How to Stage a Home for Sale

About home staging…

A home stager is a person who prepares a home for sale. These professionals essentially work with homeowners, real estate agents, or developers to stage residential properties and model homes. They know exactly how to stage a home for sale. The goal is to make properties look appealing to buyers so that sellers can receive offers promptly and sell for maximum price.

Why the need?

Individuals and businesses hire home stagers to improve their home’s appeal. Home stagers concentrate on making residential properties for sale look attractive and function well. However these professionals are not inexpensive. Per, “As a general rule of thumb, the average cost for most stagers is $300 to $600 for an initial design consultation, and $500 to $600 per month per staged room.” Thus, they share, staging a 2,000-square-foot home would cost around $2,000 to $2,400 a month. For many, it is money well spent.

They get results!

Per First Impression Home Staging, the first impression is what drives buyers to the next step. They explain that folks have just 15 seconds to impress buyers. “Homes staged before going on the market sell in 90% less time.” This is especially important for vacant homes, as staged homes tend not only to sell faster but most receive $5,000 to $10,000 over list price.

What do home stagers do?

They develop an action plan based on a home’s condition, strengths, and weaknesses. They help owners decide what to remove and what to keep. They advise on wall colors and repairs. And they bring in all the furniture and décor items and set them up to make each room shine!

Can I do it myself?

While staging is an undertaking, it is totally doable to DIY.  For those who cannot afford professionals, or for people who prefer to stage their own homes, know that it is possible by following our pro-tips. However, do note that you will need to set aside your personal feelings and style and visualize your property from buyers’ perspectives.

The Four Ds

Let’s first understand what’s involved in home staging. Homeowners will need to learn the four main steps to proper home staging, also called the four Ds. Typically, homeowners should expect to:  a) Declutter b) Do repairs c) Deep clean, and d) Decorate.

Let’s examine each category:

  • Declutter: This fundamental step involves removing unwanted and unneeded items from a space. The goal of this step is to control what’s in an environment. It allows buyers to focus on a home’s features rather than the stuff in it. For example, a fireplace may fail to stand out amongst clutter, but once excess items are removed, it can stand as a prominent feature.
  • Doing repairs: This all-important step includes fixing things that are broken, such as tightening a loose banister or replacing dated light fixtures. Repainting worn or dated surfaces like walls is also important to refresh the look of a home. Many home stagers opt for bright and neutral color palettes. Soft whites, grays, creams, and beige colors are generally best. Visit here to see top paint picks.
  • Deep cleaning: This necessary step is exactly what it sounds like – washing, scrubbing, shining, buffing, whatever it takes to get the place sparkling clean and looking and smelling fresh! Please read our sister article entitled Five quick and easy cleaning tips.
  • Decorate: This vital step includes coordinating rugs, furniture, lighting, artwork and more to make a space function well, flow, and look appealing. It includes decorating with tasteful items that are sophisticated yet inviting.


Depending upon one’s situation, decluttering can be a small, medium size, or big job. If you wish to do it yourself, understand that help may be required to physically remove items from the home. There are several ways that decluttering can be done. A person may remove items from the home incrementally and over time, or all at once. Trucks or dumpsters may be required, depending upon sizes of items and volume. Note that material things which are no longer wanted or needed, such as twin sofas, can be sold, donated, or tossed, largely based on condition. The important thing is to remove everything from the space that is not going to be used for staging. If you plan to live in your staged home while it is on the market, not only do you need to be selective with furniture, but you also need to limit content in cabinets and closets to essentials only.

Doing repairs

Doing repairs is generally complex. This is especially problematic if one is not handy. Consider budgeting and hiring help for jobs that are beyond your capacity or that are super time consuming. Plumbing and electrical are two examples of projects that require knowledge and expertise. If done improperly, they can lead to further expenses. For projects you feel comfortable completing yourself, such as painting walls as an example, remember that it goes faster with the help of others. Many times, friends and family are willing to lend a hand painting and doing small projects such as planting flowers, trimming hedges, or raking leaves. Be sure to reward helpers with lunch such as pizza and salad to let them know they are appreciated.

Deep cleaning

Deep cleaning is another step where outside help is welcome. Deep cleaning involves sanitizing a home from top to bottom, inside and out. This includes sweeping the front porch, dusting light fixtures, wiping inside cabinets and closets, scrubbing appliances such as the refrigerator and oven, scouring the bathtub and shower, washing floors, and so on… Do not overlook the garage or attic, which are important spaces in the eyes of buyers. The goal is not only to get a home sparkly clean, but also to make it smell fresh. Remember that a stinky home is an immediate turn-off. If you are unable to deep clean your home, do consider hiring a professional.


Decorating is the final crux of home staging. It is the phase where properties are dressed in function and style. However, a line needs to be drawn between personal decorating and decorating to stage a home. Potential buyers are not interested in personal style. Rather they seek to envision themselves living in a home. Instead of leaving rooms empty, you or your home stager will select furnishings and artwork to complete the space. This includes removing personal items and defining spaces with neutral décor to show off a room’s best qualities and main purpose. Furniture home stagers use is generally expensive, suitable size-wise for the space, and mainly pleasing. Placement is particularly important. Furniture is often intentionally arranged for conversation, comfort, and to maximize room flow. Arrangements should serve purpose and consider a room’s best feature. For example, a couch angled toward a picture window can take advantage of a stunning mountain view. Or several cozy seating areas can be created to warm up a large and barren open space. Rooms should ultimately feel warm, tranquil, inspiring, and inviting, yet remain uncluttered. A properly staged home emphasizes the character of a home and does not seek to upstage it.

Home staging makes houses stand out 

In most cases, people can successfully achieve the 4 D’s without hiring a professional, but it takes dedication and some blood, sweat and tears. Keeping the above ideas on how to stage a home in mind, it is possible to DIY and save money. However, understand that it is a big commitment of time and energy. Professional staging companies offer many benefits for people who do not wish to stage their own homes. These interior decorating and design experts are skilled at making homes appear “move-in ready” and enticing.

It’s doable!

Learning how to stage a home for sale is within everyone’s reach. Making a home look more appealing and attractive makes it easier for buyers to envision themselves living there. Not only does home staging attract more foot traffic, but it can also speed up the length of time a home is on the market. And, most importantly, it increases a home’s value by showcasing its best qualities.

This article is purely informational and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice.

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