Staging a Kitchen: Before and After

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The kitchen is one of the most important selling points for your house. Here’s how to stage your kitchen to engage buyers’ attention.


Staging is more than just cleaning up, de-cluttering and making sure that appliances, plumbing and electrical service are in working order. It’s also about appealing to the emotions of your buyer so she can envision making memories with her family in your house. Kitchens are tricky. They must be fully functional, with appliances and mechanicals that are as up-to-date as possible and pristinely clean. Kitchens are also the prime social hub for most families, which means that buyers must be able to envision how their family will gather in the room, comfortably share food preparation and meals, and use the kitchen for other purposes, such as homework.

These tips will help you polish your kitchen’s appeal.

•    Declutter to free up visual space. Put rarely used countertop appliances in closed cabinets. Better yet, pack them and store them off-premises.

•   Focal points are points of focus for the eye. They can be natural, like a fireplace or picture window or created like art work. Natural focal points are strong selling features. Key rooms should have a focal point and your room design should frame it so the buyers’ eye is drawn to it. Your kitchen may have a natural focal point. In the kitchen above, the arch over the stove is the focal point. A few accessories, such as bottles of olive oil, are placed within the arch to draw visitors’ attention to the stove.

•    Lighting controls how space is seen. Make sure your lighting in each room is adjusted to optimize the presentation. In this kitchen, stainless steel finishes reflect the light from the overhead fixtures and pendant. All the more reason to be sure that every surface is squeaky clean: you don’t want good lighting to highlight overlooked dirt!

Set the stage for family memories by carefully placed seating. The seating should not block the flow of traffic — people should not have to push the chairs out of the way to pass through the room. Be sure that the seating fits the proportions and function of the kitchen. In this kitchen, the addition of barstools transforms an empty counter into a spot where family members can hang out while waiting for meals to be finished — close by, but out of the way of the busy cook.


Editor’s Note: Kathey Carter is the Creative Director for Katchart LLC. For more information, go to