Home Staging Tips


Want to sell your home as quickly as possible and for the most money?

Make that vision a reality with these easy tips for styling and upgrading your home to appeal to every person that walks through your door.

Boost Curb Appeal

Before scheduling an appointment to view your home, many people will do a quick drive-by first to see if it is even worth a look inside. Make sure your home is ready to lure in onlookers with these tips:

* Power wash siding and walkways
* Hang easy-to-read house numbers
* Plant blooming flowers and fresh greenery
* Mow lawn, and reseed or add fresh sod as needed
* Wash front windows
* Repaint or stain the porch floor as needed

Welcome your visitors with an inviting porch. Even if you have only a tiny stoop, make it appealing with a clean doormat, potted plants in bloom and one or two pieces of neat porch furniture where there’s room. Keep your porch lights on in the evenings in case potential buyers drive by. Solar lights illuminating the front walk is a nice extra touch, especially if your home will be shown during the evening.

Get Your House Sparkling Clean

From shining floors and gleaming windows to clean counters and scrubbed grout, every surface should sparkle. This is the easiest and least expensive way to help your home put its best foot forward. You can even make your own natural, non-toxic cleaning solutions from products you probably already have at home. For the really tough stuff, you may want to hire professionals, especially if you have a large house. Cleanliness is key!

Clear Away All Clutter

If you are serious about staging your home, all clutter must go. It’s not easy, and it may even require utilizing offsite storage temporarily, but it is well worth the trouble. Clean and clear surfaces, floors, cupboards and closets equal more space in the eyes of potential buyers, so purge any unnecessary or unsightly items and furniture. An over-packed living room is a red flag to buyers that your home lacks storage space. Instead, let buyers see your square footage, not your personal belongings.

Create a Balance Between Clean and Lived-In

Yes, I know I just said to get rid of all your clutter, but now it’s time to judiciously bring back a few elements that will really make your home appealing. Think vases of cut flowers, a basket of fresh farmer’s market produce on the kitchen counter or a bowl of lemons beside the sink. Steer clear of personal items.

Make Your Floors Noteworthy

At the bare minimum, give all floors a thorough cleaning (and steam clean carpets), but consider having wood floors refinished if they are in poor shape. If you don’t want to invest in refinishing floors, the strategic placement of area rugs can go a long way.

Adding drama to old hardwood flooring is easier than you might think. First, isolate damaged boards, cut them out and replace them with new pieces. Rent a sander from a local hardware store, and give the floor a good sanding. The last step is to stain the boards with a rich color, and watch your floor go from drab to dramatic.

Choose Sophisticated Neutral Colors

Now is not the time to experiment with that “fun” lime green. But that doesn’t mean you need to go all white, either. Rich mid-tone neutrals like mocha and beige create a sophisticated backdrop.

“But it’s my style!” That’s great, but it may not be the style of potential home buyers. So even if you have an awesome retro-chic look going on, rein it in for the sake of appealing to the most number of people. You can bring your personal style back into your new home.

Entice People to Explore the Whole House

By placing something that draws the eye at the top of the stairs, in hallways or in corners, you can pique curiosity and keep potential buyers interested throughout a whole home tour. A piece of artwork, a painted accent wall, a window seat, a vase of flowers, a hanging light or even a small, colorful rug can all work to draw the eye.

Turn Awkward Areas into Awesome “Bonus” Areas

If you have any room beneath the stairs, or a nook or alcove anywhere in your home, try to find a unique way to show it off. By setting up a small work station, a home command center with a bulletin board, or built-in shelving, your awkward spot becomes another selling point.

Beware of Pet Odors

This can be a big one! If you have pets, get all rugs steam cleaned and be extra vigilant about vacuuming and washing surfaces. Also be sure to keep any pet toys and doggie bones hidden when tours are scheduled. We all love our pets, but unpleasant pet odors can make a negative first impression. Be sure to get rid of old or stained carpet that can trap offensive smells. Replace it with fresh new carpet in a neutral color. Plus, if you paint the walls to match, your living room will look bigger.

Show Off Your Lifestyle

Generally speaking you want to play up any special features of your neighborhood or area. Have a house in a quiet, grassy suburb? Hanging a hammock in your backyard and a bench swing on your porch could be the perfect touch.

Think Seasonally

Make sure your garden is in beautiful shape in the summer and that any extra features you have, like a pool or a fire pit, are cleaned and ready to go. Take advantage of the cozy vibe of the season in autumn and winter by building a fire in the fireplace and simmering hot apple cider on the stove.

Living Spaces

Rearrange Your Furniture

In the living room, symmetrical arrangements usually work well. Pull your furniture off the walls and use pairs (of sofas, chairs, lamps) to create an inviting conversation area. Here is a tip to save time and effort: Instead of jumping right in and lugging the heavy furniture around the room to see what feels best, first put tape outlines on the floor with painter’s tape in the arrangement you think you’d like the furniture. This way you can see whether you like the setup before moving everything into place. Then, arrange the room according to your outlines and save your energy for counting those incoming purchase offers.

Let the Sun Shine In

Buyers love light and airy living rooms. Open up your window shades to let the light in. Cheat some sunshine with a light-colored paint and lots of artificial lighting. You can never have too many lamps. Last, arrange the space with lightly colored furniture and you’ll have a living room that brightens your chances of a sale.

Create a Nice Flow

Buyers are attracted to homes that have a good flow. You can create circulation by replacing square or rectangular dining tables with round ones and removing unnecessary furniture that suffocates rooms.

Turn an Unattractive Fireplace into a Selling Feature

Need to turn an unattractive fireplace into a selling feature? First, that dated brass screen has got to go. Next, give the fireplace a good cleaning, scrubbing it with soap and water. Then, using a stone color enhancer, polish the bricks to make them shine. In no time you will have a fireplace that will turn your house into the hottest property on the block.

Transform a Shabby Wood-Panel Wall

Nothing screams “dated” more than an old wood-paneled wall. Instead of ripping it out, cover it up. Use wood filler to carefully fill in all the cracks between the panels. Then, use a sponge to wipe away the excess filler. Once it’s dry, paint the room. Your unattractive wall will go from standing out to blending in.

Style Your Dining Room Table

The dining room is often a blind spot in decorating the home. Between dinners, a large dining table can look bare and uninviting, but an oversize arrangement can make it look too stiff and formal. Instead, try lining up a series of smaller vessels down the center of the table.


Update Cabinets

Dated kitchen cabinets can be a big turnoff to potential buyers. Instead of replacing old or outdated cabinets, save money by staining them to create a whole new look. First, apply the stain in even strokes, going with the grain of the wood. Add some stylish hardware and your kitchen will have the up-to-date look that buyers love, for less than $200.

Fill Existing Hardware Holes

Removing old kitchen hardware can leave your cabinets with stripped-out holes. Here is a trick to reusing the existing ones. First, dip a toothpick in glue and place it in the stripped hole. Cut off the excess piece sticking out. Once the glue dries, you’ll be ready to put in the new beautiful hardware that will update the look of your kitchen.

Update Old Appliances

Studies show that new kitchen appliances bring high returns from sellers, so get rid of old appliances that make the rest of the kitchen look dated. Stainless-steel appliances are a huge hit with buyers. Can’t afford to replace all your appliances, no problem! Did you know you can resurface appliances? Instead of buying a new dishwasher, here is a low-cost way to resurface an old one: First, remove the front panels, and clean them. Next, apply a stainless-steel stick-on covering and cut it to size. For just $20 you’ve changed the look of your kitchen and made it more attractive to buyers!

Save Money on Granite Counter Tops

Granite counter tops are a huge selling feature, but they can be expensive. Here are a few ways to save on this investment: First, ask the vendor for remnants from previous projects. Remnants can be purchased for much lower than a new piece of granite. Then, do the demo yourself. This will help save on labor costs. Any money you do spend will be returned in the value these beautiful counters add to your kitchen.


Try a Pedestal Sink to Maximize Space

If you have a small bathroom but a huge cabinet-style sink, consider swapping it out for a simple pedestal version. Your bathroom will appear instantly bigger. They show off square footage in small bathrooms beautifully and buyers will see how much floor space your bathroom has.

Use Only Perfect Personal Accents

Especially in the bathroom, it is important that anything left out for visitors to see is pristine. If you have a gorgeous fluffy white bathrobe, hanging it on a decorative hook on the door can be an attractive accent — but if your robe is more of the nubby blue floral variety, you might want to hide it away. Look at every detail with a visitor’s eye — bars of soap should be fresh and clean, towels spotless, weight scales put away, and the garbage always emptied.

Wipe Down Walls

Grimy bathroom walls are a major red flag to buyers. Here is an easy way to get rid of surface mold: Mix a spray bottle with one part water and one part bleach. Just spray it on the wall, and watch the mold disappear. Give it a fresh coat of paint and your grimy bathroom will go from red flag to red-hot.

Scour Shower Door

A grimy glass shower door is a real turn off to buyers. Instead of replacing it, clean it with a mixture of one part muriatic acid and about 10 parts water. Scrub with steel wool. After wiping it down, reinstall the door and you’ll have a shower that’ll dazzle.


Create a Gender-Neutral Master Bedroom

Your master bedroom should appeal to buyers of both sexes. Appeal to everyone with a clean, tailored master bedroom, free of personal items and clutter. You can’t go wrong with clean, crisp linens, tasteful artwork and a blanket folded at the foot of the bed. Get rid of features that seem too gender-specific.

Open Those Closets!

Open-house visitors will peek inside your closets. Closet space can be a make-it-or-break-it selling point for buyers, so show yours off to their full advantage by clearing out all unnecessary clutter. Then organize your shelves to show off how much storage you really have. This is really important, so even if you need to store a few boxes elsewhere, it’s worth it. Aim to have 20 to 30 percent open space in each closet to give the impression of spaciousness. Potential buyers love homes that have lots of storage space. Plus, it gives you a chance to start packing.

Clean Up Toys

Of course there will be families with children looking at your home, but just because they have kids too doesn’t mean seeing toys strewn everywhere will sell them on the place. When people are house hunting, they are imagining a fresh start. Show them that in this house, it is possible to have a beautifully organized kids’ room, and they might be swayed.

Use “Extra” Rooms Wisely

If you have been using a spare bedroom as a dumping ground for odd pieces of furniture and boxes of junk, it’s time to clean up your act. Each room should have a clearly defined purpose, so think about what potential buyers might like to see here. An office? A guest room? Another kids’ room? Whether you buy inexpensive furnishings, rent them, or borrow some from friends, making a real room out of a junk room will have a big payoff.


Stage the Outdoors Too

Even if your condo has only a teeny-tiny balcony, play it up with a cute cafe table &chairs, a cheerful tablecloth and a vase of flowers. When people look at this scene, they won’t be thinking “small,” they will be thinking, “What a charming spot to have breakfast!”

Improve Your Deck

A nice outdoor deck can be a big selling feature, but an old one is a major liability. To give your outdoor space new life, first sand the wood. Cover it with a light-colored stain instead of paint to give it a rustic, grainy look. Furnish it for entertaining, and watch your open house turn into a party.

Now get to Work!!

Home Staging Tips