Home Staging Ideas
To Sell That Home Fast

Home staging is simply the art of aesthetically preparing a home for resale.
It is a means to get an edge on the competition and have your home "positively" stand-out among a sea of similarly priced properties.

These tips are a guideline to follow should you elect to do your own staging. There are professional home stagers who are skilled in quickly identifying potential issues or concerns future home purchasers may have. A new set of eyes will notice things you've been overlooking for years.

A Welcoming Entry

Curb Appeal

Set the home staging process right from the moment a potential buyer pulls up to your home. What do they see as they are approaching? Are the hedges an overgrown mass blocking the front of the home? Are there weeds growing all along the walkway? These are easy fixes that can make a difference.

Consider these tips:

  • Keep a well-groomed or manicured lawn. Trim hedges, pull weeds and add some fresh mulch to beds. You may want to power wash the walkway or front porch. Perhaps the entire home. Have a deck? Power wash and re-stain it. You can rent a power washer for under $75.00 per day.

  • Purchase a new entry mat to "Welcome" the prospective homeowners and keep porches, walkways and decks swept clean for showings. Remove unnecessary items and consider staging the porch with some seating and a small table to define outdoor living areas. Purchase some potted flowers to sit in a decorative planter beside the front door or flanking the entry stairs. It's all about presentation. If a painted porch is badly chipped or peeling, repaint it.

  • Repaint or clean a dingy front door. Clean the front windows and those on the front door and storm door. Replace torn screens and burnt-out light bulbs. Maybe even add some new decorative house numbers to the entry.

  • Do a general walk around the home. Do you see clutter or personal belongings such as ladders, shovels, or children's toys laying about? If so, place them out of sight.

With a little sweat equity you can get your exterior to shine and pull potential buyers into your home. That's your goal after all!

"Decluttering and Depersonalizing"

You are eventually moving so start the home staging process by packing some of your personal belongs away. This will help ease the moving process and more importantly, will make your rooms feel larger which is an important selling feature. People want space so let your rooms appear as large as possible.

  • Clothing, laundry, shoes and sporting gear should be out of sight during a showing. Place items neatly away with these closet organization ideas.

  • Pack up personal family portraits and pictures. I know it may be difficult but a prospective buyer must be able to envision themselves in your home.

  • Pack up or store away CDs, DVDs, audio equipment, gaming equipment, computer equipment, etc. Consider staging an extra room as an office with only the bare necessities visible, such as a laptop, to define the use of the space.

  • Pack up excessive toys and baby items that may be in common living areas of the home. You can pull that playpen back out after the showing.

  • Clear off your kitchen counters and get a head start in packing up some of your dishware and cookware. Excessive kitchen gadgets or appliances should be removed. Keep it simple and orderly.


You want your house to be as perfect as possible so do a thorough cleaning in every room. Pay particular attention to kitchens and bathrooms.

Be sure to address these areas:

  • Sinks, Tubs, Showers and Toilets: Scour them all thoroughly. Don't forget to scrub your shower doors either. A grimy door is a big turn off. Replace nasty shower curtain liners too. Don't forget to wipe down all the fixtures to remove soap scum and water marks. Make them shine.

  • Counter Tops: Clean and degrease them if necessary. Clean grout stains if applicable.

  • Appliances: Clean stove tops, range hoods, ovens and refrigerators. Even washers and dryers should be cleaned and wiped down.

  • Laundry Areas: Place dirty laundry in a laundry basket with a lid. Even laundry rooms can be staged to show off their potential.

  • Pet Areas: Litter boxes should be well cleaned at all times. Soiled carpets need to be neutralized as trapped pet odors can be a "deal breaker".
    Mix a small spray bottle with half water and half white vinegar, spray the soiled area and rub in with an old washcloth or soft bristle brush. Let dry fully and vacuum. For tougher odors consider applying baking soda. Work it in with a damp cloth or brush and let it absorb the odors overnight. Vacuum once the area has been treated. Alternate these two frugal home staging remedies to save some money and rid some odors.
    Don't forget to clean up pet waste in your yards before a showing either! Be sensitive to the fact that your future homeowners may not have or want pets and do not want signs of them lingering long after you have moved out.

Home Staging

At this point you have hopefully packed away a lot of your personal effects and have removed unnecessary items that you can live without while your home is on the market.

Consider the following when staging:

  • Arrange or "stage" rooms to show off their features and size. Keep it simple. Remove extraneous pieces that are unnecessary.

  • Do you have a fireplace? Don't block it with furniture. Stage your seating around it to create a cozy, inviting area.

  • If your furniture is oversized, consider storing it and renting or borrowing some furniture that has better scale for the size of the space.

  • If there is a formal dining room and eat-in kitchen area, stage them both as such. These are great selling features.

  • People are obsessed with storage and closet space so you can bet they are going to check yours. Clean, organize and stage them nicely to show off their capacity. Having them overflowing with items will send up red flags and make it appear as though there are storage issues. This goes for kitchen cabinets too, so try to organize and reduce what you have stored. Pack, pack, pack!

  • Stage furniture appropriately to define a room's purpose. A "catch-all" spare bedroom that is currently used for storage should be staged as a bedroom. Consider renting or borrowing a bed, or use an air mattress to make one. Elevate it with cardboard boxes and "hide" it all with a nice bedding set that reaches the floor or contains a bed skirt to mask the boxes.

  • Have the furniture layouts make sense. Don't block entryways, doorways or normal flow of foot traffic.

  • Borrow furniture or accents from other rooms if they are needed and available. Stage for a more minimalist approach when in doubt and use an "editing eye" at all times. Home staging is an art.
  • Consider hiring a stager or consultant come in to assist with better furniture placement and well appointed rooms. They can also offer additional suggestions to potentially assist with the sale of your home.
  • Do you have a garage? Whether attached or detached, consider cleaning it and staging it as well to show off its ability to both store tools and yard equipment and house vehicles.

Additional Suggestions and Considerations

Home Staging may also require some interior fixes and updates. New paint in a neutral color palette may be necessary, new carpeting may be suggested, and updated lighting may also be of benefit. Broken or missing items, such as cracked tile or missing cabinet handles, should be repaired or replaced. Consider updating your bath with a new towel rack set that matches your sink faucet finish. Display new or decorative towels that accentuate the bathroom.

Outdated items or "looks" may need attention too. Brass fixtures are "out" so an update may be necessary if you're expecting top dollar. Kitchen cabinets may benefit from some new hardware or a darker stain color. Perhaps even a coat of white paint for a clean, fresh look. It's all a matter of how much you are willing to spend and how quickly you want to sell. If you have plenty of time, you can implement updates as you get feedback from the realtors as to "the negatives" that may have been mentioned.

You may want to visit the Room Makeover Ideas section for further assistance during your home staging efforts.

Showing Preparations

Relate your home to that of a hotel room upon arrival. Everything should be clean, vacuumed, beds made, new towels/linens hanging, etc. Apply this idea throughout your home staging efforts. Yes, it does require some work but you never know when your future buyer will walk through that door. Win them over as best you can.

Displaying House Numbers
Adhere entry numbers to a large flat rock for a unique, decorative look that shows pride of ownership.

Home Staging Tips and Reminders

  • Sweep off your front entry and walkway. Straighten your entry mat (if applicable) or any other rugs/mats in the home.

  • Vacuum throughout your home. Carpets with no visible "foot-traffic" marks create nice presentation.

  • Consider spraying a light air freshener 30 minutes before the showing. You do not want it to appear that you are trying to mask odors however.
    Pier 1 Imports® carries some of my favorites. Try Citrus Cilantro or Ginger Peach as some fresh, clean, non-overpowering fragrances.

  • Keep your thermostat at a nice, comfortable temperature; 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit for all seasons is a good setting. This is cool enough for central air in the Summer and not too warm for Winter showings. Speaking of Winter showings, keep walkways and stairs clear of snow and ice.

  • Do one last walk-through to make sure everything is staged properly for your visitors.

These home staging tips should keep you well ahead of your competition.
Stage your home to show its best potential!

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