How to Stage a House

As a long-time staging consultant and home staging teacher, I pretty much talk about home staging all the time. I love teaching homeowners how to stage a house for sale. One of the things that helps people new to the idea of staging understand the process is to just lay it out in a step-by-step format like a recipe.

It basically is the same thing as following directions — just like a recipe.

So here are the steps in a simplified format. I discuss each home staging step in greater detail on other pages. This is just meant to be a basic order to follow. You can easily stage your own house with these tips.

How to Stage a House
how to stage a house

Declutter

This is pretty clear, and it includes everything from removing pieces of furniture that make rooms feel crowded to getting rid of that pile of mail and papers on the kitchen counter.

One of the most important things we’re doing when we stage houses is making space. So, pretty much everywhere you look around your house, see if you can find ways to create space. Removing items and organizing what’s left (like in closets and cabinets) is one way to get this done. Crowded spaces don’t feel good. They feel kind of overwhelming and jumbled. People like to have enough room for all of their stuff. You definitely don’t want to give buyers the impression that your house is too small or they might lose interest right then and there.

Once you have done a thorough job of de-cluttering, you can move on to the next step in staging your house.

Clean

Spring cleaning time! Clean everything. Cleaning is one of the most important keys to how to stage a house successfully. Windows, baseboards, light fixtures, everything you can think of. Make every surface as shiny and sparkly and fresh-looking as possible. If you don’t want to get that involved with it yourself, find a good maid service. It’ll be worth the money to pay a pro to come in and do a deep clean for you. It will make a huge difference and it’ll instantly make the house have a better vibe.

Don’t overlook the carpets. Rent a carpet cleaner or hire a carpet cleaning service. You can find good deals if you shop around a little.

Do the same with your yard. Make sure all trees and hedges look tidy, keep the lawn mowed and watered, and pick up after your dog. Also, if you have kids’ toys or pet toys around the yard, keep them neatly in a basket or bin.

Depersonalize

This is the time to remove your family photos and mementos, decor and artwork that are very taste-specific, along with your collections, personalized items like signs with you family member’s names, etc.

Remove anything that makes your house look different from what you’d see in a home decor catalog. Meaning, make it look like people live here quite comfortably… but not specific people.  This makes it easier for buyers to imagine living there.

This is a huge, very important part of the home staging process, so make sure to be thorough!

Quick Updates

Without spending much money (if you don’t want to), look at your house with fresh eyes.

Try to imagine seeing everything for the first time. Should you replace that shower curtain? Does the kitchen rug look a little worn? Are the throw pillows dated? Inexpensive updates that add color and new life to the house can add a lot of appeal.

Look around for easy targets that you can switch out to give your home some easy, inexpensive updates.

Lighten and Brighten

Buyers love light, bright houses!

Go through your home and find ways to bring in more light. Pay attention to your window coverings. See if you can find ways to add more natural light to the home. A large wall mirror can help bounce light around in a room that’s a little on the dark side.

When the home is being photographed, make sure to let is as much light as possible. Do the same for showings.

If you are selling in the fall and winter when it may be dark when buyers visit, add some new, brighter light bulbs in some of the fixtures (pay attention to the maximum wattage allowed for each fixture!) so the space looks bright and airy and cheerful.

Add Color

I like adding some pops of color to go along with the updates you may have made in step 4. A bowl of apples or oranges in the kitchen, some fresh flowers in the dining room or by the bed, a pretty scented candle in the bathroom… those are all good examples.

Humans like looking at color! It reminds us of nature, which makes us feel good. We like the life that color brings to a space. Looking at homes for sale online, one of the biggest problems with so many of them is the blah factor. I mean, beige walls, beige carpet, white appliances, white blinds… how dull is that? People like spaces that seem alive and energized, not bland, dead, dull, and stagnant.

So, add some life to your rooms! Use accessories, flowers and fruit, tasteful art work (landscapes are good), throw pillows, maybe a rug or two.

I especially like adding items that will appeal to multiple senses, things that look good AND smell good. Natural materials are excellent because humans respond on a deep level to attractive flowers and fruit, and these things convey a feeling of happiness and abundance.

I hope this home staging to-do list has helped you learn how to stage a house.

Staging your house is really easy if you just go step by step 🙂