You’ve decided it’s time to take on a new adventure and sell your home. You’ve met your new real estate agent, put your house on the market, and prepped your family on your moving plan. But wait a minute: how will you appeal to prospective buyers with dated fixtures and small closets?
Staging your home the right way will maximize your profit potential. In fact, smart staging can raise the value of your home by as much as 15 percent! Even though professional home staging is pricey, you don’t need to spend thousands to see a return on your investment. We will show you how to stage a house when you’re on a tight budget.
In order to appeal to homebuyers with a variety of tastes and preferences (without upsetting your wallet), invest in at least a few of these 10 home staging tricks that all cost under $100.
1. New White Bath Towels
When it comes to your bathroom, your first step should be simplification: give the area a nice, thorough cleaning and remove all of your clutter and cleaning products.
To give your bathroom the luxurious spa-like atmosphere potential buyers are looking for, add fresh new white bath towels. To add a touch of elegance, roll your towels and place them in a woven basket.
Complete the look with a matching white hand towel and washcloths.
Get the look: Target for $12.99
2. Cabinet Hardware
Most cabinets range from $500 to $1,500 per box, and if your home have an average-size kitchen with 30 cabinets, you’re looking at a $15,000 to $45,000 investment.
If you don’t want to spring for a full cabinet remodel, but still want to make an impactful change, just give your hardware an update. New handles can make your entire kitchen look brand new while also adding new color, finish, shape, and function.
And speaking of your cabinets–this is an area that’s going to be thoroughly inspected by your visitors. Before any potential buyers come to visit, make sure your cabinets aren’t overflowing with clutter.
Get the look: Lowe’s for under $5
3. Duvet Set
Your bed is the focal point of your master bedroom, which is why it’s one of the most important items to consider updating when preparing your home for viewings. If your current bedding is less-than-show quality, staging expert Julea Joseph from Reinventing Space recommends purchasing a new duvet set to give it a quick renovation.
To give your bed new life, simply slip your new duvet cover over your comforter. Julea’s color pick? White. She explains that white bedding reflects the peaceful ambiance needed to showcase the master bedroom, plus it’ll photograph well in online listings.
Get the look: Target for $69.99
4. Set of Drapes
Get those $5 blinds off your feature windows! Drapes, when hung high and wide, will make your windows look much larger than if you use a shorter alternative. They also have the power to set the tone of a room:
- Casual: For high-traffic areas, like the living room or the kitchen, hovering drapes are a practical option. This style gives just a finger space between the floor and the drape, leaving the hem clean and dust-free.
- Tailored: To get a stylish, classic look, opt for drapes that have a slight break or fold above the hem–a sign of a custom design. An extra half inch will do the trick.
- Formal: Puddling your drapes, or letting the hem fall in excess onto the ground, reveals a very dramatic atmosphere (perfect for some dining rooms). The longer the overflow, the more dramatic the room will look. This option has to be adjusted often since the fabric may move out of place.
Since your eyes are drawn to drapes, it’s important to select a set that emphasizes the room’s color scheme.
Pro staging tip: If your drapes (or carpets) need a quick pick me up, rent a steam cleaner for a day instead of investing in a professional service (which sets you back an average of $51 per room. A rental will still leave your home looking rejuvenated–and only cost around $35 per day.
Get the look: Pottery Barn for $24.99
5. Wall Art
Understanding how to stage a house starts with de-personalization. To start, take down family collections and photographs. Taking yourself out of the picture, literally, will make it easier for your buyers to imagine themselves in your space. In their place, hang some simple wall art. It will fill your empty space and also act as a focal point for your room. Some tips to keep in mind when choosing a piece:
- Likeability: You wouldn’t want to offend anyone who visits your home, so choose images that appeal to a broad audience (such as landscapes or flowers) instead of more personal ones (like religion or politics).
- Size: Art that is too large will make a room look crowded, and pieces that are too small will get lost. As a general rule of thumb, select a piece that is 75 percent of your furniture’s space if it’s going to be hung above furniture. If it’s going to be hung above the fireplace, it should be close to the size of your fireplace opening.
- Color: The colors in your home should be cohesive, so pick a piece of art that compliments your other accent items (pillows, rugs, vases, etc.).
- Arrangement: Before nailing multiple items on the wall, lay each one out on the floor to see how you want everything to be arranged. Once you have an idea, trace each piece on a brown paper bag and tape it to the wall to decipher where you need to install nails.
Get the look: Bed Bath & Beyond for $59.99
6. Throw Pillows
Decorative throw pillows can instantly change the feel of a room by transforming an old or boring piece of furniture. Adding a few to your couch, chair or bed will add a dramatic effect while also allowing the pieces to pop in listing photos.
As you choose a design, it’s smart to go for warm neutral tones that will hide your furniture’s flaws. For example, you can mix solid and patterned gray pillows to complement an older gray couch. Since throw pillows are pretty inexpensive, they can be traded out every few months to achieve the perfect in-season look.
Pro staging tip: Don’t let extra pieces of furniture clutter your area since this can make it appear smaller than it is. As event planner and interior designer Eric Sowers says, the space itself should do the talking–not the furniture. Eric recommends renting a storage unit to keep your other (or outdated) furniture safe and out of the way when you’re showing your house.
Get the look: Amazon for under $25
7. Fresh Mulch
When it comes to enhancing your landscape’s curb appeal, you have to go beyond the usual tree trimming and weed removal. A great way to catch a buyer’s eye? With a fresh batch of mulch. Applying a new layer in all of your garden beds will control and kill your weeds while also giving your landscaping a new pop of color and enhanced surrounding plants. Some tips to keep in mind:
- Thickness: If you’re using fine mulch, a layer of 1 to 2 inches will be sufficient. If you have coarser mulch, it’s better to use 3-4 inches. It’s important not to use too much of either type since it could stifle your surrounding plants. If your mulch is too deep, it will stimulate root growth in the mulch rather than in the ground–resulting in a shallow root system that is susceptible to cold and drought damage.
- Time of year: Depending on your season, you may need to add extra mulch in the summer (to retain moisture) and in the winter (to insulate from the cold). To determine the best solution for your specific landscaping situation, it’s best to speak with your local gardening expert.
- Quantity: Nothing is more frustrating than buying more of a product than you need, so make sure you are careful with your measurements. Generally, a yard of mulch will cover 300 square feet when spread an inch thick.
Get the look: $3.33 a bag at Lowe’s
Your home’s walls set the backdrop for your home, which is why 94 percent of real estate agents recommend investing in a fresh coat of paint when clients ask how to stage a house. Now is the time to (inexpensively) update those out-of-style tones on your walls. When picking your colors, remember these tips:
- Master bedroom: Since you’re trying to appeal to buyers of both sexes, the master bedroom should be stripped of any features that are too gender specific. When picking a new paint color, opt for a neutral tone.
- Living room: If your living room is on the smaller side, painting it the same color as the adjacent room will help the buyer’s eyes roll from one space to the next, making it appear larger. Pick a light color to make the illusion of even more space, since lighter colors reflect the sunlight.
- Bathroom: To create a bright, relaxing atmosphere, opt for light colors such as white, cream and light gray in your bathroom.
Get the look: $27.48 at Home Depot
9. Dinner Party Set
Give prospective buyers a glimpse of what their hosting experience could look like by setting up your dining room table. And it doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. When staging your table, keep these ideas in mind:
- Color. Pick one color scheme and stick to it. It’s best to use a solid color for plates and neutral tones for placemats and napkins. Avoid using tablecloths, since they can cheapen the look of your room and make it look like you have something to hide.
- Spacing: If you have removable table leaves and extra chairs, it’s best to store them somewhere else. This will allow you to have more space to walk around the table, making the room appear more spacious.
- Design: If you choose to add decorative items, such as bowls and candles, it’s best to group them in odd numbers. If choosing one large centerpiece, make sure it is seasonal and scaled to the size of your table.
Get the look: JCPenney for $71.99
10. Wall Mirrors
If you have a home with a hallway or space that lacks natural light, add a few wall mirrors. Not only do mirrors help bounce light around in dark rooms, but they make areas appear larger. When searching for the perfect mirrors for your home, keep the following in mind:
- Size. The size of your wall will make a big impact on selecting the right mirror. If you’re looking to spruce up a larger wall (living, dining room or master bedroom), choose an extra large mirror between 25 and 31 inches on each side. If hanging in a smaller room as an accent piece, you can go as small as 10 inches on each side. To determine the best fit, measure your walls before making any purchases.
- Shape. Square or rectangular mirrors offer a traditional look while circular or oval mirrors will give a simple but striking appeal. Avoid funky shapes, like triangles and starbursts, which may not appeal to everyone.
- Style. To provide a sleek, simplified look, choose a simple wooden, metal or plastic frame. For a more formal, dramatic look, opt for a mirror with an ornate, gilded frame to serve as a strong focal point. Again, it’s best to stay simple here and avoid frames that are too unique (like mosaic styles and bright tiles).
If you want to create an even bigger effect, place a mirror (or a collage of mirrors) across from a window, allowing them to pull in more light from the sun.
Get the look: JCPenney for $79.99