Home StagingHome Staging Tips

Ready to Sell Your House?

There’s a lot of work involved to make your house look it’s best. If you’re looking to get top dollar, home staging is a must. Here’s top ten most important home staging tips for 2020 that can help you stand out from the competition, shorten time on market and improve offers.

Know Your Buyer

Cities and neighborhoods have diverse populations. You can get the sense of a neighborhood residents simply by walking around or checking out real estate listings for the area. Additionally, here are a few sources to check for a deeper view.

Once you understand who is most likely to buy your house, now you’re ready to use this buyer persona to make decisions on how to best prepare your home.

Exterior Areas

Put yourself in the shoes of your buyer and stand in front of your house. Is it inviting and welcoming? Here’s a list of ways to spruce up your exterior spaces according to Zillow research.

Front areas should be free from plant debris and well lit. You don’t need an extensive lighting system, you can get solar panels to help brighten things up. Add new mulch and freshly trimmed plants that will showcase the landscaping. I personally prefer darker mulch colors which really highlight green foliage and can visually anchor lighter house colors.

Door color matters, whenever possible go for black, charcoal or a darker color. According to Zillow it can boost sales price by 2.9% .

Front Door Home Staging Tips

If I Can Smell It, I Can’t Sell It

The best way to rid a house of odors is painting, replacing carpeting and a deep cleaning of all surfaces. If you’re a smoker or pet owner, consider also replacing all HVAC filters.

Don’t try to hide smells with sprays and powders.

A clean house should have a neutral smell, an overly perfumed space may suggest an attempt to hide mold or other smells that could reveal a problem with the property.

Remove Your Personal and Sentimental Things

  • Remove family pictures, eclectic art or other objects that are focused on religion or politics. They should be stored elsewhere while showing the house.
  • Bring in color coordinated artwork, abstracts and/or landscape images work best
  • Stay away from animals, kids or alcohol as these can be triggering topics for potential buyers

Color Counts

When thinking about your house, do you have a cohesive color story? If not, now is the time to think about it. Too many colors will make the space feel choppy and disjointed. Limit your space to three or four colors that look good together. If you’re not great with color head to your local paint shop and use the many tools to help combine complementary colors. For selling situations all colors of the exterior and interiors should look coordinated and calming when combined in a whole house color scheme.

When thinking about color in individual rooms. First consider the surface materials and use a 60%, 30%,10% color ratio. This ratio is calming to the eye and will take your styling skills to the next level.

According to the 2019 National Association of Realtors (NAR) Home Staging report, the top priority rooms are the living room, kitchen and master bedroom. Zillow research also indicates which colors are in fashion and more profitable than others. To get more home staging tips, definitely read this informative report.

Basic Room Rules

  • Define purpose and activities for each area and choose one focal point
  • Bring in good quality floor and table plants, especially in kitchens and bathroom areas
  • Use abstract art, mirrors, rugs, blankets and pillows to bring in color and texture
  • Take down window treatments and use bare windows. Note, in some cases with a view of a busy street, use sheer drapes to allow light in but blur and minimize the focus.
  • Lighting fixtures, door and cabinet handles are the jewelry of the house, make sure they are up to date and complement the space.

Living Room

Colors should be a taupe or a light gray. Choose a focal point that highlights the best feature like a nice view, light fixture or fireplace mantel. Main furniture should be a neutral like cream, taupe or light gray. If you must use black or brown couches, bring in light colored pillows and blankets to help balance the darkness. Swap out your giant black mega tv with a nice piece of art or a mirror.

Next, consider the scale of the space and style of the furniture. When in doubt go with smaller pieces, this will make the area appear larger. Bring in plants, poufs, and ottomans as fillers if the space is still sparse. The furniture should match the style of the house. For example, you would not expect to see modern minimalist furniture inside a rancher in a rural area.

For larger open concept rooms, create seating or activity vignettes to visually organize the area. Set up cozy chairs next to a fireplace to suggest it can be used as a reading area. Complete the look with a tray, book, tea, glasses and pillows. Vignettes tell a story of how your house can be used. Lifestyle layering is that extra something that professional stagers use to appeal to a buyer’s emotional mind.


Nothing screams home like the fresh smell of your favorite homemade dish. According to Pinterest in 2018 tuxedo kitchens were a hot trend. Tuxedo kitchens have a  lighter color on upper cabinets and darker lower cabinets. Avoid red kitchens. Before an open house, consider cooking up some cookies, a pie or something naturally cinnamon scented. Don’t use artificial sprays.

Appealing kitchens should feel fresh, clean, functional, and stylish. Bring in color through by using bowls filled with bright green apples, lemons, oranges or grapes. This communicates abundance and brings in accent colors. Tea, coffee and pasta stations with cookbooks and fresh herbs are all great choices.


Unless you’re working with a giant master, it’s better to use a Queen over a King to make the room look larger. Where possible add a bench at the foot of the bed and chair(s). It’s okay to remove dressers to create more space for a seating or grooming vignette. Use softer abstract art and limit the number of mirrors in the room.


Light tone blues and white bathrooms are still popular but make sure it matches the color scheme of the house. Other ways to make a bathroom pop is to always use bright white towels. Bring in luxury elements like a mirrored tray with a small plant of flower and box with rolled white hand towels and sparkling water. Leave out the toothbrushes, hair brushes and shampoos. Above all, this space should be spotless.

Bathroom Home Staging Tips

Finally, if you want to save the time, considering hiring a professionally trained home stager whose fees may be tax deductible and will always be less than your first price reduction. Want a quote? Contact me now to get started.

Do you have other home staging tips to share? If so, share them in the comments below.

All photos taken by Sheila Fruge.

Sheila Fruge

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