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Get Your Staging On: DIY Home Staging on a Budget

Staged homes spend 90% less time on the market and typically receive a higher offer (Real Estate Staging Association). Need we say more as to why staging is worth your while? Here are some cost-friendly staging ideas that you can do yourself. Win-win!

DIY Home Staging on a Budget


  • Remove things from kitchen counters like coffee makers, microwaves and toasters to make the counters look bigger.
  • If your light fixtures are outdated, consider replacing to both modernize and brighten the space.
  • Add a fresh vase of flowers for a pop of color. Or if you will have a difficult time keeping fresh flowers, consider a live plant.
  • Display colorful fruit in a basket or bowl.
  • Run lemon or lime halves through your garbage disposal prior to a showing for a fresh smell in the kitchen.
  • Make sure all of your appliances match. If they don't you can always find inexpensive resale options. If you don't have room in your budget to replace, at least make sure that all appliances are VERY clean.

Living Room

  • Decide what your focal point (or points) will be and arrange your living room around that. Typically stagers choose the fireplace, a large window, or a built-in bookcase.
  • If your furniture is old or outdated but it's not in your budget to buy a new set, consider using a slipcover to give your furniture a new, clean look.
  • Make sure the room is painted a neutral color.
  • If you have a small living room, consider adding a decorative mirror to give the illusion of a bigger space.

How to stage your living room to sell your home

Dining Room

  • Make sure that your dining room table is centered in the room (preferably under a light fixture).
  • Unless your dining room in unusually large, limit chairs around the table to four. This will make the space look larger.
  • Don't overcrowd the room. If an additional piece of furniture (or two) fits nicely and leaves plenty of walking space around the table, then great. Otherwise remove them from the room.
  • Consider either setting the table or using a table runner with a centerpiece.
  • If you have a china cabinet in your dining room don't display your entire china collection. Pair it down to a few pieces for a decluttered, simplistic look.


  • Deep clean. Get rid of any mold, residue or buildup.
  • Paint bathroom cabinets if necessary for a quick update.
  • Follow the inspiration of a spa and add in white towels, rugs, shower curtain, decor, etc.
  • Consider a new shower curtain. This is an inexpensive way to freshen a bathroom.
  • Tall jars filled with cotton balls, Q-tips or other bathroom essentials are a great decorative tool.


  • The bed is usually the focal point of the room so make sure you have crisp, fresh bedding. If you have a heavy pattern or stark color, consider switching to a neutral tone.
  • Remove most everything from the nightstands, think simplistic decor. A candle, decor item and book is all you need.
  • Empty out those closets. Leave closets half-empty so that the extra room gives the appearance of lots of space.

Staging your bedroom to sell your home.


  • Follow the rule of arranging items in odd numbers (i.e. 3, 5, 7) as it's found to be more pleasing to the eye.
  • Paint an accent wall, but stick to a neutral accent color.
  • Use bright bulbs (100 watt if compatible).
  • Deep clean! Be thorough and think about things like light fixtures, ceiling fans, baseboards, air vents, etc.
  • Declutter and pair down your furniture. The goal is to show how much space your home has and the best way to do that is by removing all but the essentials.
  • De-personalize your home. It's best to remove pictures of yourself/your family so that the prospective buyers can picture themselves in the home.
  • In rooms that are extra small or crowded, use decorative mirrors to make the room look more spacious.


  • Don't forget about the space outside your home. First impressions are everything so make sure that your yard is nicely manicured.
  • Trim hedges & trees, weed-wack and cut the lawn.
  • Put down a fresh layer of mulch.
  • Add some color to the yard with flowers in pots or planted in landscaped areas.
  • Clean out your gutters and do any necessary straightening of the hardware.
  • How does your mailbox look? Does it need a fresh coat of paint or new numbers?
  • Power wash your decks and porches.
  • Add a new, festive doormat to your entrance.
  • Reseal cracked asphalt or have gravel grated.

Staging your front porch for a great first impression

It can be hard to think about adding anything extra to your to-do list when getting ready to move. However, it's majorly worthwhile to spend some time staging your home. Not only will you likely spend less time keeping your home "show ready" for those never convenient showings, but there's also a good chance that you will end up getting more money for your home in the long run. So what are you waiting for? Get your staging on!

Want more advice about all things home — including homebuying or selling advice? Nestiny is a great place for homebuyer education and to help you gauge how ready you are to buy a home. Journey Homeward allows you to enter all your wants and needs while the True Affordability Tool will break down your budget, showing what you can comfortably afford. You will also receive a Ready Report that will give you a vital head start in the home buying journey, saving you valuable time and money.

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