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Staging Your Home for Sale: 5 Essential Ideas

Staging Your Home for Sale: 5 Essential Ideas

Staging a home is the art of making your house appealing and inspirational to your potential buyers. This is one part in the home selling process that many homeowners are not sure how to tackle. After cleaning the place up and repainting the walls... then what? How do you inspire a buyer to imagine their new life and fall in love with your house on the first tour?

The answer is artistic and strategic staging. Staging is applied aesthetics and marketing combined. You both want to use staging to make your home more beautiful and to spark certain thoughts and plans in your buyer audience. Great home staging whispers "You would love to live here" to each buyer as they tour photos, 3D walkthroughs, and live tours of the home. If you're not sure where to start with staging, that's just fine:  here are 5 steps of staging, with a spotlight on the later stages where creativity and audience awareness are key.    


Step 1: Deep Cleaning and Repairs

Most homeowners know the first step of staging already: Cleaning and repairs. A home ready for market has been deep-cleaned - from scrubbing the grout to steam-cleaning the carpets. You want your house to shine. Remove every speck of dust. Have filters and vents cleaned and have the appliances serviced. Polish everything until it gleams and get rid of any spot or scuff you see.  Then walk through the house checking closets and upper shelves to make sure everything is cleared, freshened, and ready.

Take care of any repairs during this phase as well. Tighten the hinges and handles on every door and cabinet so it's all secure and hangs straight. Have the track on the bathroom drawer fixed. Repair that dent in the wall caused by moving the couch. Have the appliances inspected and tuned up, with any necessary repairs. This is also a good time to update fixtures and hardware like cabinet handles, faucets, and shower heads.

This process gets the house functionally ready for a new resident in a way that will be welcoming and appreciated.


Step 2: Repaint and Refinish

The second step of staging is to make your house look and feel "like new" again. We typically do this with paint, and sometimes with furniture polish, stain, and topcoats. Essentially, you want to "refinish" every surface of the house and seal it in with modern topcoat so that the house gleams as if it were built yesterday.

Build a neutral yet elegant paint palette that matches the local aesthetic style and the architecture of your home. This year, neutral greens are a hot trend, but you can't go wrong with charcoal and warm gray either. Be sure to either paint professionally or hire professional painters. Drips on the baseboards and painted-over outlet covers are a turn off to potential buyers.


Step 3: Lighting and Window Treatments

Show your house in the best light. Lighting is a surprisingly powerful element when selling a home. You want to show that the house is warm, welcoming, and well-lit with your use of both natural and electric light. Even if you sell it 100% empty, light matters a great deal in selling a home.

Replace all bulbs with bright LEDs and look for ways to eliminate shadows. Use lamps and mirrors to brighten dark areas where the house lights may cast a few shadows. You can even install new light fixtures if the home is lacking in dark places like hallways and large rooms.

When you shoot the photo tour, pick the best time of day for home lighting. When the morning or afternoon sun pours in the windows is often a sunny and inviting time to take photos, However, if sunshine washes out the home's look, pick a milder time of day or even an overcast day to shoot with the curtains closed.

Speaking of curtains, window treatments also play a role. Consider something other than plain white or off-white mini blinds. Simple cloth blinds and tasteful curtains can go a long way in making an empty house look like a welcoming new home for buyers.


Step 4: Light Staging - The Little Touches

Light staging is what we call "empty house staging" in other words, you're not bringing in furniture but you are adding little touches that make the home more welcoming. A small flower arrangement on the kitchen island and decorative hand towels in each bathroom can give a house that feeling of home potential as buyers imagine their new life in the space. 

Work with your realtor to determine the best little touches for light staging in your home. The decorations you choose should depend on what delights or inspires your target audience (ex: families, retirees, vacationers). Light staging can help to inspire buyers walking through an empty house to feel like it could be a home. Curtains and the occasional small piece of décor can make a surprising world of difference in how welcoming a lightly staged home will seem.


Step 5: Full Staging - Framing Each Room with Furniture

Full staging involves bringing in temporary furniture, either yours or rental furniture, to show the purpose, beauty, and relative size of each room. Some buyers have a harder time imagining their new life in your house and staging really helps with that vision. Make a beautiful (if simple) bed in each bedroom. Show off how one room could be a nursery or a home office.

This is your real chance to target your audience with what will delight and inspire them. Set up one or two bedrooms as 'kids’ rooms' if you expect parent buyers or establish the dining room as a home office instead for working professionals. A little furniture goes a long way in making your home look like a buyer's new dream home.


Ready to stage your home for sale? Urban Ambiance can help you find all the light fixtures you need to make the home glow for new buyers. Contact us today to learn more.

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