How to Stage a House

Three Methods:Finalizing Basic PreparationsUsing What You HaveMaking Further Improvements

If you're selling your home or are selling a home on someone else's behalf, you will want to make sure that it is presented in the best way possible. This will increase the chances of someone wanting to purchase it, as well as helping it to sell as quickly as possible. Read below for some basic help in staging your home for sale.

Method 1
Finalizing Basic Preparations

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    Clean your house. Before you do anything else, clean your house. Vacuum, dust, do whatever you have to do to get it sparkling clean. This will be the biggest factor in making a home look nice.
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    Remove clutter. People buying a house want to maximize the amount of space they will have. It won’t matter how big your home is if it’s filled to the brim with clutter: it will look small and cramped. Make it easier for potential buyers to envision the space by removing as much clutter as possible.
    • Generally, a good rule of thumb is that if it has a home somewhere else: it’s clutter. The object should match with the function of the space that it is in and should need to be in that specific place. Piles of paper, boxes of items, clothing, old computers, and appliances are all examples of clutter.
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    Let in the sun. Buyers want a house which is bright and airy. Open curtains and replace them with sheers, if possible. Remove any obstructions, such as trees, bushes, or objects within the home that keep the light from pouring in.
    • Additionally, try to show the house during times of day when it is brightest in your home.
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    Remove personal items. You want a potential buyer to see the house as theirs, not yours. Remove personal items like family photographs, personal trophies, and other items which are specific to you and your family.

Method 2
Using What You Have

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    Remove dated items. You will want to remove any items which make a room or home look dated. Flamingos, hula girl lamps, plastic furniture coverings, and other similar items will make buyers feel like they walked into their grandparent’s house. Remove items like these and, if you can, replace them with more up-to-date items.
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    Use the space effectively. Make sure that you are using the space in your home effectively. Rearrange furniture, replace large pieces with smaller ones, use smart storage solutions, and reduce the amount of furniture in a room to make the space seem larger and more functional.
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    Update appliances. Yellow or green fridge and stove? Not most people’s idea of an attractive kitchen. People won’t want to buy a house that they feel looks dated and appliances like these will go a long way towards dating a home. They also won’t want to have to worry about replacing appliances as soon as they move in. To combat this, replace the appliances with something more modern. Be sure that the new appliances match each other.

Method 3
Making Further Improvements

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    Finish home improvement projects. Did you rip off about half the wallpaper in a room before giving up? Are there bare cement floors in the kitchen because tiling turned out to be harder than it looked? You’ll want to finish these projects yourself or hire someone to finish them, since they will greatly deter buyers.
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    Add fresh paint. Give rooms a new look by putting on a fresh coat of paint. Use neutral wall tones but bright accessories and furnishings, to make rooms look accessible. Avoid dated colors, especially shades of yellow, green, and orange. Avoid genderizing rooms, such as painting a child’s room pink. Do use light colors to make rooms look bigger and brighter, while avoiding dark colors which can often do the opposite.
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    Update floor coverings. Gross, stained carpet? Dated carpet? Get rid of it! Buyers will be much more attracted to wood floors, which can easily have an area rug placed over it, than wall-to-wall carpet which will need to be maintained and replaced as soon as it looks dated or doesn’t match with a design scheme.
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    Put new faces and handles on cabinets. If your kitchen or bathroom cabinets look dated and you don’t have the money to replace them, simply paint over them, replace the doors, or replace the handles in order to give them a more modern look. This can be done easily and cheaply.
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    Make the outside and entry pleasing. You want your house to make a good first impression so be sure that the entrance and entryway look inviting.
    • Give your exterior a coat of fresh paint if you have the money, or just paint the front door if you don’t.
    • Make sure the yard is maintained, with a healthy, trim lawn and bushes and trees which are not out of place or overgrown. You can also put in fresh plants and flowers to make the house look happy and well cared for.
    • You will also want to take a hard look at your fences and decide if it might not be better to remove them. If they block the flow of space or look dated, they will likely deter buyers.
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    After you have staged your house, take your own pictures using a high-quality digital camera. Turn on all the lights and use a tripod for best clarity and brightness. Take pictures of most rooms at least two different perspectives. You may have 100 pictures of which perhaps 15 of the best would be used in the realtor listing. Too often, dark or blurry pictures taken by realtors using their cell phones will disappoint. Make sure to take bright, inviting pictures after you've gone through all the hard work of staging the house.


  • De-clutter your home as well as deep cleaning will work wonders, and will show to potential buyers that the house is in stellar condition.
  • Use large, framed mirrors to make smaller spaces appear larger. Position to reflect outdoor views or indoor greenery, if possible. And no plastic plants or flowers, use live, green growing things!
  • Remember: you are decorating your home for someone else so keeping that in mind will help you to make purchases that will appeal to the masses.
  • You are putting your home on display, so present it well! If you don't think you have an eye for presentation, ask one of your friends or family to prepare your house for you. If you can't see a problem with clothes lying around and sticky floors, get someone else to present your house for you! Pay them if necessary - as presentation is so important in presenting your house.
  • You don't have to buy new furniture and appliances just to stage a home. Use furniture rentals or your real estate agent's stock or services to make your home look nice for only the time needed to sell it.


  • Every room in the home, including the garage and decks, should be absolutely clean. Empty waste baskets and garbage pails daily. Try to keep pets out doors along with their litter boxes and food bowls during showings. Try to relax during this stressful process.

Things You'll Need

  • You may need to make a few purchases - maybe new bed covers, sofa pillows, flowers, etc. Make the purchase needed to update the home so that it will show well. You will certainly see a return on your investment.

Article Info

Categories: Selling Property