potential buyers, making them feel at home. We style 1,000 or more homes per year, converting 95% of those inspections into sales with a positive return on styling investment. We estimate that good styling could potentially increase the property sale price by 10-20%.
Impressive. What are the most common property styling mistakes you see?
The three most common property styling mistakes I see are either:
Overloading the property with furniture, which makes the space look smaller than it is;
missing soft furnishing to give a homely touch;
or using extremely strong colours which don’t appeal to a mass market.
I’ve read that there’s a design “rule of three”. Can you tell me about that?
Basically, our brains are tickled by groups of three. Too sparse or symmetrical and we get bored or uninspired. Too many objects and our visual senses basically get overwhelmed. Groups of five or seven can also work well to draw the eye but, for the interior beginner, it is so much easier to strike the right balance with the rule of three.
With the rule of three in mind – what are your top three styling tips?
Focus on me: Remember that the rule of three works because the brain is trying to make sense of a “picture” and find a focal point. So make sure you keep this in mind with your interior design and choose a central piece of furniture or decor to balance the other two objects around.
Shapes and sizes: Create a vignette of decor with differing heights and forms. The more eclectic the better to emphasise the visual interest of the rule of three, but make sure there is at least one common element (texture, colour, or so on) to tie the vignette together. This works well for casual, modern homes.
Stack ’em up: Whether it’s bowls, books, or throw cushions, everything always looks better in a stack of three.
Design-wise, what’s trending in 2022?
Old meets new! The Mid-century style has made a huge comeback in a modern way, sometimes mixing some vintage pieces or styles with contemporary ones. Light oak is very popular but we’re definitely seeing more mid to dark tones of timber in our designs.
Earthy colour tones have always been a popular colour palette, however, we are seeing the shift from sands, nudes, and mustards towards browns, khakis, and rust tones.
Textures like boucle fabrics are making an appearance and abstract three-dimensional art is a huge trend. We love seeing new trends in textures, colours and styles and we are always updating our stock to ensure that all the homes we style have a contemporary but timeless appeal.
Thanks again for talking with me, Lauren. You can contact Lauren and the talented team at BOWERBIRD Interiors and see more of their fabulous work on their website.
Source: Director, Auctioneer Adrian Bo