Style your home for all the senses

The first thing people do when they are searching for a home is look at pictures. But once they step in the door, their other senses get involved.

Buyers think with their eyes, ears and nose… and their hands. When your home is open, you need to make sure all these senses get the right message. Here’s how ‘sensory design’ can come into play when you stage a viewing on the Northern Beaches.

Sensory design for home opens


You might be surprised by how strongly many people are affected by smells.

Then again, you might not be if you stop to think about it.

Imagine walking into a prospective home, and the first thing you notice is an overwhelming smell of wet dog or cat litter. You aren’t going to care a bit for how the home looks; because all you will be thinking about is how quickly you can leave.

A fresh, welcoming smell can make any Northern Beaches home immensely more desirable.

Before your open home, remove anything that creates odours and open doors and windows to bring in fresh air. Take out the rubbish and put your bins out of sight if you can, and avoid cooking anything too pungent the night before.

You can also try air deodorisers, scented candles or similar air freshening products, but be cautious. Firstly, some people are sensitive to perfumes and may actually be put off by a home that smells overwhelmingly of AirWick, for example. Secondly, people may feel that a strong smell of air freshener is being used to mask something more unpleasant.

As much as possible, use subtle natural scents that give the air a hint of freshness without being overpowering.


Street noise, echoes and squeaky hinges or floorboards will put people off but they will mostly be listening for the sounds of passing traffic. Some shrubbery at the front of your home can reduce street noise that has a negative impact.

Inside, echoes can be reduced by carpeting a room, adding a rug or two, introducing more soft furnishings like armchairs or curtains, or adding wall art to break up large flat surfaces.

Fix squeaky hinges with a squirt of oil or WD40, and a rug can stop a floorboard from creaking if it can’t be fixed another way.

Some people will play some subtle music for their home opens. Talk to your real estate agent about how they feel your buyers will react, and choose your music carefully.

The other thing to be aware of is barking dogs. If you have a neighbour whose dog barks when they aren’t home, consider asking them to take the dog somewhere during your home open (if you’re on good terms).


The ‘feel’ of a home open mostly comes down to temperature. A place that is too hot or cold won’t gain maximum interest from buyers.

For a cold property, arrange your home open for early afternoon when the place is warmer. If the place gets very hot, schedule it earlier in the day.

Turn on fans or air conditioners so that the temperature is between 20 and 23 degrees when people walk in and they will be able to concentrate on the other features.


Your home needs to be dressed to impressed when buyers visit so:

– Declutter and put away personal belongings
– Add a fresh coat of paint
– Stage the home with modern furniture that matches the space
– Fix minor cosmetic damage
– Arrange a deep clean
– Replace dated fixtures so the home looks contemporary
– Get rid of rubbish in the yard
– Pressure hose exterior walls and pavers


You may as well address all the senses and provide some snacks for your open home.

For a luxury property, it’s worth investing in a full spread of finger foods. For an apartment or more standard house, a bowl of wrapped Mentos or some water bottles on the kitchen bench is a nice touch.

Thinking of selling? Talk to us

Ready to sell in Allambie Heights and surrounding areas? We are always happy to talk through your plans for your open home to encourage target buyers to really fall in love with it. Give us a call today.

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