Top 14 Best Home Staging Tips – A Complete Checklist

There are countless benefits to staging your home for sale in Denver, and plenty of statistics underline how big of an impact staging has on how quickly you find a buyer and how close the bid is to your asking price. However, there’s a big difference between staging your house and staging it successfully. Simply adding a few furniture pieces to each room can technically be considered “staging,” but doing this won’t have quite the effect you’re looking for. 

Effective staging requires careful planning and strategizing to do correctly. It’s why most home sellers in Denver will seek the professional consultation of a home stager. However, even if you decide to work with a professional, knowing how to stage your home correctly will go a long way towards successfully selling your house. We have compiled14 home staging tips for you to follow:

1. Clean Your Home Interior

A clean home is crucial to leaving a good first impression. Homebuyers are well aware that once they buy a house, they can clean it themselves. Despite this, a dirty, unorganized home will still have a subconscious effect on their impression of your house. Because of this, you must clean your home from top to bottom —  and not just to prepare your house for staging. You should clean your house routinely after it’s been staged as well, especially if you’re about to show it to a potential buyer. The following are a few essential steps to take when cleaning your home interior:

Declutter Every Space

Clutter not only makes a space feel dirty, but it can also make it feel smaller. Try to clear off all of your surfaces unless it’s for obvious decoration purposes. For example, you don’t want your coffee table covered in magazines, remotes, junk mail, and random trinkets. However, leaving a magazine or two on the surface to give it a more “lived-in” vibe is okay.

Organize Closets And Cabinets

One of the most common mistakes home sellers make is to shove all of their clutter into their closets and cabinets. “Out of sight, out of mind” is likely the thought process here. However, buyers will go through your closets and cabinets to check out what kind of storage space is available. If these spaces are overflowing, it will look bad. Organize your closets, cabinets, and drawers to showcase how effectively your storage space can be used.

Perform A Thorough Cleaning

By thorough, we mean complete. The house should be spotless as if it’s brand new. A messy home will make it feel like it’s used and old. Plus, no potential buyer will be excited about having just seen a dirty house. Floors should be washed, carpets should be vacuumed, tiles should be scrubbed, windows should be cleaned, and everything should be dusted. Consider hiring a professional cleaning service to ensure that your house is as clean as possible.

Remove Signs Of Pets

If there are pets currently residing in your home, have them removed when buyers come to do a tour. As friendly as they may be, some buyers may be scared or allergic to them. Also, remove all signs that a pet lives there. These signs include pet hair, pet food, pet toys, pet beds, and the like. Seeing signs that someone else’s pet lives there will make buyers feel like they’re wandering through a stranger’s home, which is not the feeling you want to impart.

2. Clean Your Home Exterior

As important as it is to clean the inside of your home before you show it, it’s arguably even more important to clean the exterior. A dirty, unkempt exterior will drive buyers away before they even have a chance to see the inside. Would you schedule a private showing for a house that looked like a mess from the outside? Probably not. Here are a few tasks you should complete to ensure that your home exterior is clean:

Have Roof Cleaned

Ensure that all debris, such as branches and leaves, are removed from your roof and your gutters. If it’s been a while since the roof has been professionally cleaned, consider hiring a professional service to come to wash your roof. Removing the buildup of dirt and grime covering your roof can help make it look brand new.

Clean Your Windows

Dirty windows can obscure natural light from coming into your home. They also hurt your curb appeal and leave a poor impression overall.

Wash Your Siding

Siding tends to experience a lot of wear and tear over the years, especially in Denver. It can lose its shine as a result of rain and snow. Having your siding pressure washed by a professional can help bring back its original luster.

Clean Your Yard

A cluttered and dirty yard will hurt your property’s curb appeal. Remove all clutter (such as garden tools or kids’ toys) and clean your yard of dead branches and leaves.

Wash Pathways And Driveway

Besides keeping your driveway and pathways clutter-free, consider pressure washing them. Doing so will remove a significant amount of dirt, giving your property a boost in curb appeal.

3. Stage Your Front Entrance

The front entrance is one of —  if not the —  most essential elements of successful curb appeal. The reason why is simple: the front entrance is a natural focal point. The attention of anyone walking or driving by your house will be attracted to the front door. Embrace the front entrance as a focal point and strengthen it by staging the area around it. For example, you can:

  • Give the front door a fresh coat of paint to make its color pop more.
  • Change the lightbulbs to ensure the entrance is lit adequately at night.
  • Add a welcome mat to create a more inviting aesthetic.
  • Add potted plants or flowers to bring some life to your front entrance.
  • Make the space feel usable by adding a bench or chair (if there’s room).

4. Tidy Up Your Outdoor Space

Cleaning your home exterior is one thing, but there’s a whole lot left to do in terms of keeping up the curb appeal of your property. Things like overgrown grass, dead branches, untidy bushes, weeds, and more, will all hurt your curb appeal. You don’t want your property to look like it was abandoned, which means you’ll want to take some time addressing all of these issues. You want your property to look like it’s being taken care of. If it doesn’t look like that, potential buyers will assume that you spent just as little time taking care of the house, thereby killing any interest they might have had.

5. Repaint Interior And Exterior

Repainting your interior and exterior walls can give your home a brand new look. If the original paint job, whether inside or outside, has begun to fade or experience wear due to age, then repainting can significantly affect it. Older homes may have an outdated aesthetic, and repainting your interior and exterior gives you a chance to bring your home up-to-date with current trends. Additionally, the colors you choose inside your home have a significant impact on the overall staging. As far as choosing colors, we generally recommend going with neutral colors as your primary color option. Neutral colors tend to be inoffensive and agreeable with most homebuyers. It’s worth noting that a splash of color can sometimes do a room a world of good in the form of an accent wall.

6. Improve Interior Lighting

If you can’t see the furniture and decor you’ve staged your home with, then it’s probably not going to do a good job leaving a positive impression on buyers. Proper lighting is needed to showcase each room in the best possible light. Poor lighting can make your home feel less inviting and even a little unnerving, which is the opposite of the type of atmosphere you want to create.

Opening your blinds and curtains to bring in natural light is the easiest way to improve your home’s lighting. However, it would help if you also did the following:

Repair And Replace Lighting Where Needed

Check every light to make sure it works properly. You don’t want to get caught flipping a light switch only to find that the fixture no longer functions during a showing. Replace all bulbs to make sure every room is as well lit as possible — and have the electrical repaired if any lights are on the fritz. 

Add Accent Lighting And Task Lighting

Overhead lighting will make a room visible, but it won’t make it visually appealing. Add accent lighting and task lighting throughout a room to showcase your staging efforts in the best possible light (literally!). You can do this by introducing table lamps, floor lamps, uplights, wall sconces, and more.

7. Add Exterior Lighting

Exterior lighting is often overlooked, especially when it comes to home staging. However, you want to showcase your property to potential buyers even when it’s dark out. After all, some homebuyers may drive by when it’s dark outside to get a look at your house. At the very least, you should keep the lights on in the entryway so that they can see your front door. 

It would help if you also considered lining your pathway to the front door with path lights. If you have any landscape features you want to show off, such as flower beds, water features, or an incredibly majestic tree, consider installing a few uplights as well.

8. Improve Staging Of An Already Furnished Home

If you’re selling a house that still contains furniture and decor, don’t assume that there’s no need for further staging. Just because someone is still living in the house does not mean that it doesn’t need to be staged. The furniture and decor in the home were likely chosen and arranged according to their taste. Useful staging needs to appeal to as broad of an audience as possible, which is why you may still need to consider these ideas:

Rearrange Furniture

The way existing furniture is currently arranged may not be the best. For example, maybe the current resident has their bed against a wall because of personal preference. However, the interior design would be more balanced if the bed was centered so that there’s space on both sides. Rearrange existing furniture to get the most out of your staging.

Remove Furniture

In some cases, rooms may have too many furniture pieces, making space feel smaller and crowded. For example, maybe the bedroom has a bed as well as a desk and a sofa. You might want to remove the desk and focus on the room’s primary function as a bedroom.

Add Furniture Where Needed

Some rooms may not be thoroughly furnished —  or furnished in a way that highlights the room’s primary function. For instance, maybe the current resident is using the home office as a storage space. You may want to set up this room as an actual home office by adding a desk, a file cabinet, and other relevant furniture and decor pieces.

9. Furnish An Empty Home

If the home you’re selling is empty, consider staging every room in the entire house. The following are a few of the best practices to follow when furnishing a vacant home:

Highlight the Specific Function Of Each Room

When adding furniture to a room, make sure that it highlights the intended function of that room. For example, the way you stage the living room should highlight it as an area for social gathering and relaxation. Trying to cram a dining room into a small living room space is probably not the best way to highlight this purpose.

Use Neutral Colors

While there’s nothing wrong with adding a splash of color here and there to accent each room, you should stick to more neutral colors when it comes to your primary color choice. Neutral colors tend to be the most inoffensive option. You may have a bolder style, but you don’t want your tastes to clash with those of your potential buyers.

Use Appropriately Sized Furniture

Don’t try to stuff a king-sized bed into a small bedroom. This will only make the room feel small and awkward. On the other hand, using a tiny couch as the focal point of a large living room can have the opposite effect — it can make the living space feel much too big and create a less cozy atmosphere.

Don’t Use Too Much Furniture

Just because there’s space available doesn’t mean you have to fill it up. Some space is needed to make a room feel open and relaxing. Too much furniture can cause a room to feel cramped, small, and stressful to be in.

Prioritize Most Important Rooms

You don’t need to go all out to stage the small guest bedroom, especially when other rooms, such as the living room and master bedroom, are more important to buyers. When it comes to staging, prioritize the most critical rooms first.

10. Decorate The Home

While furniture plays an integral part in showcasing each room’s function and providing buyers with a sense of scale, the decor is also crucial to successful staging. The following are a few tips on how to use decor appropriately when staging a house for sale in Denver:

Avoid Using Personal Decor Items

Any personal decor, such as family portraits or drawings your kids made, should be removed. While you might think that using these items to stage your home will help create more of an inviting atmosphere, they will only make buyers less comfortable walking through your home. Buyers will feel like they are intruding, making it difficult for them to imagine themselves living there.

Don’t Be Afraid Of Contrast

Although you should stick to neutral colors, for the most part, you can still play around with contrast to help a room stand out. For instance, use a bold pop of color or a unique pattern in items meant as accent pieces, such as throw pillows or decorative items. Adding contrast will help keep your interior design from being too bland.

Keep The Current Season In Mind

When decorating, keep the current season in mind. For example, if it’s winter, adding throw pillows and blankets to your furniture or putting down a fluffy area rug can add warmth. If it’s fall, bring in some fall colors, such as orange and yellow, to ease the transition from outdoors to indoors.

Avoid Religious Decor

You have no idea what religion (if any) potential buyers practice. Adding religious decor to your staging could offend some buyers. Avoid using religious decor when staging your home.

Add Plants

Plants not only add a pop of bright color that will complement your interior design, but they will also add a natural element that can help create a more tranquil environment. Plants help put people more at ease. They also naturally filter the air, helping to keep your house clean.

Add Mirrors

Mirrors are a great way to decorate your walls without making them feel cluttered or drawing too much attention away from your focal point. They can also help smaller rooms feel much bigger than they are. When positioned strategically, they can help reflect natural light throughout a room. 

11. Add An Inviting Aroma 

As important as your home’s aesthetic is to create a positive first impression on buyers, don’t forget about the way your house smells. The scent is a powerful thing, which means that you can use it to your advantage to create an inviting atmosphere. For example, you can add flowers to your entryway or living room, put out freshly baked cookies in the kitchen, or light aromatic candles in the dining room or bedrooms.

Remove Unpleasant Odors

In addition to adding pleasant aromas to your home, take care also to remove unpleasant odors. Before any showing:

  • Open up the windows to let stale air out and fresh air in.
  • Check the bathrooms, kitchen, and basement for any foul odors and address them immediately.
  • If someone is currently occupying the home and have pets, make sure you do a thorough cleaning to remove all pet scents before the showing is scheduled (and make sure that the pets are out of the house when buyers arrive).

12. Stage Exterior Spaces

We’ve already mentioned the importance of cleaning and tidying up your home exterior. However, you may also have outdoor living spaces, such as a porch or deck, that should be staged as well. If you don’t stage these areas, they may escape the notice of prospective buyers. Outdoor living spaces tend to be in high demand amongst homebuyers, which means that you’ll want to draw attention to them if you have them, even if this means adding an outdoor table and a few accompanying chairs to a small patio space.

13. Apply The 60-30-10 Rule

One of the trickiest parts of staging is creating a cohesive interior design. From the living room couch to the picture frame on the wall, every element contributes to a balanced whole. To achieve this, professional designers tend to use the 60-30-10 rule, which breaks down as follows:

  • 60 – Around 60 percent of the items used to stage a room should use the primary color that you’ve chosen. For example, if your primary color in the living room is dark blue, your couch and area rug should be dark blue. It’s your primary color that will help anchor the space.
  • 30 – The secondary color should be used for 30 percent of the furniture and decor. Generally, this includes things like drapes, accent chairs, bed linens, and accent walls.
  • 10 – The last 10 percent should be accent colors. It’s how you add a pop of visual interest to your interior design without overwhelming the space. You can implement your chosen accent color using items like artwork and decorative accessories.

14. Prep Your Home Before Any Showings

Despite spending time furnishing and decorating your home for sale, realize that staging isn’t a one-time occurrence. The longer your home stays on the market, the dirtier it’s going to get due to numerous buyers walking through your home during various showings. You will need to prep your home before any private showings or open houses.

Arrive At Showings Early To Prepare And Clean Home

It would be best if you prepared your home right before a scheduled showing by cleaning the space. Cleaning your home is a vital part of successful staging. Cleaning can include dusting and vacuuming. However, you should also turn on all the lights and open up the blinds and drapes beforehand. And if you’re showing your home in the winter, make sure that your pathways are plowed and that your property is safe for buyers. For example, if you know that Denver will experience freezing weather, you should show up at your property the day before showing, put salt down on your sidewalk and pathway to prevent ice from forming.

Effective Home Staging Is Essential To Selling A Home In Denver

If you’re planning on listing a house for sale in Denver, then staging your house is critical to your efforts. You’re much more likely to sell your house quickly and at a price acceptable to you if you have your home staged. These 14 tips are considered some of the best home staging practices, so be sure to follow them when staging your Denver home.