Simple Ways to Stage Your Kitchen for Sale

  • 01 of 04

    Consider Giving your Kitchen Cabinets a Facelift

    White kitchen cabinetry ideas
    Give your cabinets a facelift. Getty Images

    Getting your home ready to be sold can be a stressful experience filled with lots of quick decisions and unexpected expenses. When the subject of staging comes up, it’s easy to consider crossing that one off your to-do list—but don’t. Time and time again, I’ve seen a house sitting on the market for months, then watched it sell within weeks of being staged effectively.

    As common sense (and any real estate agent) will tell you, people are very particular about their kitchens. So where staging is concerned, this should be a key area of focus. Here are 10 ways to make over your kitchen in time to make the sale—and stay under budget. 

    Kitchen Cabinet Facelift

    I meet so few people who even consider this solution that it feels like a designer secret. Think about it: dated cabinets can make or break a sale, but sellers often don’t have the time or capital to completely replace their cabinets. Refacing your kitchen cabinets can usually be done inside of a week for less than half the cost of replacing them.

    When it comes to refacing for sale, keep it simple. White is often your best bet if it works with the rest of the space, as lighter colors tend to recede and make the space look and feel more open. If white doesn’t work, focus on simple facing such as shaker style doors and sleek hardware. 

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  • 02 of 04

    Consider Kitchen Organization & Painting with Neutral Colors

    Dark kitchen remodel
    Use paint and color to enhance your kitchen. Getty Images

    Handsome Hardware

    Again, this is a super simple and affordable project that really packs a punch. Stick with simple, low-profile pulls and knobs that contribute to a timeless look. That’s what will keep the kitchen from aging before its time. Stay away from brassy finishes, and reach for brushed nickel, bronze or black.

    Slide-Out Shelves

    While we’re on the subject of cabinets, there’s one upgrade that isn’t immediately visible, but it’s the one your potential buyers will remember on their drive home. Slide-out shelving makes working in the kitchen so much easier and pleasant that many of my clients consider them a high-end upgrade. And while they definitely have that effect in a sale situation, they’re surprisingly—almost shockingly—affordable and easy to install.

    Painting with Purpose

    Painting, of course, is a no-brainer. Buyers are almost always looking for “sunny and bright” in the kitchen. The simplest way to achieve that is with a semi-gloss white on walls and cabinets that reflect light while creating the illusion of more space. Or for a more updated look, keep the cabinets white and consider a bright pop of citrus color on the walls

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  • 03 of 04

    Bring in Natural Light with Windows & by Decluttering

    Modern gourmet kitchen
    Look to adding light into your kitchen. Getty Images

    The Great Floor Fixer

    If new flooring isn’t an option, don’t worry. A new rug or two can breathe life into your space. Consider an indoor/outdoor rug to remind potential buyers that this is more than a staging solution for the floors. Indoor/outdoor rugs are far more durable and easier to clean and maintain and now come in stylish colors and patterns that will work in any interior space. Look for complementary, light-but-not-white colors and patterns that don’t show wear and tear.

    Windows that Wow

    You’ll be amazed what a difference new window treatments will make. Avoid big, billowy fabric that collects dirt and debris and creates a claustrophobic feel. Choose simple rolling or Roman shades that offer a very low profile by sitting right inside the window frame. Choosing a light or translucent material keeps the light flowing yet still offers privacy.

    Eliminate Clutter, Not Personality

    One of the main goals of staging is to eliminate clutter, so don’t go overboard with collectibles. Try a few simple matching vases or reframing photos (but remove images of your family in favor of scenic photographs) to blend more effectively with the rest of the space. Choose finishes that match your new hardware so that there’s not too much happening visually, while still getting a little splash of light or color.

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  • 04 of 04

    Look to Cost Effective Countertops to Save Money

    Dark wood kitchen
    Look to countertops that are cost effective. Getty Images

    Fresh Flowers

    Before your guests arrive, make sure to splurge on some bright, fun flowers that make the home look loved. While you’re at it, the smell of a big batch of cookies fresh from the oven is so effective that you can even buy just the scent. But don’t fall for that. Instead, one-up the Joneses by plating up a real batch of cookies to set right in front of those flowers.

    Appliance Overhaul

    Our final two ideas may cost a little more, but if we’ve helped you keep the budget sufficiently low, these might help you make the sale—and return on the investment. If you kept with a simple color and cabinet scheme (especially white), stainless steel appliances would really pop. If the budget doesn’t quite allow for that, consider updating with a fresh white fridge, stove, and dishwasher. What you lose in trendy style, you make up for with a sense of more space.

    Cost Effective Countertops

    Countertops are worth consideration because buyers always want the sense that they are trading up. And while certainly not the most inexpensive item on our list, most of my clients are surprised at how affordable they can be. For instance, manufactured stone or quartz countertops are really about the same price as granite, but much more contemporary regarding style, and they offer even more durability. Stick with the simple theme and choose patterns and colors accordingly.

    What are your best kitchen staging tips? Please share your ideas in the comments.

    Interior designer Kerrie Kelly writes about her home staging ideas, and overall interior design, for The Home Depot. Kerrie is the author of the book My Interior Design Kit. For several ideas for cabinet refacing, one of Kerrie's to-do recommendations for home staging, you can visit Home Depot's website.