Planning to list your home for sale? Furnishing your home so it looks its best and attracts potential homebuyers has major financial benefits. According to the 2023 Profile of Home Staging report from the National Association of Realtors, 81% of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home.  

    When homebuyers search for a home, they’re looking for more than a place to move into. They seek to envision a space with beautiful interior design to pursue their dreams and start a fresh new chapter.

    It’s much easier for homebuyers to picture their lifestyle in a thoughtfully furnished, staged home. To understand the benefits of staging your home, imagine homebuyers touring your empty house, peering into one vacant room after another, struggling to decide what to use each room for and where to place the furniture.

    While it’s certainly possible to sell an unfurnished home, home staging enhances the experience. Using the home staging and improvement pointers we’ve outlined below will take your listing from “for sale” to “sold.”

    Boost Curb Appeal

    A home’s exterior appearance and landscaping make a vital first impression. Ensure your home looks inviting and well-maintained with these tips:

    • Clean the exterior, wash the windows, and touch up the paint. First impressions matter.
    • Prune shrubs and trees so the home is visible. Remove any dead plants.
    • Add color with potted plants and flowers, signaling a welcoming home.
    • Set up patio, porch, or deck furniture. Help homebuyers envision summer barbeques.
    • Ensure the driveway and pathways are clean and clutter-free.
    • Replace or repaint your front door.

    Declutter Inside and Out

    You can imagine a buyer walking through your home and feeling cramped from oversized furniture or too much clutter. When we live in a space for a long time, we often overlook aspects that might deter prospective homebuyers. My experience from over two decades of showing homes for sale to buyers has been that when a home is staged in a comfortable, welcoming way, buyers are drawn to it. Thoroughly declutter inside and out before potential homebuyers conduct a walkthrough:

    • Remove excess and bulky furniture to open up space. Less is more.
    • Completely clear kitchen counters, storing appliances out of sight.
    • Clean out closets and remove off-season clothes, showcasing storage space.
    • Rent a storage unit or hold a garage sale to eliminate excess belongings.
    • Toss or donate anything unused.
    • Have flooring professionally cleaned.

    Use Neutral Styling

    Neutral backdrops let potential homebuyers imagine their belongings in the space.  Use timeless, neutral decor:

    • Repaint walls in popular neutral tones, avoiding bold colors.
    • Select solid or simple patterned window treatments and linens.
    • Swap loud decor for muted, neutral pieces.
    • Replace brightly colored appliances and kitchenware with stainless steel.
    • Clean light fixtures and update them if necessary. 

    Stage Rooms by Purpose

    When you highlight the best features of a space it allows homebuyers to immediately see themselves in it. They can envision cooking in the kitchen, relaxing in the living room, or reading in the bedroom. Home decor can instantly transform a house into a future home. Furnishing and decorating a home’s living spaces and exterior through staging lets homebuyers experience the lifestyle they dream of. I recommend highlighting a home’s best features through strategic staging. For example:

    • Style living areas for entertaining with conversation nooks.
    • Set elegant tables in dining rooms.
    • Use cohesive, designer bedding to furnish bedrooms.
    • Showcase the functionality of flex rooms for use as a home office, gym, or den with relevant furniture.

    Hire a Pro

    Consider hiring a home staging consultant. Their expertise highlights your home’s finest assets relative to your market. Many provide furnishings in the staging process so you don’t have to purchase items. Home staging services can pay dividends by expediting sales and securing higher prices.

    Today’s Homeowner Tips

    Proper staging showcases your home at its best, guiding homebuyers to picture their life within its walls. Strategic furnishing transforms empty rooms into warm, welcoming spaces brimming with possibilities. 

    Should You Stage Before Selling?

    While it’s possible to sell an empty or disorganized house, staged homes have a clear edge when it comes to attracting homebuyers. Strategic furnishings and decor help buyers mentally move right in. Statistics show that staged homes also sell faster and for higher prices. Real estate is always a competitive market and smart sellers use staging to stand out. Though an upfront investment, staging pays off by expediting sales and maximizing your home’s value. 

    For all these reasons, I recommend pre-listing staging to give sellers a substantial advantage.

    FAQs About Home Staging

    How much does home staging cost?

    An initial home staging consultation typically costs $300 to $600. Your real estate agent can also provide home staging tips.

    Should I stage an empty house?

    Yes, staging is highly recommended to help homebuyers imagine living in the home. Unfurnished rooms are harder to picture as livable spaces.

    When should you stage a home?

    Stage one or two weeks before listing. Listing photographs should be of the staged home for marketing purposes. Maintain staging until your home is sold.

    Does staging increase home value?

    1. Yes. Statistics show staged homes sell for 10–20% more than non-staged homes by highlighting desirable features.

    Is staging worth the cost?

    I recommend staging as a smart investment as higher sale prices typically offset staging costs.

    Editorial Contributors
    avatar for Laurie Engle

    Laurie Engle

    Expert Writer & Reviewer

    Laurie Engle is a freelance writer who provides insights to homeowners on topics such as the home warranty industry, relocation issues, and real estate trends. As a licensed Realtor since 2001 Laurie has acquired extensive expertise in dealing with home warranty companies and navigating the intricacies of the real estate market. In addition to her commitment to helping clients with their home buying and selling needs, she maintains a sharp awareness of market dynamics, including property values, interest rates, and local regulations.

    Learn More

    photo of Lee Ann Merrill

    Lee Ann Merrill

    Chicago-based Lee Ann Merrill has decades of experience writing and editing across a wide range of technical and scientific subjects. Her love of DIY, gardening, and making led her to the realm of creating and honing quality content for homeowners. When she's not working on her craft, you can find her exploring her city by bike and plotting international adventures.

    Learn More