Shows like The Block aren’t just TV juggernauts. They’ve also changed the way we look at a property. Shaynna Blaze has given a large proportion of Australians a greater appreciation for home styling, not to mention karate chopped cushions, which in turn, has increased the expectations of house hunters.

Now simply cleaning up your clutter and putting some fresh potpourri in the bathroom won’t cut it. Buyers expect more and if you don’t go the extra mile. You could get less than full freight when selling your property.

Belinda Woolrych is a Speaker, Author, and Founder of Papillon Styling & Renovation, and she’s onboard tonight.

How important is styling a property?

I think that these days, it’s becoming a given. And I think that our services have really increased because more people are putting them on. So it’s important that vendors remember and check out the competition before they start and for them to see the sort of standards that properties are showing at the moment.

I mean you can’t hide anything these days, can you? The internet is such a wonderful way to represent your home if you photograph it and film it right. So you’re kind of making a bit of a movie, aren’t you really?

Yes absolutely!

The internet has been absolutely life-changing for homeowners. I think it’s actually a fantastic marketing tool. So the way that we, Property Makeover Specialists, approach staging properties is to go over the things that buyers are looking for, like areas that are going to be photographed.  It also even determines the schedule of work that we’re doing in a makeover to make sure that we’re striving to get those photographers out first. Although the marketing actually has the most beautiful pictures to project the property in its very best light.

What are the most common mistakes you see that we ought to avoid?

Common mistakes are probably vendors making over a property the way that they like it and not actually thinking about the target market or who’s going to buy it. So it’s most important for vendors to step back, put the buyer’s hat on, disconnect themselves emotionally from the property, imagine being in that buyer’s hat, and actually looking at their property from an outsider’s point of view.

So maybe clear the piano with that metal piece of all those family snaps from Jervis Bay?

Yes! You just never know who’s buying! For example, culturally, buyers might be different. You don’t want to pigeonhole, for example, particular bedrooms. So it’s important to neutralise them by removing the girl things in the girl’s room and the colours boys in the boy’s room.

Think about all the people (the buyers) that it might be – it might be a blended family, it might be a downsizer, it might be a teenager and it might be two people buying together because they just can’t afford to buy homes on their own. So it could be anybody.

Do you think it’s possible that I have a style on hand?

Without a doubt. I think it especially applies to vendors trying to do the makeover themselves without speaking to professionals. And you can see it; you can tell when a professional’s been through a property because he’s not taking it too far.  It’s just having a really contemporary or classic look or whatever the actual demographic that the area requires or the potential target market a vendor’s actually looking for.

Look, some folks have been known to really mix up the styling and maybe even put reading glasses on top of magazine stack, casually opened at a particular page. Does those sort of things really work?

Yeah, they do exist. Some have the cookies and the coffee but we’ve never gone that far. It needs to be ready on all areas of the home.

Styling can be a critical error but we need to make sure that there’s enough furniture with appropriate size so they don’t block the flow of the inspections. I always tell owners, ‘You might have 30 or 40 people here. You just never know.’

So I want to make sure that the property shows versatility, that it’s contemporary enough, and that everything is looking at its best and showing off all of the areas.

Inventing some areas can also be done. If we can find a hidden gem somewhere, like an outdoor eating area or whether we can potentially create a bedroom. Sometimes it’s by investing a few thousand dollars that we can really maximize in 10s and 50s (thousands).

Yeah, maybe a sunroom at the back.

So Belinda, do vendors go directly to you or do you work through the agent? What’s the process?

We’re well-known to a lot of agents…

…and they sort of recommend you…


A lot of agents know us. They’ve seen our work. We’ve done it hundreds of times. And we know we’ve done some more and have gone through an efficient process. We’ve also got the website. We can also do video consults from anywhere in Australia and I can attend onsite as well.

We tend to really look after Sydney’s North, North Shore, Northern Beaches, and we’re also in the Southern Highlands and Sydney areas.

Belinda, are you working with properties that are generally empty, or would you go into a place that is a family home, where it’s overcrowded with furniture and strip it out? What do you start? Where do you stop?

So far, the ones that are generally full are the larger projects. The ones that are empty are normally quite quick. It depends on how tidy the property is, and how much catch up you’ve got to do. It depends on the work that’s required.

We’re makeover specialists so we look at all aspects from the front fence all the way around the house. So if have a family living there, we may coach them on what they need to do and give them a checklist of pre-inspection actions. Or it may be an empty property that we can makeover and stage.

And it would be a given that when inspections come around, there’s nobody home?

Nobody home. No pets. Nothing.

And is it true that apparently, people, when it comes to sensory perceptions, they’re more piqued by the smell of a home than the look of it, the colour of it, what they see through their eyes? Is that true?

Look, I think that it’s probably what they see. However, I think that smell is a little bit subliminal because they’re easily identified.


We have to get rid of them (bad smells!).


The smell could be in the carpets, in the bathrooms – anywhere. But they speak of a big investment. If you can’t get the smell off the carpets, they have to be changed.

Well, there’s much to learn, and thankfully, there are some live free talks coming up. Some seminars, right, at Dee Why RSL?


So what are they?

So that’s on the 7th and the 20th of March. Actually, they’re aimed at a particular niche that we look after. So it’s a part of the pre-sale area but from 55+, and it’s about a stress-free downsize.”