Sellers in the Know
As sellers you may be covering up some of your home’s best features-
literally. In your listings, don’t let clutter or poor design choices lessen
the appeal of subtle selling points such as upgraded kitchen countertops,
fireplaces, and built-in shelving units. Staging can put these features
in the spotlight during showings.
Roomy Kitchen Counters
Stage a kitchen so that it shows off counter space. Here are three
tips for countertops.
• Put extras away. Have no more than three appliances on the counter-
tops—even fewer if the counter space is small. Remove extra items
such as knife blocks, phones, and baskets, which will make the
countertops look smaller than theyreally are.
• Highlight. If the home has a center island, make it a focal point with
greenery, such as an orchid, or a bowl of fresh fruit. If the island is
big enough, have place settings on display with up to three b≠ar stools.
If the kitchen doesn’t have an island but there’s space for one, bring
in a portable one to add counter space.
• Add color. Try placing kitchen canisters on the counter for color, interest,
Fireplaces are on many buyers’ wish lists. But dated and dingy fireplaces
can be a turnoff. These tips for staging fireplaces are from real estate professionals
• Accessorize. Try colorful artwork or a mirror hanging over the fireplace.
Use accessories sparingly on the mantel. For example, try greenery
arrangements or a decorative plate on a stand in the center of the
mantel. Or display three candlesticks of differing heights, a vase,
or smaller accessories on one side and leave the other side clear.
To attract buyers’ eyes to the fireplace, try placing a colorful plant
on the floor along the fireplace’s corner edge.
• Modernize. Remove dated brass screens. By spending $200 or so to
replace the old screen with a new black or bronze version, you can
instantly bring a fireplace up-to-date. Do-it-yourselfers may opt to
paint the brass screen themselves using black grill or auto paint
• Paint. A painted accent wall helps highlight a fireplace, bringing out
the wood color and any of its architectural details. Try earthy, creamy
tones for the accent wall, or choose a paint color two or three shades
darker than that of the other walls to create monochromatic harmony
in the room.
• Position. Make the fireplace the focal point: Angle furniture to either
side of it, or place sofas perpendicular to it. Don’t block the fireplace
Don't Cover up Unique Home Features
A wood-burning stove tucked away in the corner of a 100-year-old home
becomes a selling asset with the help of stagers. The stagers cleared
away the clutter and changed the original distracting orange hue to a
soft neutral with green undertones, which brought out the stove’s wood
casings, thefloors, and architectural elements of the space. The room
was then staged around the stove to make it “a feature instead of an
obscured object in the space”.
Check List: 4 Quick Tips for Prepping a Home Sale
Real estate pros recommend some of the following general staging
tips in prepping homes for sale.
1. Super clean. Make the house shine from top to bottom. Don’t
forget about cleaning the carpet, draperies, and windows, too.
2. Clear the clutter and unload some furniture. Remove unnecessary
items from countertops, bathtubs, and shower stalls—areas that
often attract the most clutter. Keep only the necessities. A declut-
tered home helps buyers mentally “move in” with their own things.
You may need to rearrange or remove some furniture. Pieces that
3. Prep your landscaping. Check gutters and roof for dry rot and moss,
and ensure they are clean. Examine all plants: Prune bushes and
trees, make sure no plants are blocking windows, remove any dead
plants, and keep the lawn freshly mowed.
4. Add nice touches. Coordinate towels in the bathroom in one or two
colors only. Keep accessories restricted to groups of one, three, or
five items. Make sure all lights and lamps are on for showings, and
set an inviting mood: Have soft background music turned on (such
as light FM music).
Built-in bookshelves help feed another common buyer craving:
the desire for extra storage. Here tips for staging bookshelves
and wall units.
• Accent key colors. When selecting knickknacks to display, look
to the room’s color palette for inspiration. Select items that
out colors in the pillows or wall art.
• Balance. To create a cohesive feel, all items should have similar
visual weight, as either a group or a stand-alone piece. For example,
hardcover books of similar sizes can provide the necessary structure
and height needed to fill out the shelves and balance out small
artwork or mirrors on the other shelves. While the bulkiness of the
accessories should align, their height can vary to create an appealing,
natural look within the shelves. Other good picks for staging shelves:
Small-scale framed art, mirrors, candles, and small pots of greenery
• Prioritize. Focus on the shelves at eye level first. The shelves above
and below eye level shouldn’t be empty, but they don’t have to be
filled to the same degree.