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Posted in: Selling a home

Staging a house for sale: A seller’s guide

House staging tips

When you’re ready to put your home on the market, you’ll want to create a space that’s visually appealing to buyers. If they can imagine themselves living in your home, they’ll be more likely to consider buying it.

But how much time and money should you spend neutralizing your space? And do you have to fix up every room? Here are some insights you can use as you begin staging your home for sale.

When it comes to staging your home, you’ll want to know:

  • The basics: How and why people stage their homes
  • Home staging tips for each room in your house
  • Should I hire a stager or can I do it myself?
  • How can I find the best local home stager?
  • All things considered, should I stage my home when selling?

The basics: How and why to stage your home

Over the years, your family has created a home that’s perfect for you. Maybe the traditional living room has transformed into a TV room for your video-game-obsessed kids, the kitchen doubles as a homework zone and the basement is your fitness studio.

Everyone develops a home flow that works best for them — but when it comes time to sell, you don’t want to show buyers how you live. You’ll want to show them how their life will fit into your house.

The best way to do that is to stage the home, a process that highlights the property’s potential and minimizes its weaknesses. To stage a home, you’ll want to present the space as a clean slate so that any buyer, whether they plan to raise kids or open a pet hotel, can picture themselves there.

Staging a home typically includes:

  • Getting rid of clutter: No more baskets of mail to shred or clothes on “that chair” in the bedroom.
  • Neutralizing the space: Paint over bright-green rooms and rent furniture that doesn’t make a statement.
  • Returning rooms to a more common purpose: The Xbox needs to leave the living room and the space should be reappointed to a more traditional setup.
  • Create more space: Get rid of bulky furniture, which can make rooms look smaller.

And remember, experts advise sellers to stage their homes because it works. Buyers greatly prefer staged homes.

According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), “Seventy-seven percent of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home.”

Home staging tips for each room in your house

Although staging a home is important, not every room needs to be completely staged. Per the NAR, the the most popular rooms to stage are the:

  • Living room (83 percent)
  • Kitchen (76 percent)
  • Master bedroom (69 percent)
  • Dining room (66 percent)

In your case, you’ll want to stage the rooms that are most highly-trafficked. Spaces that have the most potential for “web appeal” to online buyers should also be set up thoughtfully.

Here’s how you can transform various areas in your home to appeal to a broader set of buyers:

Living room

  • Remove bulky furniture and statement pieces.
  • Put photos and knick knacks into storage.
  • Remove decor that’s outdated.
  • Create a neutral space with subtle wall color (re-paint if necessary), rugs and furniture.
  • Add pops of color for charm — throw pillows, blankets and baskets work well for this.
  • Emphasize natural light by opening curtains if possible. If not, side lamps will do.

Dining room

  • Set up an appropriately-sized table.
  • Select four or six chairs to place around the table.
  • Hang one big pendant-style light over the table.
  • Keep open and visible shelving sparse — don’t display every piece of Granny’s china.
  • Set the table with chic and simple table settings.

Master bedroom

  • Make the bed, which should have a bedframe and headboard. Use fresh, neutral linens and bedding.
  • Create texture with plush throw pillows.
  • Make the space look and feel open — the worst case scenario is for a buyer to think the space is too small.
  • Remove all furniture in the room, except the bed, side table and dresser. Desks and couches are not necessary unless the room is very spacious and has more than enough room to accommodate the extra pieces.

Other bedrooms

  • Follow the same “less is more” theme as the master bedroom, keeping the space well-decorated, bright and airy.
  • Refrain from putting a queen-sized bed in a tiny room.
  • When staging a kid’s room, minimize the amount of toys and clutter that are present.
  • Consider removing books so bookshelves look well-curated, not overloaded.


  • Clean it until it sparkles — inside and out.
  • Pay special attention to cabinets, fridge, top of the fridge, inside the oven, top of the stove and more!
  • Remove appliances from counters so all surfaces appear spacious. You may need to pack up your oversized Keurig or Vitamix for a few weeks.
  • Keep four to six place settings in your cupboards, including cups, mugs, bowls, napkins, etc. Remove extras and mismatched sets.
  • Add a plant or some other decorative charm, like a bowl of lemons or apples; this will give the feeling that there’s enough room for decor or accents in the space.
  • Pack up the spices and oils! Fast-grab cooking basics tend to clutter counters.


  • Clean, clean, clean, including the shower, bathtub, counters, toilet, fixtures, hardware and floors.
  • Consider upgrading the vanity or at least the hardware to something more trendy.
  • Revisit the light fixture — is it modern or outdated?
  • Reconsider your trays, soaps, towels, rugs and bath mats, and display items that are new, matching and luxurious.
  • Add candles and other bath items in a cluster around a soaking tub, to remind the buyers of how they could end each day.
Tips for staging your home before selling

Should I hire a stager or can I do it myself?

Whether or not you hire a professional, it’s important to stage your home. But, to make the final call:

  • Consult with your agent.
  • Assess the amount of work the space will need.
  • Consider the cost of staging.

When deciding whether or not to stage your home, your agent will have your best interests in mind. They’ll consider how much effort will need to go into the home in order to have it ready for listing and home tours.

In some cases, a home may only require basic cleaning and reorganizing to be market ready; in others, the space may need all new furniture and decor, which is when a stager would come in handy.

Cost is another consideration when determining whether or not to stage a home. Stagers can run about 150 dollars per hour, in addition to the cost of renting the staged furniture. Is this something that will fit in your budget?

Keep in mind, some agents might cover the cost of staging. So, make sure you ask your real estate agent if they’ll foot the bill or if you’ll be expected to pay to stage your home as part of your selling costs.

How can I find the best local home stager?

Your Edina Realty agent is a local market expert, and you can trust them to hire someone in the area who will do the job right. To take some of the home selling pressure off of yourself, outsource this task to your Realtor. Just be sure that you first agree upon a budget you are comfortable with, if you’ll be paying for the stager.

If you choose to hire a stager yourself, check online reviews and interview multiple stagers to determine:

  • Who fits your style and budget
  • Who has the furniture or staging items that best match your house
  • Who has the most experience working with private sellers

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All things considered, should I stage my home when selling?

In short, absolutely. Sixty-two percent of listing agents say that staging a home decreases the amount of time a home spends on the market, because it increases buyer interest and in-person traffic to the property.

To stage a house perfectly, a home seller or stager must:

  • Neutralize the property so buyers can picture living (and thriving) in the space.
  • Use smaller furniture so that rooms feel more open.
  • Add pops of color for an extra punch of cheer and charm.
  • Focus on fixing up the rooms with the most potential.
  • Return rooms to their most natural purpose.

Key insights and next steps

Are you ready to bring your home to life? Staging is an important part of selling your home, and you’ll want to get the best sale price for the current market. Set yourself up for success by staging.

For an expert hand in the home sale process, get in touch with Edina Realty. We can put you in contact with a local real estate specialist seven days a week.

Additional resources to consider


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