The Ultimate Guide to Staging a Home That Sells

According to NAR, 77% of buyers’ agents indicated staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home. Before you list your home, follow this list of staging preparations to highlight a home that sells.

Create space

Many buyers are looking to move to gain more space, so help the house appear as spacious as possible. Eliminate excess or oversized furniture so potential buyers have the most accurate idea of the room size, as well as space to walk through. If you question if the piece is too large, remove it. Throughout the home, pull the furniture several inches from the walls to allow the corners to be visible.

Closet contents should also be drastically reduced. The amount of belongings in the closet should be sparse, and the floors should be clear. A jam-packed closet appears significantly smaller than it really is.

Lastly, remove clutter from all surfaces. Create four categories — throw out, donate, move to storage and keep. This will show the home is free of visual clutter, and you will also have an easier move out. If your home is filled with an abundance of furniture and decor pieces you don’t want to part with, rent a storage unit for the duration the home is on the market.


Evaluate the amount of personal items throughout the house, including photographs, art, religious symbols, knick-knacks and books. If you think all of the personal items have been edited down, go through and edit one more time. The goal is to allow potential buyers to envision themselves living in the home. A styling trick is to create neutral vignettes — a grouping of accessories often in threes — throughout the home. These accessories could include wall art, candle sticks, vases, all varying in shape, color and texture.

Maintain an immaculate environment

While living in a listed house can be difficult, especially with children or pets, take careful steps to make sure the house stays sparkling clean and odor-free. A house that smells odd to a potential buyer can prevent them from wanting to look through the rest of the house. Rather than masking smells with candles or potpourri, open windows. Run a humidifier and use an air purifier to neutralize the air.

Invest in a professional cleaning service to deep-clean the house, including the baseboards, windows, floors, walls and carpets, to remove both surface stains, as well as odors.

Set one focal point per area

Creating one central focus point can make a room look more cohesive, and can help potential buyers better visualize themselves and their belongings in the space. Once you identify the focal point, style the furniture and decor around it. As a reference, the living room’s focal point can be the fireplace, window or TV; the bedroom is often the headboard and the bathroom is the vanity area.

Select a continual color theme

A fresh coat of paint throughout the home can go a long way. Select a neutral paint palette that seamlessly transitions throughout the house. This color flow makes the house feel more open and larger, and offers a blank canvas that many buyers crave.

Let in the light

Allow as much light to come in as possible. Open draperies and shades, remove unnecessary blinds and move any items that may obstruct windows or other light sources. A bright, airy home is one of the first features a potential buyer will notice.

Don’t forget the exterior

The front door is the first impression — make it count. Make sure the landscaping is manicured, the front door is in good condition, the exterior lighting is functional and there are seasonal arrangements on the front porch. Pressure washing the siding and deck can also make a big impact.

Written by Deanna Kane
Deanna Kane is an interiors, home decor, and real estate writer. She enjoys taking on her own home renovation and design projects, and staying current on the local real estate market.