Interior Design

Selling a home can be stressful, and, with so much to do, sellers often overlook what may be a crucial factor.

Think about this: buyers want to be able to picture themselves in the house as if it’s their own. The thing that encourages this feeling could be called the secret to the home-selling process: staging.

An integral part of selling a house, staging consists of redesigning current décor to accentuate a home’s assets and characteristics. Some sellers even hire professional stagers to ready their home for the real estate market.

Here are some general ideas to get you started:


Problem: Bare walls. Houses without any furnishings often seem vacant and prospective buyers have trouble envisioning the empty space as a welcoming room.

Solution: Consider renting or borrowing furniture to give the home a lived-in feeling. Some sellers choose to buy furniture and sell it with the house, sell it in a later yard sale or donate it to charity.

Problem: Too much information. Personal mementos and unnecessary clutter can detract from a home’s natural beauty and architectural detailing.

Solution: Minimize. Begin by renting a storage unit to house unnecessary belongings and clutter. If you cannot afford this, neatly box the excess material and place it in a garage, an attic or a similar storage space.


Placement, placement, placement. Be willing to experiment with your furniture arrangements. Make sure that high-traffic areas are clear of excess furnishings to maximize space. Reposition sofas and chairs into cozy conversational groups, and place pieces so that the traffic flow in the room is obvious. Don’t push your furniture against the walls, assuming that this will make the room appear larger.

Color! While painting may seem trivial, the right shade or hue can turn an outdated disaster into a modern marvel. Try to select neutral colors that will complement any buyer’s personal design style. Avoid stark whites in favor of warm creams and beiges. If you are selling a home with some history, don’t be afraid to do some research. Victorian homes, or painted ladies, are traditionally known for their vibrant colors both inside and out. Buyers will find this dedication to historical accuracy appealing.

Accessories. Staging is about uniting various elements into one cohesive design. Buyers will be interested at in every minute detail, from the creative layout to the furniture to the seemingly insignificant accents. An odd number of accessories is preferred, especially threes. Consider scale and placement when arranging knick-knacks, or try grouping them by color, texture or shape.

Lighting. Lighting determines how a room is perceived. Light affects color and ambiance, two important aspects of staging. To make your home more inviting, increase the wattage in your lamps and fixtures to 100 watts for every 50 square feet. Then install dimmers so you can vary light levels according to your mood and the time of day. Place mirrors, silver or glass bowls or other reflective objects near lamps to bounce light around the room and make it glow even more.

Test of Time. Try to renovate anything that potential buyers might view as old or outdated. This can mean an expensive overhaul, or, alternatively, some very clever, inexpensive solutions. Place peal-and-stick tiles over old flooring. Remove wallpaper or, if you don’t have the time or the patience, simply paint over it.

Aromas. Keep in mind that odors can linger in a house for days. That pungent fish you had for dinner might have tasted good, but the overpowering scent may have cost you a sale. On the day of the open house, try baking a delicious treat, letting the scent waft through the entire house. Want more tips on scent, see this Buy Owner Blog article.

Green living. Plants and flowers are an inexpensive way to breathe life into a room. Fresh flowers will add color, warmth and appeal to an otherwise dull room. A bowl of fresh fruit works well, too.

Expert opinions. Try consulting design magazines for tips and tricks. Find a room picture that you find appealing and isolate the components that set that room apart. Maybe they arranged the artwork in a unique way or utilized natural light to illuminate a certain detail. Notice how these rooms seem universal, while still retaining a sense of style.