8 Staging Tips to Sell Your House

We had lived in our Victorian house for 2 years, and we were ready to sell. I decided to sell it on my own and avoid the 3% we would otherwise have paid a realtor. It sold in 3 weeks (tips to sell you home here). As soon as we put our house on the market we had an open house.

Staging tips to sell your house #1.

  • CURB APPEAL. Keep in mind that the first impression a potential buyer will have during your open house will be walking up to the front door. Mow your grass that morning. Place one decorative item on your front door that is seasonally appropriate. The exception to this is if you have decorative glass, as we did, then let that speak for itself. Weed at least the front flower beds. Declutter by removing the garden gnome, your Dallas Cowboys flag (no offense to Cowboys fans), or the roller blades that were left on the front walk. If you have furniture on the front porch give it a once over. Is it adding or detracting from the first impression? Consider adding a decorative pillow or two, but if it is beyond “cutesifying” then remove it! Less is more. Place a couple planters of flowers on either side of the entryway to draw the eye to the entrance.


staging tips to sell house
Our front door on the day of the open house.


staging tips to sell house
Our front porch for the open house. It appears little hands had been playing with the coffee table candle prior to the pic. Ha.


staging tips to sell house
This was the upstairs side porch. There is nothing fancy about this 100 year old porch at all, but a simply staged area still creates a vision of seeing oneself enjoying a book and a cup of coffee up here.


Staging tips to sell your house #2.

  • LIGHTS. Turn on every light in the house and open every door. You don’t want anyone to think you have something to hide. Light also makes a room look bigger.


Staging tips to sell your house #3.

  • DECLUTTER. This is the time to make your kitchen counter tops look perfect. If you typically keep a toaster, a can opener, a set of knives, coffee maker, a basket of bills and all your spices on the counter top consider removing the majority of them to make it look more open. If you are struggling in the kitchen try Googling “staged kitchens” and mirror the images that you see. From a decorative standpoint – a good rule of thumb is to stage items in groups of 3. If you have a shelf of decorative knick-knacks and are unsure how to organize them, pick 3 and arrange accordingly.


Staging decorative items for an open house
Keep your vignettes simple.

Staging tips to sell your house #4.

  • PICTURES. You will find expert advice that varies widely on this subject. Some will say you don’t want to leave pictures of your family on the walls as you want the potential buyer to visualize themselves living in the house. For myself, I feel that several high quality, well-placed family pictures can serve as works of art. Large picture frames are a great way to accentuate a decorative style and can even make a ceiling appear higher. However if your family room wall is covered with 8×10’s of your super cute kids, I would recommend picking 3 or 5 with your nicer (preferably larger) picture frames and arranging them as a vignette above a sofa or other centered piece of furniture against the wall. Again, less is more.


staging tips to sell house
Center photos on wall spaces and create a vignette above a piece of furniture.


Staging tips to sell your house #5.

  • FLOWERS. Place fresh bouquets throughout your house. Consider a small one on your coffee table when you first walk in. Place one on the dining room table and take another one apart and split it between your bathrooms. It gives an organic and natural appearance to an otherwise staged room. We bought a large bouquet of roses for our coffee table, and I kept the bouquet and dried it, and I use it as decoration still today!


Dried bouquet of roses that we initially used to stage our first home. I still use as decoration today!


Staging tips to sell your house #6.

  • CANDLES. It is no secret to those who know me that I have a small obsession with candles. Spread a couple candles throughout the house (while observing all fire precautions of course). Some experts recommend baking cookies or bread prior to an open house, but a vanilla cookie or pumpkin spice candle can also stimulate that aromatic sense of home. And who doesn’t love the soft glow of candle light??


Staging tips to sell your house #7.

  • CLEAN. This seems like an obvious statement, and yet I have walked through so many homes that appear to have missed this memo. Again, you need to think magazine cover clean. Consider hiring a cleaning service to give your house a thorough deep clean the day before or morning of, or find a friend who loves to clean (I can tell you right now I am not that friend.  Now if you need help organizing your linen closet I’m your girl.) and offer them their favorite sweet treat to come help you clean. An important note here is that if you smoke or if you have any pets – professionally cleaning the carpets is a must. You may not notice the smell, but if someone does not smoke or have pets, it can be an immediate detractor.


Staging tips to sell your house #8.

  • ORGANIZE. After you have decluttered you need to organize. These are two different steps. Decluttering involves removing excess items completely. Organizing involves taking what remains and arranging it in such a way as to optimize the visual appeal. This means that unless you are selling a home “as is,” it is vital to take the extra step with the anticipation that buyers will open the pantry, pull out your kitchen drawers, check the linen closet in the hall, and peer around the shower curtain. Don’t give them any reason to think twice.


I hope these tips were helpful. Share your staging tips below!!

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