Decorating & Design

March 4, 2009

Staging And Redecorating

It’s been shown that in a slow real estate market, a home will sell for between 2 and 10 per cent more by staging it for sale. In a tight market where bidding wars are common, these numbers can increase to between 20 per cent and 40 per cent.

Though you may have been living in your house for a while — adding many personal touches to the space over the years — getting it ready for sale requires putting your emotions on hold, looking at your home objectively and taking steps towards making your house as appealing to buyers as possible. Here are a few tips for successfully staging your home:

Create curb appeal

Remove anything from your yard that could turn off potential buyers. Pick up leaves, branches and grass clippings and remove toys, rusted outdoor furniture or rubbish. Trim shrubs or trees, especially if they are concealing the front of your home. Tend to items in need of repair like crooked shutters or drooping eaves troughs. Freshen up your front door with a new coat of paint. Wash windows and windowsills. Consider renting a power washer to uncover years of dust and grime and to make the exterior of your house really sparkle. Brighten up your front walk by planting colourful flowers and some greenery for a fresh, inviting look. Consider adding mulch around your plants for a clean, newly manicured appearance.


Your hobbies and memories won’t help sell your home. Store away collections and remove family photos from tabletops. Consider that your basement, attic and garage will also be seen during showings, so these spaces will need to be tidy and not used as dumping grounds. If need be, rent out a mini storage space for all your clutter for the duration of the time your house is on the market.

Eliminate excess furniture

Hire a designer or decorator to spend a couple of hours with you determining the best way to improve the traffic circulation in your home. Moving, replacing or editing out some of your furniture can create a more welcoming space with a less cluttered feeling and a better sense of flow. If your furniture looks tired or outdated, consider renting “staging” pieces.

Create an inviting home scent

Bring in a friend or relative to have a walk around your home for a sniff test. You may not be noticing pet odours or basement mustiness. Make sure that bathrooms and bedrooms smell fresh. Bake bread or cookies just before showing your house — it may be a cliché, but the scent of baked goods will add a warmth to your house unattainable by room sprays alone.

Raise the blinds

Buyers like homes that feel bright and airy so pull shades and curtains open, especially if you want to bring attention to a fantastic view.

Clean your home thoroughly

Give your house a top-to-bottom scrub. Wax your floors and shampoo the rugs. Remove cobwebs from ceiling corners and dust from fans. If you feel overwhelmed by the idea of undertaking a thorough cleaning of your house, hire a cleaning service to do it for you — it will be money well spent.

Fix up odds and ends

Inspect all faucets and showerheads for leaks and repair if necessary. Replace burnt-out lightbulbs and fix anything visibly damaged or dysfunctional in the house that you may have been putting off.

Display flowers and fruit

For showings, put out bowls of shiny green apples or luscious lemons for a splash of fresh, juicy colour. Display cut flowers in simple glass vases in the foyer and several rooms for that extra touch of elegance.