Home staging is styling your home to appeal to more buyers.
It involves stripping back your personal style to help buyers picture themselves living there.
A staged home usually appeals to a wider audience than your own style – no matter your taste.
Although you can pay for a professional to stage your home, you can totally do it yourself.
DIY home staging is easy, fast and affordable, and you’ll reap the rewards when it comes to sale time.
Here are 16 top tips for staging your home.
1. Tidy up the front garden
Kerb appeal is a major factor when selling your home. It’s all about that first impression when buyers rock up to view it.
Get rid of weeds, power-clean the paving, sweep the drive and hide the wheelie bins.
You could consider painting your front door and adding a smart new house number to make the entrance really memorable.
Find out more about how to improve your kerb appeal.
2. Make sure every room (or zone) has a clear purpose
We all make rooms multi-task for us, whether it’s a home office in the spare bedroom or a makeshift laundry space in the conservatory.
But home stagers recommend reverting rooms back to their main purpose. If your home’s listed with 3 bedrooms, make sure buyers will find 3 bedrooms at their viewing.
If you have an open plan design, split the room into zones and make it clear how you use each space.
3. Play to all the senses
Home staging tends to be about boosting visual appeal, but playing on other senses can have a big impact.
Think scented candles or plugs and soft music playing in the background to create a peaceful feel.
Make sure your home’s at a comfortable temperature too. That might mean putting the heating on for viewings in winter, or throwing open windows and switching on a fan in the summer.
4. Clear clutter and nick-nacks
Everyone has a bit of clutter lying around. A home’s there to be lived in, right?
But potential buyers want a blank canvas so they can imagine their nick-nacks in it.
Clearing clutter and personal items is home staging 101.
It leaves more floor and shelf space, contributing to a clean and minimalist feel.
A good rule of thumb is to remove half of the items in the room. The feeling of spaciousness will be worth any storage costs.
5. Use throws and cushions to revive old furniture
Professional home staging often involves wheeling in new sofas, beds and tables.
But you don’t have to go to the extreme of buying new furniture.
A knitted blanket and cosy cushions can give an old sofa an instant update. A patterned runner is a clever way to cover marks on the kitchen table.
6. Add mirrors to reflect light
Mirrors are an excellent way to make rooms feel bigger, lighter and more open.
When staging your home, place mirrors opposite windows for the best effect.
If you don’t have many mirrors, see if you can pick one or two up at a second hand shop.
7. Put fresh linen on beds and in bathrooms
It’s tricky to get the balance between hotel and homey when you’re staging a house for sale.
Don’t feel like everything has to be matching, but clean and coordinated linen can create a pulled together look.
Fresh bed sheets and fluffy bath towels are easy ways to give rooms a quick makeover.
8. Dress the dining table
Setting the dining table is one of the oldest tricks in the home staging book.
A dressed table will conjure images of cosy family teatimes and fun dinner parties.
A simple tray or basket in the centre of the table might be all you need.
Or, if you want to go all out, add pretty placemats, matching cutlery and polished glasses.
If you’re selling in the summer, you could even consider dressing an outdoor table. It’ll get your buyers thinking of al fresco brunches and afternoon barbecues.
9. Add life with plants and flowers
Home stagers always recommend adding life to your home with houseplants and fresh flowers.
A simple vase on the kitchen table or a potted plant in the lounge can create a feeling of freshness in an instant.
And they don’t have to be real. Fake plants and flowers can create the same atmosphere, and you won't need to worry about watering them.
10. Hide electric cables and extension leads
Electric leads can look a bit messy, and they get the buyer thinking about whether you have plugs in the right places.
If in doubt, unplug electrical appliances and tuck the leads out of sight.
11. Clear the kitchen worktops
Clear counters work wonders in making a kitchen feel bigger and more liveable.
If you can, store away any washing up brushes, utensils, fridge magnets and phone chargers.
Buyers will expect to see a toaster and kettle on the side, but see if you could pop the microwave in a cupboard. It’ll open up valuable worktop space.
12. Clean the windows
Sparkling windows can finish off a room and make the whole house look fresher.
Give all your windows a good scrub, including the frames and sills. Pull the curtains back and let as much light in as possible.
13. Give tired walls a fresh lick of paint
Fresh paint can transform a room, even if you’re going for the same colour.
It’ll clear any marks and stains on the walls that you might have missed.
Soft and light colours reflect light well and are likely to appeal to a variety of people. A strong statement wall can add interest and depth to a room.
14. Put away any extra TVs
One thing that most staged homes have in common?
They don't have a TV.
A TV becomes a focal point. It can take over the room and draw the eye away from the things you want buyers to notice.
Buyers will expect to see a telly in your lounge. But if you have TVs in bedrooms or the kitchen, think about packing them away while you hold viewings.
It’ll make the room feel more relaxed and balanced.
15. Give your home a deep clean
One of the most important parts of home staging is to clean, clean, clean.
Do a deep clean of the whole house – from the carpets to the back of the cupboards to the cobwebs in the corners.
And don’t forget to have a quick touch up before every viewing.
If your viewings are spread over a few weeks, a quick dust and sweep will make sure buyers all get the same spotless experience.
16. Add a couple of special finishing touches
You’ve decluttered, depersonalised, scrubbed, smartened, toned things down and spruced things up. What’s next?
Well, the trick to home staging is hitting the right note between subtle and memorable.
See if you can add a statement item, unique display or pop of colour that will make a room stand out.
You don’t have to spend a lot to make a difference either.
You could paint the kitchen handles with a metallic spray, create a coffee table display or add an interesting piece of art in the hallway.
How much value can home staging add?
You might question if home staging is worth the money and time, given you’re about to move out.
But home staging can add value and help you sell more quickly.
It's thought a staged home can fetch up to 10% more.
So if your home's been valued at £300k, home staging could get you offers up to £330k. Even if you spent £5k on styling your home, that's a tidy profit of £25k.
How much does professional home staging cost in the UK?
Professional home staging in the UK can cost anywhere from £500 to upwards of £5,000.
The cost of home staging will depend on the size of your home and the scale of the makeover you want.
Be prepared to part with thousands of pounds for a major overhaul.
The home staging firm will work in the cost of sourcing and transporting items, plus a stylist to organise it all in your home. Furniture hire will cost extra too.
It’s a lot of money, but it can be worth the cost if you want to get the maximum sale price for your home.
Do I need to buy new furniture if I stage my home myself?
No. You can stage your home by de-cluttering, cleaning and adding relatively cheap items and accessories.
If you wanted to go the extra mile, you could hire furniture instead of buying anything. There are lots of companies that allow you to rent items for a short period.
If you’re planning to buy new furniture when you move, it could be worth buying it earlier and using it to stage your current home. You'd have to factor in the removal costs once you've sold.
Get started with staging your home
Find furniture rentals on HomeStaging.org.uk.
Rent stylish furnishings, accessories and artwork from Harth Space.