Staging Your Home for Sale

Selling an empty home can be difficult because people have trouble picturing the home with that lived-in feel. Staging a home is one way to provide a better sense of how the space can be used and attract buyers. It doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive but it does need to be done carefully for the best effect.

Basic Checklist for Staging a Home

  • Remove half to two-thirds of the home’s furniture
  • Take away all personal pictures, non-professional pieces of art, etc.
  • Empty all of the cupboards and closets at least half-way
  • Remove all boxes from the premises
  • Repaint and repair minor cosmetic defects on walls, baseboards, doors, etc.
  • Use accessories but use them sparingly
  • Resolve any odor issues with carpets, draperies or other surfaces

The Importance of Minimalism

The minimalist approach to furniture shows off the rooms and makes them look more spacious. While the basic rule is to leave no more than a third of the furniture in the home this must be adjusted based on how much furniture the homeowners have. Some people choose not to use their own furniture as well.

Under the minimalist approach each bedroom should have a bed and a dresser, perhaps with a nightstand, but nothing else. Always use furniture appropriate for the size of the room. If you have crammed a king-sized bed into a guest room for practical reasons, remove it and replace it with a smaller one for staging. Air mattresses make good beds for cheap staging if you don’t want to or can’t use your own.

The same applies to furniture in other parts of the house. Use a dining room table appropriate for the space, not the practicalities of your life. Choose fewer or smaller couches if yours fill up the living room. The overall impression should be one of spaciousness.

Emptying the closets and cupboards partway helps to achieve this effect. Remove small appliances such as toasters and blenders as well. Get boxes out of the house, including the closets and attic, basement or other storage space.

Depersonalize and Clean

The goal of staging a home is to make people put themselves into the space. For this reason, remove all personal belongings except generic items like clothes or food that are used to stage the space. Family photos, used toothbrushes and other signs that the home is lived in should be removed.

Cleaning has an enormous effect on what people feel about a home. Now is not the time to skimp on scrubbing the refrigerator or fixing the leaky bathroom sink. A nice clean coat of paint and a good scrubbing makes all homes look better.

Matching and Accessorizing

Color-coordinating and matching items like kitchenware and bathroom linens can really make a difference in how people see your home. This can often be easily accomplished by taking out the non-matching cookware or linens and leaving only a few items in the same color and style behind.

Accessories can make a bare space look much more inviting but be careful not to overdo it. The general rule is that one accessory on a mantle, table or wall is good but more is not necessarily better. Fresh flowers are the number one accessory for many people.

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