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8 Simple Steps to Staging Your House

Staging your home doesn’t have to be complicated or overly taxing. With 8 smart tasks, your house can be warm, welcoming and sell quickly.



October 1, 2019

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When you really think about it, there are three kinds of open houses: the first is the empty house that feels eerie, hollow and makes you wonder why its last owners got out so quickly. The second is the full house that feels so very, very lived-in that you wonder if the current owners could move (or even if they really want to). The third is the staged house with enough personality to feel that humans actually live there balanced with enough airy space to help you envision yourself moving in.

Staging your home doesn’t have to be complicated or overly taxing. With 8 smart tasks, your house can be warm, welcoming and sell quickly.

1. Looking good from the outside.

Curb appeal is real. Make sure you the lawn and bushes are trimmed and tidy. Add some flowers for a little bit of visual interest and color. Power wash steps, get the cobwebs off your light fixtures and plan for a fresh coat of paint on the porch or front door. Fix any loose boards or shaky hand rails. Last step? A fresh and clean and new welcome mat.  

2. Light from within.

Make sure that light is abundant when a potential buyer tours your home. Open up window coverings and move furniture that may block natural light from passing through. Turn on every light in the house. Yup, every single one. Floor lamps and strategically placed mirrors can banish darkness from any corner -- and can make rooms feel bigger too.

3. Cut the clutter.

De-cluttering your entire house is daunting, so instead, focus on the items that rest on surfaces first to make a quick, big impact. Take everything off your mantle, your coffee table, the top of a credenza. Box up photos, knick-knacks, kids’ toys and coasters. Recycle magazines and newspapers. Straighten up cupboards (we know people look inside) and box up the contents of any shove-stuff-in-there-spaces (including that one drawer in the kitchen).

4. Show off how functional your space can really be…to other people.

If you have a 3 bedroom house, but use one of those rooms for a gym and another for an office, it may be super functional for you but won’t appeal to a family of four. Set up each room for its designed, intended use. Bedrooms with beds, dining rooms with a table and chairs, living rooms with a couch. Even storage areas, if tidy, can have a ton of appeal for a prospective buyer. Use or Facebook Marketplace to purchase any pieces that might help rooms really show off their function.

5. Get rid of extra furniture.

Though the right furniture can help highlight function, too much furniture can make rooms seem small. One night stand, one coffee table, one couch, enough chairs to make conversation areas—but that’s it. And make sure that furniture doesn’t block pathways from one room to the next; you don’t want a potential buyer scooting around an overstuffed arm chair just to get to the kitchen.  

6. Give bathrooms and kitchen mini-facelifts.

Clean tile and shiny fixtures go a long way when staging bathrooms and kitchens, but a few additional tasks can take you even further. Paint tired cabinets in a light color to make your kitchen seem clean and fresh. Get the dead bugs out of your bathroom light fixture, put out a new set of hand towels and shower curtain and burn a clean smelling candle.  And of course, clear counters of toiletries and make sure your prescription drugs are out of the medicine cabinets.  

7. Freshen up paint everywhere.

Nothing helps a home feel more move-in ready than a new coat of paint. Select neutral colors for most walls but show a little personality with an accent wall or two to keep your house from feeling antiseptic-white. Don’t fuss with new moulding paint unless your home really, really needs it. For about $100 a room and some elbow grease, you should be able to give your home the fresh face it needs to appeal to a new buyer.

8. Dial in the details.

As a final step on staging your house, set up fresh cut flowers in vases and bowls of fruit in the kitchen and on the dining room table. Place a throw blanket and matching pillows for each bed. Pop slice-and-bake cookies in the oven. Fluff your sofa cushions with confidence, and know you’ve given your home what it needs to sell well and sell quickly.

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