Should We Stage or Leave the House Empty?

Make Your Home Stand Out With Some Staging Help

staged living room in home
••• Frank Schwere/Stone/Getty Images

If you're selling your home, you might be wondering whether it's better to show the home empty or try home staging. In most home selling situations, a home shows better with furniture.

Staring at a ceiling, floor, and empty walls can make it harder for buyers to visualize their own belongings in the home. If buyers can't picture themselves living there, they aren't likely to buy it. Learn more about why you should consider staging your home for showing.

Cost of Home Staging

Home staging costs widely vary, but they can get expensive, with an average cost of $1,500. Before getting started, most home stagers require an initial consultation, which can range from $100 to $300 per hour.

In addition to consultation fees, you must be prepared to pay a monthly fee per staged room. The cost per room generally ranges from $50 to $700, so if you have multiple rooms, your monthly bill can be quite expensive.

Note

Although it's not as common, some home stagers charge per hour instead of per month. The average cost per hour is $75, so consider how long you may need the services before deciding on a particular company or person.

It Pays to Stage the Living Room

Not only can home staging be the difference between a sold or expired listing, it often brings a higher price for the home. Around 22% of sellers' agents reported home value increases of 1% to 5%, and roughly 17% saw increases between 6% and 10%.

Staging any room is meant to evoke emotions and make buyers fall in love, but some rooms hold more weight than others. The living room is the most important room for buyers, and a staged living room may increase your showings.

Staging Tips for Living Rooms

When you begin home staging, arrange the various knickknacks you have around in odd groupings such as three, five, or seven. It also helps to use bright colors for accents such as pillows, throws, or plants—which livens up the space. You want potential buyers to feel comfortable, so try arranging the furniture in vignettes to create conversation areas.

Outside of the conversation area furniture, use smaller sofas and chairs to make the room appear larger, and use the artful placement of mirrors to add depth and dimension.

Showcase a generous usage of soft fabrics such as silk, lambswool, or satin by tossing throws over a chair or sofa. Be sure not to block the windows, though, the more light that comes in, the better. Use lamps to illuminate dark corners.

Staging Tips for Other Rooms

After the living room, the main bedroom and the kitchen are the most important rooms for buyers. Consider these tips for staging these rooms as well as the bathroom.

Main Bedroom

When it comes to the bedroom, remember that the bed is the focal point. Be sure the bed you choose—whether it's a full, queen, or king bed—is the appropriate size for the room. If it's too big or too small compared to the space, the scale of the room could be thrown off.

Layering the bed with soft, fluffy bedding and pillows can evoke feelings of comfort, especially when using neutral colors. A neutral color scheme will be more relaxing to potential buyers than lots of bright. mismatched, or neon colors. Remember: The goal is that the buyers are able to imagine themselves in your home. Make sure the bedroom you're showing them is the ultimate picture of relaxation.

Tip

Plants—whether real or fake—are a great way to add a pop of color and reinforce the idea of serenity.

Kitchen

For many people, the kitchen is the heart of their home. It's where many families share meals and spend time together, in addition to preparing the food. For that reason, kitchens are one of the most important rooms for potential home buyers.

How can you help them fall in love with your kitchen? First of all, be sure the space is free of clutter. Clear off the countertops and add in some accents, such as a bowl of fruit or a tray with tea accessories. If you have an island, bar, or another space where people can sit down for a meal, put out place settings. Not only will it make your kitchen look more inviting, but it will help put the focus on another great selling point of your home.

Bathroom

The bathroom is one area that's sometimes overlooked when it comes to home staging, but it may be more important than you think. While a bathroom may not be a big space, it's something buyers are thinking about—because they can be quite expensive to remodel.

Give your home the best chance to be sold by staging your bathroom. Start by removing all your personal items, and then do a deep clean. Get the floors, walls, sink, countertop, and toilet totally spotless. Now that everything is clean, don't bring your personal items back in. Instead, opt for a few personal touches that evoke images of a spa—such as fresh towels, candles, and small plants.