Home Staging Tips

Think of the nicest hotel you’ve ever seen. What did it look like? How many pieces of furniture did it have? What were its most pleasing characteristics? Staging a home for sale involves looking critically at the interior of a home and recognizing what needs to change. Making it more appealing to the masses is the goal of staging a home for sale. Keeping that nice hotel look in mind, there are some specific things to change to make a house sell. They are:


  • Declutter

  • Depersonalize

  • Make Repairs

  • Clean Up

  • Reduce/Thin Out Furniture

  • Rearrange Furniture

  • Add Finishing Touches for Polished Look




The Most Important Factor in Staging a Home is Cleanliness

The corners, the surfaces, even the fake plants need to be free from dust and dirt. If you had a choice between buying a clean home to live in or a dirty one, which would you choose?

Windows and doors need to be clean on the interior and exterior of the home. If you are not up to the task, perhaps you can use a local cleaning business to perform difficult cleaning jobs.

Mmmm... That House Smells So Good I Can Eat It


A significant aspect of cleanliness is how the home smells. Does it smell like old books? Mold and mildew? What about stale or old smoke? What about Dogs or Cats and their Litter? When trying to sell a house, smell is very important. If smell is a problem, determining where it is coming from, fix it IMMEDIATELY!

When you try to cover up a smell, people can usually tell. If it is a minor odor then you may be able to get away with opening the windows and doors during the day to air out the place, turning on the air conditioner for vacant properties to get rid of the stale air, and using febreeze and some plug ins to mask minor odors.

But if it is a significant odor then you should professional clean or redo the material the offending odor is on.

  • Smoking - Professional Clean Carpets and drapes, re-paint walls and professional clean air ducts
  • Dog or Cat Smell - usually from presents left on carpets. Professional clean carpets or replace carpet and pads (don't be cheap the smell is in the pad also).

Some realtors suggest that a pleasant smell permeate the house. Baking cookies or using potpourri that smells like cinnamon have been recommended as pleasant smells for most people. Burning candles with these smells can also be effective. Just don't overdo it. Too much of a good smell can be almost as bad as the bad smell. Moderation is the key, with only a slight hint of your chosen fragrance.


Now Walk Through the House Like You Are The Buyer

Focus on one room at a time. As you walk from room to room, jot notes about what you see and what needs to be changed.

Wall Color for the Masses


What is the room’s wall color? Is it soft and calming? Bold and bright? Does it fit the feel of the room? Unless you have a good eye for color, it is probably wise to use lighter, more neutral paint tones on the wall when you are trying to sell a house. Your kids might have loved the blackboard paint that they can right on the wall with chalk ... but chances are the next owner probably will not. So neutralize what you can.


A Word about Wallpaper


Wallpaper is out. (Ok so that is 3 words). Give your house a new life by getting rid of it. You will be amazed at how differently a room looks with the wallpaper removed and simply painting the wall a neutral color of paint. The next best thing may be to paint over the wallpaper. Consult your local paint specialists to inquire about the best paint to use for this task.

The Floor of the Room is Very Important


People tend to notice carpet, tile, and linoleum right away. It should be clean or freshly vacuumed/mopped. If the flooring looks worn or unclean, it will be difficult to hide. Replace it, or at the very least, buy fresh, new rugs to put over it. Consult with your Realtor to see what type of flooring your competition has in the living areas so that you know what to upgrade to.


Next, Let’s Look at the Furniture.


Are there open spaces between the pieces? Or is everything crowded together? Maybe there are too many items of furniture in the room. One common problem is smaller items like small tables and freestanding stereos shoved into every possible space between larger furniture items. Make a decision about whether some pieces need to be moved out and placed in storage for now. The more open floor space, the better. Using the simple rule of items should be in pairs can help even out a room's balance in a hurry if you need help.

Is the furniture too big or too small for the room? Once you make a decision about this element, you can suggest using other furniture to make the room look more appealing.

Now, look at the furniture arrangement. A good arrangement provides plenty of room for an efficient floor plan that allows flow around the furniture and easily accessible entrances/exits to and from the room.

Now the Finishing Touches


Pictures, art, and other items on the wall can make or break the overall effect of a room. Walls stuffed with various items may not be seen as attractive by everyone. Try to remove any personal photos or controversial items. Leaving behind a clean, artful look.

The opposite problem, is of course, empty walls. It’s a good idea to have at least one to 3 items on each section of wall space. Interior decorators recommend people place odd numbers of items on each wall. However, there are times when you can get by with a pair of art items, sconces, or prints.

Now focus on all the flat surfaces in the room: desks, televisions, end tables, coffee tables, even pianos. If they are overflowing with books, papers, and basic clutter. Use fancy decorative boxes or baskets to contain unruly clutter and keep it out of sight. We have found that using 3 items provides the proper balance to these knick-knacks. Staggering them in height can also give a pleasing visual effect.

Before a showing to a potential buyer, add a few well-placed plants (real or silk) throughout the house. Open the curtains and draperies. Make the home look as bright and open as possible. Small touches are attractive to buyers.


The To-Do List


After you’ve gone through each room, the list you have should be complete, in terms of changes that need to be made and items that need to be removed. Don't be intimidated by the list. Just prioritize the items and get started. Studies show that the staging of the home not only affects the amount of the offer you will receive but also how long your home stays on the market. You can save yourself tons of time and money by putting in the effort right now! So just Do It!

(FYI: As part of our home seller services here at the Phyllis Frankel Realty Group, we help the sellers make this list and prioritize the items should a budget be of concern.)


Home Staging Infographics:



Prepare Home to Sell

A Home Buyers First Impression

How to Get Great Curb Appeal

Quick Sale Program

Is It the Right Time to Sell? What Will My Home Sell For? When?

Plan and Prepare to Sell Your House

You will be surprised at the difference utilizing these tips can make. So good luck and please contact us if you would like to see how the Phyllis Frankel Realty Group can get your home sold! You can reach us at 904-273-0125, 800-999-0245 or by filling out the form below:


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