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House Staging Tips

The Ultimate Room-by-Room Home Staging Checklist

When your house goes on the market, it’s not just your home anymore – it’s also a potential home to other families. How do you make your home appealing to a wide variety of prospective buyers? Through staging, you can draw attention to your home’s strong points and increase the value that potential buyers see in it.

Living Areas

  • The vacation home test: Is anything on display that wouldn’t be on display in a furnished vacation home? For example, a contemporary painting would appeal to most people, but a photo gallery of your wedding would seem a little too personal.
  • Create a focal point: If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace, make it a focal point by placing a few elegant accents on the mantle and hanging a large mirror above it. If you have large, beautiful windows, draw attention to them with flowing curtains.
  • Give built-ins a purpose: Aside from collecting clutter, that is. If you have built-in shelves, create an interesting arrangement of books and other accents – just don’t over-fill it.
  • Arrange furniture for conversation: Put visions of long conversations with friends in buyers’ minds by placing couches and chairs in a conversation-centric layout – facing one another, and not just the TV.
  • Remove evidence of pets: Where you see man’s best friend, a buyer might see dirt, dander, and smelly stains. It’s best to remove any sign of pets – including pet bowls, toys, beds, and (especially) kitty litter boxes.


  • Think calm colors: Create an escape with subtle, soothing color tones on the walls and bedding.
  • Add soft lighting: Overhead lights tend to be harsh; create a soft, spa-like glow with floor and table lamps instead. Buyers might want not want to leave!
  • Eliminate the clutter: When staging bedrooms, less is more. Time to pack up that treadmill (you weren’t really using that anyway, were you?) and keep furniture minimal and functional.
  • Don’t forget the closets: Closet space is coveted among buyers, so make every inch count with functional shelving. Maximize the available space by eliminating anything you don’t absolutely need.


  • Update hardware: It’s such a small fix, but sparkling new faucets and cabinet hardware are a sure way to refresh any bathroom.
  • Keep it light: Since bathrooms are smaller spaces, avoid large blocks of dark colors (think walls and shower curtains), which tend to make spaces seem even smaller. Choose lighter colors to make the bathroom appear big and clean.
  • Add storage: If your bathroom doesn’t have much storage, consider some simple open shelving in an underutilized space (like above the toilet). Show the function of this storage with some attractive containers and rolled towels.
  • Put away personal items: It probably goes without saying, but nobody wants to see a bathroom that looks lived in, so have an appropriate place to store toothbrushes and other personal artifacts until a showing is over.


  • Minimize countertop appliances: Counter space, counter space, counter space! Have a designated storage area for countertop appliances so buyers see maximum space during showings.
  • Add fresh touches: Display a bouquet of fresh flowers or a clear vase filled with fresh fruit.
  • Choose accessories wisely: Whether you display a hanging rack of pots, a wall magnet with knives, or any other accessories, the rules are the same: make sure everything showing is sparkling clean and not overloaded (or it will appear that you don’t have enough storage).
  • Set the table: A simple centerpiece (like a bouquet of flowers) and some placemats are adequate.

Spare Room

  • Give it a purpose: Don’t let this room become the Land of Forgotten Furniture. Remove or store any excess clutter, then tell a story with the space. Is it a home office? A guest bedroom? A craft room? A few pieces of furniture and accessories can get buyers excited about the potential use for the space.


  • Go beyond parking: How many people do you know that only use their garage for parking? Install shelving to demonstrate a garage’s storage potential, or organize a workbench to appeal to handymen (and women!).
  • Remove vehicles: Maximize the appearance of space by removing vehicles and anything you can do without for a while (like a snow blower in the summer). And, give those floors a good cleaning!