In real estate, everyone agrees that “pricing comes first and staging the next”. Appearance creates perceived value, and perceived value is everything when it comes to selling. You want to sell fast and get high-dollar offers? Then set the stage for success with these 20 tips that will guarantee a boosted perceived value for your home.

Unlike many online articles talking about staging tips without telling why and the purpose of each item, I organized the tips here into a few groups to explain the reason and purpose of each. You can decide if they make sense to your specific situation and combine or adjust them for your best practice!

Goal No.1: Improve Curb Appeal

According to the NAR’s 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers Report, 75% home buyers drove by and 63% walked through a home after they saw online. A home’s outside look is the first thing that the buyers base on to judge if the home deserves a visit. Want more people to attend your open house? Want more inquiry calls from all onlookers (from online, pass-by, or random)? Improve your curb appeal with these tips:

  1. A facelift to your front door. If your have lived in the home for over 10 years without upgrading anything, a replacement would be ideal. However, to make it budget wise, consider coloring and molding first and see what changes they bring. There’s even an app to help you find what color looks good on your front door: Front Door Paint.
  2. Spice up your lawn and planters. Get rid of dead leaves, plant seasonal flowers, use colorful pots and put simple but stylish ornaments.
  3. Hide the clutters. This is the easiest thing to do to make a huge difference. Your hose, trash bins, wires, pipes, electric box… should never been the first thing people see. Hide them or at least camouflage them.
  4. Give a makeup to your mailbox. Instantly improve your curb appeal with a mailbox makeup. Give it a fresh coat, build a stone base, and use some ornaments.
  5. Style garage door: you can find hardware kit under $20 to accomplish this and beat the other 90% ordinary carports.
  6. A clean look of siding and windows. Nothing makes a house look old and appalling than shabby sidings and windows. Power rinse them and fix the wear and tear if any.

Goal No.2: Create More Visual Spaces

Buyers want the most house their money can buy. A large house with a choppy floor plan and small rooms can feel less spacious than a smaller home with an open floor plan. A clean and spacious home is not only more appealing, but perceived more valuable.

Here are the tips to visually create more space:

  1. Position mirrors in the right places to make a room appear larger. Make sure the mirrors reflect what you want to see more of, such as a favorite painting or a lovely window.
  2. Choose a light color scheme to help open up a room. White, cream, pearl gray, or soft yellow seem more inviting and open because they reflect light.
  3. Clear out the clutter. Keep decorative objects to a minimum. Porcelain figurines are distracting and can be easily broken. Pick up newspapers and magazines. Put away–or pack away–unnecessary items from countertops in the kitchen and baths. Clutter can make rooms seem smaller than they are.
  4. Minimize the amount of furniture you have in each room. Either sell it or store it away.

Goal No. 3: Light Up Your Home

Nothing makes a home feel warm and welcoming better than great lighting. Not only a properly lightened home makes people feel more comfortable, but also it gives a feeling of “upscale” and receives higher offers in many cases. It doesn’t mean you simply need to turn all lights on in every room. Here are some techniques and tips from professionals:

  1. Make sure the light is ample for your featured “on-display” areas:  ideally, a total of 100 watts for each 50 square feet.
  2. Have a mix of different types of lighting for every room: ambient (overall illumination), task (for a particular area or a specific function), and accent (to draw attention to a particular object).
  3. Allow natural lights in as much as possible. Clean windows both inside and outside, pull blinds open, and make balcony door open or unlocked if possible.
  4. Consider space proportion for lighting arrangements. For example, wash an accent wall with soffit or track lighting is good in small rooms. While for a spacious room, it’s better light up the tight closures.
  5. Illuminate your kitchen with task lighting. As one of the most important selling features, kitchen should have adequate light and task lighting such as downlights should be installed.
  6. Don’t make it over-bright, especially for appeasing areas such as bedroom and story room.

Goal No. 4: Make It Inviting

An inviting home creates the impulse to “live in”. People may enjoy and linger in a magnificent house, but when it comes to buy, they prefer the homes where they feel comfy. Here are some tips to strike a balance between “inviting” and “splendid”:

  1. Declutter bedroom, clean out closets and make bedroom settings relaxing. Use high-quality linens, soft colors and neutral patterns for your beddings.
  2. Use neutral color paint for large spaces – bold colors do give uniqueness to a home and are liked by many people, but houses with bold colors in excessive spaces always get less offers.
  3. Enhance your entryway to set the inviting tone. Decorate your shelves or command center with bins and baskets to make things tidy. If you don’t have those build-ins, think about decorating your entryway with easy hooks, pictures, arts and a gallery wall isn’t bad either.
  4. Make sure your furniture is well arranged and matches your home style. Get rid of the furniture that are either unnecessary or outdated. Use symmetrical arrangement for living room and dining room. Minimize furniture in bedrooms and upgrade small pieces such as night stands, lantern, curtain rod… – these will make a great difference without costing too much.


Whether you want to sell you home fast or you care a high-dollar offer more, you need to invest in home staging to achieve your goal. Professional staging companies charge $50 – $150 per hour and top stagers are always booked out in a hot market.

Now with this list, you don’t have to bleed your budget or wait too long to get things started. The best part of it? Things listed here are from a strategic level thus applicable for most homes, and are widely used by staging experts. Just remember, each of the staging tips here has a goal:


  1. Goal No.1: Improve Curb Appeal
  2. Goal No.2: Create More Visual Spaces
  3. Goal No. 3: Light Up Your Home
  4. Goal No. 4: Make It Inviting



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