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    Home Staging Mega Guide

    Mastering the art of home staging is usually the last piece of the puzzle that stands between a seller reaching the right buyer. Staging a home for a sale is the key to a swift and successful process for homeowners and real estate agents alike, and extends beyond just rearranging furniture – home staging means adding an irresistible ambience to a property that draws in buyers on a deeper level. 

    From enhancing kerb appeal, to maximising your layout, to adding the right lighting, each aspect of staging plays a pivotal role in captivating potential buyers and securing a successful sale. Whether you’re prepping a house to wow at in-person viewings or just to show off in professional-looking photos online, this comprehensive guide will delve into the intricate process of staging a home to perfection to get you prepped and ready to sell.

    If you’re looking for expert advice on how to dress a house for sale, home stage ideas, and other house selling tips, keep reading for our complete guide to getting your home sold fast. 

    How to Stage a Home

    The strategic process that goes into transforming a property can be broken down into these five key areas.

    1. Declutter

    Donating Decluttering And Cleaning Up Wardrobe

    Before you even think about anything else, decluttering is possibly the most fundamental step in staging. Removing excess items, personal belongings, and any extra baggage allows you to create a sense of spaciousness, which not only improves the look of any home, staged or otherwise, but enables potential buyers to envision themselves living in the property, the absolute key to securing a sale.

    Begin by breaking down each section room by room, systematically going through each and sorting items into different categories (for example: keep, donate, sell, discard). If you find yourself with lots of items that you can’t part with but don’t necessarily need right now, you could even consider renting out a storage unit to temporarily hold some of your non-essential items. Another benefit of this – empty countertops, shelves, and cupboards showcase ample storage space, and even make rooms appear larger. 

    Keep in mind that less is more – a clean, minimalist look will infinitely enhance the overall appeal of a home.

    2. Storage

    This brings us on to step two: storage. Effective storage solutions are essential for showcasing a home’s organisational potential and maximising the available space. Invest in stylish storage containers, baskets, and organisers to keep your items neatly arranged and out of sight, while adding a touch of flair and aesthetic appeal to the property.

    Underutilised spaces such as under-bed storage, built-in shelving, and closet spaces are your best friend here. Multifunctional furniture pieces can also come in very handy if you’re looking to maximise the space of a smaller home, such as coffee tables with built-in drawers or chairs with hidden storage compartments in the seats.

    3. DIY

    Young asian happy woman painting interior wal

    Once you’ve decluttered and stored everything away, you can move on to addressing any areas for home improvement. This doesn’t have to mean a whole bathroom renovation or loft extension – there are several simple DIY tasks you can undertake that won’t break the bank. 

    Consider repainting walls, replacing light fixtures, and updating cabinet handles or hardware – slight touches can make a world of difference in modernising and transforming a space. Kitchens and bathrooms will often see the most impact here, with minor upgrades making a significant shift to the overall look and feel of the room. 

    4. Clean

    A clean and well-maintained home is essential for making a positive impression on potential buyers. A deep clean of the floors, carpets, windows, and surfaces is crucial to giving the right impression during viewings, as it not only enhances the visual appeal of a space but signals to buyers that this property has been properly cared for. You could even consider hiring a professional cleaner for a thorough and efficient deep clean, especially if you’re working within a limited time frame.

    5. Decorating a House to Sell

    Your house is decluttered, organised, and sparkling clean – it’s now time to add the finishing touches. Thoughtful and precise decoration really helps to create a warm and inviting atmosphere that resonates with potential buyers.

    You want to focus on keeping the space neutral enough that people can envision themselves living there, with colour palettes and cohesive decor schemes that appeal to a wide range of tastes. Try to avoid overly personalised or niche decor choices that have the potential to alienate certain buyers. Instead, a timeless and universally appealing approach is best in order to allow buyers to envision themselves living in the home. Strategically placed accessories such as throws, pillows, rugs, and artwork can all work to add gentle pops of colour and visual interest to rooms.

    Consider the space within each room – how could you rearrange your furniture or place certain objects to create a feeling of harmony in the space? You can also think about returning objects to their appropriate rooms in order to ‘traditionalise’ each area. This adds to the homely atmosphere and, again, helps buyers visualise the property as their own.

    The element of light is also of utmost importance. Creating a bright, airy space is crucial for getting that inviting atmosphere you’re looking for. Ample natural light can make spaces feel infinitely more ambient, spacious, and inviting, while strategically placed lamps and light fixtures can enhance the mood of a room and highlight the key features of a property.

    Last but not least, plants – natural elements make a world of difference in a home, bringing a freshness and vitality that adds life to a room and softens any harsh lines you might be working with. With pots, flowers, and hanging plants, you can instantly create a harmonious and welcoming atmosphere in a home, evoking a feeling of comfort, relaxation, and well-being to attract your potential buyers. 

    Ideas for Dressing up Houses

    Young Asian woman organising and tidying up the cushions and throw on the sofa in the living room

    Beyond the key steps to staging a home, there are several strategies you can explore that will elevate your property to the next level, ready for viewings. Here’s a few key decorating tips to sell your home.

    Create a Focal Point

    Every room needs a focal point, and especially when you’ve got buyers coming in to cast their gaze around each specific space. Create something for your visitors to focus on, whether that’s through warmth, light, or character.

    Windows are a prime example of an effective focal point – people naturally gravitate towards them. They draw the eye to the outside, which makes a room feel instantly larger and brighter.

    Highlighting your windows doesn’t need to involve anything labour intensive. It could mean something as simple as opening up your curtains and creating more light with a longer pole, or clearing the ledge of any excess clutter to create the illusion of a wider space. You can also rearrange your furniture to extend the sightline, helping the eye to be drawn more naturally to the window space.

    Focal points could also be a piece of furniture that the rest of the room revolves around, depending on the function of the room. For example, the focal point of a living room might be the TV.

    If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace in your property, this should always be accentuated. For traditional-leaning decor, luxurious touches such as candlesticks, pokers, tongs, screens, or even a mirror hung over the mantlepiece will immediately draw the eye towards the area. A pile of logs can also look extremely inviting if placed in the right way.

    If you find yourself working with a room that doesn’t include a natural focal point, you can always create one yourself. You could paint a single wall with an eye-catching colour, or add an extra layer of interest with wallpaper.

    Add Layers With Textiles

    Mood board, sample board, and furniture board concept with samples for interior design arranged in a scheme

    As well as enhancing the look of a home, textiles can elevate how a room actually sounds. Fabrics make a room come together visually and auditorily, removing the cold echoes you can sometimes experience in bigger rooms by softening the acoustics.

    Textiles are also a very cheap way of upgrading furniture and breathing new life into a space, with no need to go out and buy shedloads of new and improved fittings and fixtures. Instead, you can invest in budget-friendly throws, cushions, and rugs for extra layers of textural interest – but be careful to remain mindful of the size of the space you’re working with to avoid overcrowding a room with a sense of busyness.

    Stylise With Accessories

    A few simple accessories can completely transform a room. These quick additions always look particularly effective in images and during viewings:

    • Mirrors. If you’re looking for an instant way to brighten up a room and create the illusion of depth, mirrors are your answer. 
    • Floating shelves. These work anywhere, and look incredible when combined with colourful books and potted plants.
    • Art. A simple print can really help to break up an otherwise bare wall.
    • Bottles and holders. This could be anything from luxurious soap dispensers in the bathroom to fancy olive oil holders in the kitchen, and instantly elevate the look and feel of any space.
    • Lighting. Create a cosy environment and add an inviting glow to any room with a simple table or floor lamp.

    Finishing touches and small gestures go a long way to creating a welcoming atmosphere, especially when you’ve got potential buyers stopping in for quick visits and speedy tours around the property.

    The Significance of Scents

    Woman lighting candle at wooden table in living room

    The importance of scents cannot be overstated when it comes to staging a house for a sale. When your potential buyers walk in, you want them to immediately feel comfortable, at ease, and at home, and the scent of your home is a one-way ticket to ensuring this. The scent will act as the backdrop for each and every viewing, and will leave a lasting reminder in your viewer’s minds of their experience walking round the property.

    For some effective aromatherapy, utilise well-placed reed diffusers or scented candles. Bonus, these also look great to have dotted around during viewings. There’s no need to go overboard – one or two will be enough to do the job. For kitchens, opt for flavoursome scents such as coffee and cinnamon. Crisp, clean scents such as lemongrass and ginger are great for bathrooms, while calming lavender and vanilla works best in bedrooms.

    Remember to also keep windows ajar for continuous circulation and airing out of your home, especially if you are still living in it. The power of fresh air is your best friend here – utilise this quick, simple, and cost-effective way of keeping your home smelling fresh and clean.

    Garden Staging

    When it comes to home staging, the exterior of a property is just as important as the interior. Taking care with your kerb appeal and garden aesthetic works to create an outdoor oasis that enhances the overall look of your home and increases its desirability to prospective buyers.

    Boho decorated wedding arch

    Healthy Lawns

    Depending where you’re at in the year, you might have to approach your lawn with some extra TLC. If you’re in a wetter, colder season, wait for a few dry days in the forecast, then start with a trim on the highest setting when the ground is firm and free of dew. This isn’t only better for the grass and your mower, but it’ll also save you from churning the soil into mud with the mower’s wheels.

    Most lawns suit a length of 2-4cm, but where there’s lots of wear and tear or footfall, go a little longer at around 5cm. For very shady areas, up it to 7cm. Remember that grass is a plant and needs its blades working to photosynthesise, so don’t go scalping it!

    Moss, dead grass and other debris can impede healthy growth, so remove them with a spring-tine rake. Use a garden fork or hollow-tine aerator to reduce waterlogging and improve drainage, or go for the hands-free option with a pair of aerating shoes.

    Finish with a bit of top dressing and feed for an extremely effective outdoor backyard staging. With all-in-one products like Miracle-Gro Evergreen 4 in 1, you can fertilise the grass while treating weeds and moss.

    Patio Staging

    Man cleaning his veranda with high pressure washer

    A well-staged patio can significantly enhance the overall appeal of your home, creating an inviting outdoor retreat that will invite buyers in. 

    As with the interior of your property, decluttering is essential – remove any worn or outdated items, and consider investing in stylish outdoor furniture to replace it with that complements the style and size of the patio, creating functional seating areas that buyers can envision themselves relaxing in.

    You can also enhance the ambience of your patio with strategic lighting, such as string lights or lanterns, to create a warm and inviting atmosphere (especially during evening viewings!). 

    Backyard Stage Ideas

    The back garden of a property is another goldmine area for enhancing the overall appeal of a home. An inviting back garden can make a world of difference in attracting buyers and maximising the value of your home.

    For effective garden staging, consider creating defined outdoor living areas, such as a dining area with a table and chairs, a cosy seating area with outdoor sofas and coffee tables, or a relaxing oasis with hammocks and lounge chairs. Weather-resistant furniture is your friend here – consider investing in accessories that can withstand outdoor elements while adding style and functionality.

    Landscaping elements such as potted plants, flower beds, and hanging baskets also work to add colour, texture, and visual interest to your garden, while lighting can really help to create a relaxing and cosy atmosphere.

    If you want to go a step further, there are several other accessories you can look to invest in, such as water features, fire pits, and outdoor amenities such as barbecue grills.

    Hiring a Stager

    If you’ve got the means to, there is also the option of hiring a professional stager to assist in sprucing up your property. With the quality expertise, experience, and fresh perspective that comes with a professional staging service, hiring someone to help can be a wise investment to make, saving you time and alleviating stress in the long run.

    Optimise Your Online Advert

    Typically, a potential buyer’s first impression of your home will be online. It will also usually be looked at from their phone screen. This makes the photos of your phone immensely important – you need to be able to stop them scrolling through potentially hundreds of other listings. This means you should always lead with the biggest and best shot, and save the other pictures and arty close-ups for later in the image gallery.

    Closeup of tablet being used to shop for a home

    Consider these factors when taking pictures for your online listing:

    • Open your curtains fully to expose the windows.
    • Adjust sets of blinds to sit at the same level.
    • Keep worktops, tables and desks free of excess clutter, but keep a few well-chosen accessories – total emptiness can make a room look cold.
    • Plump couches and arrange cushions.
    • Put your laundry in baskets, clothes in your wardrobes, and towels and robes on hooks.
    • Clear away any unglamorous kitchen or bathroom products.
    • Make your beds with the pillows stacked, and bedding turned down.
    • Show as much floor as you possibly can – get any books and magazines on shelves, put toys away in crates, and remove any rugs that shrink rooms.
    • Hide phone chargers and trailing cables.
    • Make sure to vacuum and dust before your photos are taken.

    Taking care of these little details can quickly and effectively make a huge difference to your images, instantly turning an average photo into an eye-catching one with minimal effort.

    How to Stage a House for Sale While Living In It

    Young happy woman listening and dancing to music while cleaning the living room floor with a vaccum cleaner

    Often, homeowners will find themselves in the situation where you’re attempting to stage a property while still living in it. Showcasing a home in its best light can be tricky amongst the struggles and demands of daily life, but it’s not impossible – it just requires a little bit of extra planning and organisation.

    Dressing up houses that are still currently occupied firstly means focusing on depersonalising your space, removing any excess furniture, personal items, and knick-knacks to create a clean and neutral canvas to work with when presenting your home to potential buyers. Keep personal belongings out of sight by maximising your storage space with cupboard and closet organisers, cabinets, and under-bed boxes.

    When it comes to daily living, it’s helpful to establish consistent routines for keeping your home in check. Make sure you’re always ready for last-minute viewings with consistent and continuous tidying, such as promptly making beds and washing up, and consider regularly updating fresh and ambient touches to your home such as soft lighting, scented candles, and bunches of flowers to make potential buyers feel at home.

    10-Minute Tidy

    This quick sweep, speedy checklist is the ideal before-bed routine that will keep your home looking spick and span:

    • Doors & Windows
      • Leave all internal doors open for air circulation and a sense of flow.
      • Open all curtains and blinds for maximum light.
    • Kitchen
      • Put plates, cups, and pans in the dishwasher, or rinse and put away in the cupboards.
      • Hang tea towels up in place.
      • Wipe down surfaces, sink, and the oven.
    • Bedrooms
      • Make any beds (the ones that you’re not about to sleep in!) and plump the pillows.
      • Close wardrobes and drawers.
      • Put away any items such as jewellery or accessories.
    • Bathrooms
      • Wipe down the shower screen.
      • Put away any products into the cupboards.
      • Hang up or fold away towels.

    Make Your Viewers Feel Welcome

    As soon as they cross the threshold, your viewers get their first in-person experience of the inside of your home. Here’s some quick steps you can take to make your home feel more inviting to viewers, while you’re still living in the property.

    • Hallways can be tricky with coats and shoes in often narrow spaces, so keep things practical, simple and welcoming.
    • Thin out jackets and coats to what you need this season, then leave a couple of spare hooks for viewers.
    • Eliminate piles of shoes by putting them in boxes or lining them up in a rack.
    • If you store your bike in the hall, hang it on the wall or find another spot for viewings.
    • Mirrors can reflect light and add depth, while pictures provide joy and warmth.
    • Avoid bare bulbs, and choose a lampshade or fitting that complements your décor.
    • Have a doormat to keep your floors clean and your viewers guilt-free.
    • If your front door opens straight into your living space, keep the area inside the door clear to avoid people walking straight into obstacles and feeling your home is too small.

    Take the First Step to Staging

    door handle with a key and a keychain shaped house

    Staging your home for a sale is a strategic process that calls for depersonalising, decluttering, and maximising the space you’re working with. Attention to detail and decor is key, and can make a substantial difference in how your house is perceived by potential buyers, both online and in person. With careful planning, organised execution, and the advice outlined in this guide, you’ll be well on your way to a quick sale of your perfectly-staged property. 

    Looking for a trusted lettings and estate agent to assist you with selling your property? Look no further! Our professional team of property experts is here to help. Whether you’re looking to rent, buy, sell, or invest, we have the expertise and local knowledge required to guide you through each and every step of the entire process. Take the first step towards your property goals and reach out today.