Potential buyers will see all the stylish possibilities your home offers with home staging tips that give you a professional look on a budget. Staging a home for sale can be a DIY project that brings in all the offers you know your place is worth. Apply professional decorating techniques when staging your home and help your listing stand out in any real estate market.
Let in All the Natural Light
Windows and natural light are big selling points for homes, so make sure yours stands out. Remove bulky or dated window treatments and let the natural light shine through. Keep drapes and shades simple and understated with sheers or lightweight woven shades or wood blinds to keep the focus on your home's architecture. Be sure that windows are clean and sills are free of clutter, so there's nothing distracting from the beautiful views around your home.
Pay Close Attention to Commonly Overlooked Areas
Places that you may not notice often in your own home can stand out to potential buyers. Give a thorough cleaning to baseboards, crown molding, door handles, and light switches. Give kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities a proper wipe-down as well. These are rarely cleaned areas in many homes and having them free of scuffs, marks, and stains will help potential buyers feel that the space is clean and easy to maintain. Remember, things that you notice in other homes are the same things that buyers will notice in yours. Also consider tucking away pet bowls and beds, personal documents, and work-from-home papers.
Declutter Kitchen Counters
Kitchens easily gather clutter, and guests understand that a little clutter is just part of life. However, when selling a home, you want potential buyers to truly see the beautiful details of the house. Keep kitchen counters as open, clean, and uncluttered as possible. You want buyers to see how much counter space is available, and clutter will certainly be a distraction. Depending on the size of your kitchen, one to three items displayed on your counter should be the limit. One small appliance, a vase of flowers, and a decorative tray is truly all you need. If you have an island, have one item on display in the center - like a bowl of fruit or a candle - and make sure the rest of the island is free of clutter.
Give a Great First Impression With an Inviting Entrance
Whether you have a grand foyer or a small entrance area in your home, make sure that the first impression buyers have of your home is a good one. The way someone feels when they first walk into your home will be one of the most important things they remember about the house. This could be the door they walk through for years to come, so make it feel like home the first time they step inside. Start with the exterior and make sure the front door is clean, free of debris, and feels welcoming. Add a decorative wreath or a welcome mat that lets buyers know that this is not just a house, but a home. Once they step inside, make sure that every space they can see from the door is clean and free of clutter. Try a scented candle somewhere near the entrance and plenty of lighting, whether natural or artificial, to make the space feel warm and bright. Make sure there are no shoes, bags, or soiled rugs near the door. If space allows, add a mirror to make the area feel larger.
Make Everything Cozy
Though you want your home to have plenty of open space and feel spotless, you also want buyers to feel at home and comfortable when they walk in. Be sure to add cozy elements to every room. Blankets, pillows, upholstered chairs and ottomans, rugs, warm lighting, and plenty of soft textures will help buyers visualize themselves settling down for the evening after a long day in their potential new home. Also consider adding a few details that add a subtle "lived in" quality without feeling too personal. A book on a nightstand, fresh cookies on the counter, and stuffed animals on a child's bed all show potential buyers how this house can quickly feel like a home.
Create Separation of Spaces
Open floor plans are a feature many home buyers want, but the lack of separation between living, dining, and entertainment spaces can feel jarring at first. Make sure potential buyers can see all the possibilities of the space and all the separate "rooms" within an open floor plan. Use rugs and accent lighting to designate spaces and try facing furniture inward, with backs toward the kitchen or dining room, rather than facing toward them awkwardly. This helps showcase that the area is not so much one large room, but two or three standard rooms in one open space. If space allows, create small areas that seem like rooms themselves, like a reading nook near the window, a small office near the living room, or a dining space at the kitchen island.
Make Sure Cabinets & Closets Are Tidy
As people walk through your home, they're going to want to see how deep the pantry is, how big the closets are, and how easily the drawers and cabinets close. You don't need to empty everything of its contents. However, move anything that you won't use in the next three to six months to storage. Think winter coats, holiday casserole dishes, and heavy duty cleaning equipment. For everything else, make sure items are as tidy as possible and shelves are free of clutter, dust, and debris. You might also try concealing small necessities in zipper pouches, storage containers, and small bins, so they're accessible and organized.
Declutter & Decorate Shelving
Built-in shelving is a big selling point for homes, but you don't want potential buyers to be discouraged by seeing this quality as just one more place to clean and tidy regularly. Give shelving a thorough decluttering and cleaning. Make sure there's no visible dust or unexplainable marks. Leave plenty of open space on each shelf and decorate surfaces like a pro. Use items of varying height and stick to one or three items per shelf if the unit is small. If displaying books, turn them around so that the page edges are facing out and the spine is facing toward the back of the shelf.
Stick to the Rule of Three When Decorating
Whether it's pillows on a sofa, trinkets on tabletops, or items on your fireplace hearth, apply the designer rule of three when decorating. Three decorative items of focus are the most visually pleasing number for most people because it looks balanced and full without feeling cluttered or heavy. Stick to this rule as often as possible for an easy way to create decorative settings that look professionally designed.
Use Warm & Cool Lighting Appropriately
The light bulb you choose for lamps and light fixtures can set the mood for your room. While cool lights feel clean and bright, warm lights feel cozy and welcoming. Help potential home buyers feel comfortable in your living room and welcomed in your entry with warm lights. Use cool lights in the kitchen and bathrooms for a clean feeling. Warm bulbs in your exterior light fixtures will tell guests that your home is cozy before they ever step inside.
Use Beautiful Storage in Bathrooms
Bathrooms can feel cluttered with even a few things in sight, and storage might be limited in smaller bathrooms or half-baths. If you're still living in your home but want it to feel professionally staged for home buyers, use beautiful storage solutions in your bathroom to keep necessities organized and out of the way. Baskets on shelves, clear bins in cabinets, and beautiful towel racks will keep the things you need within reach without compromising on the cleanliness of your staged home. For small items like skin care products and toiletries, consider adding a wall shelf with doors or organizing your vanity drawers with small bins and trays.
Create a Few Vignettes Around Your Home
Set up a few staged areas, or vignettes, in your home to help draw the attention of potential buyers and showcase the purpose and function of different spaces. Try a bedside table with a carafe for water, a stack of books, and a candle. For kitchen islands, try a pitcher of ice water or tea with glasses on a tray. Add a blanket and book to one side of a sofa or a neat stack of logs near the fireplace. These stylized spaces will add personal touches to your staged home and help potential buyers visualize themselves inside the space.
Easy Upgrades to Help Your Home Stand Out
There are some details that your home might benefit from if you spent a little extra time updating them. Make a few simple, easy, and budget-friendly swaps to help your home stand out with potential buyers.
- Swap basic mirrors over bathroom vanities for stylized ones. Look for modern shapes, antique frames, or sleek designs that fit the style of your home.
- Make vanities pop by painting them a fun or dark color. This is a simple upgrade that helps a standard bathroom stand out. Try rich greens, powder blues, vibrant corals, or deep grays to update your vanity.
- Add crown molding to your main living areas and hallways to give your home an elevated look.
- Update builder-grade faucets in bathrooms and kitchens for a designer look. Try trending black, bronze, or gold finishes for an updated style.
- Add under-cabinet lighting in your kitchen. This is an easy update that will make your kitchen look custom and designer.
- Add flare to your laundry space by painting cabinetry, adding helpful tools, and updating flooring so the space feels like an additional room of the house rather than just a space for folding laundry.
Details to Skip When Staging Your Home
There are some staging practices that make little impact on potential buyers. Skip these details to save on your time and budget so you can focus on those more impactful practices that will help your home shine.
- Setting the table - A simple centerpiece is all you need for your dining or kitchen table. You can skip the elaborate place settings and matching flatware.
- Removing all of your family photos - Family photos can help make your home feel welcoming. Leave your family photos on the wall and try to cut down on table top decor by removing any excess photo frames.
- Setting out too much decor - You don't want to overwhelm your potential home buyers with an abundance of decor and nicknacks. Less is always more for keeping decor simple and elegant.
- Crowding the walls - Don't overthink wall decor. Bare walls will not deter home buyers when touring your home. Keep walls empty if that is the simplest approach for you.
Let Designer Staging Sell Your Home
Every house can be the perfect home for buyers with the application of professional staging principles that you can do yourself. With designer tips and style hacks, you can showcase the potential of your home and help buyers see just how perfect it is for their family. Make small tweaks to your decor and add helpful updates along the way to get your home sold.