Do It Yourself Home Staging


Staging involves cleaning, rearranging and decorating to highlight a home’s best features, increasing the chances of selling quickly and for a higher price. As a seller, you can stage your own home, have your Realtor help you stage it, or hire a professional home stager. A new twist on home staging is “virtual” staging, which involves using digitally enhanced photographs to demonstrate the possibilities of the space. Keep in mind that staging is not remodelling.

Staging Basics

  1. Clean as thoroughly as possible, including closets, cupboards, appliances, etc. Consider hiring a professional cleaning service.
  2. Declutter. Make your home look organized. Pack away excess belongings and furniture.
  3. Depersonalize. Remove personal effects and photographs.
  4. Let the sunlight in by opening blinds and curtains.
  5. Consider replacing dated light fixtures.
  6. A fresh coat of paint will help renew the look and feel of any room. Choose 2 to 3 different neutrals to use throughout the whole house.
  7. Don’t forget the exterior.


The kitchen is the heart of the home, and it should be one of its biggest selling features. Ensure that it is clean, well-lit, and it should feel warm and welcoming.

  • Remove magnets, photos and the children’s art that’s hanging on the refrigerator.
  • Remove decorative items from the tops of cabinets which can make the kitchen look cluttered.
  • Remove everything from the countertops, then add items back strategically.
  • Accent a neutral space with something colourful, like a bowl of lemons or apples.
  • Lighten up dark corners with a white or bright object like a vase or a high-quality small appliance.
  • Put away mats and rugs.
  • Update light fixtures, taps and/or cupboard hardware.
  • Clean the oven/stove, microwave, refrigerator, cupboards, and garbage can to eliminate odours at their source.

Family Room

This room should feel spacious, relaxing and comfortable. Features to highlight, if your home has them, are the fireplace and up-to-date media systems. Replace or pack away outdated televisions.

  • Remove excess furniture to create the illusion of more space for entertaining family and friends.
  • Pack up any toys or other items that are cluttering the floor.
  • Board games, video games, DVDs, remote controls and other items should be organized on shelves or packed away.
  • Evaluate the lighting in the room. If needed, add a lamp or two, and replace dim light bulbs with brighter ones.
  • Remove anything too casual or too personal, including family photos, sports trophies, taxidermy, etc.


Is this the first room a prospective buyer will see? Make sure it wows them! Highlight the fireplace, hardwood floors or the beautiful view. Ideally, the television is not the focal point of this room.

  • Remove outdated window treatments.
  • Remove worn or outdated furniture or update them with slipcovers in neutral tones.
  • A bit of decorating will make a big difference in this room. Invest in some trendy accessories and throw pillows.
  • Artwork should be high-quality and hung at eye level. Black-and-white photographs are neutral and can give a space a sophisticated look.

Dining Room

  • Remove excess or bulky furniture, such as a hutch full of collectibles. This will help make the space appear larger and less cluttered.
  • Remove extra leaves from the table to make the room appear larger.
  • Have no more than 4 chairs around your dining table unless your dining room is exceptionally large.
  • Consider removing the rug from under the table.
  • Update the light fixture. Many trendy, inexpensive options are available.
  • Add a decorative centrepiece, such as fresh flowers, to the tabletop.
  • Talk to your agent about whether setting the table will enhance this room.

Master Bedroom

It should feel like a restful sanctuary from everyday life.

  • Rearrange beds so they are facing the doorway.
  • Remove excess furniture and items such as heavy dressers, exercise equipment, pet beds, and medical equipment such as a C-PAP machine.
  • Remove photos and other personal items.
  • Make the beds with clean, coordinated linens in a solid colour or simple pattern.
  • Remove half the items in every closet and make sure what’s left looks neat and organized.
  • In the master bedroom, think in pairs – two nightstands, two lamps, two pieces of artwork hanging over the bed.

Kids Bedrooms

Declutter as much as possible. Clear toys off the floor, organizing them in baskets and bins for a quick clean-up before showings. Children’s rooms are often colourful and busy. Tone it down by removing personal photos, posters and stuffed animals. Repair and repaint any damaged walls.


  • Deep clean.
  • Re-caulk around the shower, tub and toilet.
  • Replace old toilet seats.
  • Hide all personal hygiene items and the garbage bin.
  • Display fresh towels in a neutral colour.
  • Run the fan to reduce humidity.
  • Freshen the space with a small vase of flowers on the vanity.
  • Remove toilet tank/lid covers.
  • Only place one bathmat.
  • Replace the shower curtain.
  • Clear countertops.

Home Office

Pack away piles of paper, especially any sensitive information such as passwords, confidential work documents and similar items. Tidy cords, remove excess furniture and clutter.

Front Entryway

Make sure it’s completely clutter-free, with space for shoes and coats, depending on the season. If there’s a table, add a floral arrangement or another single, beautiful decorative item.

Garage, Laundry Room, Basement

These are lower-priority areas but ensure there’s no laundry hanging or piled up; ensure the washer and dryer are clean; organize tools/equipment and ensure there’s enough room in the garage to park the car.


Your curb appeal makes a crucial first impression. Take the time to show off your yard, patio, deck, landscaping and the home itself, to generate the maximum level of interest and yield a higher return.

  • Power wash and/or paint the home’s exterior.
  • Trim landscaping and keep the lawn mowed at all times.
  • Add fresh mulch to gardens.
  • Add hanging baskets or potted plants by the front door.
  • Repair any hazards, such as broken concrete.
  • Remove toys, equipment and other objects from the yard and driveway.
  • Make sure outdoor furniture is fresh, clean and ready to use.

You can read more about curb appeal and how it can affect the value of your home in our article Is Curb Appeal Really That Important When Selling Your Home?


Pets may be part of your family, but buyers may not be as receptive. Minimize evidence of your pet inside and out.

  • Deep-clean carpets and upholstery.
  • Put away all pet supplies (dishes, beds, toys, leashes, litter boxes, etc.)
  • Take your pet with you during showings.

Vacant Homes

Selling a vacant home can be more convenient for a seller. It presents an ideal opportunity to paint the walls, maintain the floors and complete any projects that might be difficult to complete while living in the home. However, to buyers, a vacant home may appear unloved and abandoned. Staging a vacant home illustrates to buyers that it is well-maintained and helps them envision how each room can be used. Ensure every room contains a piece that matches its role – beds in the bedrooms, a desk in the home office, a table and chairs in the dining room, etc.

Virtual Staging

A home can be staged remotely using photos and videos provided by the homeowner. When selling a vacant property, 3D home staging software uses room measurements to generate renderings, complete with perfectly scaled furniture, paint colour and décor that’s on-trend – no home visits, furniture rentals or heavy lifting required. Connect with your agent to learn more about remote and virtual home staging.

Home Viewing Checklist:

Whether in person or via video, here are some things that will enhance the viewing of your home:

  • Make beds.
  • Clean countertops.
  • Open patio umbrella.
  • Empty/hide all garbage cans.
  • Open the blinds and curtains and turn on the lights.
  • Put away medications, jewellery and other personal items.
  • Turn off computers.
  • Clean up after pets and put pet items away.
  • Avoid cooking foods that have persistent odours such as fish or curry.
  • Bake or boil a pot of water with vanilla to make your home smell inviting.

Well, there you have it. A list of ideas to hopefully get you on your way to an organized and decluttered home. Thank you for taking the time to read this article. If you are interested in more ways to help prepare your home for the market, you can check out this post: How to Prepare Your Home to Sell.

If you would like to further discuss preparing your home to sell, or if you’re looking for a real estate agent, please get in touch. I would love to work with you!

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Michelle Stevens
Email: michelle@jewelhouserealestate.com
Phone: 705-970-6137
RE/MAX Hallmark Chay Realty Inc. Brokerage