Keller Williams Main Line
Janis Peterson
Janis Peterson, RealtorĀ®, GRI, ABR, SRES, CSP


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Home Staging How-To

Home staging is a strategy that has been used by real estate professionals for years to improve the likelihood of selling a property. Essentially, it is the process of tidying, decorating, and preparing a home so that it is more attractive to potential buyers.


The practice actually began in the 1970s, when a former theatre professional, Barbara Schwarz, decided to try her hand at real estate. She felt that home decor was a means of “setting the stage” for sale and discovered that sellers could help potential buyers envision themselves in their space by presenting it in stylish, clean, and modern way.


In fact, some reports have found that staged homes sell up to 73% faster than their unstaged counterparts.


So, what does staging a house involve? And how can you ensure your house staging will be a success?


We’ve included everything you need to know below.

Cleaning and Decluttering

This should always be your first priority when staging your home. No matter how nicely you decorate, viewers will completely overlook your efforts if they notice dirt, dust, and mildew in the home. Make sure you remove all clutter and any personal items (family photos, mail on the counter, clothes on the floor, etc). Then do a deep clean— yes, that means wiping down blinds, cleaning baseboards, and scrubbing shower grout. These little details don’t go unnoticed and are an essential part of staging a home for sale.

Enhancing Curb Appeal

The exterior of the home is often the most overlooked feature when it comes to home staging. Sellers spend so much time tidying and painting that they completely forget that curb appeal is the very first impression a home has on a potential buyer. Those who are experts at staging homes will tell you that manicured lawns, clutter-free yards, and tasteful landscaping elements work wonders when it comes to adding value to a home. Another helpful tip is to set up your outdoor living area if you have one. Place a tray with lemonade on the table, set out your chair cushions, and open up your patio umbrella— it’ll help viewers imagine themselves using the space.


As much as you may love your DVD collection or the crayon drawings your children made for you, displaying them while trying to sell your home isn’t recommended. Part of knowing how to stage a house is understanding that not everyone is going to share your personal style or tastes. It’s better to remove personal possessions and provide viewers with a blank slate so they can envision their own belongings filling the space. Remember to remove knick-knacks, children’s toys, religious artworks or items, trophy collections and any other personal effects that may distract potential buyers.

Arranging Furniture

Another important aspect of staging a home is strategically picking and placing furniture. The goal is to minimize the amount of furniture as much as possible while still making your space appear inviting. The less crowded your rooms are with furniture, the bigger they will appear, which is always a good thing. In the living room, it always helps to have a focal point, like a large flat-screen TV or a fireplace, to draw the eye and provide a sense of order. It also helps if your furniture is one consistent style, so if most of your pieces are antique, stick with a vintage look. If they’re contemporary, choose items that match the modern vibe.

Providing Focal Points

Every room in your home should have a special feature that captures the attention of the viewer. In bedrooms, for example, an elaborate upholstered headboard or a single wall covered in geometric wallpaper are excellent features to highlight. In bathrooms, a large victorian-style mirror or a hexagon-shaped shower tile are attractive options. Whichever features you decide to emphasize, just be sure to tie them into the overall aesthetic of the space.

Lighting, Colors and Odors

Natural light is one of the most cost-efficient and effective resources you’ll have at your disposal when staging a house for sale. By simply cleaning your windows ahead of an open house you can make your home appear brighter and airier. It also helps to leave drapes open, especially in smaller rooms where natural light isn’t as abundant. To brighten your home even more, paint walls in light, neutral tones like pale grey, seafoam green, or a muted taupe. And last but not least, rid your home of odors by cleaning litter boxes, emptying all garbage bags, and avoiding strongly-scented foods like fish, curries, or onions.

Accessorizing in Groups of Three

The way items and objects are organized is another often-forgotten aspect of how to stage a home for sale. There are studies that show the human eye is drawn to things that appear in groups of three, as well as things that are arranged symmetrically. Try stacking three books on top of one another, hanging three photos that are the same size behind your sofa, or adding three evenly-spaced barstools to your kitchen island. These simple added extras can have a major impact on how pleasing your space is to the eye.

Finishing Repairs and Renos

Incomplete home projects can be off-putting to potential buyers. It forces them to think about the work they’ll have to do if they decide to purchase your property— and no one likes to think about doing extra work. Sure, there may be a few folks who are willing to take on a project, but most people on the market for a home are looking for a turnkey property they can start enjoying right away. Whether it’s a small project, like painting a newly-plastered wall, or a bigger one, like finishing a backyard deck, it’s always better to get the job done before listing.

Are you interested in hiring a real estate team that is experienced in home staging? At Main Line Homes, we specialize in Main Line real estate and can help you prepare your home to sell at a premium price. Contact us today!

Janis Peterson, REALTOR®, GRI, ABR, SRES, CSP
Main Line Homes Luxury Real Estate Agent

Keller Williams Main Line
Suburban Square
6 Coulter Ave 
Ardmore, PA 19003 
Direct: 610-642-3744


Whether you're selling your current home or are looking for your dream home, call us at (610) 642-3744 or e-mail for a free consultation.


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