Have you been known to drool over delicious photos of beautifully decorated homes, like I have? Those gorgeous images on social media and in magazines are all staged. They inspire you, just as staging your home is the means to inspire prospective buyers to invest in it. A marketing strategy with a bit of psychology thrown in, home staging dresses up your house for company.
Why stage your home? Home staging has three key benefits.
- It helps a prospective buyer visualize living in your home
- Staging can increase the amount of the offer
- Your house may sell more quickly
Home staging presents your house in the best light by minimizing the flaws and highlighting the best features. You should aim to create an inviting, relaxing atmosphere, one where buyers would like to linger. A well-staged home will draw buyers to online listings and to in-person showings. See our earlier article Staging Your House for Sale for staging advice throughout your home, including flooring, how to maximize the appearance of your storage space, and other tips. Read on for more information about staging your home, room by room.
First of all, make sure all of your rooms are clearly defined. Defining rooms will help buyers see how to maximize the home’s square footage. You want to show buyers that every inch of the home is usable space.
Each room should have a single, defined purpose.
For example, if you have a finished attic, make it into guest suite. A finished basement can become an entertainment room. Consider giving extra bedrooms a new identity as a home office, sewing room, or other interesting function. Even if the buyer doesn’t want to use the room for the same purpose, the important thing is for them to see usable space.
Spaces within rooms should have defined purpose as well.
Take a closer look at alcoves, window seats, corners, breakfast nooks, and other spaces within rooms. Transform underused areas, such as the alcove under the stairs or the end of a hallway, into functional, defined spaces. Add a desk to create a mini office. Place a chair and small bookshelf to create a reading nook. You get the idea!
Staging Your Home Room-by-Room
According to the National Association of REALTORS®, the most popular rooms to stage are:
- Living room (93%)
- Kitchen (84%)
- Master bedroom (78%)
- Dining room (72%)
Outdoor living spaces are important as well. Stage the rooms that get the most traffic, as well as the spaces that have the most potential for “web appeal” to online buyers. Here’s how to transform your home room-by-room.
Pare down and rearrange furniture
- Whatever amount of furniture you have in your living room, remove a few pieces to create more space. Put extra furniture in storage.
- Focus on getting rid of any oversized pieces, damaged pieces, and those that don’t match the rest of the room.
- Don’t use any furniture that isn’t comfortable or just seems unnecessary.
- New, fresh looking furniture will elevate the entire room.
- Get rid of all stained rugs and furniture. It makes a home look beaten up.
- Consider reupholstering furniture. It’s not as expensive as you might think, and it can make a huge difference. To stay within budget, choose a moderately priced fabric.
Plan the layout
- Rearrange the furniture that’s left to make the room look and feel as spacious as possible.
- Create a focal point with a seating arrangement (could be your couch by the fireplace, or by the window with a lovely view). Arrange all the other furniture based on where the focal point is.
- Pull furniture away from the walls, leaving easy-to-navigate pathways.
- Create conversation spaces a potential buyer will be drawn to.
- The largest pieces of furniture should go around the perimeter so they don’t create a visual block.
- You want there to be as much open, walkable space as possible. This helps buyers navigate the space, and also helps them better visualize their own furniture in each room.
Add texture and colors
- Stick to neutrals with pops of color using art and accents (a bright pillow or a painting). Cozy and relaxing are the goals.
- Rugs can also add color and texture to your living room. Place one to designate a conversation area or a pathway.
- Colorful throw pillows that work together, as well as matching throw blankets, give the living room a well-balanced look.
- Accessories can make a big difference. Add warm touches like flowers or an interesting decorative piece (vases, candles, coffee table books). But remember, “less is more!”
- Hang the largest piece of art on your largest wall.
- Let a slideshow of beautiful images play on your television like a screensaver. Or, remove your television altogether.
Bring on the light
- Replace dark curtains with light, neutral-colored ones.
- Update lighting if it’s dim. Put bright bulbs in all the lamps.
- Open the blinds to let more natural light in.
- If your kitchen is dated, paint the cabinet fronts. This provides a huge facelift without a big investment. Replace the hardware for an additional fresh look.
- Pack up all the dishes except one attractive, matching set. Do the same with glassware, silverware, and cookware. Pare down all other cupboard and drawer items to the minimum.
- The kitchen may be the heart of the home, but it shouldn’t look lived in when you’re trying to sell. Remove everything from the counters, including small appliances. Clean until gleaming. Then add one or two decorative items, like a vase of flowers or bowl of fresh fruit. A bowl of lemons is popular with professional stagers and seems to resonate with buyers.
- Make sure the oven and the refrigerator are sparkling clean. Your kitchen sink should be free of clutter and shining clean as well. Consider replacing the kitchen faucet, which gives even older sinks an upgraded look. Rub the inside of the sink with a cut lemon to make your whole kitchen smell great.
Master Bedroom & Bath
Making small changes can have a big impact on a room’s ambiance.
- Replace bedding with crisp new linens.
- Professional stagers recommend white sheets and pillows, which create a clean aesthetic.
- Add color to the bed with a bright pillow or throw blanket.
- Pull the bed away from the wall.
Create a serene setting:
- No televisions or video game consoles.
- Clear out any personal items.
- Remove all but the necessary furniture.
Your closet: See our earlier article Staging Your House for Sale for staging tips on how to maximize the appearance of storage space in your closet and improve its appearance.
Create a luxury spa look with:
- A fancy soap dispenser
- New, fluffy white towels
- Decorative baskets, candles, or plants
- A new white shower curtain
- A new bath mat.
- Clean everything until it shines. Replace grout if necessary.
- Replace the faucets and shower head if they’re old.
- Time for a new sink? Try a pedestal sink to optimize space.
- Put a fresh coat of paint on the cabinets. Organize and declutter any drawers, cupboards or shelving.
- Remove everything from your bathroom countertops.
- Always have a fresh, new soap in an attractive container.
- Remove the wastebasket.
- Keep the toilet lid down.
- Remove leaves from your dining room table to make the room appear larger.
- Improve lighting: open blinds, hang light-colored curtains, update lighting fixtures.
- Add house plants, a bowl of fruit or fresh flowers.
- Let buyers see how they might entertain in the space. Set out some chic place settings around the table, or place a few wine glasses and a decanter on the buffet.
- Try to strike a balance between overly formal and too casual.
Outdoor Living Spaces
Don’t forget to stage outdoor living spaces. Replace the cushions on your patio furniture, add some colorful pillows, and create a conversational seating area. Add one or two flowering or lush green plants. If you don’t have a large outdoor living space like a patio, even a small porch can fit a couple chairs. Or create an outdoor living space on your lawn by adding a bistro table and chairs in a corner.
Questions about staging? Want to hire a professional stager? You can contact the Real Estate Staging Asssociation at 888-201-8687.
Should you hire a professional stager?
Statistics show that hiring a professional stager pays off. Pro stagers understand current trends, and can use that knowledge to stage your home to sell best in the current home market. Their objectivity, ability to see from a buyer’s perspective, and understanding of how buyers make their decisions allow them to stage your home better and more easily than you can do yourself.
Pros will work with professional photographers and your real estate agent to make sure your home’s photographs will attract potential buyers and generate showings. Pros also develop relationships with industry partners like painters, carpet installers, gutter cleaners, and so forth. They can often pass the savings on to you and ensure you get quality service.
Related: What to Do Before Putting Your House on the Market
How do I hire a professional stager?
Ask your real estate agent if there are any stagers they recommend, and research your options. Be sure to view their portfolios, ask about their resources (do they own or rent their furniture, for instance) and insurance. Ask for references, and interview before you hire.
Secure a professional REALTOR®
If you’re thinking of selling your home this spring, call Scott Haubrich at (612) 298-5400 or send an email to email@example.com for more information. Click here to go to the homepage.