Top 10 Home Staging Tips to
Turn Your House Into a Show Home
Before you dive into staging a house using these 10 home staging tips, a few words of background.
Home Staging (also called House Fluffing, Real Estate Staging and Property Styling) is the art of decorating a home to sell quickly and for top dollar.
From recommending wall colors, repairs and decluttering, to careful arrangement of furniture, art and accessories; professional home stagers guide you through the process to do it yourself, or they take care of all the details for you.
Staging a house is THE way to show your property at it’s best.
If you want to work with a home stager, you will start with a home staging consultation.
You don’t need to prepare anything yourself before your home stager arrives.
Yet, when you use the 10 home staging tips outlined here, you’ll be that much further ahead and get maximum benefit from the home stager’s time.
You’ll get the best value out of your home staging consultation because the home stager will be able to focus on “next level” changes. The things that you wouldn’t have thought of yourself and that make you super happy you got help with staging your house.
When you’ve already used the 10 home staging tips I share here, your home stager won’t use up your time together talking about the simpler problems that you can address on your own.
A Staging Diva® Professional Home Stager knows exactly which changes will make the most significant difference in your selling price and will give you a priority list of recommendations.
Your home stager can implement all the changes they recommend for you. Or you can do the work yourself. It’s entirely up to you.
10 Home Staging Tips To
Sell High. Sell Fast. Sell Smart.™
These 10 low cost home staging tips will get you started on turning your house into a “show home“. This is critical because if you want to get the most money for your home and sell more quickly, you need potential buyers (and their agents) to feel it’s a “hot property”.
Even if you’re not moving now, you will find these home staging tips also make your home more relaxing and enjoyable to live in.
Here are the most important tips to staging a house:
1. Consider the curb appeal.
Landscaping is nice, but not in everyone’s budget. At minimum, lawns should be freshly mowed, leaves raked, or snow shoveled. Consider a hanging or potted plant for the entrance.
Sweep the porch, deck and all walk ways, and ensure garbage and recycling are tucked neatly away from the front of the house.
Scrub your front door, porch, outside railings and steps. This is cheaper than repainting and makes a world of difference.
Once the outside entrance is clean, decide if the paint really needs a touch up. Do you need a new welcome mat, mailbox, house numbers or porch light? All of these will go a long way to enhancing the impression visitors have when they arrive at your home for the first time.
2. Get rid of clutter!
Pick one closet or area at a time so the task isn’t as daunting. Look at every item with a very critical eye and ask yourself why you’re keeping it.
Remember that how you live in your home and how you sell your house are two entirely different things.
You can get a “show home” look, even with a modest home and furnishings as seen here!
Forget about hanging onto items for a garage sale after your house sells.
Pick your favorite charity and donate what you don’t love or what you no longer need/use.
You paid for these things long ago, why not just give them away to others who REALLY need them?
You’ll probably have to edit the same closets a number of times to really whittle them down to the “essentials”.
If rooms and closets still look cramped, rent a storage locker. A Staging Diva Graduate Home Stager can recommend a location for you.
3. Turn excess inventory into cash.
If you have a collection of items for projects you never got around to, return them. This also applies to the two-year supply of light bulbs, canned goods or paper products sitting in your basement, garage or spare room.
Without a receipt you won’t get cash, but you will have a store credit that you can use once you move. Less clutter and less stuff to pack, move and unpack again!
4. Watch where the eye goes.
There are speedy and low cost solutions to many of the little problems that together make a home seem shabbier than it needs to.
Walk along each corridor and into every room and check where your eye is drawn to. Better yet, ask a critical friend or family member.
If your eye is drawn to the chipped white paint on the door frame, take some “white out” and fill it in. If it’s those old nail holes in the wall, see if you can hang a picture to cover them.
Glue any peeling wallpaper. If it’s really horrible and you can’t afford the time or money to fix it properly, hang pictures and strategically place baskets. You won’t cover the problem entirely (which would be wrong anyway), but you will draw your audience’s attention away from the problem and onto something more visually pleasing to focus on.
5. Find a fix-it person.
Ensure cupboards open and shut and that no taps are dripping. Look in all rooms for things you never got around to fixing and decide which ones might be distracting to potential buyers.
No, it’s not OK for door handles to fall off, even if you have learned to ignore it! Potential buyers will fixate on these annoyances.
A Staging Diva Professional identifies which problems should be fixed and can recommend someone to do the work.
6. Clean, clean and clean again.
Most mortals can’t live in a spotless environment all the time. This can be one of the more stressful aspects of having your home on the market— but it’s worth the effort to sell your home for top dollar.
You can hire a professional service to come in and deep clean everything; then take 30-45 minutes each day to maintain it.
Don’t neglect hallways. They lead potential buyers through your home and should be bright and clutter free.
Consider whether you can turn any of them into useable space, as Staging Diva Grad Grace Prigge did here.
Appliances should sparkle even if you’re not including them with the house. After all, you might throw them in later as a negotiating tool.
Counter tops, taps, sinks and bathtubs should be shiny and free of water spots.
If you have a pedestal sink, don’t forget the dust that collects on top of the plumbing where it attaches to the wall.
If the whole sink is spotless and the taps aren’t dripping, it will look new!
Dust shelves and vacuum or “Swiffer” the floors. Naturally, all beds should be made.
Visiting a recent open house for a home listed over $500,000 (and over 60 days on the market), home staging expert Debra Gould noticed the sellers hadn’t even bothered with these two simple steps! It made potential buyers wonder what bigger things had been neglected.
Remember clean windows let in more light and look newer. Hire a service if you have to— it’s worth the investment.
Staging Diva Professionals know who to call to get your home in sparkling shape. It’s all part of the home staging process.
If all this attention to detail seems over the top, remember that a very clean home leaves the impression that the house is well cared for. This puts buyers at ease— especially first time buyers anxious about the responsibilities of owning a house.
7. Let in some air.
Open some windows for at least 10 minutes. There is nothing worse than walking into a stuffy house or one that smells of smoke and pet odors.
8. Let in some light.
It might be mood lighting to you, but if you’re trying to sell your home, keep it bright! Dimly lit rooms tend to look small and dingy— especially during the day.
If you have a particularly dark room, consider investing in a floor lamp that will bounce light off the ceiling.
Here’s a great example of how a professional home stager can transform a space.
This kitchen was totally dated and would have scared off buyers.
Staging Diva Grad Natalie Campos focussed on all the low cost changes that would have maximum impact.
After painting and new lighting this kitchen is transformed. It no longer looks like it should be ripped out (which adds significantly to what a buyer would be willing to offer) even though it’s still the same cabinetry, appliances, floor and furniture!
If your walls or dated cabinetry are so dark that they’re sucking up all the light, consider repainting.
Pro Tip: You can even buy a small can of a lighter shade of your wall color, mix it with glaze and rub it onto the wall. It will reflect light and give the room a more open feeling. This saves much of the preparation and clean up involved in repainting.
9. Don’t forget fresh flowers.
You don’t need to spend a fortune to have fresh flowers throughout your home.
Even a daisy in a bud vase brightens a bathroom counter. Ask your florist which blooms last a week.
You can also use potted flowering plants that are in season for a low-cost solution.
Don’t use plastic or obviously fake flowers, especially in an expensive home!
10. Carefully consider music.
Soft background music can help create a soothing environment and camouflage neighbor and traffic noise. Keep the volume low.
Blaring TVs are definitely a no-no, but you’d be surprised how many people leave them on for showings!
Does Your House Look Like a Show Home Yet?
Step back and look at your home with the eye of a highly critical buyer.
It helps to take a bunch of photos from different angles in each room. Looking at the images critically you’ll notice distracting details you might have overlooked in the room itself. For example:
- Why is that tiny picture hanging on such a big wall?
- Do you bump into the back of a couch entering the family room?
- Is there too much clutter on the fireplace mantle?
- Are your kids’ drawings hiding the fridge?
Is there a forgotten sock on the TV?
One of Staging Diva Debra Gould’s home staging clients said it well when he described what he called “the sock on the TV syndrome.”
In other words, something has been sitting for so long in one place that you don’t even see it anymore.
By the way, this client hired Debra after his $949,900 home sat on the market for 6 weeks without a single offer. His agent wanted to drop the list price by $50,000, so he called Debra instead. After 6 hours of rearranging almost all the contents in his home, he got three offers and sold at 98% of his original asking price.
If you’ve completed our 10 home staging tips and you still don’t have a “show home” to sell, why not look at how hiring a professional home stager can help you?
Staging a house is only the beginning. Listing and selling a home is an incredibly stressful time.
There’s no need to panic about getting your home showing-ready. Professionals are here to help!
Find a Home Stager
We have a network of thousands of Staging Diva home stagers across the United States, Canada, and as far away as Australia, New Zealand, Europe, South Africa and South America!
If you don’t find a stager listed in your area, don’t forget to make use of our FREE Home Stager Locator Service.
Attention: Staging Diva Graduates
If you’re looking for ways for more potential clients to find you, consider joining the Staging Diva Directory of Home Stagers. We’ll build your professional page within 7 days of you submitting materials. Plus, you’ll be eligible for FREE home staging project referrals!