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Secrets of Home Stagers

By Tabitha Jean Naylor

What is the role of home staging besides trying to get your home sold for top dollar? According to Debra Gould, founder of Staging Diva "The goal is to make your home clean, organized and welcoming so potential buyers can picture themselves living there."

Because you want the focus on potential buyers the first secret to staging success is to get rid of all family photos. If this sounds a bit harsh-well, it is. But, family photos make potential buyers feel as if they are invading your space, and it makes it difficult for them to picture themselves living there. If you want to sell, pack up the family photos and paintings so they are ready for your new home and keep them out of the house while it is on the market.


The entrance to your home is the first stop for potential buyers so it is important to make sure the front door and entranceway is pristine. This may mean repair work to the door, paint job, stain, lighting improvements or the removal of out of season lights and decorations. Inside the entrance space should be uncluttered and bright. If the entrance way looks onto a nook or corner add focus by removing any clutter and place a nice comfy piece of furniture or a special piece of art to give the corner a focus. If the corner is dark add a light, or take away window coverings to brighten the area up.

General Tip for Rooms

Declutter wherever you can! Take away and store offsite as much stuff as possible including furniture. Check each room to make sure it is as open as possible. You want each room to appear larger than it actually is. Take out old, worn furniture, and if necessary, rent furniture is in excellent condition. Use decorations sparingly and work to establish a focal point in each room. A vase of flowers, a sculpture or candles can add just the right touch to a coffee table or mantel without over-personalizing the space.

Bare Rooms

If a room is looking too bare pillows can add a splash of color and warmth as can the addition of a table, ottoman or trunk (used as a table).

Poorly defined spaces

If you have areas of your house that appear to have no function or purpose other than storage clean it out and decide what type of space it can be, gathering area, office space, music nook etc. and add furnishings that make the function clear to anyone walking through the house.

Kitchen and Bathrooms

Clear off all kitchen counters and if the kitchen is small remove any table and chairs to increase the feeling of space. Take away and hide all personal toiletry items in the bathroom. Make sure kitchens and bathrooms are sparkling clean. Bathroom shades should be drawn for privacy and kitchens should be airy and bright.

Basements and Garages

Get rid of all unnecessary items in both the basement and garage. Pack up and store offsite as many personal belongings as possible. Consider turning the basement into a gym or hobby room so there is a specific function for the area. The garage should be clean and well-organized.

There is no real magic to home staging. With a focus on creating functional room spaces, impersonal decor and an eye to creating warm, inviting open spaces that help prospective buyers see themselves living in the house you can improve the chances of selling your home, and selling it at the price you want.

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