Staging & Improvement


Home staging is the act of preparing a private residence for sale in the real estate marketplace. The goal of staging is to make a home appealing to the highest number of potential buyers, thereby selling a property more swiftly and for more money. Staging techniques focus on improving a property’s appeal by transforming it into a welcoming, attractive product that anyone might want.

U.S. research states that home staging can reduce a listing’s time on the market by one third to half, and could fetch as much as 6% to 20% more than an empty home or a home not properly staged.

Before and after examples:



Dressed to Sell

Here’s what good staging is not: ripping every last bit of personality out of a home before showing it to buyers.



The devotion to sparse decor and neutral color palettes—once iron-clad truisms of “proper” staging—is giving way to a livelier vision encompassing more trendy, inviting interiors and exteriors that are intended to make a listing more marketable.

As stagers reject stripped-down, beige-heavy stylings that are as boring as they are forgettable, they’re replacing them with designs that complement a home’s architecture and price point and present a lifestyle that buyers will want to buy into.

That means bolder color pops—yes, even this year’s Pantone color of the year, the purplish-pink radiant orchid; trendy mismatched furnishings; and striking fabric designs. Some stagers are even commissioning specific artwork to suit a home, mixing in repurposed furnishings and nature-inspired accents as a nod toward the green movement.

Find a slideshow with expanded content from this article on our Home Staging Guide.

“It’s important to keep up-to-date on the new colors, materials, lighting, furniture, and accessories so that we can create spaces that buyers can imagine moving into,” says Sandra Holmes, president of Home Staging Concepts in Weston, Fla., and president-elect of the International Association of Home Staging Professionals. Still, when prepping a home for sale, you have to distinguish between decorating and staging, notes real estate pro Barb Schwarz, founder of Schwarz, founder of the IAHSP, says decorating is about adhering to a home owner’s tastes; staging is focused on appealing to the widest buyer pool. Here are eight trends stagers are embracing to give homes a modern edge.



8 Staging trends to make your listings POP



  1. Outdoor retreats

Stagers are devoting more attention to the great outdoors. Why? Because buyers are paying more attention to exteriors, says staging pioneer Barb Schwarz2st. Nearly 63 percent of residential architects say interest in outdoor living areas is increasing. Among the most desired features are seating and dining areas, fire pits, grills, and decorative water elements, according to a 2013 American Institute of Architects survey. Schwarz recommends carving out three unique outdoor spaces when staging a deck and yard. For example, create a dining area with a table, chairs, and colorful place settings; set up a cozy seating area with padded wicker chairs around a fire pit; and use stepping stones to lead to a peaceful retreat, such as a small bistro table or a bench overlooking plantings and a gurgling fountain.



  1. Lifestyle appeal

Stagers are creating lifestyle vignettes. Donna M. Dazzo with Designed to Appeal went bold in staging a game room in a high-end loft in New York (right). Sh3ste created a scene with games on a table, bright accents and furnishings, and vibrant artwork (which she commissions from art dealers) to add life to an otherwise sterile room. Knowing or researching an area could reveal distinctive interests that could be incorporated. Audra Slinkey of Home Staging Resource, a national staging and redesign training company, suggests a wine room or wine rack for a region brimming with wine lovers. In a commuter town, Slinkey says, carve out an inviting home office for telecommuters. “We have to look at trends and surveys and really research the buyer demographic for the home,” she says. “Each little pocket has its own cultural appeal.”

 ss    4st    sssss
3. All that shimmers   4. Painted cabinets   5. Pops of color
How about adding some bling in the form of metallic finishes? This season, look for gray’s flashier cousin, silver.   Brighten a kitchen or bath in a budget- friendly way: Paint the cabinets. Swap knobs for trendier chrome pull bars.   Purples and blues are hot this season in home accents ranging from vases and lamps to pillows, bedding, and rugs.


 sssssss    sssssssssssssss    sssssssssssssssssssssss
6. Mood lighting   7. Going green   8. Mismatches
“A rustic or glass ceramic lamp can add texture and warmth to a space,” Slinkey says. Modern chandeliers add glamour.   Eco-friendly staging is taking off. Repurpose an old storage trunk as a coffee table or display a vase with twigs from the yard.   Nonmatching chairs around the dining room table can break up the monotony and bring visual interest to a space.


Prepping a Home for Sale: Simple Staging Tips for Inside and Out

Posted in Staging Tips, by barbschwarz on June 20, 2011


Before you show your home to any potential buyer, you want to make sure the staging is perfect. Follow these general tips and your home will look better than the competition.


Clear all unnecessary objects from furniture throughout the house. Keep accessories and objects on the furniture restricted to groups of 1, 3, or 5 items. In general, a de-cluttered home helps the buyer mentally “move in” with their own things. Rearrange or remove some of the furniture in your home, if necessary. Many times home owners have too much furniture in a room. When it comes to selling your home, thin out overcrowded rooms to make the rooms appear larger.

Clear all unnecessary objects from the kitchen countertops. If it hasn’t been used for three months…put it away! Clear refrigerator fronts of messages, magnets, pictures, etc.

In the bathroom, remove any unnecessary items from the countertops, tub, shower stall, and commode top. Keep only the most necessary cosmetics, brushes, perfumes, etc., in one small group on the counter. Coordinate towels in one or two colors only.

Take down, reduce, or rearrange pictures and objects on walls. Patch and paint all walls, if necessary.

Review the house interior, room by room, and…

  1. Paint any room needing paint.
  2. Clean carpet and draperies that need it.
  3. Clean windows.


Pack up and store. If you need room to store extra possessions, get a storage unit.

Leave on certain lights during the day . During showings turn on ALL lights and lamps.

Set a background tune. Play light FM music every day in the house, for all viewings.



Go around the perimeter of the house and move all garbage cans, discarded wood scraps, extra building materials, etc., to the garage or, if applicable, take them to the dump.

Check gutters and roof for dry rot and moss. Make sure they are swept and cleaned.

Examine all plants. Plants are like children…they grow so fast. Prune bushes and trees. Keep plants from blocking windows: “You can’t sell a house if you can’t see it!”

Remove any dead plants, weed all planting areas, and put down fresh mulching material.

Keep your lawn freshly cut, edged, and fertilized during the growing season.

Clear patios or decks of all small items, such as little planters, flower pots, charcoal, barbeques, toys, etc.

Check the condition of the paint on your home, especially the trim and the front door. The first impression, or “curb appeal,” is very important.



Try to look at your house “through a buyer’s eyes,” as though you’ve never seen it before. This exercise will help you see what needs to be done. Any time and money invested on these items will usually bring you the return of more money and a quicker sale.