Stores and restaurants know how to make people want to buy: the right presentation sparks imagination and desire. It’s why the front of a restaurant shows a set table in candlelight, and why store windows use eye-catching design elements and little scenes as background. These tricks create emotional connection between customers and things for sale.

Home staging works the same way, making a house for sale visually attractive and sparking the buyers’ imaginations. It’s especially important in the rooms where daily life happens, such as living rooms and other shared spaces. The goal is prospective buyers saying, “We could host everyone for the holidays so easily here!” or “Imagine relaxing in front of this fireplace. The dogs would love it, too!” There are some basic good ideas to follow in your living room staging, but also specific tricks to make it look its best.

Three “big picture” (and budget conscious) ideas to keep in mind are:


  • Declutter: You need an open, spacious look, so emphasize the house’s features and lifestyle with minimal décor. Surfaces should be clean, shelves partially filled, and furniture kept to a few pieces. Accessories should make a statement, not fill space.
  • Depersonalize: A buyer cannot imagine living there if all they see is someone else’s life. Along with the clutter, remove personal things, such as photos and collections, from view.
  • Deep-Clean: Never underestimate sparkling cleanliness as a great first impression. Cleaning companies often have special services for home sales, but you can also DIY. Dust everything, from ceiling to floor. Scrub walls and windows. Polish wood. Vacuum all fabric. Get every corner, every cranny, very clean.

Once this “canvas” is ready, here are three secret home staging tips for a beautiful look that will appeal.

Budget friendly tips:

First, use color effectively. For walls and furniture, neutrals bring comfortable simplicity without risk. But you do not have to paint stark white; there are many attractive neutral shades available. Brighter color should be limited to accessories, such as a signature piece of art or an arrangement of throw pillows. Use “pops” of color to direct attention, add visual appeal, and insert that bit of “wow” factor. Plants and flowers have the same effect and add life.

Second, create vignettes, or small staged scenes, to display lifestyle so that buyers want to sit right down in your living room! Pick areas close to windows, lighting, or great features, then arrange furniture and other items to suggest wonderful experiences. For example, the corner where the bookshelves meet the window becomes a reading nook with an easy chair. A teacup and pretty book on a tray can finish the vignette. The fireplace area can invite cozy conversation or relaxation with sofa and chairs. Or anchor seating around a view, or just a lovely table with a vase of flowers and some interesting objects. Keep decoration restrained, with impersonal grouped items in odd numbers.

Third, remember there are professionals to help. First-timers may be unsure how to place furniture or which accessories are best; often, we can’t see our own possessions the way an objective outsider can. Home stagers can offer advice, check your work after you DIY, or do the staging for you. They have the experience, talent, and supplies for perfect staging. Ask your realtor for trusted recommendations, or explore stagers’ sites online.



Post credited to Kiki Interiors