Linda is a seasoned writer and home-decorating authority. She loves sharing design trends, decor ideas, and useful tips with her readers.
Surely you’ve seen TV shows where homeowners enlist the help of professionals to get homes ready to sell. Whether you call it home staging, redesign, house fluffing or real estate enhancement, your home will probably benefit from it whether you’re in the market to sell or not.
If you feel your home needs a boost for an upcoming event like a wedding reception, holiday party or overnight guests, home staging is your best friend. If you are simply tired of the status quo, home staging will lift you mood and pull your dwelling out of the doldrums.
Professional home stagers will tell you not to attempt this formidable task on your own. Believe it or not, you can easily do it yourself on the cheap. Here are a few basic tips to help get your house in order.
This is one of the most uncomfortable tasks for most people to undertake. We get emotionally attached to our stuff making it a difficult separation. Even if you are a organized person we all tend to accumulate things over time. In some cases sorting through all your belonging can become overwhelming.
Begin by clearing the clutter from countertops, floors and furniture. When you muster the courage to tackle drawers, closets, the attic or basement, use the one year rule. If you haven’t used it or worn it in a year--get rid of it. And if you've forgotten you even had it, sell it or give it away.
Place unwanted items in boxes and stack them in the garage. Host a garage sale or donate items to a charitable organization. If there are things you can't part with, rent a storage unit and move it out of the house. You'll feel much lighter and your house will look much better.
Adding a Fresh Coat of Paint
This may seem like an obvious home staging tip but it also bears repeating. Paint your walls, doors and trim if they are worn, scuffed and dirty. A fresh coat of paint is the best and most affordable way to update the look of your home.
If you're considering selling you may want to give it a once over with new paint. Paint will actually increase your home's value a little bit and it becomes more appealing to potential buyers. Stick with neutral paint colors. Consider tan, beige, light gray, taupe or even white. It will give your home a clean, fresh appearance.
Sprucing Up Old Furniture
If some of your furniture pieces have seen better days it may be time for replacements. If you're in a budget bind consider purchasing furnishings from consignment stores, garage sales or thrift shops. You can give them a boost with the help of decorative pillows or slipcovers in coordinating colors.
Don't give away sentimental family heirlooms if they can be repurposed. Keep the sturdy ones with good bones and have them reupholstered. Make your old wood furniture look new again by refinishing or applying a fresh coat of primer and paint. This will give mismatched pieces a cohesive look.
Cleaning It Up
When guests or potential buyers enter a dirty house it sends a negative message. Make everyone feel welcome and comfortable by presenting it in a positive and clean light.
If it hasn't been deep cleaned in a long time, hire a cleaning service. You can specify the items that need the most attention like the oven, windows, sliding door tracks, baseboards, ceiling fans, basement, etc. Make it shine from top to bottom. After having your house professionally cleaned it will be easier to maintain.
Include carpet, upholstery and drapery cleaning. You’ll be amazed how much dirt and odors accumulate in fabrics and carpet. Look for direct mail coupons or web discounts to help defray the cost. If a professional steam cleaning is totally out of the question consider renting a steam-cleaning machine from your local home improvement center.
Make sure you read the care labels on upholstered pieces and drapes before doing it yourself. It may make more sense to spot clean your furniture and send curtains and drapes to the dry cleaner. Don’t forget your comforters and bedding. Clean them as directed and vacuum you mattresses and box springs to reduce allergens.
Rearranging the Furniture
Remember when you were a child and you rearranged your bedroom furniture? Afterwards it was like sleeping in a completely different room! This tip still works and is a key home staging trick. Rearranging can even make your rooms look larger.
Draw your room to scale on graph paper. Plot out your proposed furniture placement with cutouts drawn to scale. This way you won’t have to move your furniture around as much to test out different configurations. Get creative and arrange furniture at interesting angles by pulling pieces away from the walls to create distinct entertaining and conversation groupings.
Creating Curb Appeal
Creating a welcoming home exterior is tantamount to cleaning and rearranging the inside of your home. The exterior of your house is the first impression your guests and potential buyers see. Remember you only get one chance to make a first impression.
Make sure your lawn and landscaping is tidy and attractive. Clean leaves and debris out of gutters, the yard and planting beds. Replace dead plants and fill in with a layer of inexpensive mulch. Store away toys and remove clutter from sidewalks and driveway.
If the exterior siding and trim are showing signs of flaking, fading and wear, spring for a new coat of paint. If the outside surfaces are looking a little grimy and drab rent a power washer to brighten them up.
Quick Staging Tips for Big Impact
Add potted plants and flowers
Plants and fresh flowers make rooms come alive with color and life. Plants are an easy and relatively inexpensive way to liven up a room.
Splurge on home fragrances
Home fragrances can totally change the atmosphere in your newly staged home. Choose from delicately scented candles, sprays, diffusers and plug-ins. It’s amazing what a subtle fragrance can do.
Switch out harsh light bulbs with soft versions. In areas like the dining room and and family room install inexpensive dimmers to create the mood you want to convey.
© 2012 Linda Chechar
Start a Conversation!
Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on October 17, 2013:
Laila, I think you misunderstood the gist of this article. I mention these cost-saving tips not necessarily for selling--just to give your home a quick spruce-up. Not everyone has the money to enlist the help of a professional stager. Certainly, if you are in the market to sell and can afford it, you can hire someone to completely update your house. :)
Laila on October 17, 2013:
While these are good basic staging tips they certainly don't cover everything our Stager did for us when we were selling. We were told to think about the buyers wants & the buying demographic. This involved far more than moving our furniture around. We had to think about what was current in the market now & what buyer's want now. Our décor had to change. We had an offer in 2 days! And this was in 2011 when folks weren't selling! I'm a convert now in touting the services of a pro Stager vs DIY.
Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on September 07, 2012:
shai, these tips do work perfectly for someone on the fence about their decorating plans. It's a great way to spruce up your space in the interim! I am pleased you liked my Hub!
Chen on September 07, 2012:
You make it so easy to follow, it's so true-- what decluttering and a fresh coat of paint can do for a place. Not only is this a great article for staging, but for getting a neglected room looking good again until you can figure out what else you want to do with it. Excellent tips.
Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on August 28, 2012:
Om, slipcovers are the best for hiding cosmetic damage. A few years back I purchased ready-made slipcovers for a sofa and loveseat and tailored them to fit like custom. I purchased extra matching fabric and made covers for the seat and back cushions with Velcro closures. It was quite an undertaking, but they looked fantastic -- and saved a lot of $$!
Om Paramapoonya on August 28, 2012:
Great ideas for speedy decorating! I agree sprucing up old couches with cute slipcovers can make a big difference. Plus, it's a lot cheaper than buying a brand new couch.
Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on August 27, 2012:
Thanks for stopping by, internpete! Yes, there's nothing more inviting and homey than the aroma of bread or cookies baking. There's some very strong psychology going on -- it does make you want to buy a house! I appreciate your comment and vote. Cheers
Peter V from At the Beach in Florida on August 27, 2012:
Great information. It is amazing the difference that cleaning and moving a few things around can make in improving the appearance of a house. When I was much younger and my parents were selling a house, I remember my mother would sometimes make fresh bread while the house was being shown. It sold quickly. Voted up!