What are easy and hard rules to stage a house for sale?

Three easy staging rules make an impact, requiring a little effort using what already exists in the home. The hard rules all require major investments of sweat equity or money. Doing just the simple staging steps often provides a sufficient return on investment for most sellers. But some may choose advanced staging if profits allow and the home warrants spending.

At TALLBOX, we developed four categories of staging rules (property styling) that anyone can apply. The staged home presentation spanning virtual digital enhancements to physical upgrades should focus on easy fixes first. Harder investments like refinishing or upgrades can follow depending on the home’s condition and the seller’s motivation and budget.

This is a list of home staging rules from easiest to hardest, incorporating both sets of suggestions:

Easiest Staging Rules:

  • Use virtual staging to digitally furnish and style rooms
  • Declutter all rooms and remove excess furniture & items
  • Clean every room thoroughly, top to bottom

Easy Staging Rules:

  • Depersonalize by storing away personal photos & items
  • Neutralize wall colors and furniture with light tones
  • Let in natural light, open blinds, and turn lights on
  • Organize and neaten kitchens, bathrooms & storage areas
  • Style simply without overdecorating

Hard Staging Rules:

  • Accentuate architectural details with accent lighting & décor
  • Update hardware, fixtures, and finish surfaces like carpet or laminate floors
  • Enhance curb appeal – upgrade lawn or regrass, exterior, entryway
  • Repair flaws like leaks, and cracks before listing
  • Rearrange furniture to create buyer flow and focal points, every room must have focal point to drive the eyes.
  • Use scents like fresh flowers or baked goods

Hardest Staging Rules:

  • Completely repaint every room in neutral colors
  • Make major renovations like kitchen or bath updates
  • Re-landscape the entire exterior for perfect curb appeal
  • Replace all lighting fixtures for visual cohesion
  • Purchase all new matching furniture and decor
  • Refinish all floors and surfaces to like-new condition
Picture of George Nicola
George Nicola

George is a seasoned interior designer and property marketing strategist with over 13 years of experience. He specializes in transforming properties into visually stunning spaces, helping clients recognize the potential and beauty in each property. With an impressive international client base of exciting projects throughout Europe and America.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, we will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.

How to decide staging or not staging a house for sale?

The decision on whether or not to use staging is dictated primarily by two key factors – market dynamics and comparator staged homes. Assessing the current market conditions in terms of inventory and buyer demand lays the foundation. Evaluating recent selling trends of staged versus non-staged homes provides multiple data points on potential pricing lift.

Weighing these two variables in relation to the subject property and its specifics allows sellers to gauge the expected return on investment. If the numbers warrant, staging is needed to maximize marketability. However, if the market is readily absorbing all inventory regardless of prep, the expense of staging may be unnecessary.

These data-driven comparisons help determine whether the home would benefit from the strategic showcasing and buyer lifestyle rendering provided by quality staging.

When evaluating a specific staging class, it’s best to guide decisions based on the expected return on investment, not just the upfront expense. The determination should focus on whether the staging spend will translate to a larger upside in the final sale price beyond just recouping the original cost.

Factoring the anticipated lift in marketability and buyer interest allows for properly judging whether the specific staging strategy is poised to return the initial spend and more.

The decision point comes down to whether the dollars put into a certain staging technique or service will result in an equal or greater payout in the end sale value based on quantified impacts. Staging should be analyzed as an investment into maximizing pricing rather than minimizing expenses. If the numbers support the staging spend prompting sufficient home price escalation, it merits consideration regardless of sheer cost.

A living room with red walls and a fireplace in need of staging before the sale.
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Here are some key factors to help decide whether or not to stage a house for sale:

  1. Property Condition – Consider staging if your home is outdated, needs repairs, or has very personalized style. Staging can conceal flaws.
  2. Budget – Weigh the upfront cost of staging against expected increase in offer price and faster sale timeline. Calculate potential ROI.
  3. Market Conditions – Staging helps homes differentiate and sell quicker in competitive markets with excess inventory and few buyer incentives.
  4. Home Features – Play up special amenities like fireplaces, views or outdoor spaces with careful staging.
  5. Occupancy Status – An empty home especially benefits from staging furniture and decor to feel welcoming.
  6. Buyer Demographics – Staging has highest impact attracting first-time millennial, move-up and out-of-area buyers who rely more on imagination.
  7. Photogenic Qualities – Even virtual staging alone can spotlight lackluster spaces that show better digitally than physically.
Follow the necessary guidelines when staging your home for sale empty spaceA green dining room with a white table and chairs, perfectly staged for sale.

Selling your home can feel overwhelming, especially when it comes to staging it for potential buyers.

This article is here to ease your stress by offering practical rules split into categories from easy to hard and quick to slow, each with a different effect on the listing, and tips on effectively staging your house for sale.

Use Virtual Staging

  • Digitally adds furnishings to empty rooms in listings
  • Creates model home aesthetic without physical items
  • Flexible, fast, up to 97% cheaper than traditional staging
  • Great for vacant homes or limited budgets

Declutter All Rooms

  • Removes distractions so buyers focus on assets
  • Makes small/tight spaces appear larger
  • Prevents overwhelm from too much visual noise
  • Applies to any home size and price point

Clean Thoroughly Top to Bottom

  • Welcomes buyers with bright, fresh, cared-for home
  • Shows pride of ownership and maintenance
  • Neutralizes odors that might deter potential buyers
  • Essential for all housing types and conditions

The easiest staging rules center on revealing and enhancing what already exists by clearing out excess items, deeply cleaning, and using virtual furnishings if needed. They convey a welcoming, move-in ready home to buyers with minimal effort and low cost. But their visual impact sets up buyers to perceive value in viewing the other benefits.

Depersonalize Spaces

  • Allows buyers to picture themselves living there
  • Focuses attention on the home, not current owners
  • Applies to all owner-occupied homes being listed

Use Light Neutral Tones

  • Creates a blank canvas for buyers’ vision
  • Appeals to the widest range of buyer preferences
  • Works in any home, especially dated houses needing refreshing

Let In Ample Natural Light

  • Makes rooms feel open, airy and welcoming
  • Shows off brightness and room proportions
  • Great for any dark or outdated home needing illumination

Organize Storage Areas

  • Highlights capacity potential to buyers
  • Prevents cluttered or cramped perception
  • Ideal in small homes or properties with ample storage

Style Simply Without Clutter

  • Prevents sensory overload allowing strengths to shine
  • Reflects current design trends toward minimalism
  • Allows buyers to focus on best features without distraction

The easy staging rules enable buyers to envision themselves living in the home by neutralizing distractions, optimizing lighting, and carefully curating furnishings for clutter-free simplicity. They work in most homes to elevate the atmosphere.

Accent Architectural Details

  • Draws attention to coveted period features like moldings
  • Enhances visual appeal especially in dated homes
  • Works well for vintage charm houses with great bones

Update Finishes and Fixtures

  • Refreshed surfaces signal pride of ownership
  • Brighter hardware conveys move-in readiness
  • Especially useful if existing finishes are worn or dated

Enhance Curb Appeal

  • Manicured exterior promises maintained interior
  • First impressions entice buyers to tour inside
  • Essential for homes needing landscape uplift or facial refresh

Repair Flaws

  • Mitigates concerns about undiscovered issues
  • Instills confidence in integrity of home
  • Critical if known repairs are major or visible

Strategically Rearrange Furniture

  • Guides buyers through properties effectively
  • Opens up tighter spaces to feel roomy
  • Creates livable tableaus in vacant homes

The harder rules require more intense effort but directly tackle upgrade opportunities through refreshes, enhancements and repairs to overcome dated or worn conditions. They convey pride of ownership to match updated contemporary buyer expectations.

Repaint Rooms in Neutral Tones

  • Modernized color scheme broadens buyer appeal
  • Crisp new layers conceal flaws and refresh spaces
  • Ideal for dramatically updating tired, boldly colored homes

Make Major Renovations

  • New baths/kitchens recapture value lost to outdated ones
  • Directly tackles necessary fixes or modernization needs
  • Reserved for homes with dysfunctional spaces or planning

Re-landscape Exteriors

  • Perfectly manicured curb appeal wows buyers
  • Conveys home pride spanning outside and in
  • Only for properties needing serious landscape overhaul

Replace Lighting Fixtures

  • Unified modern fixtures boost visual cohesion
  • Brings significant transformation with one change
  • Useful if existing lights seem random or dated

Purchase All New Matching Furnishings

  • Luxury hotel-like style signals prestige to buyers
  • Elevates atmosphere beyond owner’s budget
  • Generally overkill except for ultra high-end listings

The most intense staging investments reshape the home through top-to-bottom reconstructions or room reimaginations. They require the highest commitment of time, sweat equity and dollars. But in cases of severe existing damage or décor fatigue, they bring homes current to realize maximum value.

Pros and cons of staging a house for sale?

Staging has clear selling benefits, the main benefit is increased inquiries and click rate on your listing photos, but it does require effort and money. Staging is recommended to maximize a home’s sales potential if done correctly. Low-cost virtual staging is an option, too.

Here are additional pros and cons of staging a house for sale:

Pros:

  • Staged homes sell faster – Staged homes can sell 73% faster on average compared to non-staged homes, according to studies.
  • Higher selling price – Staging makes a home more appealing and can typically increase its selling price from 1-10%. Well-staged homes often attract higher offers.
  • Enhances curb appeal – Staging improves how potential buyers perceive the home upon first seeing it, creating positive first impressions.
  • Showcases strengths – Staging highlights the best features of a home and downplays any flaws, showcasing its full potential.
  • Helps visualize the space – Staging helps potential buyers picture themselves living in the home by creating lifestyle-oriented vignettes.

Cons:

  • Added expense – Professional staging services or renting furniture can be costly, from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. DIY staging also requires some investment.
  • Disruption to sellers – Physically staging a home while still living in it can be disruptive and inconvenient for the sellers.
  • Risk of damage – There is a small risk of rental furniture getting damaged during the staging period before it sells.
  • Not a substitute for repairs/updates – Simply staging cannot mask significant flaws or required repairs/updates that need addressing.

As an alternative to low-budgets, sellers can always use either virtual staging or soft staging is a quick too, which provides cost-effective ways to stage a house for sale.

When selling an empty house, soft staging is a cost-effective way to make the space feel warm, inviting, and move-in ready for potential buyers. Here are some tips:

  • Bring in basic furniture like beds, sofas, tables, and chairs to showcase room layouts and proportions. Rent furniture or borrow from friends/family to avoid large purchases.
  • Use area rugs in main living spaces to make floors cozier and define spaces.
  • Hang curtains or blinds on all windows to add softness and a decorated look.
  • Set up lamps in corners and tables to brighten up rooms and create a welcoming ambiance.
  • Add pillows, throws, plants, artwork, and accessories throughout to give personality and style. Shop discount home stores.
  • Make beds with nice linens and add pillows. A made bed makes a huge impact.
  • Style vignettes on surfaces like coffee tables, console tables, mantels, etc. Books, candles, and decorative objects bring visual interest.
  • Add fresh flowers and potted plants to add color and life. Greenery also makes rooms feel more relaxing.
  • Display towels and decor in bathrooms. Roll up towels neatly in a basket or on shelves.
  • Style kitchen and dining areas with dishes, placemats, fruit in bowls, etc. Buy inexpensive items.

With strategic soft staging using furniture, linens, accents, and greenery, you can showcase an empty property at its full potential for buyers.

Focus on First Impressions

  • Powerwash exterior and touch up outdoor paint
  • Clean entry walkways, doors and windows
  • Add fresh flowers or potted greens to welcome buyers

Clear Entryways and Hallways

  • Remove clutter like coats, umbrellas, shoes
  • Style minimally with a decorative table or mirror

Depersonalize Main Living Spaces

  • Take down personal photos and kid art
  • Store unique collections or custom décor

Brighten With Extra Lighting

  • Use higher wattage bulbs in existing fixtures
  • Add portable lamps or sconces if needed

Style Simply to Highlight Assets

  • Clear surfaces and mantles to avoid clutter
  • Rearrange seating to focus on the fireplace

The quick rules aim to make every minute and dollar count through easy, impactful tweaks conveying a bright, welcoming, style-aligned first impression highlighting the home’s standout features. They get the most staging bang for little buck and effort when showings are imminent or needed urgently.

Quick vs Slow Staging Rules

Quick Staging Rules

The quickest staging rules one can apply are to focus on first impression, powerwash the exterior and touch up outdoor paint, clean entry walkways, doors, and windows, and add fresh flowers or potted greens to welcome buyers.

Other quick actions that you can take are:

Clear Entryways and Hallways

  • Remove clutter like coats, umbrellas, shoes
  • Style minimally with a decorative table or mirror

Depersonalize Main Living Spaces

  • Take down personal photos and kid art
  • Store unique collections or custom décor

Brighten With Extra Lighting

  • Use higher-wattage bulbs in existing fixtures
  • Add portable lamps or sconces if needed

Style Simply to Highlight Assets

  • Clear surfaces and mantles to avoid clutter
  • Rearrange seating to focus on fireplace

The quick rules aim to make every minute and dollar count through easy, impactful tweaks, conveying a bright, welcoming, style-aligned first impression highlighting the home’s standout features. They get the most staging bang for little buck and effort when showings are imminent or needed urgently.

Slow Staging Rules

The slowest, most effective staging rule is to deep clean while focusing on removing any bulky furniture or decors, box up a few sentimental items a day, and take photos of artwork before removing. It might take up to a few days to clean a property but this prevents an overwhelming all-at-once purge.

Other less speedy implementations are:

Work Through One Room at a Time

  • Fully complete a space before moving to the next
  • Crossing off rooms provides sense of progress
  • Let previous rooms settle before revisiting

Schedule Multi-Day Cleaning Sessions

  • Tackle a couple hours per evening after work
  • Breaking up efforts prevents burnout
  • See incremental improvements build daily

Strategize Furniture Moves Slowly

  • Rearrange a room gradually over weeks
  • Live with layouts before shifting again
  • Rushed moves risk missing best alignments

Unhurriedly Integrate Design Touches

  • Add a new accent piece every few days
  • Live with items before evaluating effect
  • Slowly layering prevents design mismatch

The purposeful measured approach prevents stagnation from feeling overwhelmed while allowing the time to thoughtfully curate and evaluate staging. This cultivates mental clarity and positive momentum through the process for optimal upgraded outcomes.

How important is staging a house for sale?

A dining room staged for sale with a round table and chairs.
A dining room staged for sale with a round table and chairs.

Staging a home to sell is very important to maximize the sale price and selling speed. To effectively stage a house for sale, sellers should declutter, style minimally with neutral décor, highlight architectural details, make repairs, update fixtures if needed, and enhance curb appeal.

Staging creates a welcoming atmosphere to help buyers envision themselves living in the home. Professionally staged listings not only sell faster but also typically sell for 1-10% more compared to non-staged homes.

Even DIY staging by creatively rearranging existing furniture to showcase strengths and downplay flaws makes the home far more enticing to potential buyers versus keeping an empty or cluttered house. 

The psychology behind home staging taps into both cognitive and emotional drivers in buyers to make properties more enticing. With the significant impact staging has on the sale outcomes, preparing the home’s look before listing should be a high priority.

Creates a positive first impression

Staging a house for sale is your ticket to an impactful first impression. Buyers often have their initial decisions swayed by the look and feel of the home, setting the stage for potential offers.

Use Scents Strategically When Staging

Four cups of coffee staged with coffee beans in them to create an inviting atmosphere for potential homebuyers.
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A well-staged space allows buyers to visualize their future in the house, fostering an emotional connection that goes beyond simple browsing. It’s not just about selling a property; it’s about painting a dream picture where buyers can imagine establishing their lives.

Plus, with your carefully chosen decor and strategic layout, you stimulate positive feelings which increase chances of sealing the deal faster and at a better price.

One often overlooked aspect of home staging is smell. The scent of a home can create a powerful impression on buyers when they first walk through the front door.

Best scent for home staging

Bake cookies or cinnamon rolls before a showingThe welcoming aroma of fresh baked goods says “home” to buyers and helps them picture their family in the space.

Simmer citrus peels or vanilla on the stove – Gentle fragrance from citrus adds a clean yet inviting scent. Vanilla makes the home smell warm and comforting.

Use essential oil diffusers – Place diffusers with light, fresh scents like lemongrass in main rooms. Avoid overpowering oils.

Open windows regularly – Allow fresh breezes to circulate and prevent a stale, stuffy odor.

Replace old carpets or clean thoroughly – Brand new carpet or a deep professional cleaning removes embedded odors.

Check for pet, smoke or cooking smells – Eliminate any lingering odors that may turn buyers off. Ozone treatments can help.

Set out fragrance bowls – Natural elements like pine cones, eucalyptus, rose petals or lemon slices subtly scent a room.

Use unscented candles – Burning clean, fragrance-free candles still gives the cozy impression of a candle-lit home.

Properly scenting your staged home completes thebuyer experience by making it feel warm, inviting and like home. It’s a key but subtle aspect of quality staging.

Highlights the potential of the space

Staging a home for sale effectively brings out the true potential of every room in the house. This strategy makes even small spaces appear larger and more welcoming to potential home buyers, by optimizing furniture placements and using decor strategically.

A professional stager knows how to make your home feel warm and inviting – their expertise can help you sell faster.

Making use of light, both natural and artificial, can drastically change how a space is perceived. Bright rooms seem hospitable and comfortable while dark corners may discourage buyers from seeing themselves living in your future home.

A set of cutting boards and utensils neatly arranged on a table, adhering to rules for staging a house for sale.
A set of cutting boards and utensils neatly arranged on a table, adhering to rules for staging a house for sale.

Even outdoor living spaces such as patios or balconies should not be ignored during staging – they add significant value if presented well!

With some creativity, each corner of the living room or any area within the house gets transformed into an appealing spot that captures attention instantly.

Maximizes the selling price

A well-staged home often attracts higher offers from potential home buyers. The beauty of staging lies in its ability to highlight the best features and selling points of a house, making it more desirable and appealing.

A tastefully arranged living room or an impeccably tidy kitchen can catch a buyer’s eye instantly, boosting their willingness to pay more. Studies show that homes on the market that have been professionally staged increase the sale price by 1-10%. In addition to increasing the sale price, effective bedroom staging tips can also help create a sense of space and potential in a buyer’s mind. By decluttering and arranging furniture in a way that maximizes the room’s size, potential buyers can envision themselves living in the space. Simple touches like fresh linens, soft lighting, and strategically placed artwork can also enhance the overall appeal of the room.

Even if you don’t want to hire a professional stager, applying simple DIY staging tips can still elevate your property’s perceived value. This is why investing time and effort into staging each room in your house before putting it out for sale could prove beneficial in fetching a better price.

An inviting atmosphere created through effective staging not only helps sell houses faster but also maximizes the selling price.

Is Virtual Staging similar to Home Staging?

Staging plan for an empty living, dining and kitchen space.
Staging plan for an empty living, dining, and kitchen space.

By comparing virtual and home staging it’s safe to say that both techniques aim to improve visual appeal and marketability. Virtual does this through digital enhancements, while physical uses real-world furnishings and decor.

Staged photo of a living, dining, and kitchen space with TALLBOX's free staging trial.
Staged photo of a living, dining, and kitchen space with TALLBOX's free staging trial.

There are some similarities between virtual staging and traditional physical home staging, but also some key differences:

Similarities:

  • Both aim to showcase the home in its best light to impress potential buyers.
  • Staging makes the home look clean, decluttered, and spacious.
  • Well-staged homes tend to sell faster and for higher prices.
  • Staging highlights the strengths and possibilities of the space.
  • Allows potential buyers to envision the space and its potential uses.

Differences:

  • Virtual staging is done digitally, physical staging uses real furniture.
  • Virtual staging is much less expensive and faster to implement.
  • Physical staging requires transporting and storing furniture.
  • Virtual staging offers more flexibility – can change designs easily.
  • Physical staging has more tangible sensory elements.
  • Virtual staging works for vacant homes, physical requires access.

Essential Home Staging Tips

free virtual staging living room_
Virtually staged cottage by TALLBOX

Staging works equally well for newly listed properties or relist ones. To effectively stage a house for sale, there are three essential rules to follow: declutter and depersonalize, clean and repair, and rearrange furniture for optimal flow.

All must be done in advance at least 2 to 3 weeks before publishing to house. Many make the mistake to list or relist a property without staging and after a few days on the market to update the listing description and photos. This is a bad sign to all buyers checking the listing portals daily.

Declutter and Depersonalize

To effectively stage your home for sale, it’s important to declutter and depersonalize the space. Here are some essential rules to follow:

  1. Remove excess belongings: Clear out any unnecessary items to create a clean and spacious feel in each room. This includes furniture, decor, and personal belongings.
  2. Store personal items: Put away family photos, personalized artwork, and other personal items that may distract potential buyers. The goal is for buyers to envision themselves living in the space.
  3. Organize storage areas: Neatly organize closets, cabinets, and storage spaces to showcase their full potential. Buyers want to see ample storage options.
  4. Simplify surfaces: Clear off countertops and tables to give a clutter-free appearance. This allows buyers to focus on the features of the room without distractions.
  5. Minimize knick-knacks: Too many decorative items can make a space look crowded and overwhelming. Keep it simple with a few carefully chosen pieces.
  6. Neutralize decor: Opt for neutral colors on walls, furniture, and accessories to appeal to a wider range of buyers. This helps create a blank canvas for them to imagine their own style in the home.

Clean and Repair

A staged living room with a grey couch and a coffee table, following rules for house sale.
A staged living room with a grey couch and a coffee table, following rules for house sale.

To make your home look its best for potential buyers, it’s crucial to clean and repair the space. Here are some essential tasks to tackle:

  • Give your home a thorough cleaning, paying attention to every room in the house.
  • Repair any noticeable damages or issues, such as broken fixtures or leaky faucets.
  • Deep clean carpets and remove any stains or odors.
  • Clean windows inside and out to let in natural light.
  • Polish and dust all surfaces, including furniture and appliances.
Staging a house for sale: a kitchen with green walls and chairs.
Staging a house for sale: a kitchen with green walls and chairs.

Rearrange Furniture for Optimal Flow

online interior design service

Arranging your furniture in a way that maximizes flow is crucial when staging your home for sale. Follow these essential rules to create an inviting atmosphere and make each room look spacious:

  1. Consider symmetry: Arrange furniture symmetrically to create balance and visual appeal.
  2. Create clear pathways: Ensure there is enough space to move around furniture easily and navigate through the room.
  3. Remove excess pieces: Eliminate any unnecessary furniture to open up the space and make it feel more spacious.
  4. Use a focal point: Arrange furniture around a focal point, such as a fireplace or a large window, to draw attention and create a cohesive layout.
  5. Avoid blocking entrances: Keep doorways and entry points clear to promote easy movement between rooms.

Use Neutral Colors and Decor

Neutral colors and decor play a crucial role in effective home staging when you’re looking to sell your house. Opting for white or light-colored furniture, rugs, and lampshades can help neutralize any existing bold or vibrant colors in the space.

By updating your decor with neutral touches like artwork, flowers, and throw blankets, you can create an inviting atmosphere that appeals to potential buyers. Soft colors such as beige are highly recommended for setting the right mood during the staging process.

Remember to follow the 60-30-10 rule when selecting your color scheme – aim for 60 percent of your furniture and decor to be within a specific color palette. 

Using neutral colors and decor will help showcase the potential of each room while allowing buyers to envision themselves living in their future home.

Add Finishing Touches

To truly elevate the staging of your house for sale, it’s time to add those finishing touches that will make a lasting impression on potential buyers. Paying attention to even the smallest details can make a big difference in how your home is perceived.

Consider adding fresh flowers or plants to bring life and color to each room. Hang artwork strategically on the walls to create visual interest. Don’t forget about lighting – invest in soft, ambient lighting fixtures that create an inviting atmosphere.

Lastly, consider adding some luxurious touches like fluffy towels or decorative pillows to enhance that hotel-like feel. 

These final touches will show buyers that you’ve taken great care of your property and present it as a truly desirable place they can envision themselves living in.

A staged kitchen and dining room with green walls that follow rules for selling a house.
A staged kitchen and dining room with green walls that follow rules for selling a house.

3 tip on home staging for every room from a professional home stager

Entrance/Hallway:

  1. Declutter completely
  2. Style minimally
  3. Perfect first impressions

Understairs:

  1. Highlight storage potential
  2. Add enclosed storage solutions
  3. Keep neatly organized

Stairs:

  1. Style simply and minimally
  2. Ensure railings/bannisters are sturdy
  3. Make stairs visible, don’t block

Living Room:

  1. Define conversation areas
  2. Allow open flow
  3. Neutral color scheme

Dining Room:

  1. Stage for entertaining
  2. Create an inviting focal point
  3. Include visually light pieces

Kitchen:

  1. Organize counters and cabinets
  2. Style with neutral accessories
  3. Highlight appliances and features

Storage/Cupboards:

  1. Showcase storage capacity
  2. Use storage solutions to organize
  3. Remove clutter and excess items

Master Bedroom:

  1. Design a restful oasis
  2. Add luxury with linens and decor
  3. Remove personal items

Guest Bedroom:

  1. Provide a welcoming retreat
  2. Style with neutral bedding
  3. Add thoughtful accessories

Kids’ Bedroom:

  1. Depersonalize and neutralize
  2. Highlight spaciousness
  3. Add universal artwork/accessories

Basement:

  1. Paint and finish floors as needed
  2. Add lighting for brightness
  3. Showcase potential uses

Driveway:

  1. Repair cracks and stains
  2. Remove clutter
  3. Stage garage to look spacious

Front Porch:

  1. Decorate seasonally
  2. Add inviting seating and greenery
  3. Repaint and repair as needed

Front/Rear Garden:

  1. Mow lawn and trim hedges
  2. Add pops of color with flowers
  3. Clear out overgrown areas

Loft Space:

  1. Style as a versatile bonus room
  2. Add furniture to show scale
  3. Make it look bright and livable

Facade:

  1. Power wash siding and walkways
  2. Paint or repair exterior
  3. Enhance curb appeal features

Tips for Successful Home Staging

Focus on curb appeal by ensuring the exterior of the house is well-maintained, with a tidy yard, fresh paint, and inviting entryway.

Focus on Curb Appeal

Improving the curb appeal of your home is crucial when staging it for sale. First impressions matter, and potential buyers will often judge a property based on its exterior appearance.

To enhance curb appeal, consider upgrading fixtures such as door handles, house numbers, and outdoor lighting. These small changes can make a big difference in attracting buyers. Additionally, don’t forget about the front porch – a well-maintained porch with inviting furniture can create a positive first impression and open mental doors for potential buyers.

Remember to keep the front yard tidy by mowing the lawn, trimming hedges, and adding some colorful flowers or potted plants for an extra pop of charm. By focusing on curb appeal, you’ll increase the chances of drawing in interested buyers and setting a positive tone from the moment they arrive at your property.

Stage Each Room with a Specific Purpose

To effectively stage your home for sale, it’s important to give each room a specific purpose. This helps potential buyers envision how they can utilize the space. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Create a cozy reading nook in the living room with a comfortable chair and a small bookshelf.
  • Transform a spare bedroom into a home office by adding a desk, chair, and organizational tools.
  • Turn an unused corner of the living room into a relaxation area with a floor lamp, rug, and cozy seating.
  • Convert an empty basement into an entertainment space with a TV, couches, and game tables.
  • Stage the dining room as an elegant gathering place with a table set for a dinner party.

Highlight Key Features and Selling Points

To effectively stage your house for sale, it’s important to highlight key features and selling points. This will help potential buyers envision themselves living in the space and make your home stand out among other listings. Here are some tips to accomplish this:

  1. Showcase the architectural details: If your home has unique architectural features such as crown molding, exposed brick, or a grand staircase, make sure to emphasize them. Consider adding lighting fixtures or accessories that draw attention to these elements.
  2. Highlight the outdoor living space: If you have a backyard, patio, or deck, stage it as an inviting outdoor living area. Arrange furniture and add cushions or pillows to create a cozy atmosphere. Highlight any landscaping or attractive views you have outside.
  3. Emphasize storage options: Buyers love ample storage space. Showcase built-in shelving units, walk-in closets, or any other storage solutions your home offers. Arrange items neatly and remove any unnecessary clutter from these areas.
  4. Focus on energy-efficient features: If your home has energy-efficient appliances, windows, or heating/cooling systems, highlight these eco-friendly features. Mention potential cost savings and emphasize the environmental benefits.
  5. Show off updated amenities: Whether it’s a modern kitchen with stainless steel appliances or a newly renovated bathroom with luxurious fixtures, showcase any updated amenities in your home. Make sure they’re clean and well-maintained.
  6. Display versatile spaces: If you have a room that can serve multiple purposes such as a home office/guest room or a finished basement that can be used as a family room/playroom, stage it accordingly. Show how these spaces can adapt to different needs.
A staged living room with a grey couch and pillows, following house sale rules.
A staged living room with a grey couch and pillows, following house sale rules.

Create an Inviting Atmosphere

A crucial aspect of staging a house for sale is creating an inviting atmosphere. When potential buyers walk through the front door, they should feel immediately welcomed and at ease.

To achieve this, focus on lighting and ambiance. Make sure each room has ample natural light or well-placed artificial lighting to create a warm and cozy environment. Consider using soft, neutral colors on the walls and add tasteful accents like throw pillows or fresh flowers to add pops of color and make the space feel inviting.

A well-lit, inviting atmosphere can go a long way in helping potential buyers imagine themselves living in the home.

If you are into DIY we have entire page how to learn virtual staging software

Utilize Professional Photography

Professional photography is an essential component of a successful home staging strategy. By hiring a professional photographer, you can ensure that your listing stands out from the competition and attracts potential buyers.

Professional photographers have the expertise to capture your home in its best light, highlighting its unique features and creating visually appealing images. These high-quality photos can enhance your real estate advertising and make your property more enticing to buyers who are searching online or browsing through listings.

Investing in professional real estate photography can significantly increase the chances of selling your home quickly and at the desired price. So, when it comes to DIY home staging, don’t underestimate the power of professional photography in showcasing your property’s full potential.

Cost-Effective Ways to Stage a House

Utilize affordable virtual staging techniques to create a visually appealing space without the need for physical furniture.

DIY home Staging Tips

  1. Enhance the curb appeal by tidying up the front yard, adding potted plants, and giving the entrance a fresh coat of paint.
  2. Declutter each room, removing personal items and excess furniture to create a clean and spacious feel.
  3. Use neutral colors on walls and decor to create a blank canvas that appeals to a wider range of potential buyers.
  4. Rearrange furniture to optimize flow and create clear pathways throughout the home.
  5. Add finishing touches such as fresh flowers, artwork, or decorative accents to make each room feel inviting and well-styled.
  6. Consider repurposing furniture and accessories from other areas of your home or borrowing from friends or family to save money while still achieving a professionally staged look.
  7. Utilize virtual staging tools to digitally furnish empty rooms or show alternative design options without the cost of physical furniture rentals.
  8. Highlight key features and selling points of your home by strategically placing furniture, lighting, or accessories to draw attention in those areas.
  9. Clean and repair any visible wear and tear, ensuring that appliances are in good working condition, to give potential buyers confidence in the overall maintenance of the property.
  10. Take high – quality photos of your staged home to capture its best features and attract more online viewers.

Repurposing Furniture and Accessories

A hallway in a home, not staged for sale with a staircase.A staircase with a piano in the middle of it, after perfect staging for sale.

Repurposing furniture and accessories in staging is a smart way to save money while staging your home for sale. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Use a dresser as a TV stand or buffet table.
  2. Convert a bookshelf into a stylish bar by adding glassware and bottles.
  3. Transform an old ladder into a decorative shelving unit.
  4. Repurpose an antique trunk as a coffee table or storage solution.
  5. Turn vintage suitcases into unique side tables or display cases.
  6. Use old window frames as picture frames or wall decor.
  7. Repaint outdated furniture in neutral colors for a fresh, modern look.
  8. Give new life to worn – out chairs by reupholstering them with trendy fabrics.
  9. Hang drapes made from bedsheets for affordable window treatments.
  10. Display decorative items, such as vases or candleholders, in unexpected ways using repurposed objects like wine crates or mason jars.

Soft Staging or Virtual Staging?

Virtual staging is even more cost-effective and convenient option than soft-staging.

In some instances if you are full-on DIY soft-staging a property, unless all furniture are sourced from charity for free or are already existing in the property, soft staging will end up costing at least $200 for a home staging consultation and another $200 to $300 for additional decoration. Depending on the size of the property, it may even go up to $1,000.

Instead of physically moving furniture and decor, virtual staging allows you to digitally add furniture and accessories to empty or outdated rooms in real estate listings.

Before home staging rules appliedAfter soft staging rules applied

The virtual staging method offers lower costs, more flexibility, and faster results compared to traditional staging methods. By enhancing the visual appeal of your property online, virtual staging can help attract more potential buyers and make your listing stand out from the competition.

It’s a practical solution that can significantly reduce the expenses involved in staging a home, with cost savings of up to 97% compared to traditional methods.

Enhance with Fresh Flowers and Plants

Fresh flowers and plants can be powerful tools in enhancing the overall presentation of a house during home staging. By strategically placing fresh flowers in various areas, such as the living room, dining area, and bedrooms, you can instantly add a touch of life and color to the space.

A house with a balcony, without staging ready for sale.A house with a balcony, after staging with plants and a dining set ready for sale.

Placing fresh flowers in every bathroom can create a welcoming atmosphere for potential buyers. While some people may choose to use silk flowers or plants as a cost-saving measure, live plants are highly effective in adding texture and visual appeal to a home staging setup.

Whether it’s an elegant bouquet on the kitchen counter or potted plants near windowsills, incorporating fresh flora into your DIY home staging efforts can greatly increase the attractiveness of your property.

Conclusion

Follow these essential rules for staging your house for sale and increase your chances of attracting potential buyers. By decluttering, cleaning, and rearranging furniture, you can create a welcoming and appealing environment.

Use neutral colors, add finishing touches, and highlight key features to showcase the full potential of your home. With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to successfully staging your house for a quick and profitable sale.

FAQs

Q: Should I hire a professional stager when I want to sell my house?

A: Hiring professional stager works equally well in demanding and falling markets. Consider hiring a professional home stager or using a luxury virtual staging service to best present your house on the market if you want to get the best out of the sale.

Q: Is it fine showing an empty house while selling?

A: While this is possible, real estate experts suggest soft or full staging helps buyers see themselves living in the house which could be trickier with an empty space.

Q: Can sellers do diy staging a house for sale?

A: Yes, sellers can certainly do DIY staging when preparing a house for sale. Here are some tips for DIY home staging:

  1. Declutter and remove excess furnishings to make rooms appear larger. Store away personal memorabilia.
  2. Clean thoroughly – deep clean carpets, windows, surfaces, etc. to create a welcoming atmosphere.
  3. Style simply and focus on neutral colors for walls, furniture, accessories to appeal to buyers.
  4. Highlight architectural details like crown moldings by adding strategic lighting.
  5. Rearrange furniture to open up space and create defined areas/pathways for better flow.
  6. Freshen up the exterior – power wash siding, trim hedges, add flowers/potted plants, repaint any damaged areas.
  7. Accent with small upgrades like stylish fixture handles, artwork, decorative accents to elevate the look.
  8. Ensure good lighting in all rooms – ample natural and artificial lighting makes spaces feel welcoming.

With some effort and creativity, DIY staging can make a significant difference in showcasing a home’s best features within a limited budget. Sellers can utilize their own existing furniture pieces and decor and borrow items from friends/relatives if needed for temporary staging.

Q: What are staging dos and dont's?

A: The dos focus efforts on showcasing strengths to buyers through careful stylistic improvements. The don’ts guard against common missteps that inadvertently obscure a home’s potential value.

Furniture & Decor Dos:

DO declutter to feature strengths DO focus on neutral colored pieces DO style minimally and simply DO create small defined spaces

Furniture & Decor Don’ts:

DON’T overcrowd rooms DON’T use loud, distracting patterns
DON’T leave personal photos or art DON’T over-embellish decorative elements

Repairs & Enhancements Dos:

DO accentuate architectural details DO thoroughly clean every room DO fix any noticeable flaws DO powerwash exterior and tend yard

Repairs & Enhancements Don’ts

DON’T leave known issues unaddressed DON’T display collections or clutter DON’T overlook cracks, stains or damages DON’T let outdoor upkeep fall short

Lighting & Staging Dos:

DO use ample lighting in all rooms DO stage room purposes creatively DO incorporate virtual staging if needed DO add final styling touches

Lighting & Staging Don’ts:

DON’T block natural light sources DON’T flood rooms with too many lights DON’T ignore empty rooms DON’T neglect exterior curb appeal

Sensory & Flow Dos:

DO use subtle scent strategies DO create open buyer flow
DO welcome buyers from entryway DO highlight storage capacities

Sensory & Flow Don’ts:

DON’T overwhelm senses
DON’T obstruct clear pathways DON’T shut off rooms not shown DON’T conceal storage assets.

Q: Is staging a small house for sale worth it?

A: Yes, staging a small house for sale is typically worth the effort and investment; you can prove to buyers even the small spaces can appear larger and with an efficient layout. 

Here are other secondary reasons why:

  1. Highlights best features – Staging draws the eye to a small home’s assets like a cozy alcove, architectural details, or creative storage solutions.
  2. Creates buyer appeal – Styled, neutral décor makes a small house feel welcoming and move-in ready to buyers.
  3. Maximizes value – Small staged homes can command 3-5% higher prices than empty or cluttered ones.
  4. Quicker sales – Staged listings can trim average market time up to 20% for faster sales.

The relative affordability of staging a small home, combined with a higher sale price and fewer carrying costs during a shorter market period, makes it a worthwhile investment for sellers. 

Strategic virtual staging is another cost-effective option to showcase a small home. With some creativity, even modest spaces can yield top dollar when staged properly before listing.

Q: Is staging a large house for sale worth it?

A: Yes, staging a large house for sale is typically worth the investment. The main reason it’s worth the cost is to show how the space is utilized effectively, where furniture can be positioned, decors, how good the floor plan is.

Here are other key reasons to consider:

  1. Enhances visual appeal – Professionally styled vignettes make a big home feel warm, welcoming and move-in ready.
  2. Speeds up sales – Staged large homes can sell over 20% faster, saving significant carrying costs over a shorter period.
  3. Increases marketability – Luxury touches attract more potential buyers to view and tour the property.
  4. Drives up price – Large staged homes often appraise for 8-12% higher and command premium offers in bidding wars.

While staging costs more for sprawling homes, the return on investment is multiplied by the higher home value and shorter market period to offset the upfront expense.

Luxury staging also averts the perception of an empty, unappealing cavern for house hunters. The visualization and lifestyle created by quality staging prompts more buyers to see premium potential in the property.

Q: Is staging luxury house the same as a normal one?

The fundamentals of staging are mostly similar in luxury or standard staging -showcasing strengths and lifestyle remain similar. In luxury staging, the stager goes above and beyond on furnishings, aesthetics, and amenities. The goal is to create a sensory experience across all buyer touchpoints that immerses viewers in prestige living from arrival onwards. Budgets affording topline stagers, virtual technologies, and high-quality upgrades take staging to this level.

High-end luxury virtual staging with high-fidelity and photorealism
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  1. Budget – Top luxury stagers and furnishings can cost 10X more than typical staging with customized buildouts.
  2. Scale – Palatial rooms require carefully arranged conversation areas and artwork to draw the eye.
  3. Features – High-end touches like spas, wine rooms and theaters need unique spotlighting.
  4. Furnishings – Luxury staging uses premium brands and pieces conveying elite lifestyle.
  5. Curb appeal – Upscale landscaping like fountains and sculpture gardens raises perceived value.
  6. Artwork – Museum-quality collections require customized lighting and security.

Q: Is staging an old house for sale worth it?

The main benefit of staging an old house is to show how the space would look when modernized, with strategic decor and furniture arrangement the old vibes will be softened, all making it worth the effort and investment to the stage.

Here are other benefits worth considering:

  1. Conceals flaws – Careful staging draws the eye away from signs of aging like scuffed floors or faded paint.
  2. Broadens appeal – Neutral, light-filled staging helps reposition an old home to attract more buyers.
  3. Speeds sales – Staged old homes sell faster on average than empty, forlorn ones.
  4. Drives up price – Character details like moldings are enhanced while flaws are camouflaged to boost market value.

The cost of staging an old home is usually quickly recovered on the back end. Properties staged to highlight period architecture and modern renovations are often appraised and sold for up to 8% more.

Even simple style and lighting adjustments go far to refresh outdated spaces. And faster sales save on taxes, insurance and maintenance over the reduced listing period.

Q: Who pays for staging a house for sale?

Typically, the sellers pay for staging a house that’s being put up for sale; good agents can offer to cover the staging costs, too.

Here are some common scenarios:

  1. Sellers fully pay – Most often, sellers choose and pay for staging services to make their homes more appealing to buyers.
  2. Buyers pay indirectly – Buyers don’t directly pay. But an effectively staged home commands a higher price, which the buyer agrees to by choice, indirectly funding the expense.
  3. Shared payment – In some cases, during negotiations on an already listed home without staging, the buyer might offer to split staging costs to enable the updates.
  4. Agent rebates a portion – Top agents often have staging partners. They could discount their own commission to rebate some funds off closing costs towards staging.

While not mandatory, preemptive staging funded fully by sellers has a maximum return on investment in the sale price and timeframe. With proper pricing, most sellers recoup their staging investment, and then some, when the upgraded home presentation attracts more buyers willing to pay top dollar.

This is why sellers have the strongest motivation to stage effectively upfront.

Q: What does staging a house for sale mean?

A: Staging a house for sale refers to preparing and showcasing a home to maximize its sales appeal when it’s put on the market.

The goal of staging is transforming the house into a welcoming, move-in ready home that attracts more buyer attention both online and during in-person showings.

Thoughtful staging allows buyers to see themselves and their lifestyles reflected in the spaces. This drives more engagement and emotional connections with the property, typically resulting in faster sales, fewer contingencies, and top-dollar offers.