Staging your home is an important part of the selling process. But many sellers overlook this staging because they think it shouldn’t matter. The buyers are buying the property, not the furniture or personal belongings after all.

And those sellers aren’t exactly wrong. Really, why should potential buyers care about your home decor? Or your paint colors, which they can easily change after they buy the house? Why spend any time or money to stage the house when buyers will end up changing it anyway?

Well, it’s because all of those things contribute to the overall feel of the home when the potential buyers walk in. It’s human nature to be emotionally affected by an environment. It’s why great real estate agents bake cookies during open houses!

The better buyers feel about a home, the more likely they are to make an offer. It’s that simple. So today I have some home staging tips to help you stage your home to sell in just 5 days.

Day 1: Start by Decluttering and Depersonalizing

Clutter is a big problem when showing a house. Clutter indicates that there isn’t enough storage space in the house to keep all your things put away.

Toaster on the counter? Unless it’s a super cool retro toaster that adds to the design of the room, buyers will assume it’s out because there’s no room for it in the kitchen cabinets. Whether it’s true or not, it’s the conclusion buyers leap to. So if it doesn’t strategically add to your home’s design, put it away.

Then go through the house and remove all family photos and other personal effects. One of the goals of staging is to help your visitors imagine themselves living in the home. And it’s impossible to do that when they are reminded at every turn of the family currently living in the home. Your potential buyers feel like intruders when they walk past your family portrait or your lovely personalized wall art. Instead, you want the people walking around your house to already feel at home. To be able to easily imagine that the home was built for them.

Then you’re ready to declutter the cabinets and closets. That’s right.

Potential buyers will open every cabinet and every closet to get a peek at the storage space. If they see that your storage spaces are crowded, they think, hmmm…must not be enough storage space

You want them to open the kitchen cabinet with only a neat stack of pans inside and see a bunch of unused space. Because that means you have more than enough storage space, and so will they.

Think minimalist. Remove enough clothing so your closet shows like a high-end retailer with space between every hanging item. Take everything you won’t need in the next few weeks out of the medicine cabinet. And remove all the linens you won’t definitely use before the move, leaving just a few neatly folded towels where your spare bedding, beach towels, and extra pillows used to be.

Then pack up everything you’re not purposely keeping and get it out of the house. Storing it with friends and family until the move is the ideal solution. In a pinch, a row of packed moving boxes in the garage is fine as long the buyers can still appreciate how big the garage is.

Day 2: Deep Cleaning

With your clutter and personal effects removed, you can start your deep cleaning.

Everything gets a good scrub from flooring to walls to ceilings. Including baseboards, air vents, ceiling fans, and windows.

If carpeting will remain in the home, now is a great time to have it professionally cleaned. The cleaning should remove stains and any smells you may have gotten used to over the years like smoke or pets. If stains and smells linger, you may want to replace the carpeting before listing the home. It may be a hassle and an expense, but you will likely recoup your time and cost in a quicker sale and a higher price.

Don’t forget to clean all appliances, inside and out, and all fixtures: sinks, showers, tubs, toilets, cabinets, etc. You want to make even extreme germaphobes think they’d be fine eating off any surface in the house.

Day 3: Address Paint as Needed

Paint is perhaps the single biggest change you can make on a budget. If you have to spend your entire staging budget on paint, it is still money well-spent.

If your home is painted neutral colors, you can get away with cleaning the walls and touching up anywhere you see scruffs or scrapes.

But if you have an intense or dark paint color, you should very seriously consider repainting. Colors are highly personal, and intense colors are very likely to turn off a certain percentage of buyers. You’ve watched House Hunters on HGTV, right?

Gather your friends and family for a full-scale painting party to get the entire house painted on Day 3. 

Day 4: Arrange Furniture and Art

Many sellers have too much furniture in their homes. Because you want your friends and family to have a place to sit when they visit, right? After all, it’s a home, not a showroom!

But potential buyers see a lot of furniture packed into a room, and their immediate thought is there’s just not enough square footage. It’s the clutter/storage issue all over again! Make sure there’s at least 36” of walk space everywhere. If there’s not, it may be time to donate some furniture to a worthy charity or a 20-something relative. Or if you can’t bear to part with a piece forever, maybe you could loan it to a good home until the move.

With your remaining furniture, create conversation areas to give buyers a warm, fuzzy feeling. Instead of having every sofa and chair in the living room face the TV, have them face each other. It just makes the space more inviting.

Once your furniture is in place, check your wall art. Seems like a weird detail, but most home art is hung too high. High art makes the ceiling feel too low, which makes the whole room feel a little claustrophobic. The center of your wall art should be about 62” above the floor, which is a comfortable eye level for people of average height.

One last furniture-related tip: if you have an outdoor space, show it off! An empty patio looks like an empty patio, but a patio with a seating area looks like the perfect place to spend a lazy summer afternoon with a glass of iced tea and a book.

Day 5: Select Accessories

At this point, the only expenses we’ve discussed have been cleaning supplies and (if needed) paint and flooring. Now that we’re in the accessorizing stage, we may want to spend a little money to help the house show its best.

First, buy new bathroom towels for the towel bars. The thick white towels that make your humble bathroom feel like a spa. I’m telling you, fresh white towels sell houses.

Then consider the rest of the house.

I know we’ve been talking about minimizing personality so the house appeals to a broad audience. But a too-neutral house can also be a turnoff. You probably already own a few accessories that can serve as a pop of color and personality. But if you don’t, it won’t cost much to buy a few coordinated accessories: throw pillows, candles, a decorative piece or two, and plants.

Speaking of plants, if you have a struggling-to-survive plant, put it out of its misery. Or at least get it out of the house. Withering plans make buyers think of neglect. Then they make the leap from plants possibly being neglected to heating or electrical systems possibly being neglected. Best to keep their minds from ever going there. Only display plants if they are the picture of health.

And a nice final touch to the accessorizing phase of staging: set the table. A set table is just so inviting! It evokes thoughts of family breakfasts and dinners with friends. You don’t necessarily need a full tablescape. But have a centerpiece. And if you’re not comfortable putting out place settings, put out a breakfast tray with a tea service: cream and sugar bowls and a couple of tea cups. It’s like a subliminal message to buyers that the house is a cozy gathering place.

That’s it! With these staging tips, your house is ready for market!
But as a little bonus, I have some additional tips for the actual showings.

Appeal to All 5 Senses During Showings

Whenever a potential buyer enters the house, you want to appeal to all five senses.


Does the house immediately look clean and bright? Open the curtains to let in light and make the space look bigger.


A little unintrusive instrumental music instantly warms the space. The perfect house-showing music is hardly noticeable, but when it’s turned off, you suddenly feel like something is missing.


Scent is powerful! Make the best possible impression on potential buyers by baking cookies or apples with cinnamon when they come over.


If your potential buyers don’t feel comfortable in the house, they will leave as soon as possible. We want them to feel so comfortable they want to stay forever! Temperature plays a huge role here. In the summer months, make sure the house is nice and cool. And in the winter, it should be cozy and warm.


People love to eat and drink! We just do. If you can have refreshments available for your visitors, your house will stand out as a favorite at the end of their long day of viewings.

Professional Staging Services

One last thing before you go. We can’t conclude our staging conversation without at least mentioning professional staging services as an option. For most homes, it’s not necessary to engage a professional service to stage. But there are many cases where the staging expense will produce a good return on investment.

Professional stagers bring in designer furnishings and accessories to effectively turn your house into a show home. It’s an upfront expense to the seller (typically around 1.5% of the listing price), but it usually pays for itself. Every detail is planned to elicit maximum emotional connection between the potential buyers and the home. Professionally-staged homes usually sell faster and for a higher price than not staged homes.

You may want to consider professional staging services if:

When you’re ready to sell your house, please contact us. We’d be happy to walk your property to provide real-time feedback on how your house shows. And to tell you about the many services we offer as a Real Estate Company. Can’t wait to hear from you!

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