Staging is the art of preparing and styling a home for sale. Unlike decorating and interior design, the intent and purpose of home staging is to use “lifestyle” selling techniques in order to allow a potential buyer to be able to envision themselves in a home.

Gone should be personal photographs and unique color schemes; instead, the approach should be one of neutrality in order to ensure your property appeals to the largest amount of potential buyers.

Here are some staging secrets for a successful sale.

Research. One of the biggest mistakes home sellers make is underestimating their competition. Ask yourself, “Who will buy this house?” From here, it is important to present your home in its best possible light. Remember: Once a property is placed on the market, it is no longer your home, but a product that will be compared with others on the market.

Paint. If you do nothing else to your home to prepare it for sale, be sure to paint. From painting walls a neutral color to covering up marks and scuffs, a fresh coat of paint can go a long way.

Repair. From re-caulking a bathroom to repairing a broken railing or step, even small repairs are important. Not fixing your home’s flaws can trigger a potential buyer to believe that it is in poor condition.

Purge. The first step in preparing a property for sale should be to the removal of all excess, from furniture to clothing. Now is the time to make your home feel as spacious as possible.


Market. A seller may need their real estate agent’s help creating a basic marketing plan. The goal of this step is to simply decide who your target buyer is, as in some cases this may influence the staging process.

De-personalize. When a potential buyer walks into a property, it is important for them to feel that it could be their home. Everything from personal photos to religious references should be removed.

Neutralize. Even something as simple as repainting or replacing carpeting can be a deterrent for potential buyers if it’s the wrong color. Taupes and grays are ideal colors to create a neutral, soothing color palette.

Back to its roots. Return all rooms to their intended uses. For example, a bedroom that’s being used as a home office must be staged and styled as a bedroom.

Create a timeline. When you place your property on the market can be critical in capturing the most amount of potential buyers. Earlier in the selling season is best.

Hire a pro. You may prefer to pass the staging of your home along to a professional. Research local staging companies; some may specialize in a specific style or geographic area. The Real Estate Stagers Association is a great place to start.


Cathy Hobbs: Cathy Hobbs is an Emmy Award-winning television host, an interior designer and a home-staging expert based in New York City.