How to Stage Your Home for Maximum Appeal

It wasn’t so long ago that no one outside of real estate agents and interior decorators knew what it meant to ‘stage’ a home for selling. The rest of us can thank HGTV for letting us in, at least a little bit, on the concept.

Staging a home means preparing your home to showcase its best features to potential buyers. A properly staged home can mean higher selling prices and less time on the market.

Ultimately, the goal of staging your home is to allow buyers the chance to imagine themselves living there. If potential buyers can imagine themselves living in your home, the offers will follow---heck you may even end with a bidding war.

Make it Looks Like Nobody Lives There

This sounds so counterintuitive. People are viewing a home after all. Don’t they expect to see just that, a home where people live?

Actually, no. People want to be able to picture themselves living there. To that end, you’re aiming to make your home like a blank canvas that your buyers can paint themselves in.

To create this blank canvas, you have to do a lot of things that will make your home feel less homey to you. It’s part of the process of moving, but it will be temporary. Staging your house will help your home sell more quickly, and you’ll be that much closer to settling in your new place.

How do you make things look like a blank canvas? Start with these ideas.

  • Remove most of the items from your shelves, including bookshelves. Remember, your potential buyers need to be able to imagine themselves living in your home, not you. So, put away the knickknacks, souvenirs, and especially photos.
  • Speaking of photos, take down all of your family photos from the walls, shelves, and nightstands. We get it, those photos are precious to you. You enjoy looking at the faces of your loved ones. If you’d rather not keep them out of sight indefinitely, tuck some of your smaller frames neatly away in a drawer. You can take them back out when your house isn’t being shown.
  • Clean off the refrigerator. Magnets, grandkids’ art work, calendars, and yes, photos need to go.

Declutter and Create Space

People in the market to buy a home are going to pass over any home that’s cluttered and crowded. Again, when there’s too much of your stuff taking up space, prospective buyers can’t picture themselves in it. You don’t want this to happen to you, so get ready to create some space in your place.

Decluttering and creating a more spacious feel are going to take some serious work. Here are some things that need some attention:

Papers We’re not judging here. We never get to the bottom of our paperwork either. But you’re trying to sell, so it’s time to make those mounds of paper disappear. Newspapers, sale flyers, catalogues, and magazines need to go. Last week’s mail in your foyer needs to be taken care of, or at least be out of sight.

Cabinets Did you think no one would be poking in your cabinets? Cabinets are part of the house, so yes, people will be looking in all of them. If the cabinets are crammed full, that is a major turnoff to buyers. You probably have stuff in there you never use (we all do). Sell it, donate it, or gift it to a friend.

Closets Closets are part of the house, too. People will be opening them and peeking inside. Don’t have them stuffed to the gills. Take out off-season clothing and store it away. It’s better that people see an extra box in a storage space than a closet bursting at the seams.

Countertops You’re going to be glad you cleared out your cabinets for this. You want to have as little as possible on your countertops. Move as many of your everyday appliances---toasters, coffee makers, utensil caddies---off the counters as you can, without cramming your cabinets. Do use some of the space you cleared in the cabinets to neatly store essential kitchen items away.

Tabletops and Nightstands Again, we all tend to accumulate little bits of things that reflect our habits and interests. Books, cards, knickknacks, day planners all say “personal,” so clear that stuff away. No one should be looking in your bureau drawers, so it’s okay to tuck items away in your drawers.

Deep Clean Everything Before Showing Your Home

The kind of cleaning we’re talking about goes beyond the kind you do before hosting a family gathering, or even having overnight guests. It’s a scouring, polishing, wipe-every-smidge-of-grime, banish-every-dust-bunny, kind of clean. It’s all the stuff you do for spring cleaning, but more.

No one wants to see years-old grime lurking near a doorknob or a baseboard. A sparkling clean home, on the other hand, makes a might good impression.

Get the rugs cleaned, clean the windows, and dust the overhead light fixtures. It’s a ton of work to get your home this clean. Many people opt to have it done professionally and use those hours saved for all other moving tasks that need attention. If you can afford it, it can be well worth the money.

Downsize Your Furniture

It’s time to think about which pieces of furniture you’ll be taking with you to your new home. For the pieces you know you’re not taking, get rid of them as soon as possible. Not sure who wants your old pieces? Ask a senior move manager. They know where to bring donations and whether or not it’s worth it to try to sell your pieces.

The space you gain by getting rid of unwanted furniture will make moving tasks easier. It will be especially helpful in staging your home. Once a couple of pieces are cleared out, you can then rearrange what’s left to highlight the space. Moving furniture away from the walls often makes a room look bigger. It’s worth experimenting with the layout.

Paint the Walls in Neutral Tones

This is big job. Sometimes, it makes sense to invest the time and money into painting. You’ll recoup the costs and more when you sell. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense. Only you can know what’s right for you. There are two things to consider that may help you decide.

First, dark colors make rooms look smaller. It’s why sometimes a bold, dark color in a den feels cozy. The flip side is that lightening the color palette makes rooms seem larger.

Second, neutral colors help make the blank slate buyers need. Bold colors---bright oranges, deep burgundies, etc.---can have an either love-it-or-hate-it quality to them. That’s a chance you don’t want to take.

Staging your home can be a lot of work, but the benefits are significant. A higher offer on your house and getting your home sold more quickly can make it worth the effort.


Ready to start staging your home? Contact us here to get started.