5 Tips for Home Staging

Written by: Christy Teachey

I am a mom, military spouse, and my family and friends call me their part-time decorator. I have always loved helping those around me spruce up their homes whether for a special holiday, a party they are hosting, or just because they want a change. I am completely self-taught and have learned over the years how to make big changes on a small budget. My husband and I have moved 11 times in 19 years so I learned how to make a home that is not so perfect feel cozy and inviting and stage furniture even when it is not made for a space. Therefore, as we are preparing to move -yet again- I thought I would share some of my home staging tips with you to get a home ready to sell FAST!

1. CLEAN AND DE-CLUTTER

kitchen island staged real estate

This is probably the most obvious advice for your home staging efforts, but it is also one of the most important things to do when staging a home. First, do a thorough deep clean of your home. Clean the carpets, scrub the baseboards, even clean the oven and clean out the fridge…you get the idea. Make sure your home is squeaky clean. Once you tackle the cleaning, you need to simplify and de-clutter. Clearing the clutter allows your home to look larger and well maintained. It also allows the potential buyer to visualize their stuff in the home. Do you have smaller pieces of furniture, toys, or appliances that are causing your home to look chaotic? Take it to storage or get rid of it. You are moving anyway. Remove some of the smaller appliances from the kitchen counter-tops (think toasters, butcher blocks, blenders, etc.) Take out the small furniture to open up the floor space. Put away the toys. Keep it simple and clean.

kitchen de-cluttered staged real estate

Let’s face it, kitchens SELL homes. For some reason we always gather in the kitchen making it an area that buyers take notice. So take your time when staging this area. You don’t want to simply take everything off your kitchen counters and call it a day. You do still use the kitchen daily but limit the things that you have out and use. I cleared the counters of the coffee pot, paper towel holder, and butcher block storing them in the cabinets below. I filled these areas of the counter with a decorative bowl filled with fresh fruit, colorful canisters, and a pretty nautical themed platter. Now the area shows function without being overwhelmed with clutter.

 

2. NEUTRALIZE AND DE-PERSONALIZE

master bedroom staged real estate

For the master bedroom I changed out the bedding with a simple white coverlet then added the pops of color with coastal themed accent pillows and art work above the bed. By having only a few colors in the room it draws your eye around the space without putting to much attention on one area…the bed. Now the space feels open and much larger.

Since my style is inherently neutral, I did not have to do much in this area when staging my home. However, I know many people that will need to invest some time, and even a little bit of money, into this. The best paint colors for home staging are taupes, beiges, whites, and greys. The really hot trend in paint right now is “greige”, which is actually a fusion of grey and beige. If you have wallpaper, a funky accent wall or bold color walls, it is a good idea to neutralize it with these suggested paint colors. It is not to say that your taste is wrong it is just taste specific and you don’t want to alienate the masses. The same can go for accent furniture, throw pillows, rugs, and drapes. According to research, a neutral take on transitional and contemporary design is best for selling a home. Adding more current and contemporary accents to your home’s décor can also make your home appear to be more up to date and in the current times. You may need to take a trip to your local Homegoods or check out home decorating magazines to see the current trends and find some coordinating items. Think neutral walls, drapes and furnishings with pops of color achieved in the throw pillows, rugs, and by adding fresh flowers. Also, take down some of your personal photos. Remember when selling, photos of your home will be on-line and available for potential buyers. You don’t want to be a target for others. Therefore, take down the kid’s artwork and school pictures and replace them with neutral art or a picture of the local area. You want buyers to see themselves living in the space and if you have pictures of your family everywhere it is difficult for them to envision.

kids bedroom staged

This room is actually the bonus/ den space in the home. But, as you see I currently use the space as one of my kids bedrooms. So again, make sure you stage a room to show a purpose regardless of what that purpose may be. I cleared the clutter by putting away toys and stuffed animals into storage. I kept with the coastal theme since we live so close to the beach with surfboard themed bedding but the walls and curtains are neutral. I also limited the art work with only a few prints on the walls.

 

3. GIVE PURPOSE TO EACH ROOM

study/ flex room staged

My family use this room as a study space, arts and crafts, game night, and overflow when we are entertaining and hosting dinner parties. So I kept with the purpose of the room but organized the messes. I left the table in the room to show a potential buyer the multi use of the space but put everything else away in storage bins in the rooms closet.

Unfortunately the majority of buyers find difficulty in seeing the potential in a room. Therefore, the seller will need to provide a clear purpose to each room and space in the home. Do you have a room only used for storage? This is a staging no-no! Clear it out and create a specific purpose for the room. Make it an office space by adding a desk and small chair or add a gaming table to the room. Add a board game, a lamp, and a few plants. Voila! You can add plants and fresh flowers to a space to provide color. Another area to keep in mind is children’s play areas. If you have toys scattered all over the house clean them up and confine the toys to a designated area. Put them in storage bins or a toy box or even take some things to storage if you need to while your home is on the market. Remember it is just temporary. You want to create a space that is family friendly but not one that is only for kids.

bonus room staged

This room is actually a HUGE bedroom in the home. So I am currently using the space for many purposes. I tried to define the space with area rugs so one side is an office space while the other side I placed an accent chair and different area rug to add a separate seating area. Defining space with area rugs is one of the easiest and cost effective methods when home staging.

4. IF IT’S BROKEN, FIX IT!

house front exterior

To spruce up the exterior I repainted the front door and cleaned the outside windows. I also added accent rugs, throw pillows to the porch area as well as potted plants to the entryway. To make everything complete I put out mulch around the homes exterior landscape to freshen it up.

When putting your home on the market you want to eliminate any potential problems a buyer may find wrong with your home. So make the necessary improvements, first! This includes replacing non-functioning light bulbs, touching up scuffed walls, changing the air filters, and adding flowers or mulch to your landscape. You want the home to show that you have taken good care of it. The goal of home staging is to highlight your home’s best features while also taking out any doubt someone may have about potential problems. You don’t want to give someone a reason to discount your home. Also for the pet owners…you need to get the litter box and kennels out of the house. When you have a showing put your pet in the garage in their crates or outside. You don’t want buyers to be greeted by your animals or their smell.

master bathroom staged

Bathrooms are HUGE selling features in a home. So make sure you clean it up well. The master bath has these amazing shelves for storage above the sink that is typically used for my day to day beauty routine. But, when staging I took all that stuff out and placed them in baskets in the cabinets below. Then simplified the shelves with hand towels, a candle, and bought pretty vases to display the other items. Now the space is free of personalized items and yet still looks inviting and functional.

powder room staged

This is one of the most used rooms as this bathroom is right off the main living area. So I had to entirely repaint and touch up the walls. I also simplified the decor with only an arrangement of driftwood since we live so close to the beach. The last finishing touch was a pop of green with a small plant.

 

5. MAKE YOUR HOME FEEL LIKE “HOME” – ADD THE FINISHING TOUCHES

living room staged

In the living room I took out my big 8×10 rug and added a much smaller striped one instead. The striped rug is still to scale for the space but opens up the room and shows off the beautiful wood floors. In addition, I added a throw blanket to the side chair and lit a candle on the coffee table.

Now to the fun part of home staging! Research shows that potential buyers will make an offer on a home because of the way the home made them “feel”. So you need to appeal to emotions by providing an environment that feels welcoming and warm. Once you have cleaned, de-cluttered, repaired, and neutralized your home, you need to add the finishing touches. Some of the easiest ways to make your home stand out from the rest are by adding fresh flowers and candles. You want your home to “welcome” potential buyers. While adding fresh scents are one way to do it you also want to cozy up the space. Add throw blankets placed strategically on the couch or end of your bed so people feel like they want to sit down and enjoy the space. Another way is by displaying baked goods or fresh fruit in a pretty bowl in the kitchen. Just make sure you don’t make it look cluttered. You only want a few items on tables or counters. Turn on the lights! Lighting is often overlooked but before every showing turn all the lights on. No one wants to walk into a dark room. Open the blinds and make sure every light is on so you can show off the space and make it appear bright and inviting. If you feel a little overwhelmed or unsure about what to do, I would suggest investing in a home staging service. Many Realtors now are including this service in their marketing plans so be sure to ask if it is offered. After all, your home is more than likely your biggest financial asset and you should treat it as such. So take the time to make it show in the best way possible.

backyard outdoor patio staged

On the patio I arranged the furniture to take full advantage of the wooded view to the back yard. Also, by adding accent chairs to the fire pit, which is a huge selling feature, it immediately draws your eye to that space. I finished it up by adding the beverage cart and flowers. Now the potential buyer can envision themselves enjoying the space.

Check out the photos of my home as we prepare to sell to get more home staging ideas.

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