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How To Stage An Empty House

Hanna Kielar February 22, 2024

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, 83% of buyer’s agents said staged homes are easier to sell. Staging allows the buyer to visualize owning the home. For sellers who have already moved out of their home, a lack of staging may create a problem when trying to sell the property. Staging an entire home is expensive, but luckily, there are a few options that won’t break the bank.

Bright, spring-y living room.

Here are some solutions for staging an empty home. These tricks will make buyers feel comfortable in your abode and may inspire them to envision the space as their own.

Place Area Rugs In Living Spaces

When home buyers walk into an empty space, they may not be able to visualize the flow of the room. Placing an area rug in a large room will help define the space. This small effort will help a buyer imagine where their furniture would go.

It’s important to make sure you select a rug that is the appropriate size for the space. A good rule of thumb is to leave at least 12 to 24 inches of floor space in large rooms. For smaller rooms, you should leave at least 6 to 8 inches.

Make sure you select rugs that complement the style of the home. Using rugs that distract from the home’s features may have the opposite effect. This small misstep in a design choice could deter potential buyers. For a frame of reference, choose a sleek area rug with a geometric print for a modern style home. In an older home, a vintage oriental rug may look great and add character and charm.

Add Tables And Lamps

Small tables and lamps add warmth to any space. These small touches enhance a room and show buyers how to use the area. It also allows you to feature the space without spending an astronomical amount.

Depending on your placement, a lamp will also give the room extra lighting. You may want to consider placing your lamp atop a table in an area that doesn’t get a lot of natural light. This will serve as both functional and stylish, showing your buyers that a little light goes a long way.

If you don’t have a spare table and lamp, ask your neighbors, friends, or family members if you can borrow some until you sell your home.

Use Kitchen Accessories

Many buyers include ample counter space on their list of “must-haves.” If they enjoy cooking, they will pay close attention to this feature and will want to be sure your kitchen counters offer plenty of room.

Placing small accessories around the counter space can add color and vibrancy, but keep it tasteful and minimal. These small pieces will give your kitchen the accent it needs to stand out. Also noteworthy, your accessories don’t have to be kitchen related. Here are a few items you may want to use to emphasize your counter space.

  • A decorative tea kettle on the stove
  • Small succulents on the kitchen table
  • A vase of flowers placed on the island
  • Colorful pillows for a breakfast nook
  • A piece of art hung on the wall

When using accessories to feature a specific area, such as your kitchen, don’t overdo it. Stan Mead, CEO of Summit Home Buyers, suggests,“Try not to clutter any particular area. Space your items apart and remember, less is more, especially in tight spaces.”

Enhance Your Bathrooms

Like adding a few touches to your kitchen, you can add staging elements to your bathrooms. This is a trick that will soften the look. Try stacking hand towels to make your potential buyers feel like they’re in a luxurious hotel suite.

Add a pop of color by placing a vase with flowers in the bathroom or purchasing a vibrant shower curtain. Incorporating some tasteful flare will help buyers visualize the space. If your bathroom is memorable, you may inspire them to envision how they would like to decorate it. Emphasizing striking features will give them something to reference when they think of your home.

Hang Some Mirrors

Mirrors reflect light, which makes rooms look bigger and more inviting. Try grouping several mirrors together to give a room a more dynamic appeal and to increase the lighting. You can also use full-length mirrors in hallways or closets to open up the space a little more.

Mirrors don’t have to be expensive. You can find some inexpensive options at your local thrift store or discount retailers like Home Goods.

Enhance Your Curb Appeal

When staging your home, remember the exterior. A lot of times, the outside of your home may begin to look forgotten. This is especially true if you’re focused on highlighting areas inside. That’s why it’s important to continue to cut the grass, weed your flower beds, and trim the shrubs and hedges.

In addition to maintaining your vegetation, you may want to consider adding a few extra touches. This could include purchasing a new doormat or painting your mailbox. Simple upgrades can make a huge impact when potential buyers pull up to your home.

Mead adds, “Outside, you’ll want to create some visual focal points while maintaining a clear contrast between the landscape and the house. This might be accomplished with gravel, mulch, and a few strategically placed hanging plants.”

Appeal To The Buyer’s Senses

Do certain smells make you feel nostalgic? If you’re like many buyers, the smell of a home can make all the difference. Mead suggests, “In the absence of furnishings and decorations, one might consider appealing to the other senses. Potpourri can create an inviting aromatic environment.”

Buyers may also find the smell of baked goods or a morning cup of coffee enticing. Beth Williamson, Creating Space LLC, offers a suggestion. “A simple trick is to give the potential buyer a spot where they can envision themselves having their morning coffee (or tea),” she says. “Try setting out a tray with coffee mugs, teapot, etc. placed in just the right spot so the potential buyer will walk in and know they can be comfortable here.”

The Bottom Line

When preparing to sell your home, make sure you add staging to your list of tasks. While the initial thought of staging may seem intimidating and expensive, it doesn’t have to be either. Pick a few small touches to add to your home that will inspire buyers and focus their attention on your home’s best features.

Give extra attention to detail, such as increasing lighting or maintaining your home’s exterior. As the saying goes, first impressions are lasting impressions. You want to make an impact on any buyer who views your property. Putting forth the extra effort before listing your home will allow you to sell your home quickly.