Top rules to stage your home to sell

  • Declutter everywhere – remove excess furniture, knick-knacks, appliances, etc. to open up space.
  • Clean thoroughly – every room should be deep cleaned and smells fresh.
  • Depersonalize – take down family photos and religious/political items.
  • Neutralize color palette – stick to light, neutral colors that appeal to buyers.
  • Let in natural light – open blinds/curtains, turn on all lights.
  • Accentuate architectural details – highlight moldings, bay windows, etc.
  • Organize kitchen and bathrooms – neat and tidy spaces sell.
  • Update fixtures and finishes – consider new hardware and paint if needed.
  • Style simply – don’t overdecorate. Less is more.
  • Fix flaws – repair cracks, leaks, DAMAGES before listing.
  • Enhance curb appeal – pretty up the entryway, lawn and exterior.
  • Allow ample space – remove excess furniture to avoid clutter.
  • Create focal points – every room must have focal point created each room with furniture and decors
  • Use scents strategically – The welcoming aroma of fresh baked goods says “home” to buyers and helps them picture their family in the space
  • Create buyer flow – guide buyers from room to room logically.
  • Highlight storage space – buyers want closets and storage areas.
  • Soft Staging the empty houses – soft staging is the second cheapest type of staging after virtual staging, a cost-effective way to make the space feel warm, inviting, and move-in ready.

Staging opens up and showcases your home’s best features so buyers can envision living there. A model home aesthetic helps sell for top dollar.

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.

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

Did you know that homes staged before hitting the market sell 73% faster, according to a Real Estate Staging Association study? This article is here to ease your stress by offering practical rules and tips on how to effectively stage your house for sale.

Stick around as we turn this challenge into an exciting opportunity!

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.

Importance of 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 captures the best features, functions in an enhanced presentational way. Even if a house is brand new and beautiful, it still can lack the homely softness created by staging.

The staging design rules are even more important in a In a house for sale that has its years shown. Help your property portray a positive first impression, highlight the potential of the space, and maximizes the selling price.

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

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.

Four cups of coffee staged with coffee beans in them to create an inviting atmosphere for potential homebuyers.
Four cups of coffee staged with coffee beans in them to create an inviting atmosphere for potential homebuyers.

Best scent for home staging

Bake cookies or cinnamon rolls before a showing – The 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%.

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.

Have a project to stage? We know how to do virtual staging effectively >

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


  • 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.


  • 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 home staging rules for every room in a house from a professional home stager


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


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


  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


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


  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


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


  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


  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.

tallbox virtual staging

Have a project to stage? We know how to do virtual staging effectively >

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

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.

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.

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.


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.


1. How can staging help sell my house faster?

Staging your home can make it appealing to potential buyers, enabling them to visualize themselves living in the property thus helping your house sell faster.

2. What are some top home-staging tips for selling a home?

Some key staging rules include presenting a clean home, optimizing the lighting, adding pops of color and ensuring good care of the property both inside and outside.

3. Should I hire a professional stager when I want to sell my house?

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.

4. Is it fine showing an empty house while selling?

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.

5. Can I stage my own houses for viewing by potential buyers?

Although professionals bring expert knowledge, if you’re comfortable with arranging spaces aesthetically and creating welcoming environments, you can certainly stage your own homes before viewings.

6. What parts of my house should I focus on most during staging?

Based on recent studies like “living room was found” every part matters but there’s emphasis on improvements that enhance curb appeal (outside), kitchen upgrades and special touches such as preparing your living rooms.