6 Staging Principles for the Savvy Home Seller

Brad Smith
Written By Brad Smith

If you’re selling a home, you want two things more than anything else: the highest possible offer, and the shortest number of days on the market. Speed and money are the cornerstones of successful real estate listing. 

Several factors contribute to that success, like realtor marketing, strategic pricing, and the natural ebbs and flows of market conditions. Throughout the process, you need a little luck and the best possible realtors on your side. 

However, there is one factor that you can influence: home staging. Alongside top-tier realtors like Harvey Kalles Real Estate, you can beautify your home to make it as inviting and attractive as possible. Staging a home properly can lead to better photos (which lead to more nibbles) and more compelling walk-throughs for prospective buyers. All of these factors contribute to a speedy, high-value sale. 

Read the six central staging principles below to get started. 

6 staging principles for the savvy home seller

Let There Be Light

According to a sweeping survey conducted by Zolo, over half of homebuyers stated that good natural light was a must. Put inversely, that means over 50% of prospective homebuyers may pass on your place if they don’t get enough of that good old-fashioned UV. 

When staging, optimize for as much natural light as you can. Replace any opaque window treatments with open, airy alternatives. Remove any obstructive furniture or appliances that block the sunshine. You can even coordinate with your realtor to establish viewing hours during sunny parts of the day (not strictly a home staging tip, but a handy bit of strategy nonetheless!). 

Less Is More

“When you think you’ve cleared out enough stuff, clear out 30% more.” You’ll likely hear adages like this from an experienced realtor, because they understand the power of minimalism in the homebuyer’s psychology. 

As we’ll discuss below in more detail, homebuyers want to envision themselves in your home. They want to imagine their best possible life – one free of clutter, space limitations and “crampedness.” Keeping your home airy and minimal allows buyers to transpose these feelings onto your property. As a general rule, surfaces should have one or two things on them: an espresso machine on one kitchen counter, a bowl of oranges on the other, a record player on the media console, freshly cut flowers on the kitchen table, etc. 

Remove Yourself from the Equation

In real estate circles, this process is called “depersonalization,” a five-dollar word that basically means “remove traces of your personal life from the home.”

Those family photos, kids’ drawings on the fridge, dog bowls on the floor, framed diplomas, etc., are all personal footprints. As mentioned above, homebuyers want to envision their life in your home – their life. By removing traces of your personal attachment to the home, it allows prospective buyers to imagine their personal attachments. 

Don’t worry: When the showings and open houses end, you can move your precious memories back home before the move-out date. 

Remain Neutral

In most cases, neutral colour schemes are preferable. Remember, you’re attempting to appeal to as broad an audience as possible; while those hot pink couch cushions or lime green window dressings may appeal to some, they will also turn others off. 

The occasional brightly coloured accent is permissible – even preferable, as it demonstrates the potential for personalization in the home. However, the bulk of the furniture, décor and appliances should be neutrally coloured: grey, white, eggshell, tan, nude, sand, khaki, olive, charcoal, heather grey, black, etc. 

Guide the Focus 

If your home has unique features like a fireplace, walk-in bedroom closet, wine cellar, or reading nook, consider emphasizing these features with décor. 

You can highlight focal points with lighting or draw attention with simple floral arrangements and décor flourishes. In the case of so-called “hidden” features like a walk-in closet, it’s as simple as keeping the door open for walk-throughs to admire (just review the principle above about decluttering!). This step can be a tad abstract and, therefore, challenging for amateur home sellers to pull off by themselves; enlist the help of your experienced realtor to guide the focus toward bankable features. 

First Impressions Matter

“Curb appeal” is a popular notion in real estate. It measures a home’s attractiveness as viewed from the curb. Curb appeal is essential in the staging process because it forms the first impression. 

When a prospective buyer approaches your property, the first things they see are the front yard and front façade. Nearly instantaneously – and almost entirely unconsciously – they will form opinions based on these features. Those opinions will continue to affect their judgment throughout the walk-through. 

You already know where this is leading – be in control of those first impressions! Manicure the front garden, pressure wash the driveway, clean the doors and windows, and show the siding some TLC. To continue making a solid first impression, declutter the entryway. 

If you can follow these principles faithfully, you will be entering the market with an advantage. As always, consult with professional realtors to fine-tune the details and get the ball rolling.

smith brad omni

Written by Brad Smith

CEO & Lead Interior Designer

Brad Smith is an experienced interior designer and the founder of OmniHomeIdeas.com. With a Master's degree in Interior Design from Pratt Institute and a passion for creating safe and healthy living spaces, Brad shares his expert insights and innovative design ideas with our readers. His work is driven by the belief that home is where every story begins.