This post is a real life example of staging your home for quick sale. If you have been following my blog, you will have already seen some of the pictures from staging our last home on my decor pages: My Country Kitchen, and my Country Guest Room. This is not about hiring a professional or making things look fancy. It is about real life and how one Canadian couple was able to get the job done. Here we go!
I promised I would show you some of the before and after pictures from our last house renovation. We have since downsized and sold our home so that we could find a smaller home for retirement.
In the next section are a few pictures showing our last home before renovations, and then after renovations, as well as the fully staged home.
10 Top Tips for Staging a Home for Quick Sale
Staging a home is so important for a quick sale. But I really don’t believe you have to hire someone to stage it for you. If you have time to plan in advance, you can decide which of your furniture, decor and display items are good enough, which you should hide away, and which you should give away or get rid of. Then fill in the gaps based on your theme for each room. (I will talk about this later). Whatever you do purchase, hopefully it is something you will use in your new location.
I was in my glory during this whole process. I think I always wanted to be an interior designer. Anyway, it took us about 5 months to renovate and then 2 months to get our house ready for sale. I had time to shop for relatively cheap and 2nd hand items that matched our color /decor scheme. I will emphasize, you don’t need to have a lot of high end stuff. It just needs to be super clean, decluttered, and with a consistent decor theme. DIY Staging here we come!
Okay, I don’t mean it can be clean, but old and outdated, lol! But, for example, if you are going for a country look, then you can have new and old farmhouse country decor items together to give it that country theme. By combining old and new you can save a lot of money doing it yourself and still give it that designer flair.
Tip #1 – First things first – Declutter and remove any old furniture
We literally had to remove every personal item we had, and try to make it look like a hotel! Less is definitely more. I took bags and bags of items to the donation center for women and purged paper and binders like crazy. Also, we sold old furniture that we no longer wanted, and traded up for some new pieces that we had always wanted. Then we boxed up a whole bunch of things that we couldn’t part with and stored them in the garage.
Once that step is done, you know what you are left with.
Now, back to the renovation for a moment…
Before pictures (and what a mess, lol, and yes, a real family lived here!)
The floors were just too dark. The kitchen was dated and the cupboard doors literally had cracks in the plastic foil coating. The cupboards themselved looked aged and had yellowed. The kitchen counter was an old fashioned grey speckled melamine. The floors needed repair in several places and we could not find a supplier with the same flooring.
Hence, the decision was made to replace the floors. Once we made that decision, we pretty much had to replace the kitchen.
See how dark it looked! OMG. So in the end, we renovated all the floors on the main floor, from engineered hardwood to solid maple hardwood floors.
The kitchen was completely redone, with new cabinets, granite countertop, backsplash with subway tile, new lighting, hardware and recent paint. Also, we put in a new sink, taps, garburetor, and stove with over the range microwave. The kitchen door to the front room was replaced with a french door.
We had already recently painted the kitchen the soft grey color, so that still worked.
The new maple flooring carried through to the front room, living room and dining room. New trim was installed throughout the main floor.
We also renovated the flooring in the upstairs bathroom and the powder room on main, touched up all the paint, repaired stucco on the exterior of the house. Not to mention replacing all the toilets in the house and the taps!
Staged for Quick Sale
Once we had our renovations all complete, then we still had to stage it! I have uploaded the main pictures that the realtor used to show the home, once we finished with staging it. They looked fantastic!
Back to staging!!! Here are some more tips for staging your house for a quick sale:
Tip #2 – Clean, Clean, Clean inside and out
Everything needs to be spotless. The main floor was brand new, so that was easy. But upstairs we had all the carpets cleaned, cleaned the base boards and bathrooms top to bottom.
Inside the foyer, I had to get down on my hands and knees and scrub the grout on the tile floors. I used a grout and tile cleaner which worked really well. We had the carpets professionally cleaned to make sure the stairway looked ok. First impressions are so important.
Then outside, we had our windows and house stucco power washed, as well as the driveway. This does cost a bit of money, but it is well worth it to pay a professional to do the power washing and the window washing.
Once you have done a thorough clean, you will see what repairs and touchups need to be done.
Tip # 3 – Use Neutral tone paint, if possible and do touch-ups and repairs where needed
Our daughter’s bedroom was converted back to a bonus room for staging. She had painted the walls red one day (convincing my hubby to let her) and I came home to find a red bedroom…oh Lordy! Anyway, it was restored back to where it should be, and painted with more neutral tones.
We also installed new French doors to the bonus room to replace the leaded glass doors that were broken. The grey paint on the one wall (feature wall) added a nice touch.
Basically we made sure we took a walkthrough of every room andthen had to touch up trim and doors, as well as some of the walls that really needed a fresh coat of pain.
We also had to do a major tidy up to get the office to look half decent. It was piled high with stuff!! OMG, well at least I did get to purge quite a bit before we moved. We reused another area rug from again, staging our rental home, and that pulled things together.
Tip #4 – Tidy up the yard
The garden beds were freshly manicured. All the ‘toys’ were put away or sold, or donated. The trampoline was given away, the basketball net, the ‘extra’ old patio furniture, the old bar BQ, the old bikes, the old flower pots, etc., all gone. All that junk that had been building up outside had to go. After weeding everything, we added some new flower pots and plants. We also made sure all the exterior pathway lights were working.
We also had to repair some of the fencing and touch up the paint. And of course, we had a storm that fall, so we had to replace a full section of fencing that blew down. OMG. The section of fence at the back in the picture below is newly painted. As well, we re-stained the deck, which really freshened it up.
Fortunately our newer patio furniture matched. So we set it up to stage it, even opening up the umbrella before each showing.
Tip #5 – Revamp the Front entrance – so important!
See my blog entry on the front entrance here: Our Front Door Renovation. It was now crisp and cheerful looking with new mats, paint and planters. We chose a bold navy blue for the door, in a good quality paint. My husband masked the windows with tape and then I painted it. It was easier than I thought it would be. See more details at my link to the front door renovation post above.
I would say that the first impression made at your front door is one of the most important aspects in staging your home for quick sale.
Front / Living Room
We decorated with beige and blue theme. It seemed to work well and tied in with our artwork we have been collecting. I also purchased some good quality artificial flowers. These seem to be the rage and hydrangeas are especially good in a glass vase. You can buy very realistic artificial hydrangeas on Amazon.
Tip #6 – Try to follow a consistent theme, at least within each room!
Once you have decluttered, now you can see if there is still a theme there. Staging your home for quick sale must include having a theme of some kind. Choose a color theme for each room and if possible a consistent style. In the example below, I would say this room was classic traditional with some farmhouse touches.
Tip #7 – Area rugs
I can’t say enough about area rugs. These are a must for staging your home. We bought new areas rugs for staging our rental property. So these came in handy when we staged our own home. (And guess what, we get to use them all now in our new home).
Area rugs just seem to pull the room together and help define it 🙂
We also had bought a cream area rug for the dining area.
In the picture below, you can see I added the large French country pot.
Our renovated kitchen
The new island was huge! The counter top is granite and is called Ice White. The cupboards are maple. So lovely. You can see more details on the kitchen in the blog post: My Country Kitchen.
We chose a white subway tile for the backsplash. I will probably duplicate this look in our new home if possible.
Tip #8 – Decorative Items, don’t overdo it
I recommend you only buy the minimum of what you need so that the room doesn’t look too cluttered. Again, in this case, less is definitely more. A few well chosen pieces go a long way. I went for some shabby chic and country themed items.
Many of the items I bought were 2nd hand or from thrift stores, e.g. vases, silver plate trays, candle holders. As long as it matches the theme it doesn’t matter if it’s not brand new. I only bought what I knew I would re-use in our new house later on. A couple of more expensive items were a linen throw for our master and a large French country clock in the front foyer.
Again, we had bought a new to us table set for staging our rental property, so it was very handy for staging our house! Actually, the grey plush chairs were brand new, but the round antique looking table was second hand. I love the farmhouse light fixture we installed! Too bad we can’t take that with us!
You can see I added another vase with the artificial flowers in white.
On the island I used a set of pillar grey candlesticks. Our kitchen had the grey and white theme going. Luckily I already had the grey placemats and runners.
Our family room off the kitchen was kept pretty simple. I found the coffee table and two matching side tables for $60!
Tip #9 – Bathrooms – White towels and Spa like, if possible.
Only white towels that are crisp and clean and actually NOT USED, will look like they are new. I made sure the staging towels were brand new and folded the way they should look in a SPA. Also a couple of well placed candle holders, a silver tray, flowers, etc, with no other clutter makes it look amazing.
Here’s an example from staging our rental property. I was able to reuse the new towels, because I had stored them away until we staged this house. I also reused the silver tray and flower arrangement. Of course again, I am using the tray and arrangement in our new house where we live now 🙂
There were 5 bedrooms on the 2nd floor (and a full basement with a one bedroom suite on the lowest floor, plus a nanny suite on main.) Way too big now that the kids are gone!! Here is the upper hallway. There was a back set of stairs as well!
Again, fortunately our master bedroom furniture had that consistent country feel and was fine for staging. We had previously spent a fortune on our bedding, so that was a bonus that it was still in great condition. I think the important thing is that each room feels like it works, and has a consistent feel. I made sure we added a throw or two and side mats beside the bed.
Our country guestroom, see my blog entry on that here:
Tip #10 – Finish one room at a time…Almost there, and then done and done!
I was literally calling myself the closer and I would go from one room to the next working on each room until it was done and then say…don’t go in there!
Once we started having showings, it was the same thing, finish each room off one at a time quickly, and then don’t let anyone go back in!
Anyway, staging is fun, but it is also alot of work. Especially with 2 dogs and a cat. Fortunately, both of our kids had already moved out, so that helped keep the chaos down to a manageable level.
Okay, to be honest, theoretically the house should have sold right away. But due to our renovations, we missed our window of getting it listed before the summer. We did get two offers, but we decided to wait as they weren’t quite where we wanted. So we took the house off the market late fall, and then listed again in February. It sold in 3 days! I was so exhausted after all of the rushing to get it renovated and then staged and listed, that I think it was good to have a break in between.
Final Tip! Enjoy the journey!
All I can say is enjoy the journey, because it’s hard work. So you may as well try to enjoy it. Have a laugh when you can, and be happy when it’s all done and SOLD!
P.S. You might wonder if all of the renovations and hard work pays off. By redoing the kitchen and the floors and staging it properly, we were able to list at a much higher price. So it easily paid for our renovations. I think our neighbors thought we were crazy and that would never get our price, but did, with multiple offers!
You may want to check out our journey on downsizing and renovating our new to us retirement-sized home: New Home and Renovation.
If you like this post on staging your home for quick sale, please leave me a comment below.