Most homeowners spend weeks, if not months, preparing their home to sell. From repainting walls, fixing leaky plumbing, to waxing floors, it can be a lot of hard work. Should staging your home be part of that process? Staging your home might not always make it sell for more money, but it will likely help it sell faster and for the home’s market value.

Hiring a professional to stage your home could cost you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. So why stage spend all that money decorating a home you’re about to move out of? Staged homes sell 88 percent faster and for 20 percent more than non-staged homes on average, according to In the world of online marketing, a staged house also makes for great online pictures on sites like Zillow, Trulia, and

If hiring a professional stager isn’t in your budget, you can still stage your home like a pro. Here are a few staging tips that won’t break the bank:

  • Pack up all personal items and pack them up to move into your new home, put them in storage, or ask to store them at a friend’s house. These things not only add clutter, but they also make it hard for buyers to visualize the space as their own. Remove all controversial items, such as religious symbols or sports memorabilia. You might be a huge fan of fishing, but your taxidermied fish might leave a bad taste in a potential buyer’s mouth. You should go room-by-room through the house, clearing up to 90 percent of the room’s clutter. Remove children and pet toys from sight as well.
  • When it comes to staging, less is more. When a professional stages a house, they often clear about half of the house’s furniture. It helps to make rooms less cluttered. Clear the room of any unneeded furniture, saving just enough to serve the purpose of the room.Using the furniture you have left in your living room, reposition the room by pulling the furniture away from the walls and repositioning sofas and chairs into a symmetrical arrangement to create an inviting conversation area. If needed, use neutral colored slip covers on your furniture, which will make for an airy and inviting feel.
  • Many of us have rooms in our homes that serve only to collect junk or store items. Rid yourself of the junk you no longer want or need, and put the rest into storage. Then, repurpose the room into something more useful—such as a home office, guest bedroom, or arts and crafts room. You can buy inexpensive furnishings, rent them, or borrow some from a friend.
  • Give the walls a fresh coat of paint in a neutral color. Warm, neutral hues will satisfy the majority of homebuyers. In contrast, bright, bold colors are seen as unappealing to the majority of buyers.staged coffee table with decorative items
  • Vary your decorative items, but don’t have too many. Table accessories look good in odd numbers, especially groups of three. Professionals suggest having your accessories vary by height and width, with the largest item in the back and the smallest in the front.
  • Add lighting throughout the house to make each room look warm and inviting. Good lighting will also make the home appear larger. Add ambient (general or overhead), task (pendant, under-cabinet or reading), and accent lighting (table and wall.) Proper lighting will go a long way in making the house look bigger, brighter, and more livable.
  • Clean, clean, clean! Make sure the whole house is thoroughly cleaned. If you are unable to do this yourself frequently, hire a professional cleaner. Make sure windows and countertops shine, and consider steam cleaning or waxing your floors.
  • Set the table to give it a sense of homeliness. This will help buyers visualize themselves enjoying a meal or entertaining at the kitchen table. De-clutter your kitchen counters, drawers, and cabinets. Put out fresh flowers and a bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter.
  • Turn your bathroom into a spa—add fresh flowers, new candles, fluffy white towels and a new shower curtain. Display a new bar of soap, empty out the trash, and leave the toilet seat down.
  • Turn your bedroom into a sanctuary. Purchase a new, neutral colored bedspread and bed skirt, and use decorative throw pillows. Place flowers and candles on drawers, chic lamps on bedside tables, and hang some art on the walls.staged closet with wooden hangers
  • Yes, you need to stage your closets. Don’t just shove all the items you want to hide into the closet. That tactic might work when you have guests over, but potential buyers are going to want to check out your storage space. Neatly organize closets with your nicest clothing, using matching hangers. Clear out 70 percent of the items from your closet, leaving only a few items to create the illusion of spaciousness.
  • Lastly, don’t forget the outside! Stage your patio like you would your living room with furniture, accent pillows, and lighting. Get a hammock or fire pit, or display yard games like bocce ball to show how fun your yard can be! Store yard equipment and children’s toys out of sight.