Seattle Area Vacant Home Staging, & Real Estate Imaging Specialists

Staging Tricks for occupied homes

Although we solely work with seller of vacant properties, we understand the needs of sellers who cannot move prior to placing their home on the market. Read on to learn ways you can prepare your home for photos and showings:

Simplify & Declutter Counters
Kitchens & bathrooms can feel not only decluttered: too much on these counters can be distracting, and make the space feel smaller. Clutter can make even luxury kitchens look like they don’t belong in a high end home, so stow away as much as you can. This includes small appliances, and anything you don’t use every day. The few items that are left on the counter should be cleaned and wiped down daily- the cleaner the kitchen is kept for showings, the more well-maintained the home systems will seem to buyers. In bathrooms, it is best to stow away all but a few key items (soap, towel, and perhaps a small plant). One easy way to keep your bathroom tidy, and free from everyday items left on the counter? I recommend using small decorative boxes placed in the cabinet, to store everyday toiletries- the box can be grabbed quickly and all items easily re-stowed away when finished. Tucking all of that away can help people see all of that nice surface area for them to someday fill with their own stuff.

Simplify Other Areas
Find ways to clear off other household clutter-zones, like: kitchen tables, coffee tables, nightstands, and bookcases. You want buyers to notice all the lovely features your home has, and not have your “stuff” grab their attention instead. The less stuff, the more easily they will be able to notice all that your home has to offer. In general, I recommend removing as much as possible, and then taking another look, to further remove another 25%.

decluttered kitchen counters staging
window treatments staging

All walls don’t need to be blank, in fact some wall decor can add to a buyer feeling at home, but if the walls feel even slightly busy, it may be best to cut down on what is on them. Remember, you’re selling the space, not the decor. I also recommend taking down any artwork of value, or that is irreplaceable, as well as family photos- you don’t know who is walking through your home, so it’s best to err on the side of safety.

Window treatments
Replace dirty and dark window treatments with a simple light colored, sheer or semi-sheer option such as a light linen curtain. Dark rooms are less appealing to buyers, so we want to maximize window light, without sacrificing your sense of privacy. Be sure window treatments are hung at the proper height- the night the curtain hangs above the window, the taller the ceiling will feel, and be sure the curtain length rests at the floor with no excess. For many, curtain height can catch their eye and be a sore point.

Small Floor coverings
Floors are big in selling a home– people want to see the material, and they want the house feel like the floorpan has a nice flow. Rugs can be important in creating a homey environment for buyers to envision their lifestyle, but they can also be tricky to use for the untrained eye. Smaller rugs and floor coverings “chop” up the space, and can also look like you are trying to hide something (like a stained or worn surface). So, the less interrupted floors are with doormats, runners, or other small rugs, the larger a space will look. 

Although you probably use a bath mat every day, I strongly recommend folding it up and storing it until your next use, this will bee helpful for listing photos and showings. Same with small hallway runners and mats in front of the kitchen sink. My rule of thumb for occupied homes: put away any rugs smaller than 5x7, and any rugs ink areas that you normally wouldn’t see them (carpeted areas, very small rooms, etc).

Here’s a quick run-down of a few must haves in a well-staged home:

  1. White fluffy bath towels- they create a nice clean feeling.

  2. Long white shower curtain- white shower curtains reduce the busy distractions and help buyers focus on the actual room, as well as create a clean, fresh look.

  3. White duvet cover or bedspread- are you starting to sense a pattern?

  4. A few solid colored accent pillows on the sofa

  5. Large framed art

  6. Smaller framed art- works well for small areas like above the toilet

  7. A nice, simple soap pump for the bathroom