Staging Your Home to Sell

Home staging is a seller’s secret weapon for a successful home sale, especially in a buyer’s real estate market. Staging the home allows you to highlight your home’s strengths, downplay its weaknesses and appeal to the widest possible pool of buyers. Whether you’re a first-time seller or a seasoned real estate agent, follow these inexpensive staging tips to solve simple selling problems and showcase your home.

“My home is so small! How can I make the rooms appear larger?”

  • Remove clutter. When it comes to selling a home, less can be more. Get a jump-start on packing by clearing clutter from kitchen counters, bookshelves and tables. And don’t forget the closets – the less stuff you have in your closets, the more storage space you will appear to have – a top priority for buyers.
  • Depersonalize your home. Remove family portraits, personal mementos and knick-knacks. This way buyers can imagine living in your home and making their own memories – rather than taking a tour down your family’s memory lane.
  • Remove at least one piece of furniture in every room. Smart sellers stage their homes by removing at least one piece of furniture from every room. In fact, many professional stagers will remove up to 50% of an owner’s furniture. Your rooms will look bigger and have a clear purpose.
  • Use paint to make your space larger. Painting two rooms the same warm neutral color will make them appear bigger. For example, a single color for the living room and dining room will make both rooms feel like one big space. Choose a complementary tone for window treatments, which will open up the space and create a sophisticated look.
  • Be strategic in furniture placement. Rather than pushing your sofa against the wall, group chairs into conversational groups and make traffic flow obvious, which will also open up the room.

“I have unfinished home projects – and one room is just a giant storage closet!”

  • Repurpose unfinished projects. If you have an unfinished remodel, do your best to tie up any obvious loose ends. For example, an easy way to hide an unfinished flooring project (like basement carpeting) is with inexpensive rubber padding, a few pillows and fabric on the walls. Ta-da! You’ve just created an in-home yoga studio or meditation room.
  • Every room needs a purpose. Most of us have a spare room we use for storage. Transform that room into a small home office or craft room with the addition of an armchair, small table and warm lamp. No buyer should ever wonder, “How will I use this space?”
  • Play musical furniture. Don’t be afraid to repurpose or move furniture between different rooms in your house. For example, relocating an extra armchair and accent table into your bedroom creates a cozy sitting area and looking for similar opportunities should be added to your home staging checklist.
  • Create purpose with lighting. Define your rooms with strategically placed lighting, split into three types: ambient (overhead), task (a desktop reading lamp) and accent (wall sconces or a table lamp). Aim for at least 100 watts for every 50 square feet.

“My old home looks outdated, but I can’t afford a major remodel. How can I make it look contemporary?”

  • Update your kitchen on a budget. Rather than purchasing new cabinets, simply update the hardware. Instead of swapping out your old dishwasher, update the front panel with laminate contact paper, giving your kitchen a contemporary stainless steel look for less.
  • Hide bathroom problems. Clean up shower scum, paint over dated tile using a high-adhesion primer and ceramic epoxy covering, or update an old vanity with a stylish pedestal sink. Finish off the spa face-lift with rolled towels in a decorative basket and a few pillar candles.
  • Paint your walls a fresh neutral color. Sorry, folks, but those bold colored walls in your living room need to go! When it comes to neutral colors, think beyond off-white and consider a warm beige or honey tone, or even a soft blue or green. Fresh neutrals are appealing to a wide range of buyers. Save the dramatic jewel tones for a smaller space, like a powder room or accent wall.
  • Use contemporary accessories to enhance your space. Rather than placing accessories in a line, create a triangle arrangement of three accessories on tables or bookshelves. For maximum effect, choose accessories with a unifying element, like shape, color or texture – while varying width and height.
  • Spruce up curb appeal. When staging your home, don’t forget the outside! Even in the winter, a little curb appeal goes a long way. Prune brushes, remove dead flowers, rake the leaves and clean off the sidewalks.