Staging a home for sale

Staging a home for sale involves changing negatives into positives and allowing potential buyers to fall in love with it.

If you have already attended to the first impression your home creates, staging your home won’t be too much work.

Living Rooms

Most buyers are looking for a cosy living room where they can relax at the end of a long day, watch television and entertain. Despite this multi-purpose use, it's essential that the space still retains its identity.

A living room requires a focal point, an area to which the eye is drawn. Traditionally, fireplaces have not only been a practical way of heating a room but have also provided a welcoming focal point. Fireplaces are now back in fashion, having been boarded up or removed in many properties during the sixties and seventies. If you decide to install a fireplace, look for an original period grate and surround in reclamation yards. If you don't have a fireplace then a striking picture can work equally well.

Keep the living room neat and simple. Select only a few of your favorite prints, paintings and photographs to display. A few choice items, such as a carved wooden bowl, a few pieces of colorful pottery and a print or painting will add colour and personality to a room without it looking too cluttered.

Don't pile up old newspapers. Instead, select a few glossy magazines, which can be neatly displayed on a coffee table or magazine rack.

Tidy the bookshelves and CD racks.

Arrange furniture carefully. Although a very sparse room can look cold, an over furnished room will make a room look much smaller. Make sure there's ample space to walk around the room.

The Kitchen

  • A scrupulously clean kitchen is a must when selling a property. No one longs to cook or eat in a dirty kitchen.
  • Keep work surfaces free of clutter. A few glass storage jars filled with dried pasta, pots containing fresh herbs and a bowl of fruit will make a kitchen look appealing.
  • Keep cookbooks to a minimum or stack them neatly on shelves. Get rid of (or hide) books with greasy covers.
  • Clean cupboards, shelves, floor and work surfaces.
  • Floors in good condition simply need a good clean. However, if flooring is worn and irreparable, consider replacing it with laminate, linoleum or tiles. It’s usually safer to choose plain rather than patterned styles.
  • If your fitted kitchen units look tired, consider keeping the carcasses and replacing the doors. This will instantly improve the look of the room, but will save thousands on buying a totally new kitchen. If the units are in fairly good condition and just look dated, then simply replace the doorknobs, handles and taps. It’s often worth saving money by buying cheap units, but paying more for the smaller details such as designer handles.
  • Another good tip for making a cheap kitchen look expensive is to fit good solid worktops onto existing units.

The Bathrooms

  • As with kitchens, clean bathrooms appeal to potential buyers. Bathrooms are private spaces and buyers are looking for a simple, uncluttered space in which to relax and unwind.
  • Clean, clean, clean! The bathroom should be sparkling by the time you’ve finished scrubbing every inch of the space.
  • Coloured bathroom suites look old-fashioned – white is back. Simple, traditional bathroom styles such as roll-top baths and classic white bathroom suites will always retain their value, whereas trendy colours and bathroom styles will date quickly.
  • Be wary of splashing out hundreds of dollars on a designer bathroom suite. Often, you can get a similar look for much less. Like kitchens, you can jazz up a cheap, white bathroom suite by investing in good quality bathroom accessories such as taps, towel rails, towels and a bath mat.
  • Avoid carpets and wooden floorboards in bathrooms as they inevitably get soggy and stained. Go for linoleum or tiles, which make for a hardwearing bathroom that is easy to clean.
  • Keep bathroom cleaning products hidden away in cupboards.
  • Hide away cheap toiletries, but keep a couple of quality products on display. Replace half-used soaps with new bars.
  • Choose plain towels that co-ordinate with the rest of the bathroom. Consider buying some “just for show”.
  • Keep the lavatory seat and lid down and choose white toilet paper. 
  • Avoid overflowing laundry baskets.
  • Revitalise a tired bathroom with a green leafy plant and a new shower curtain.
  • En suite bathrooms are very popular. It may be worth converting a small room or walk-in wardrobe into an extra bathroom if you have sufficient space.


  • Bedrooms and bathrooms are the most private spaces in a home and owners consider them as places where they can relax and escape the pressures of the outside world. It’s wise to keep bedrooms neat and simple, with little evidence of personal items when selling your property.
  • De-personalise the bedroom – remove personal items such as photographs and soft toys.
  • Paint bedroom walls a plain, pale, relaxing colour. Bright reds and yellows are not good for bedrooms as they are invigorating colours. Choose one or two prints or paintings to hang on the bedroom walls.
  • Keep the bedroom uncluttered. Store clothes in bedroom cupboards and don’t leave items lying around on chairs or nightstands. Display only a few of your favourite trinket boxes on a dressing table – always remember that less is more.
  • Plain bed linen looks less fussy than highly patterned bedroom sets. For texture and detail, choose a co-ordinating rug and a couple of cushions.

Children’s Rooms

  • It's very difficult to keep children’s bedrooms immaculate with every toy in its right place. Try to work around your limitations by investing in good bedroom storage systems and making the room visually appealing.
  • Instead of using bold patterned wallpaper with a children’s theme, paint the walls a plain colour.
  • Brighten up the bedroom with fun furnishings such as curtains, bed linen and rugs. As a child grows older, the bedroom can be updated with new accessories rather than having to redecorate the whole room.
  • Keep the majority of toys neatly stacked on shelves or in bedroom cupboards with only a few items on display.
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