Staging Basics From the Pros

Designed to Sell's Lisa LaPorta and The Stagers' Michael Finalson share ways to get a home market-ready. Even if you're not selling anytime soon, don't miss these expert design tips.
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Before: This 2,000-square-foot patio featured on The Stagers was underutilized — not the selling feature it could be. Beautiful outdoor spaces sell houses; this concrete slab needs some attention.

After: Stager Matthew Finlason took advantage of this once-bare space, dividing it into functional vignettes. An outdoor dining table is entertainment ready. Comfy furniture placed outside the master and guest bedrooms welcomes early-morning lounging or evening relaxation under the stars. A fireplace adds warmth and great style.

Before: This dining room turned messy home office isn't very appetizing.

After: Displaying artwork is a great way to breathe new life into a room, says Michael Finalson from HGTV's The Stagers. Consider interesting arrangements, but keep them simple. These stacked paintings are a perfect choice for this contemporary dining room.

Staging kitchens does not have to cost a fortune. Lisa LaPorta’s designed-to-sell tips include: staining old kitchen cabinets, covering a kitchen window with a DIY curtain and installing vinyl tile. If your appliances are past their prime, consider investing in replacements. You will get your money back.

Bathrooms sell houses, says Designed to Sell's Lisa LaPorta. Some of the ways she shines up bathrooms with minimal cash include: painting outdated tile and cabinets, replacing old sinks with pedestal sinks and placing a vase of fresh flowers on the countertop.

Before: "This small, formal living room was being used as an office," says Sue Grady, professional stager. "That's fine for living, not fine for selling." Always show rooms being used as the builder intended.

After: With a little staging, this area became a small, formal living room that is inviting and welcoming. "Best of all, we simply borrowed these chairs from another room in the house. Very cost-effective staging," says Sue.

Before: "Nothing will turn off buyers more quickly than clutter and junk," says Sue Grady, professional stager. "Don’t leave personal items such as toothbrushes, deodorant, hairspray, etc., anywhere in sight. Remove small area rugs. Don’t close the shower curtain. Don’t leave the toilet seat up."

After: A clean and de-cluttered bathroom is key. "Buyers can appreciate the beauty the bathroom has to offer as well as envision where they will put all of their toiletries."

Before: This room is loaded with dirty laundry. "Treat the laundry room with the same care and respect that other rooms receive," says Sue. "A laundry room that shows well is just another reason for the buyers to pick your house over another house."

After: A laundry room is an amenity, so stage it appropriately. "If you can make the space more appealing, the chore doesn't seem so bad after all," says Sue.

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