The art of staging: How to dress your home to attract the best offers

Here's how to stage your home to get the best offers when selling your home.

By Homicity

Dec 22, 2017

The art of staging: How to dress your home to attract the best offers

Never heard of “staging” in property? It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It’s the process of preparing your home to be as presentable as possible in order to attract potential buyers. The main aim with staging is to make it very easy for buyers to imagine themselves living in the space that you are trying to sell. Cleanliness is one thing, staging is the art of arranging your interior, furniture and garden space in a manner that invites viewers to see the property as their ideal home, not yours. Here are a few ideas that will help you put the best foot forward when preparing your home for sale!

Move out

This sounds drastic but it can make all the difference. The less stuff there is in your home that belongs to you, the better it will show to others. A lot of movers will do all of their moving out on one single set day and within a very rushed time period. Why not reduce all that strain by tackling your move out bit by bit starting as soon as you can. You can consider getting a storage unit or borrowing space in the homes of family or friends. However you do it, starting your move early will mean less pressure on your actual moving day and less clutter while you show your home to potential buyers.  

Getting rid of everything right away is not ideal. You want to remove mess and clutter, but you don't want to make your home look desolate. Remove personal items like photos, niche taste artwork, most of your books and DVDs, but don't empty shelves and cabinets completely! Anything that relates to personal interests and hobbies is best tucked away too!

Tasteful art and sculptures can be perfectly placed to add value, you just have to be sure they appeal to a broad audience and are family friendly. Anything too interesting will distract buyers from their core purpose. You want them to stay focused on falling in love with the property and not too intrigued by your personal lifestyle choices.


Clean like you've never cleaned before

If you’ve removed most of your clutter as suggested above, this step will feel half done already. The fact is, homes look best when they look as if nobody actually lives in them. That's the standard of clean you need to aim for. You need to remove all dirt from the floors, dust from surfaces, smudges from glass or windows and all traces of the existence of pets. Worn carpets or rugs should really be replaced or removed. Cheap new gear always looks better than damaged or soiled pieces no matter how much they are worth.   

A clean home gives buyers a great impression of you as the previous homeowner. It makes them feel that you’ve lived in the space sensibly, taken care of it and want to leave everything in perfect condition. Not into cleaning? Consider hiring professional help! There are cleaning companies that offer thorough one-time cleans and some that will provide specialist cleaning services for all types of upholstery.  


Hide the deeds of children and pets as much as possible

If your property is geared towards the family home market, signs of children are not the end of the world, but it’s still vital to clean up after them as much as possible. Pets are a different story. You’d be amazed how easily potential buyers are put-off by signs of pets in the home. A dog bowl, pet toys or any kind of mark will often go a long way in ensuring viewers go into inspector mode and hunt for further signs of damage and dog smells. The best approach is to try and mask the fact that you have pets completely!

Per owners can tend to become nose-blind to the odors that exist in their home. Seek professional help if you think this might be the case for you. Otherwise, think about asking a friend who doesn't keep pets at all to pop round and let you know how your rooms smell. Odors of any kind are a huge turn-off so if you have young children or pets this is a major element to treat as effectively as possible!  


Try to let in as much light as possible

One of the most important things modern buyers look for in a home is good lighting. So when you stage yours, keep this in mind. You need as much natural light pouring into your home as possible. You have to make sure all lights work and that they all have bright bulbs in them. Open all shades and make sure your rooms are decluttered to allow the light to travel around them beautifully. This is one of the only times in your life where it’s acceptable to leave all the lights on to the max while you host a viewer. Every ounce of light will make a difference to how well your home shows!   

Make sure the porch and patio lights work perfectly and consider lighting outdoor paths with solar lights for added appeal. Lighting is one of the first things people notice when they enter a space and just like meeting new people for the first time, your home's first impression is vital!


Moving furniture

Furniture should help to give every room a clear function and it’s best to try and create arrangements that inspire gathering and conversation. Have your chairs facing the couch and make sure kitchen seating and other chairs are grouped close together. It might seem a bit unrealistic and different to how you would usually use your upholstery day to day, but staging is all about presentation and ensuring your house sells itself to others.

Social media like Pinterest and interior design blogs or magazines are great sources of varied inspirational ideas. One of the most important things to remember is not to leave any damage on show. Have old curtains that have a few stains? Or worn shades with dents and missing parts? Replace them with some affordable brand new pieces!


Mirrors are in

Mirrors are one of those interior elements that provide a wealth of benefits. They help reflect light around your room, make your interior spaces feel bigger, and provide guests the chance to see themselves in your rooms from a different perspective. Looking for something to replace some old art or crusty decor you’ve just moved out? Try a large mirror!   


Be careful with colour

Toning down your colours is key. You might love the bright purple walls you’ve splashed up in the master bedroom, but will everyone else? Be honest. Stick to neutral colours and think about adding white or refreshing coloured towels to the bathroom just like a hotel would offer.    


Mind the exterior of your house too

How the front of your house looks from the street is known as “curb appeal”. Mow the lawn, trim the hedges and ensure all painted surfaces are in great shape. If you have a driveway that features spots of paint or oil marks, now’s the time to get them cleaned up! The front of the house is the very first impression your viewers will see. Make it a good one.    


Go with an expert

The more valuable your home, the more you’ll be able to justify having your home fully staged by a seasoned professional. Many expert staging designers will offer partial services where they simply help to organize your existing interior and give you pointers for fixes and improvements. Looking for staging help? Your agent should be able to help refer you to reliable professionals or at least give you some pointers on how to find established vendors.


Some work is better than nothing

The list might seem long and daunting but staging your home for sale can pay some serious dividends in the end. Don't have the time? Any effort you put into it will prove beneficial when it comes to viewings, so doing a small amount is always better than nothing at all!

We hope our ideas above have helped. If you can't attack them all, there’s no reason you can't pick the ones you think will have the biggest impact for you and get at them as best you can. Every little bit helps!



Homicity helps you find your dream home in the perfect community. Whether you are buying, renting, or selling, you can navigate the Canadian real estate market with confidence with our expert advice, market news, and recommendations powered by AI.

Join the conversation

Please login to leave a comment

Don't have an account?

Sign Up

Articles selected for you:

Five things you need to know about the new mortgage stress test rules

On April 6, new mortgage stress test rules will come into effect.

Ottawa’s real estate market starts off slow in January 2020

Ottawa’s inventory shortage impacts the resale market with increased prices and decreased sales.

What to expect from proptech in 2020

Proptech is anticipated to disrupt the real estate industry in new and creative ways.

Condo sales lead the way in December 2019

The Ottawa real estate market closes out the decade with record-breaking numbers.