Expert Advice on Home Staging for Selling

BY Diana Hathaway

Expert Advice on Home Staging for Selling


DHathawayHeadshotSmallerGoodCall® guest blogger Diana Hathaway is a color expert, lifestyle writer, and interior designer.
Diana’s color and decorating insight has been featured in The Spruce, HuffPost, BHG, and
She is the author of “Sell Your Home Without Losing Your Zen.”

Staging your home for selling

You may have heard a lot about home staging, and are wondering if it’s something you should do when you’re ready to sell. Staging can help your home stand out from the competition if you remember one simple idea: view your home in the eyes of a buyer, because most home purchases are emotional decisions. That’s it. It’s that simple.

Home staging doesn’t require a big remodel, although you may choose to update your paint before staging. Neutral paint colors are the best choice for selling your home. It’s okay to paint one neutral color throughout your home, as it makes your home look larger and more organized.
Staging your home for sale also doesn’t require an investment in new furniture—it can be as simple as using what you already have. However, if you’re selling a vacant home, consider renting furniture to fill the space. Homes that are furnished have an advantage with buyers because it’s easier for them to imagine living there. Additionally, vacant homes appear smaller when there is no furniture for frame of reference.

Now that you know the secrets of home staging, here’s how to make it work for you.

If you’re staging a vacant home

Come up with a plan

Two things should dictate how extensive your staging plan should be: your budget, and the strength of the real estate market in your area. If your budget is small, or your local real estate market is hot, you can stage strategically in certain rooms. If you’re selling a luxury home, or your market is more competitive for sellers, you’ll want to create a bigger plan and budget for staging.

Strategic Partial Staging

If you aren’t going to fully stage your home, you can still make the most of it with strategic staging. The most common rooms to be staged are the living room, kitchen, master bedroom, and bathrooms. Buyers do not find it odd if all of the rooms are not furnished in a partially-staged home, just be sure to fully stage those rooms.

Staging Your Entire Home

Once you have a plan for your vacant home, your first priority will be furniture rental. Visit the rental showrooms to view available furniture and accessories to be delivered to your vacant home. Many furniture rental showrooms offer full room or home packages complete with accessories, linens, and artwork. Ask about the rental period minimums and any hidden fees you need to be aware of. Ask if the showroom has an outlet or sales room where they retire furniture and accessories. You may be able to pick up inexpensive accessories to make your rental budget go further.

If you’re staging your occupied home


If only have time for one home staging step, it should be decluttering. After years of living in your home, “stuff” accumulates unnoticed. Start with decluttering your closets and cabinets. Set aside time every day to tackle a closet or two, then move on to a room-by-room effort. You’ll be donating, packing, or storing things that make your rooms look cluttered. Decluttering now will help you when it’s time to move, as so much of your sorting and packing will already be done.


Your staged home needs to appeal to buyers and make viewing easy for them. This may mean that your sofa gets moved, or your bed will be pushed against a different wall. The new arrangement may not feel natural to you, but remember that your goal is to open up the living space so that your buyer feels that their furnishings will fit. Editing your furniture and accessories are also part of creating an atmosphere that appeals to a buyer’s desire to have an open space for their own things.

Keep flow and function in mind when you’re rearranging. Be sure to avoid the “square dance” approach to furniture arrangement when trying to make your home look larger: arranging your furniture against the walls. Doing so creates an awkward open space in the middle. You’ll also want to pay attention to the focal points in your rooms with the eye of a buyer. Put yourself in control of what you want them to notice first.


This can be a tough step for you, but it is so essential. Your buyers need to see themselves living in your home. Your goal is an attractive, clean, and spacious home that they can move right into. A simple arrangement of a few family photos on a bookcase or dresser is just enough personalization to humanize your home, but not make your buyers feel as though they are intruding. Depersonalizing can also mean removing some artwork, collections, and memorabilia, so that your home’s personality shines through.