8 Useful Tips for DIY Home Staging

Barbara Bellesi Zito
Updated March 17, 2022
A bright modern living room
Photo: KatarzynaBialasiewicz / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

These aren’t tricks, but they can work like magic in your space

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If the countless home improvement TV shows haven’t done enough to convince you of the power of home staging, let’s look at the facts. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, 82% of buyer’s agents said a staged property made it easier for their clients to see themselves living there. Plus, 23% of those agents said buyers would increase their price offers anywhere between 1% and 5% compared to homes that weren’t staged.   

The drawback of hiring a professional to stage your home is the hefty price tag. Luckily, DIY-ers who want to try their hand at home staging can focus on these seven strategies to woo potential buyers.

1. Pack Away Personal Items

It’s been your space for so long, but now it’s time to get it ready for someone else to enjoy. That means clearing out the clutter and personal items so that potential buyers can see the space and imagine their own belongings in each room. 

Need inspiration to get started on packing up your home? Remove family pictures and other personalized home decor, including degrees, collections, and family name elements. You’ll want to keep them out of real estate listing photos, too. The goal is to let visitors at your open house envision making their own memories in your home.

2. Declutter From Top to Bottom

Nothing turns away a potential buyer faster than a pile of dirty laundry in the living room or a ceiling-high stack of dirty dishes in the sink. Start the DIY home staging process by decluttering each room from top to bottom. Try to view each area of your home as if you were a potential buyer—what flaws do you notice?

Remove any stray toys, shoes, laundry, mail, papers, and medications from their usual resting spots. In the bathroom, store away personal items like your toothbrush, bathing products, and skincare products. View the home-staging process as an opportunity to donate or discard unwanted or unused items.

3. Concentrate on the Kitchen and Bathrooms

A spacious bright kitchen with yellow flowers on the kitchen island
Photo: Cavan Images / Cavan / Getty Images

Kitchens and bathrooms are two of the top remodeling projects that homeowners tackle, both for themselves and better resale value. Although it’s not necessary to remodel these rooms to stage them, you can make small upgrades to boost its appeal, such as upgrading the hardware or light fixtures.

If you’re not planning any renovations to either room, start deep-cleaning them instead. Clear surfaces—at least for the open house and listing photos—of beauty products, kitchen gadgets, and other objects that might be part of your everyday routine but add up to unsightly clutter for potential buyers.

4. Rearrange (or Remove) Furniture

You may love the look and feel of your furniture, but if your living room or primary bedroom looks ready to burst, it’s time to rethink the layout. Many home stagers will suggest creating conversation areas, which are cozy spots where two or more people can gather. 

This method is especially vital in open-concept floor plans, but it also works well in smaller rooms. If your space doesn’t accommodate multiple conversation areas, concentrate the furniture around one area, such as a coffee table.

5. Carve Out a Work-from-Home Area

Buyers looking to use their home for work and relaxation will be happy to see options for flexible use of the space. Whether you create a corner of your living room or bedroom that’s perfect for online conference calls or have a dedicated home office, organize the area so that potential home buyers can envision themselves working productively at home.

6. Brighten Up Your Space

It’s no secret that a bright space tends to look larger than a dark or dim room. With that in mind, wash your windows as part of your home-staging process so that natural light can stream in, and don’t forget to open up those heavy window treatments. 

Another tip is to swap out any dim or broken bulbs in your light fixtures to ensure maximum brightness. Plus, be sure to match cool and warm bulbs within the same fixture and room.

7. Opt for a Neutral Color Palette

A neutral palette living room with beautiful pastel mint sofa
Photo: FollowTheFlow / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

You might adore that emerald green accent wall in your living room, but home buyers want to see the space as a blank canvas for their own color choices. If you’re looking for a quick sale, it may help to put a fresh coat of paint on those walls. Neutrals are best, but they don’t have to be as simple as beige or cream. Pewter colors like silvery grays with blue or green undertones can also work as neutral shades for any room in your home. 

8. Don’t Forget About the Curb Appeal

Of course, no matter how impeccably staged the interior of a home, you want potential buyers to feel inspired as soon as they arrive at your doorstep. That’s why focusing on improving your home’s curb appeal will pay off when trying to find the right home buyer.

Start by mowing the lawn and clearing the yard of any debris like fallen leaves or branches. You can also powerwash the front steps and driveway for a polished look. As a final step, walk the exterior of your home and see if any siding or roof shingles need to be repaired or replaced.

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