How to stage your own home: Part 2
Ask any realtor if staging is worth it, and you’re bound to get an emphatic “yes!” Statistics show that homes sell faster and for more money when they are staged.
Realtors and homeowners will often hire professional stagers — think interior decorators who make your home appealing to everyone rather than to your personal tastes — and the transformations they make can be astounding.
But many homeowners don’t have the budget to hire a professional. If you’re one of them, don’t fret! There are plenty of things you can do yourself to increase your home’s appeal to potential buyers.
A few weeks ago, in Part 1 of this blog post, I wrote about 3 things you can do to make your home shine.
Today I’ll share 4 more things you can start doing TODAY to get your home ready for its close-up.
4. Brighten it up
Bring as much light into your home as possible. This will make it look spacious and clean, and will highlight its unique features.
- Paint rooms light, neutral colors (search the web for "home staging paint colors this year" to see what’s trending)
- Remove window treatments
- Clean light fixture globes and covers
- Add lamps in darker areas
- Install brighter light bulbs (see this guide to choosing the right ones)
- Remove screens from windows (but don’t get rid of them!)
- Cut back outdoor plants around windows
- Get light-colored linens and shower curtains
- If you have dark furniture, consider getting some light slipcovers
Be forewarned: After you make some of these changes, you may feel like you’ve been living in the dark for years!
Drag the slider to see the before & after for this client's home. The house sold the day after its first open house!
5. Make space
You may like your home cozy, but buyers want to see wide open spaces. Make it easy to walk around rooms and make sure all doorways are clear.
Storage is a major selling point, so make yours look as spacious as possible.
Here are some tips for maximizing the appearance of space:
- Remove and rearrange furniture to make rooms more open and easy to walk through
- Leave 1/3 of each closet, cabinet, shelf, and drawer empty
- Declutter the basement and garage
- Pack up out-of-season clothing, sports equipment, and other rarely-used items
- Remove exercise machines (unless you have an actual gym)
- Hide away kitchen countertop appliances
It’s rare that I will encourage someone to get a storage unit, but in this case it’s a good investment. Rent a unit to temporarily store things you remove during staging but know you want to bring to your new home.
And after you move, go get that stuff! It’s a huge waste of money to store items you don’t need.
P.S. Packing items up for your move as you declutter will save you time down the road.
6. Increase curb appeal
Did you know that when we first meet someone, it takes only one tenth of a second for us to make up our minds about them?
The same goes for your home. The exterior is the first thing people will see when they come to your house (and often before that in your online listing) and you want to make a good first impression. As they say, you only get one chance!
Here are some ideas for polishing up your exterior:
- Paint the front door and trim
- Polish all brass or replace hardware
- Fix a broken doorbell
- Replace an ugly mailbox
- Sweep and pressure wash the porch, steps, and walkway
- Add flower boxes, planters, and/or a seasonal (but not holiday) wreath
- Upgrade light fixtures
- Add porch seating
- Upgrade your house number
- Get a new doormat
- Declutter tired decor
- Tidy up landscaping: trim bushes, remove dead plants, add new mulch
- Clean your roof and gutters
- Repair the driveway
- Paint the fence
- Add exterior lighting
You might fall in love with your home all over again when you see its new look...which is exactly the feeling you want your buyers to have.
7. Add live plants
Live plants literally add life to your home. They’re warm and welcoming, and they show you care (as long as they look healthy!).
Potted plants, fresh cut flowers, and other live greenery can add pops of color and soften up rooms that can end up feeling a little stark after staging. Larger plants can be used to camouflage unsightly features of the house and smaller plants can add touches of life on tables, nightstands, and countertops. Just make sure your plants aren’t heavily scented or too fussy.
As someone with a black thumb, I’ve learned the hard way that some plants are easier to nurture than others. If you can relate, read The Black Thumb’s Guide to Staging a House with Plants for a list of hard-to-kill plants and where to put them.
If you’re a serial plant killer, high-quality fake plants can also do the trick!
I’ve given you a lot of suggestions here and of course you don’t have to do all of them, but if you can chip away at them over time, and even bring in help (many professional organizers, including myself, offer this service), it will be well worth the investment.
You might fall in love with your home all over again when you see its new look. And your potential buyers will, too!