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Quick staging tips


We've blogged in the past about quick tips for staging your home to make it more appealing at open house. If you haven't figured it out by now, a clean house without beach chairs as furniture is ideal. For those of you ready to get past Staging 101, here are some tips that will create visual illusions without breaking the bank.

First, you don't need to spend a lot on props. Just head to Ross, Target, or even Wal-Mart for reasonably stylish items, or Cathy's Marketplace for swankier but gently used accessories. Don't buy items that are practical for home use. You're going for dramatic visual effect, so, depending on the size and color of your home, go big, with exaggerated sizes and colors.

When placing accessories around the house, do it with the intent of grabbing the buyer's line of vision. For example, if you have a great view from the lanai, put a tall, oversize glass vase filled with lemons and limes on a table or stand outside. Place it so that the vase is in your line of sight as early as possible when entering or walking through the home, so the buyer is instantly drawn to the view.

Artist Kelly Sueda's home at open house

If you have artwork, hang it so that it's at eye level—the average person's eye level. You don't want people straining to look at things as they walk through the home. (Unless you are an artist, in which case you'll have art all over anyway.)

Arrange items at angles: Many people are conservative with the way they live and stage things, but you really want to place things at angles to create visual excitement (artists call this "visual tension"). Don't put everything at an angle, but create an unexpected pop. You can put a long shawl or throw blanket across the corner of the sofa, or—my favorite trick—a tea tray at an angle on the bed. Of course you don't live that way! Staging is meant to create moods through vignettes, not reflect the way a normal person makes house.

Along that same line, use a lot of pillows and cushions to create fullness on chairs and beds. I once bought a complete bedding set from Wal-Mart, including king, standard, throw, and piped rounded pillows. I don't even make my bed in real life, but for staging, I'll exaggerate the luxuriousness of the bedroom.

Some realtors buy basic items and keep them in storage so they can use them to stage over and over. If you don't have an idea of what you want to buy, and/or your realtor has a lot in storage, you may want to check with them. But make sure the items match your home, or the effort will be for naught.

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