Cindy Lin, Founder, Staged4more

Hi, Welcome to Our School of Home Staging!

After a successful, 12+ years run as a home staging company in San Francisco Bay Area, STAGED4MORE is now an online school that focuses on home staging education for home stagers, home sellers and real estate agents.

Please take some time and check out all the free resources and tips available on our blog & podcast, as well as our courses selections.

20 Practical Home Staging Tips You Can DIY Today

20 Practical Home Staging Tips You Can DIY Today

People often think that the process of getting the home ready for sale can be complicated. But here are 20 practical home staging tips you can do it yourself today to make a difference in the presentation of your home. You can also apply these 20 tips to living in your current home to boost the enjoyment of your home.

Here are the 20 practical home staging tips:

1. Minor Repairs Can Make A Huge Difference.

Small things like grimes in the bathroom walls, broken light switch plates or holes on the walls may seem like a no big deal, but these types of minor repairs can signal the home is not well maintained. So, it is important to make sure details like these are taken care of before showing the home.  

2. Appeal to the Nose

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The scent is part of our five senses and it can trigger emotions and feelings when we smell a certain scent. This is why when you walk into a department store, it often smells very pleasant and inviting. Often times, real estate agents will bake cookies or boil cinnamon sticks before the open house to make the home smells more inviting.

Similarly, bad smells will deter buyers. When you are getting your home ready for sale, do a thorough check of your home. Get a friend or your real estate agent to walk through the home with you and jot down any smells that are not pleasant. This is especially helpful when you have pets. Often times, you are already used to your pets' scents and may not be aware that it can be strong for visitors. 

Make sure that there are not any strange or bad smells in your home. If so, find out where it is coming from, to make sure it is not something serious like mold, mildew, etc.

3. Use Art to Add Visual Interests

Having art on your walls is a great way to add colors and visual interests to the room. It adds a layer of depth to the room and can set the mood and tone of the room.

Also see: Interior Styling Tip: Art Collections as the Focal Point

4. Use the Colors to Add Personality

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The way we put colors together in the room can create different moods and set the tone of the home. Colors can soothe and can inject life into a lifeless room. You can use accent pillows, artwork, accessories, etc. to add colors to the room. 

5. Create a Flow

The layout of your furniture is important for a few reason. First, a proper furniture layout is welcoming and inviting. It also teaches the visitors the purpose of each room. Lastly, it creates a great traffic flow for your open house visitors. You can create effective furniture layout by using grouping. For example, group the living room furniture (sofa, accent chairs, coffee table) together to create a conversational area that is suitable for entertainment and family gathering. 

Also see: Selecting the Right Furniture for the Right Room

6. Does the Room Feel Small?

Oversized furniture and home accessories can make a room feel smaller than it really is. So when you are staging the home, look at the scale and proportion of your home accessories and furniture.

Similarly, a room that is overstuffed with stuff is going to make the room feel cramp. It will also be difficult for visitors to tour during the open house. So do an audit of your rooms to make sure only the key pieces of furniture stay. You can liven up the room by using accessories and artwork. 

7. Use Accessories to Create A Lifestyle Buyers Want

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Home accessories can add a lot of personality and colors into the home. When you are staging to target buyer's ideal lifestyle, the right pieces of home accessories can do just that. 

8. Avoid Things that Look Dated

If you have any items in your home that can be seen as outdated, like old drapes, kitchen cabinet, fixtures, etc. especially if they are also not in the best conditions, replace them with something simple and neutral. You can get fairly inexpensive replacements from big box retailers like Target, Home Depot, etc.

Bigger ticket items like kitchen cabinets or wood flooring, etc., there are a few ways to renew the worn out wood. For example, you can stain, reface or paint kitchen cabinets to give it a new life. Old wood flooring can be refinished and polished as well. 

9. Make Your Bathroom Inviting

The bathrooms, especially the master bathroom, is one of the most important areas of the home and often has higher ROI than others. So it's important to make sure that your bathroom is in good shape. Take care of any leaks, major issues like mold, update the fixtures (if they are outdated), before the open house. You can also add accessories like fluffy towels and decorative pieces to make the space more inviting. You can also take a look at hotel bathrooms for inspirations.

Also see: Interior Styling Tricks Inspired by Design Hotels Around the World

10. Let There Be Light

Light sells! In visual merchandising, lighting is an important element. Because good lighting sells. It's the same when it comes to staging your home. It is important to make the room feel bright and airy when you are putting the staging together.

Also see: Transform Your Space with Lighting, 5 Sure Fire Ways to Brighten A Room

11. Less is More

This phrase may sound overused but it is very true when it comes to staging your home for sale. This is why there is a strong emphasis on decluttering in staging, because by having too many unnecessary items in the house and block and distract the buyers from seeing the home. These items are fine when you are living in the home, because they add to the ambience and the enjoyment of your home. But if they are not necessary when the home is on the market, it's best to remove them.

12. Painting Your House (and Stuff too) has the Best ROI

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If the colors on your walls don't look fresh anymore, it is time to repaint. Over time, the paint on your walls will fade and there may be uneven sunspots on the wall. The paint color itself can also become outdated, or it was too personal to appeal to a broad range of potential buyers.

By refreshing the paint job, the home will feel renewed. Similarly, you can paint outdated fixtures, furniture and finishes to refresh the pieces. 

13. No One Wants A Dirty House (Except Those Who are Looking for Bargains)

No one wants to buy a dirty house. It will immediately give the wrong impression to the buyers that you are a home seller who doesn't maintain the house. 

Buyers often say that they don't need a turnkey ready home, however, they still prefer to buy something that's almost turnkey ready. So give them one less excuse to say no in buying your house.

14. Buyers LOVE Storage

No one ever complains about having too much space for storage.

So go through your cabinets and closets and remove any non-essential items during the sale period. Buyers will be interested in learning what kind of the storage space the house has. It is most likely that the buyers will be opening up kitchen cabinets, pantry spaces and closets to check what kind of closet space they will have.

15. Don't Forget Your Garage

On that same note, don't forget your garage! Clear out any stuff that you won't need for the next few months and pack them away neatly in a storage unit if you can. 

Also see: How to Stage Your Garage to Boost Your Home Value

16. Make Your Master Bedroom Attractive

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The master bedroom is very important since it's where your buyers will be living in. So when it comes to staging the master bedroom, it's important to make it attractive space for the potential buyers. It should appeal to a broad range of buyers and not overly feminine or masculine. The colors on the walls should be neutral and relaxing. Think about how high-end hotels usually style their rooms to make their customers feel excited to be spending the night there.

Also see: How to Style Your Bedroom with Elegance and Charm

17. Don't Forget Your Shelves

This is often ignored, especially for those who are living in the home while they are selling. Your reading materials can be a distraction to potential buyers, especially if there are books that should be in your private collection.

Often times, people also display their prized possessions on the shelves. Be sure to pack anything valuable or have sentimental value to you away in case of being damaged during the open house.

Same goes with your kitchen shelves. Do a purge of items in the pantry and pack away things you will not need during the selling period.  

18. Flooring On A Budget

If budget is an issue when it comes to updating the flooring, there are plenty of options to save. When it comes to old carpeting in the home, it is worth to peel back a corner and check the condition of the floor underneath. Often times, our clients refinished the hardwood floor underneath the old, outdated carpets.

You can also go to retailers and showrooms to check out your options. Nowadays, there are tons of choices out there that are budget-friendly and still look very lovely. You can use vinyl as an inexpensive option or substitute with plywood, bamboo, etc. for hardwood floor. 

See also: How Home Staging Helped This Listing Sold $308,000 Overasking

19. Green Brings Green

Have you noticed oftentimes that retailers like Ralph Lauren, Anthropologie all have plants or flowers in their retail stores? That's because greenery and house plants can add visual interests and liveliness to the room and make the room feel more inviting and homey. 

20. Bring Out the Architectural Details

In your home, there may be architectural details like moulding, picture rails, large windows, that is a great feature of the home. If so, in your staging, bring out these features. 

There you have it: 20 practical home staging tips you can do it yourself today. Do you have any more tips to add? Add them in the Comment section below.


Photo contributed by (in order of appearance): Arnold Leung, Rhema Kallianpur, Ember + Ivory, Alexandra Gorn, Hutomo Abrianto
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