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Staging your Home to Shine

October 21st, 2014 · Leave a Comment

By Judith Sisler Johnston, President of Sisler Johnston Interior Design and allied member, ASID


I’m often asked for tips and tricks to improve the impression of homes that are being sold.  I can share some suggestions for simple modifications to “stage” your home that will enhance your homes’ look and feel. You want potential homebuyers to leave your home with a positive lasting impression. But, be forewarned: After implementing these suggestions, many homeowners decide to remain where they are!=

Here are some topics for consideration when preparing your home to shine:

First Impressions – Let’s talk curb appeal.  Could the flower bed use some bright, cheerful flowers?  Maybe the chairs on the porch need new cushions?  What about a fresh coat of paint on the door?  The buyer will make many decisions about the home before they even walk through the door – make this first impression count!

Smell and Lighting – The first thing many buyers will notice (even if they don’t realize it) is the smell and lighting of a home.  Have your entire house steam cleaned (furniture and floors) and insist that residents and guests smoke outside. To add a welcoming scent use a clean, simple scent like Fresh Linen and steer away from sweet scents like Vanilla or Cookie Dough.   Lighting is also critical – add a lamp to a dark corner or add brighter light bulbs to the fixtures.

 Neutral shades on walls and accent lighting can help prospective homebuyers imagine their families in these rooms.

Furniture – is there too much?  Too much furniture in a space can make the space look smaller than it really is.  Maybe that bulky recliner in the corner should be put in temporary storage?  Is there too little?  A simple café table placed in an empty breakfast nook could add that quaint finishing touch.

Color – Does your home have a bright pink accent wall in the family room or a den that is emerald green?  It might be a good idea to repaint those walls a neutral shade of beige or tan. 

Personalization – It’s hard for a buyer to picture themselves living in the home if it is full of family photos on every mantle, book shelf and counter top.  Remove the photos and put them away for safe keeping until they are in their own new home.

Windows – The home should be as bright and cheerful as possible.  Windows and window treatments should be examined for cleanliness, condition and weight.  It’s effective to replace old blinds with new ones and heavy drapery with lightweight panels that let in abundant light.  

A bright cheerful room framed by light window treatments showcases this home.

All That Stuff.  This is the tricky part because this isn’t a model home, it’s a home.  It’s going to be full of stuff.  Consider getting a temporary storage facility and move many extra items to the facility – this may include furniture, knick knacks, toys, countertop kitchen appliances, books, etc.


 First impressions matter and this room is organized to highlight the view. Minimize personal itmes on mantles and shelves.

Look for every chance you have to make small, but important, changes to make your home as special for its next owner as it was for you.


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