11 Ways to Stage Your House So It Will Sell

Listing your home for sale? Consider staging it.

Staging involves clearing out your possessions and carefully presenting each room in a way that’s calculated to appeal to buyers.

When home shoppers visit a property for sale, they try to picture themselves living there, experts say. So, decorate just enough to let shoppers see the possibilities.

Professional stagers say the practice helps sell homes faster and for more money.

Staging is not necessarily for every home — and it can be costly. In some cases, a real estate agent will pay for the staging. It never hurts to ask.

Regardless of who pays, you might decide that staging is the right move for you. If so, here are some tips for staging a home on a budget:

1. Get rid of clutter

Living room ceramic knickknacks
Leonardo Emiliozz / Shutterstock.com

Your stuff is beloved treasure from a life well-lived. But to strangers, it can be a barrier to visualizing themselves in your home. A few years ago, Brentwood, Tennessee, Realtor Sarah Milligan told The Tennessean:

“Anything smaller than a basketball is a knickknack and needs to be packed up for your move. More space equals more money.”

So get ruthless and get it over with. For more inspiration, check out “7 Ways to Declutter You Probably Haven’t Tried.”

2. Focus on high-impact rooms

Staged living room
Artazum / Shutterstock.com

If you can’t stage the entire home, focus on the rooms that matter most to buyers. According a National Association of Realtors survey of agents, these are the rooms to stage in order of importance:

  1. Living room
  2. Kitchen
  3. Master bedroom
  4. Dining room
  5. Bathroom
  6. Children’s bedroom
  7. Guest bedroom

3. Remove personal touches

Needlepoint "God Bless Our Pad" hanging.
iofoto / Shutterstock.com

Remove all traces of your life from a home you are selling. That’s one way staging differs from decorating, where the point is to reflect homeowners’ lives and taste in their decor.

With staging, you want to make a home universally appealing. Think of upscale hotel rooms and display windows at trendy home-furnishings stores.

4. Scour everything

Man cleaning counter
gpointstudio / Shutterstock.com

At this stage of the game, you cannot clean too much. A deep and thorough cleaning accomplishes two things: It makes the home attractive to buyers, and conveys the impression of a place that has been well-maintained.

Remove even the faintest odors, especially if you’ve had smokers or pets. Ask friends to give it the sniff test after you’re done cleaning.

5. Paint the interior in warm neutral tones

Man painting room with child on shoulders
Chepko Danil Vitalevich / Shutterstock.com

Chose a warm neutral color and use it in most rooms. This lends a clean, light and airy appearance and lets the eye move easily from one room to the next, giving the impression of more space.

Save strong colors for carefully chosen spots — for example, a small bathroom, an accent wall or to point out an architectural detail.

6. Paint or stain outdated cabinets

Woman painting kitchen cabinets
Benoit Daoust / Shutterstock.com

The kitchen is an important focal point for buyers, but you need not remodel for new appeal. Brighten worn or outdated cupboards with stain or paint.

Replace the knobs, pulls and exposed hinges with updated ones for a fresh, contemporary appearance.

7. Use furniture in groupings

Purple and orange living room furniture set.
ParvinMaharramov / Shutterstock.com

Pull furniture away from the walls and into groupings. Use only a few of your best furnishings (store, sell or dump the rest) to form a conversation group or two in the living room around focal points like a fireplace, window or entertainment system.

Organize groupings around function. For example, pull a chair and side table into an empty corner to create a reading nook. Group a handsome bench, side table and mirror in the entry.

Experiment with using bedroom pieces in the living room or bathroom and vice versa. Rent or borrow furnishing to fill or accent a space.

8. Collect ideas

Young woman reading magazine at table.
Veles Studio / Shutterstock.com

Gather inspiration and ideas for your DIY staging from magazines, HGTV real estate shows, Pinterest and YouTube. (You’ll find loads of videos by searching for “home staging.”) Visit homes for sale, in person and online.

9. Eliminate eyesores and objections

Rusty faucet
Yakov Oskanov / Shutterstock.com

Remove any objections buyers might have to purchasing the home. Your ugly old carpet will not be OK after cleaning. Don’t kid yourself — rip it up and replace it with inexpensive new commercial carpeting or easily installed floating floor tiles or planks.

To get top dollar for your home, address (remove, repair or replace) all the problems you’ve been meaning to fix. Make each window open easily and each toilet flush perfectly. Fix faucet leaks, re-grout tile and apply new caulk.

10. Turn up the lighting

Lightbulb pendants forming a heart against a brick wall.
pavel7tymoshenko / Shutterstock.com

Give each room plenty of light from a variety of sources. The American Lighting Association offers tips on three types of lighting trends that are hot in 2019.

11. Boost curb appeal

Front door with shrub on each side.
David Papazian / Shutterstock.com

First impressions are everything, especially to shoppers who view a lot of homes in rapid sequence. Make sure your home stands out in shoppers’ minds when they review what they’ve seen at the end of the day:

  • Trim grass.
  • Pull weeds.
  • Clip shrubs.
  • Prune trees.
  • Apply a layer of fresh mulch on garden beds.
  • Clean porches and decks — and possibly stain or paint them.

Paint the front door in a strong, carefully chosen color that complements your home’s exterior. Wondering which color to choose? Check out “Painting With This Color Can Boost Your Home’s Sale Price by $6,000.”

Remove porch clutter, including shoes, bric-a-brac, toys, tools and old furniture. Keep porch decor minimal and striking: Add a new doormat, a chair and side table or other well-chosen furniture, and two or three of pots with flowers or evergreen shrubs.

For more tips on this topic, check out: “Selling Your Home: Here’s How to Create Maximum Curb Appeal.”

Have you staged a home or toured homes that were staged? How do you think it affected your experience? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

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