Selling a Home? Here's How to Stage it Like a Pro

According to the pros.

Updated 08/23/19

Katie Charlotte; DESIGN: Cortney Bishop Design

Selling your home and trying to get it off the market can seem like a daunting task. First you have to hire a real estate professional, then figure out a listing price, and finally you have to make it to look lived-in but not too lived-in (no more stashing everything in that one closet)—in short, it’s a lot. But staging your space in a way that will be visually appealing to prospective buyers shouldn’t be so hard. Here, interior design professionals share their tips and know-how to get your old home sold fast.

Think Like a Photographer

White and Gray Living Room
Karyn Millet; DESIGN: Raili Clasen: PROP STYLIST: Melissa Libbey; Architecture: Eric Olsen

“When it comes to showing your space in it's best light, be sure your furniture is set up in a way that presents your room ideally to whomever steps in. A good trick for knowing where to put what is to think about the room in the context of taking a picture. If you were looking at the room through the lens of a camera make sure the primary subjects are centered and on display. For example, in a bedroom, don't squeeze the bed into a corner to try and prove how much floor space you can get, instead you should center your bed in the space with the headboard facing forward to the entry. A presentational and welcoming layout will ultimately make the space far more appealing and striking.” —Megan Hopp, Designer and Creative Director of The Everset

Keep Things Crisp

Bedroom Layouts
Pernille Loof/Trunk Archive

“A staged home is not the place to let it all hang out, and this is especially true of textiles. When it comes to bedding, I favor crisp and tightly tucked bed linens over billowy flowing duvets. I always tuck my bedspreads in all the way around the mattress. Sloppy pillows or wrinkled drapes are a big no-no as well. Be sure all your fabrics are smooth, tight, and extra stuffed for a cleaner crisper feel.” —Hopp

Bigger Is Actually Better

living room with large wall art
Sharyn Cairns DESIGN: Fiona Lynch

“They say less is more, but I say bigger is better. One hundred small pieces of decor can never compete with one singular stunner. This philosophy is especially true with art and wall décor, the bigger the piece the larger the space will feel, thus adding value. Whether with furniture, lighting, art, or accessories, fewer bigger pieces will result in a grander feel and keep you out of the clutter danger zone.” —Hopp

Use Color with Confidence

Color-blocked bedroom curtains
Tom Ferguson ; DESIGN: Arent & Pyke

“Whether or not color is something you embrace in your own design aesthetic, it's an incredibly useful tool when it comes to staging. A healthy dose of color can go a long way to give a room style and a point of view. The goal is always to make a space feel special, unique, and desirable. Color is a sure fire way to make a bright impression versus falling into the beige abyss.” —Hopp

Don’t Underestimate Lighting

Modern Dining Room
Sam Frost; DESIGN: Studio Life.Style; PROP STYLIST: Gena Sigala

“Make sure the home is well-lit. Bring in multiple levels of light with ceiling fixtures as well as floor and table lamps. A bright space is a happy space.” —Jess Blumberg, Dale Blumberg Interiors

And Embrace Natural Light

Living room chandelier
Sarah Sherman Samuel

“Good lighting is very appealing to the average homebuyer. Whether is natural lighting or soft overhead lighting, it's a big issue. Make sure that your home has lots of natural light when people are touring the space. Open up the blinds, tear down the curtains… whatever you need to do to get that home bright and cheery!” —Kirsten Grove, We Three Design Studio

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