How to Stage Your Home to be Sold

Are you looking to sell your home, but don’t have a clue how to make your home appealing to potential buyers?

Or maybe you have had your home on the market for a while and haven’t gotten any leads. This could be because you need help staging your home to be sold so that potential buyers will be in a bidding war over your house! Likely the hardest part of staging your home is putting in the effort to make it look its best. I suggest tackling one room at a time. You don’t need to overwhelm yourself. To simplify things: Split up the work by tackling one wall in the room at a time. Now break that wall into three horizontal or vertical sections. Set aside some time (you decide how long you will need) to work on one section at a time. Now follow the rules below as you move through your home.


There are five rules you should follow no matter what room you are starting with:

Rule # 1: Remove 1/3 of your possessions.

home decorating photoProfessional home stagers will tell you to remove roughly 33% of your personal possessions from the property. Less stuff means your room has more space to breathe and it will feel more spacious. A potential home buyer needs to feel how spacious your house is so they can imagine themselves in it. If they can’t see the floor, they can’t see the potential. This may be easier to accomplish if you were actually moving (natural purging almost always takes place during this transition), but if you wouldn’t take it with you when you moved, why let it take up space in your life today? Grab some cardboard boxes and walk through your home room-by- room, closet-by-closet, and drawer-by- drawer. Collect all the stuff you no longer need or love. Donate it, sell it, or give it away. If you are keeping it, find a home for it. Walking again through your home, make note of the items that are stored in your field of vision (think countertops, toys, entertainment units). Why are those items stored out in the open? Are they in the wrong room? Are they too big to be stored out of sight? Is their proper home too crowded? Intentionally identify the visible clutter. One of the biggest areas most home owners overlook when trying to sell their home is storage space- especially closets. Don’t try to stuff your closets full of all the things you removed in the steps before you got to this. Rent a storage unit if necessary. There is nothing more embarrassing than opening a closet door to find your kids toys, your laundry, and random nick-nacks come tumbling down on a potential buyer. If you would like more help with weeding through the clutter in your home, take a look at my e-book “How to Organize and De-clutter Your Home” available HERE.


Rule #2: Clean thoroughly.

staging a home for saleClean the surface. Then, clean deeper. Give extra attention to corners and windows and hard-to- reach areas. Just like in the bathroom, make clean and bright your goal. If you’ve successfully removed a good portion of personal possessions, you’ll find this task far easier to complete. Give your bathroom the attention it deserves. Put away personal hygiene products. Scrub bathtubs, toilets, and shower walls. Make clean and bright your goal.


Rule # 3: Decorate!

staging a house for saleRemove most of your personal decorations as it subtly communicates “I live here, not you,” to your potential buyer. You want potential buyers to envision themselves in your home, not feel as if they are just a guest, or worse; an intruder in your home. This means you should remove any photos, awards, personal artwork, etc. If you have a hallway filled with family photos, remove them, pack them up for your move, and replace them with inexpensive abstract, or landscape prints. Or if your budget will not allow for replacement art, simply patch and repair the wall and leave it blank. Consciously think about how each room will be decorated- if you have kids, do their rooms have a theme? This could be a constant color in a room, or it could be your kids favorite animal. Often times developing themes can help potential home owners envision themselves in your house, and give a cohesive feel throughout the home. Make sure your home is ‘picture-perfect’ before letting a potential home buyer enter- this means make all your beds, put away loose toys, clothes, etc. Designer Tip: Walk through a model home in your area. If the staff on site will let you, take photos. When you return home, compare your photos to your home. Model Homes are usually decorated by professional Interior Designers, so this is an easy way to get a pro’s help without having to pay for it.


Rule # 4: Consider the “curb appeal”.

Realtors will tell you that you can never spend too much attention on curb appeal. Your potential buyer will likely make their decision on your home within the first few minutes upon arriving. Some may just be driving by, so you want your home to look as beautiful on the outside as it is on the inside. This means that you should have a manicured lawn, walkway, tree and bushes. After all, you pull into your driveway almost everyday of your life. Don’t you want to pull into something you’d like to purchase all over again?

Here are just a few helpful tips to consider:

  • If you have children, clean up their toys.
  • If you have shrubs, prune them. Lay fresh mulch.
  • Put some grass seed on the bare spots in your yard.
  • Paint your foundation.
  • Plant some flowers.
  • Make sure your outdoor lighting is in good, clean, and working condition.
  • Address any window coverings that a potential home buyer would see.

Rule # 5: Complete minor repairs. Take a notepad and create a to-do list of minor home repairs such as wall nicks, paint touch-ups, squeaky doors, running toilets, loose pieces, and burnt out light bulbs. Most of the minor repairs can be handled in less than 20 minutes for less than $15 and can be found at your local hardware store. Eventually, the repairs need to happen, and if they can be taken care of before you sell your house, why not repair them (while you can still enjoy them too)? The investment sure beats walking back into your bathroom to wiggle the handle on a running toilet 3 times a day.

Need to tackle a major repair like your roof? Research your solutions. These major repairs can be costly, which you can decide if the investment is worth the price you are listing your home at. Keep in mind an inspector/realtor might ask you to have these items repaired prior to selling anyway. If you want more design tips and tricks from a professional Interior Designer, sign up on my VIP list for free, HERE.

Be sure to check out Krystin’s book available on amazon.


About the writer:

Krystin Kerbs Home decorator and staging professionalMy name is Krystin and I am an interior design coach. I teach Do-It-Yourself Homeowners the basics of Interior Design, and I teach aspiring Decorators how to start and keep their business running. I earned my bachelors degree in Interior Architecture and Design from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California. I have worked with several well-known design firms in many different aspects of the industry including model homes, home staging, commercial design, residential design, and kitchen & bath design. I started my business in 2011 because I saw a need for education in Interior Design. When I was a Designer, I had met with many clients that I was shocked to find out how much they didn’t know or understand about the design process. Often their expectations were going to be extremely hard to fulfill given their projects limitations. So I built my business based around educating Homeowners. I believe everyone deserves the help of a great interior designer, so I reinvented the interior design service experience by catering to those DIY people who are looking for a designer’s advice without the designer price tag, and I did this by offering an online e-course called “Everything you need to know about Interior Design for the DIY Homeowner” where you can learn all the ins and outs of interior design at your own pace. My e-course is designed to empower clients and allow you to have access to great design from anywhere in the world. This course is available on our website: where you can find out how to enroll as well as many other educational services that I offer. I have always enjoyed educating those who wanted to know more about Interior Design, and have built my business around this concept, because
everyone deserves a well designed home.



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