7 Tips for Staging Your Kitchen to Entice Potential Buyers

Audrey Bruno
Written by Audrey Bruno
Updated March 4, 2022
A beautiful modern farmhouse kitchen
Photo: LUGOSTOCK / Adobe Stock

Set the stage in your kitchen to secure an offer

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The style and look of a kitchen can be a dealbreaker for potential homebuyers, and staging it can help your house sell faster and for a higher value. That doesn’t mean you have to rip out everything and start from scratch, though.

In fact, the most important kitchen staging tips often involve doing less, not more—like getting rid of clutter and clearing off countertops. Use these ideas to make your kitchen your home’s greatest selling point.

1. Organize Your Pantry in a Stylish Way

Home staging is worth it because it shows potential buyers the space’s full potential. The best way to achieve that is to leave as little as possible to the imagination. That means paying special attention to every nook and cranny, like your pantry or the inside of your refrigerator. 

Organize these spaces to the nines to give your kitchen a special touch in the eyes of potential buyers. They’ll have a much easier time envisioning their future cooking adventures and ingredient organization if you’ve already laid out a blueprint for them. Use items like specialized dish organizers and design-forward spice racks to demonstrate how functional and stylish their future kitchen can be, even if yours was a little less curated.

2. Update Your Kitchen Lighting

If you haven’t changed the lights in your kitchen since you first moved in, odds are they need an update. Give drop-ceiling lighting a facelift with modern solutions, or switch to LED bulbs to set the mood with light temperature and color lighting. Remember that natural light also impacts how good (or not) your kitchen looks, and take into account factors like the weather and time of day to plan viewings accordingly.

3. Accessorize With Items That Make Sense in a Kitchen

Fruits in plate near electric stove
Photo: Yakobchuk Olena / Adobe Stock

Though your kitchen may have decor that means a lot to you—like experimental art or a collection of fridge magnets—odds are that’s not what potential buyers are hoping to see. They need to be able to project their lives into the space, and that’s much harder to do when it’s clear that someone else still lives in it. 

Instead, swap your decor for objects that anyone could use in a kitchen space, but aren’t unique to you. Consider staging your kitchen with items like herb plants, fruit bowls, decorative wine bottles, or a set of hand-crafted mugs. Carefully laying out inviting but impersonal items will be enough to ignite the imaginations of potential buyers.

4. Remove as Much Clutter as Possible

While a few decorations will make the kitchen feel welcoming, too many will do more harm than good. Remove as much clutter as possible from all visible areas of your kitchen, including most pots, pans, and appliances. You may be able to feature speciality items like a limited-edition stand mixer or a colorful, Scandinavian casserole dish if they don’t overwhelm the flow of the kitchen design.

5. Add a Fresh Coat of Paint to Cabinets and Walls

Even if you’re as careful as possible when cooking, your kitchen walls and cabinets will endure splash and splatter through the years. Give these areas a fresh coat of paint to hide any wear and tear before showing off your kitchen to potential buyers.

6. Don’t Forget About the Little Details

Along with kitchen walls and cabinets, hardware is another kitchen element that gets a lot of action over time. Luckily, replacing or refurbishing your kitchen cabinet handles or faucet is a relatively easy and affordable task to tackle. 

Cabinet hardware can cost as little as $1 per fixture, though faucets can be a bit pricier at roughly $162 to $355 for materials and installation. Fortunately, there are plenty of homemade cleaning solutions for brass that will restore your metal accessories to their former, shiny glory.

7. Eliminate Odors and Be Careful What You Cook

It’s not uncommon for a kitchen to build up odors after many years of use, but most potential buyers are looking to start fresh in a place that also smells fresh. Detecting odors in your kitchen can be tricky if you’re used to the space, so bring in objective observers, like a professional house cleaner, to point you in the right direction.

In general, a deep clean will remove the most stuck-on scents from your kitchen. But keep in mind that what you cook during the kitchen staging process may undo your extra efforts. Avoid using pungent ingredients like garlic or fish, and consider ordering or eating out as often as possible until you find the right buyer.

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