5 Most Important Rooms to Stage

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Preparing a home for sale can be a daunting task for homeowners who have limited time and resources to get the job done. Use this guide to tackle the rooms buyers care about the most and get your home ready to sell.

1. Living Room

The living room is important because it’s where everyone in the home congregates. Buyers want to make sure they’ll have enough room to relax, entertain and enjoy time with family and friends.

Home Repairs to Focus On
Pay special attention to the floors and walls. If you have a carpet consider professionally steam cleaning it or even replacing it with a more desirable, budget-friendly flooring option. If the last time you painted was over 10 years ago, it’s time to slap on a new coat. Use a neutral color to make the space look brighter and more spacious.

Items to Declutter
Focus on getting items like stacks of books, toys and baskets off the floor and store any items that are collecting in the corners. It’s important to remove any small furnishings or accessories that are taking up space like large figurines, plant stands or snack trays.

Key Accessories
You can easily update the space by adding a few key pieces to display in the room. Purchase new throw pillows with a nice texture or an accent color. Make sure you have at least three light sources in the room and try adding a new rug that will enhance your current décor.

2. Kitchen

This is the heart of almost every home, which means open space is at a premium. While the kitchen’s main focus is food, buyers want plenty of room for cooking, cleaning and storage.

Home Repairs to Focus On
Buyers want updated kitchens with all the latest gadgets, which can be problematic when trying to sell older kitchens. Consider painting the cabinets, adding new hardware, purchasing new appliances, changing out the countertops and flooring.

Items to Declutter
The countertop should only have three small appliances on them with corresponding items to use with those appliances. If you have glass cabinets it’s especially important to declutter and stage for appearance. Go through your pantry leaving a bit of empty space so that it appears bigger.

Key Accessories
Before showings place a bowl of fruit or vase full of fresh flowers on the counter to soften and add life to the space. You can also add a cookbook to remind buyers of the amazing meals they could soon be cooking in your kitchen.

3. Dining Room

The dining room carries the burdens of the kitchen and living room as the area where guests are entertained and presented meals. A dining room should be comfortable, yet sophisticated. Most importantly it needs to be free of clutter so that the buyer can put together a dinner party at a moments notice.

Home Repairs to Focus On
Like the living room you’ll want to special attention to the floor and walls, adding a coat of paint or replacing flooring if needed. A great way to update the dining room is to add a new chandelier fixture or update the one you have.

Items to Declutter
Since this room may not be used for dining on a daily basis it can easily become a makeshift office or toy room that collects clutter. Declutter your kitchen by removing all items that aren’t associated with fine dining and don’t forget to clear out those hutches, as less is more when displaying items on those shelves.

Key Accessories
While you can certainly set the table for dinner, the main accessory you need is a show-stopping centerpiece. Try a mixture of flowers, candles or seasonal décor to add interest to your table.

4. Master Bedroom

This is an important room for buyers since they’ll spend every night in this space relaxing, sleeping, playing and spending personal quality time with family members. A master bedroom should feel like a fancy hotel room, not a laundry room, gym or storage locker.

Home Repairs to Focus On
Make sure closet doors work properly and the shelving inside is functional. Clean the carpets and make sure that the walls reflect a soothing, relaxing neutral color.

Items to Declutter
Remove items on the floor, clothes, books, paperwork and extra pieces of furniture eating up valuable square footage.

Key Accessories
The focal point in this room is the bed, so make sure you purchase new bedding with throw pillows. Add wall art over the bed and make sure you have table lamps on your nightstands. Also, if you have enough room try adding a seating area facing towards the bed, it’s another place to sit while dressing.

5. Bathroom

Just like the kitchen, this is an important area of the home because it’s a personal space that is used by everyone for basic hygiene, bathing, and beautifying. These spaces need to be clean, updated and feel like a spa.

Home Repairs to Focus On
Remove old wallpaper and paint a neutral color. You may even want to consider painting old colored tile. If needed, change out the sink’s countertop, replace grout and re-caulk.

Items to Declutter
All toiletries and personal products should be out of sight when showing the home. Also, make sure that you put away any toilets for toddlers or seniors, toilet equipment and magazine racks.

Key Accessories
New luxurious neutral towels, a white shower curtain, an orchid and matching bath accessories such as a tissue box or soap dispenser.

So remember, even if you can’t stage every square inch of your home start in these main areas to attract potential buyers. It may get you motivated to conquer more rooms in your home or at the very least you’ll have a home that’s show-ready and easier to maintain.

Tori Toth is a Certified Home Staging Expert, Regional Vice President for Real Estate Staging Association and owner of Stylish Stagers, Inc. She has been interviewed on CNN Money and was named a Professional Stager of the Year Finalist in 2012. Learn more about Tori and her Stage 2 Sell Strategy at www.toritoth.com