The Basics of Home Staging a Living Room

Simple Fixes That Help You Sell Your Home

living room setup
Laura Doss / Getty Images

In the 1990s, very few people had heard the term "home staging." Sure, everyone knew that in order to sell a house it needed to look its best, but most people figured this meant cleaning up the dirty dishes and maybe adding a few vases of fresh flowers.

Fast-forward 20 to 30 years, where home staging—with the help of a professional—is a well-honed service in the real estate industry. You can hire a home stager or do it on your own. Take a look at a few ways to stage your home's living room.

Paint

You might consider it a pain to repaint a house right before you move, but if the rooms in your house are anything other than a light, neutral color, you should seriously consider painting. Even if it isn't your style and it seems boring, light neutrals such as ivory or light grey can make the space look cleaner and brighter. And, it is a popular look.

Keep in mind that when you sell your house, it's not about you, it's about the buyers. You want to appeal to the largest number of people as possible, and neutrals are a safe way to do it. Also, a fresh coat of paint makes everything look cleaner, and when it comes to selling a property, cleanliness is vital.

Declutter and Edit

Before you list your house, you need to declutter and minimize the amount of furniture you have in the room. Put away personal family photos and mementos, remove smaller pieces of furniture, and clear off bookshelves and tables of all but a couple of accessories.

Anyone who walks in the front door should be able to imagine their own items in the space, and that can be hard to do when the previous owner's possessions are filling it. So as difficult as it may be, try to remove any evidence of you and your family from the home. Also, the fewer items that are in the room, the larger and cleaner it will appear, which is exactly what you want.

Seating

Once you have removed most of the smaller items from the room, you can stage the large pieces. The most important thing to do here is to create a conversation area. In most cases, this will consist of a sofa, coffee table, and a chair or two. If there is a natural focal point such as a mantle, arrange the seating around it.

These types of conversation areas tend to look very welcoming and make people want to sit down and relax. And do not forget about lighting. Have a couple of table lamps or a floor lamp in the space, so you can draw light into the room.

Maximize the Windows

Windows should always be played up. Do not hide them behind heavy drapes or curtains. Any window treatments should be simple and streamlined and call attention to the amount of light coming through. Even if there's no view, it is better to show off the window than hide it behind something.

Also, whenever possible, try to place a mirror directly across from a window. It reflects the light and makes the room look bigger. And definitely clean the windows until they are sparkling.

Make Fixes

Do not leave items broken that can be easily fixed. A loose doorknob, a wonky curtain rod, a squeaky floorboard—these are all things that are very easy to fix yet look very shabby to potential buyers.

When something is off, it signals to buyers that the house might not be in perfect condition. Everything should look like it is in tiptop shape. Small things will stand out. It may seem minor to you, but why leave it to chance?