Staged living room

Great staging can make all the difference when you're trying to sell your property.


Prepare your home for sale with some simple staging techniques that will entice buyers to make an offer.

Skillful staging can make the difference between a quick sale and a house that lingers on the market for months. But while you know that staging will help you sell, how do you know which staging projects will have the biggest impact?

Here are six home-staging tips to ensure your house shows well — and sells quickly.

1. Clean, clean, and clean

We all live with a few dust bunnies (some more than others), but noticeable dirt will give a potential buyer the impression that your home is not well-cared-for.

If you can’t deep-clean the place yourself, then hire a cleaning service to give it a good going-over. Pay special attention to things such as windows and light fixtures — anything that will make the space feel brighter and more cheerful once cleaned.

Before each showing, wipe down surfaces with your favorite cleaning product (or these ingredients that can clean almost anything). Don’t overdo the potpourri, but a faint smell of furniture polish or cleanser helps give buyers an impression of cleanliness. Consider choosing an all-natural cleaning solution to avoid any chemical odors.

2. Remove quirky decor and personal mementos

It may break your heart to take down your wedding photos, but you want the buyer to imagine filling your home with her own memories. So pack up your collection of vintage punk rock posters and your Precious Moments figurines and hide them away — for now.

Bonus: This process will also help you let go of the home emotionally as you prepare to pass it on to someone else. Plus, it’ll get your packing process started!

3. Reduce, remove, and declutter

Too much stuff makes a home feel smaller, darker, and more cramped. Take the time to clear horizontal surfaces — no more piles of mail on the hall table or prescription bottles on the bathroom counter.

When the odds and ends of daily life are cleared away, select one or two attractive home accessories that will photograph well, such as a brightly colored vase or a few coffee-table books. Place these more colorful items in areas you want to draw attention to, or near areas you want to shift attention from; savvy placement of tasteful decorations can help soften any less than desirable features in your home. For instance, having an orchid on your bathroom counter can take the focus off the builder-basic mirror.

Pro tip: If you’re planning to move soon after the sale, it might be worth it to pack and move out things such as books and off-season clothing to make storage spaces appear larger (this is also a good time to decide whether you should donate or toss some of those items).

4. There’s nothing like a new coat of paint

Paint brightens things up, masks musty odors, and gives a general appearance of newness and a well-maintained home.

Even touch-up paint makes a big difference, but keep in mind that it can be hard to match an existing color. Although you may have leftover paint from your original paint job, the color on the walls may have faded over time, making the touched-up spots stand out. Thankfully, many paint retailers offer color-matching services that can identify a hue that most closely matches a paint chip from your wall.

If you can’t match the room’s original color, use a lighter complementary color or even white on an accent wall. A few repainted walls throughout the home will give buyers an impression of freshness. You want your home to feel like a blank canvas that people can make their own.

5. Light things up

The right lighting can work wonders plus make a house feel more inviting. When you prepare your home for an open house or a showing, tie back curtains and turn on a few lamps.

You can also try adding a bouquet of fresh flowers in a pretty vase near a window to offer additional visual impact and draw the eye toward outdoor views.

6. Keep it simple

Finally, don’t try to make your home look too fancy. You want your home to look like the best version of itself, so don’t attempt to make it into something it’s not.

If your home is a starter home for a new family, don’t try to gussy it up to look like a luxury pad for Hollywood’s latest darling. Forgo over-the-top details such as fancy place settings on the dining room table or rose petals floating in the bathtub. Keep it simple and focus on cleanliness, good lighting, and clutter-free surfaces to allow your home’s true charm to show through.