How to Stage Your House to Sell Quickly

INSIDE : Learn the best 5 tips for staging and decluttering your House when selling. And download a free “How to Stage your House to Sell Quickly” PDF checklist. When it’s time to put your house up for sale, these house tips will help get your home in top shape!

Staging your house to sell

This post contains affiliate links. You can see my full disclosure here.

This post has been updated since it’s original publish date of May 2015.

My family will be moving the end of this summer from the Desert to the Midwest.  It’s been a decision we’ve been working on since last fall and now that it is actually happening (and soon) everything is getting a little crazy in our world.  Our house officially goes on the market today, so I thought it would be quite timely to share my tips on How to Stage Your House to Sell Quickly!

Sometimes there is so much time and effort put into packing and finding a new place to live that you just sort of tidy up your current home, let the realtors come over to take pictures and breathe a sigh of relief when your home is officially on the market.  I get it.  I’ve moved before and believe me when I say, it’s worth the little bit of time to REALLY put things in order and stage your house to show off it’s full potential.

What is home staging?

Home staging is the process of preparing your home for sale that makes it as appealing as possible to potential buyers. Staging involves decluttering, depersonalizing and arranging your furniture and home decor to create a bright, inviting, and spacious feel.

Southwest Dining Room engineered floors

How much does it cost to stage a house?

You might be wondering if it is expensive when staging your house to sell and the answer is it depends. If you hire a company to stage your home when selling, it may cost somewhere between $500 and $3,000.

However, if you take into consideration the below five tips you can stage your home without a company. Then, you can put all the money towards your next home purchase!

How to stage a house for sale

1. Curb Appeal matters

As we all know, first impressions are key!  Some buyers will drive right past your house even if the inside is wonderful, if your front yard or curb appeal is lacking. Curb Appeal and your exterior is the first thing potential home buyers will see, so it’s important to make a good first impression.

This does not mean you need to spend a bundle of money to have your yard landscaped.  Simple things like mowing the grass , removing all the weeds and sweeping the driveway are great first steps and possibly all you would need to do to spruce it up.

I always have a seasonally appropriate wreath hanging on my front door as well.  A simple eucalyptus wreath always looks wonderful on any front door.  I also make sure to have a few pots of flowers near the front door for the color and smell they provide.

You may also want to consider painting your front door or adding some new landscaping.

Southwest Home Green Front Door
How to Paint a Front Door \ How to Paint a Garage Door

Some other simple curb appeal updates are…

2. Declutter and Minimize personal belongings

Now, this is a hard one for most of us – me included.  Potential buyers want to see the HOUSE, not all the STUFF you have.  When staging your house to sell quickly, the goal is for them to imagine THEIR stuff in your closets or cabinets, so as difficult as it may seem – do your very best to remove, remove, remove.  

Remove any items such as family photos, open bins of toys, religious symbols and definitely any political memorabilia. You should also declutter your closets, cabinets and garage.

Also try to get rid of any unnecessary furniture to make you rooms feel bigger.

Are you looking for some help?  I have a post on 44 things to throw out and feel awesome about!

Southwest Home Cream Living Room

Keep a big plastic bin near by for those small random items that you can’t find a place for when someone is over looking at the house. I place it in the trunk of my car so that it’s out of sight for the potential home buyers.

Donate leftover items

While you are cleaning out rooms, make a simple donate pile. Take items to your local Goodwill or Big Brothers, Big Sisters Organization.  

Your rooms will look bigger and more inviting with less stuff and furniture in them… plus, it’s less to pack and move to your next home!  Sometimes staging your house, can simply mean removing things from your house temporarily.

Southwest Home Gray Master bedroom
Modern Master Bedroom

You can also check out Heather’s Tips to Declutter When Prepping Your Home To Sell.

3. Show off your home’s natural light

When staging your house to sell quickly, the first thing you want a home buyer to notice when they walk into your home is how light and airy it feels.  

Natural sunshine is always the best and instantly enhances a person’s mood, so showing off the natural light in your home is important.  Open all the curtains and blinds to get your home’s full sunshine potential.

It’s also great to turn on all the lights in each room of your home.  Normally, I have all the lights off during the day, but when someone is walking around seeing your home for the first time it’s helpful for them to see all the lighting on.

Do you have under-mounted lights in your kitchen? Turn them on!  
Do you have above spotlights over your fireplace? Turn them on!  
Have a fun cool statement table lamp? Turn it on!

Southwest Home Green Kitchen
Kitchen Update for less Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Those specialty lights are features of your home, so be sure to show them off! You can also add some lamps or sconces to help create that warm and inviting atmosphere in what might be a darker corner of your home.

4. Arrange your furniture to create a sense of flow

When staging your house to sell, buyers should be able to move easily from room to room. Be sure to avoid overcrowding your space if possible. Remove excess seating, sofas and even bookcases. Instead, focus on creating conversation areas and leaving plenty of open walkways.

5. Make your house smell clean

There is nothing more off putting than odd aromas wafting through the house for a potential buyer. However having too many fragrances also can be offensive.  Instead of the age old “freshly baked cookies” idea or burning a candle, I opt for a simple “clean” lemon smell.

Flowers or citrus tells the home buyer that you keep a tidy fresh, clean home.  I have a Febreze odor remover that has a lovely citrus smell.  I always spray it on the couch and a few pillows in each room before we leave when a buyer is heading over to see the house.  

A bouquet of fresh flowers set on the kitchen counter top is always a great idea, too.

Southwest Home White Cabinet Kitchen
Kitchen Cabinet Organizing in 15 Minutes \ 11 Tips for Organizing your Kitchen Cabinets

5. Show the buyers what you want them to see

Do you have an odd room that doesn’t really have an obvious function?  Do you have an unused sunroom?  By staging the space properly, you can help show the buyer what they can use that space for!  

Even if it’s just bringing in a chair, a cozy blanket hanging over the edge and a few books… you are letting them know – this odd little corner could be used as a reading nook.

I’ve transformed our sun room into a fun kid spot that we actually use a LOT.  We do use the hot tub on occasion, but staging the room with dual purposes gives it more options in the buyer’s mind. This may not be applicable to every buyer out there, but after bringing in a bench, the kid’s play structure and some sidewalk chalk, it now tells a story and I think serves a better purpose.

Southwest Home Sunroom

A few extra Staging your house to sell tips…

Staging Tip 1:  
I know everyone always says removal all personal items from your home is important.  I’m still up for debate on this.  I don’t think your home needs to look sterile of all personality or every single family photo needs to come down.

I think this maybe could apply if you have the entire mantel covered in family photos.  Maybe select just two or three to keep up on display.  Or maybe if you are obsessed with collections and all your shelves are full of your favorite collections… possibly removing some of these might be a wise idea.

Staging Tip 2:
I also think, the same goes for neutralizing the color palette in your home.  As much as you adore your purple master bedroom, that color might not apply to a wide group of people.  But, don’t think every room needs to be white or you won’t sell your home.

I don’t plan to paint a single room in my house.  I have white, gray, soft green and a soft peach walls but they all are soft subdued colors.  I would say, it’s best to use your best judgement with this.

Southwest Style Home

Okay, are you ready for my Home Staging Checklist?

Staging Your House to Sell Quickly Checklist PDF

Sign up for the DYD Insider newsletter to receive access to my ENTIRE DYD Printable Library along with this House Checklist printable!!!

Already a DYD Newsletter Insider?  Click on over here to access the printables library using the password found at the bottom of any email I’ve sent you.

And once you’ve moved, you might be interested in my 10 Organizational Tips for Unpacking After you Move.

Tips for Unpacking After a Move


  1. Number three is a big one that I see people not doing all the time. They will clean up, but they don’t store or get rid of super personal items. The home you are selling does need to look like someone is or could live there, but it isn’t supposed to look “lived in.”

  2. Great post. We have bought and sold many housed over the years, and these tips are spot on.

    You really got me thinking about what I would do with your nonfunctioning hot tub. Might be a crazy idea, but I’d turn it into an indoor sandbox for the kids. Or if sand doesn’t sound good (I’m in North Carolina, so not a lot of sand around here) maybe upholster the edges and fill it up with pillows to make a “nest” for the kids, or adults for that matter, to nap or read. Or put some hammock netting over it for a nap spot.

    Best of luck on selling!

    1. delineateyourdwelling says:

      Thanks so much for all the great ideas, Rhonda! I love the pillow nest idea… thankfully we sold the house about a month ago, yahoo.

      1. delineateyourdwelling says:

        Ah, another smart idea!! 😉

  3. Great tips…we sold our house back in December and I wrote a post about it too. We did for Sale by Owner and I loved it because we had total control. You are so right about the clutter and the lighting. I would go throw stuff in my cars before people came to look so that our house was always clean 🙂

    1. delineateyourdwelling says:

      Ha, yes! I definitely had a plastic tub that I filled with the random junk I couldn’t find places for when we had a showing.

  4. Your home is so beautiful! Good luck on selling it quickly!!!

    Where in the midwest are you relocating to? I live in Oklahoma 🙂 Which is hard to catergorize…not exactly midwest but not south either.

    1. delineateyourdwelling says:

      Aw, thanks Melissa! No luck selling it yet, but keeping our fingers crossed! We are heading to IL, so middle of the Midwest! I’ve never been to OK, but I’ve heard it’s a great place.

  5. Hi! I just thought I’d let you know that this post was featured as a favorite at Share The Wealth Sunday this week! I always love to see what you link up and I hope you’ll stop by and share with us again this week (if you haven’t already)!


  6. Oh, I thought of another tip I wanted to share. Last time we moved, we got one of those pod things. We put it in the driveway and it was fabulous. We were able to box up a lot of our unnecessary items (OK, our clutter!) and move it out to the pod, one box at a time. Then when we were ready to move, they just picked up the whole thing and dropped it off on our new doorstep. Didn’t even break a single glass! Stopping by from My Favorite Things

  7. I think these are all great tips and perfectly spot-on. I would also add – repair ANYTHING that looks to be broken. Buyers worry that if you don’t fix little things, you might not be fixing big things either. But I agree with you that the personal touch thing everyone spouts off about is a bunch of hooey. They KNOW there are people living in the house. That’s not really what they are focusing on. I love the front of your house – it does look VERY appealing. That’s my next project. My entryway – yuck!

  8. All of your tips are spot on! Cleaning up clutter is huge. We have sold many homes over the years and that is always the first thing we try to get rid of before prospective buyers come through. Another tip from our realtor is to not have too many personal photos. I guess buyers don’t want to see your kids from birth to age 18. Thin out the number of pictures on the mantle and walls and remember less is best! Saving this!

  9. Great tips! We’re planning to put our home up for sale next year and build our retirement home so I’ll keep this post handy. Good luck with the sale and move and Welcome (almost) to the Midwest!

    1. delineateyourdwelling says:

      Thank you, Julia! I hope you’re doing well. (Did you get a call from ABQ the Mag? I sent them your info for a group blogging feature. I was so sad to see you weren’t in the magazine this month!)

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