Staging your home to sell is the art of presenting and decorating your home in the best possible manner so that it will sell quicker and hopefully bring you a higher sales price. There are professional “stagers” or home staging consultants out there today who will give you recommendations and ideas or even do the staging for you. They will even come in and “stage” empty homes with furniture and accessories. Empty homes are usually harder to sell as buyers like to see how furniture will fit into the rooms. The furniture often gets sold along with the house because the home stager makes the place look so fantastic.

Home stagers generally will use your existing furniture and accessories but will arrange everything to make rooms more appealing and perhaps highlight certain architectural features in the home. You may find that they will take pieces from one room and put them into another because it just works better. They will make recommendations on color schemes, furniture, and accessory choices for each space that you want addressed. The results can be amazing to a homeowner who has lived in that same room for years. Sometimes all it takes is someone with a fresh eye.

Here are some simple tips for staging your home yourself:

Clean, clean, clean, and clean some more.

You can’t stage anything if the house is dirty and you probably won’t find a buyer who will make an offer on a house that is less than spotless.  Clean it up! And that means everything, not just the areas you can see. Clean the closets, under the beds, the walls and ceilings, the appliances, the garage, and the laundry room. If you have wall to wall carpet, hire a professional to come in and shampoo it. Make sure the bathrooms sparkle. Clean Everywhere!

Declutter. 

Get rid of stuff you don’t need. Pack it up, remove it, and put it in storage somewhere. That goes for your collection of tea cups, spoons, or dolls. Maybe even your NASCAR replica die cast cars. If your walls are covered with family photos, pack them away. Your buyers don’t care to look at Uncle Fred and Aunt Lilly at your family reunion out at the Grand Canyon. If your kitchen counters are covered with all kinds of cookie jars, appliances, and other items remove them. Wall to wall toys need to be packed away leaving the ones Junior really places with in a toy box. Less is more, everywhere! And that includes furniture. If you have too many pieces of furniture in one room, buyers will feel the room is too small. So move that piano or old sofa out and keep things simple.

Let the light in.

Dark homes don’t sell. Open the blinds all the way and if you have heavy dark curtains think about replacing them with something light and airy. When showing homes, I also turn on every light in the house. Photographers will do the same thing. Brighter is better, as long as you remembered to clean. Buyers sometimes feel that a dark home may be a dirty home.

Freshen it up.

Open the windows if the weather is nice and let some air in prior to showing the property, particularly, if you have pets or if you smoke. Unpleasant odors will ruin a sale as quickly as a dirty home.  You might not smell the odors, but the buyers do. Replace that old carpet if it smells like Fido or have it professionally cleaned if it is in good shape. Bake some cookies or brownies before showings or burn some scented candles to create a pleasant aroma in the home.

Neutralize your walls

An inexpensive way to help stage your home and create lots of value is to put a fresh coat of neutral paint on interior walls, especially if the current color scheme includes Raspberry Red or Key Lime Green. There are plenty of more designer colors out there that are more on the neutral side and are in keeping with today’s home trends. And if you don’t have a good eye for color, go with Navaho White. Pretty simple, effective, and cheap and your home will look a lot newer.

Flower Power

Some fresh flowers in nice vases or potted flowering plants placed in rooms throughout your house will go a long way to making it feel like a home. They add color and charm to an otherwise bland space. A bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen counter also adds some color and class to the kitchen.

Spend time and watch the many home shows on the cable networks including HGTV and the Discovery Channel. You can pick up countless tips on home staging and preparing your home for sale.