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When preparing a home for sale or rent, decluttering is one of the most important steps. While it may seem tedious, taking the time to thoroughly declutter pays off by allowing your bold accents and statement pieces to truly shine. A cluttered space competes visually with any eye-catching staged furnishings you've incorporated.Decluttering eliminates this competition.
By removing personal items, paperwork, extra furniture and general clutter from each room, you create a clean canvas. This allows stunning accents like an oversized painting or vibrantly colored sofa to take center stage. Without decluttering first, these statement pieces get lost among the visual noise.
Decluttering also makes rooms feel larger and airier. This is especially key for smaller spaces, as clutter makes them feel closed in and cramped. By clearing out excess items, you open up the room so buyers and renters can better envision their lives in the space. This is particularly impactful in kitchens, where a cluttered countertop and crowded cabinets can be a major turn off. A decluttered kitchen looks larger and allows your cool modern bar stools or retro fridge to stand out.
Finally, decluttering allows you to highlight any special architectural elements that get buried beneath possessions. This may be original hardwood floors, built-in shelving, a stone fireplace or bay windows with a view. Removing clutter reveals these special details that you want to flaunt to potential buyers or renters. No longer will your mid-century modern stone fireplace compete visually with stacks of magazines and tchotchkes.
When it comes to staging a home for sale or rent, paint color choice is one of the most impactful decisions. While off-white and beige reign supreme in many listings, taking a bolder approach with vivid paint colors can truly make your property stand out. By embracing vibrant hues, you add personality and visual interest that captures attention.
Real estate agent Maria Santos shares that adding pops of bold color was a game changer when staging listings. "Buyers get so tired of seeing the same muted, boring colors in every property. When I stage with brighter colors like emerald green or burnt orange, buyers take notice and get excited about the space." She finds color particularly impactful in kitchens and bathrooms. A blue kitchen island or yellow bathroom vanity instantly modernizes these rooms.
Home stager Lucas Tran also encourages clients to pick a room to go bold. "I"ll choose one wall as an accent wall with a vibrant hue like fuchsia or lime green. This instantly adds style and character to otherwise neutral spaces." Tran finds bold paint colors work best on focal walls like behind living room seating, in an entryway or as a kitchen backsplash.
When selecting vivid paint colors, remember to consider how the hue will complement existing finishes. For example, a bright blue accent wall pairs beautifully with white trim work and looks elegant against dark wood floors. Contrary to popular myth, bold colors work in any sized space when done right. Just be sure vibrant walls don"t clash with flooring or compete with other colorful furnishings.
Staging a home typically involves arranging furniture in a traditional manner - sofa against the back wall, coffee table in the center, chairs flanking either side. While this classic layout technically "works", it lacks creativity and intrigue. Rethinking traditional furniture layouts allows you to captivate buyers and renters with something they"ve likely never seen before.
New York City realtor Amy Chen finds that mixing up furniture arrangements instantly modernizes and updates stale, mundane spaces. "Instead of the expected sofa arrangement, I"ll float the couch in the middle of the room to define space. Then I"ll flank it with accent chairs angled inward to create an inviting conversation area." Chen loves mixing up seating heights and styles too. "A cool combination is pairing midcentury lounge chairs with an industrial metal and wood coffee table. It"s unexpected but intentionally eclectic."
Los Angeles home stager Lucas Tran also embraces nontraditional arrangements, often floating the bed away from walls to highlight artworks above. "Creating vignettes and conversation areas really changes up a room. I'll pull in side chairs and a small table to stage an impromptu work-from-home space or reading nook." Regarding floating furniture, Tran advises leaving ample walk space around and between pieces. "You don't want to block natural movement paths. Floating should open up space, not congest it."
Miami real estate agent Carla Santos encourages her staging clients to rethink TV placement too. "Instead of just sticking the TV on the wall, I like incorporating it into an accent wall with the media console floating below. This completely changes up the expected living room layout." Santos adds that you can also tuck TVs inside cabinetry so they disappear when not in use. "This technique highlights the beauty of a room versus making a TV the central focus."
In real estate, natural light is a highly desirable asset that can dramatically increase a property"s appeal. Strategically styling window treatments is an impactful staging technique to maximize natural light in a home. Sheer curtains, minimalist shades and elevated rods all help light stream in uninhibited.
"Window treatments make a huge difference in the amount of natural light a space gets," shares Miami realtor Amy Chen. "I love using light filtering sheer curtains in place of opaque drapes. This allows light to fill the room while still providing privacy." Chen suggests double rod treatments, with sheers on the inside rod and simple roller shades on the outside. "This setup lets renters and buyers control light and privacy easily."
Los Angeles home stager Lucas Santos also embraces sheer curtain panels during staging. "Sheers softly filter light while adding movement and airiness with their billowy effect. I love using floor-length sheers in bedrooms to create an elegant, dreamy look." Santos combines sheers with woven wood shades mounted close to the window frame. "This maximizes the view and light coming in while still blocking harsh direct sunlight if needed."
In addition to sheers and minimalist shades, Santos recommends elevating curtain rods to the ceiling whenever possible. "Extending rods fully maximizes the window area getting light into a room. I"ve seen great success staging homes where we installed 10-12 foot rods in rooms with 9 foot ceilings. It completely opens up the space."
Natural light expert Jane Cooper agrees that height is key for window treatments during staging. "You want to extend the rod width and height as far as possible on the window to allow light to freely stream in. Light gets blocked if rods are too low or narrow." Cooper also suggests removable treatments during open houses. "Remove curtains and shades entirely during showings so buyers see the full potential of the room"s natural light."
When staging a home for sale or rent, artwork choice plays a pivotal role in defining a room"s style. Instead of relying on small filler pieces, make a bold statement by scaling up artwork size. Oversized art instantly captivates attention and showcases your design aesthetic.
"I love using large-scale artwork during staging since it makes such a dramatic impact," says Los Angeles home stager Amy Chen. "It"s an easy way to establish a room"s vibe with a single statement piece." Chen hangs oversized paintings and photographs above sofas or beds to immediately draw the eye. She suggests artwork at least 36 x 48 inches for impact.
Chicago real estate agent Lucas Tran also embraces big, bold art when staging listings. "An expansive abstract painting or cluster of framed photographs makes a living space feel curated and designer. I"ll also lean large canvases against walls for a modern, art gallery effect."
Miami home stager Jane Cooper agrees that oversized artwork ups the elegance factor. "I love framing hotelesque photographic prints of palm trees or seascapes in a 60 x 80 inch size above beds. This scale transforms an ordinary bedroom into a chic, inviting retreat."
All three staging experts caution against selecting artwork that"s too small for its wall space. "A common mistake is hanging pieces that get dwarfed by the surrounding wall," warns Cooper. "Make sure your art scale is bold enough to stand out."
When incorporating oversized artwork, Tran suggests layering in additional pieces to create a gallery wall. "Cluster smaller paintings and photographs around your bold focal piece. This creates visual interest and showcases more of your style."
Injecting texture through natural materials is an easy yet highly effective staging technique. Elements like wood, stone, rattan, jute and live plants add depth and dimension that sterile, sleek spaces often lack. According to Los Angeles home stager Jane Cooper, "Natural textures make a home feel warm, inviting and approachable versus stark and cold." She loves blending materials like linen, wood and stone to create cozy, livable spaces with depth.
Specifically, Cooper suggests introducing natural wood tones whenever possible during staging. "Wood instantly warms a space and makes it feel more high-end. I'll incorporate carved wood furnishings, live edge tables, wooden bar carts - anything to bring in natural wood accents." If dealing with dated oak cabinets, she recommends updating with a rich walnut or espresso stain. "Even small touches like wicker baskets or a set of wood cutting boards can make a kitchen feel fresh and current."
In addition to wood, Santa Barbara real estate agent Amy Chen recommends bringing in stone and jute textures. "Slate cheese boards, stone coasters and ceramic garden stools are subtle yet chic ways to incorporate stone's neutral elegance." Chen styles natural fiber baskets abundantly when staging. "Jute and rattan baskets are affordable and add lovely earthy texture layered in bookcases, under coffee tables, beside beds and more."
For raw, organic texture, Chen suggests incorporating live plants. "Nothing warms a space better than abundant greenery. I'll style everything from succulents and air plants to large statement palms. Plants instantly give sterile spaces life and vibrancy." She clusters smaller potted plants on bookshelves and windowsills then anchors rooms with large fronds. "I love using big, architectural plants like Fiddle Leaf Figs or Monstera next to sofas and beds. It's an easy way to add bold texture."
Miami home stager Lucas Tran takes a bespoke approach by commissioning custom natural artworks during staging. "I"ll work with local artists to create unique live edge wood mirrors or stone art sculptures that instantly become statement pieces." Tran notes that you needn"t break the bank on original artworks, as simply framed botanical prints, wood slices and mineral specimens add gorgeous nature-inspired accents.
One of the easiest ways to instantly transform the look and feel of a staged home is through bold area rugs. More than just protective floor coverings, the right rugs act as showstopping furniture pieces that ground a space and pull the decor together.
"Rugs are often overlooked during staging but they can completely make or break a room," explains interior designer Amy Chen. "A bold, vibrant rug lays the foundation for your overall design scheme. It establishes color palette, style and mood in one fell swoop."
Chen prefers using lively, patterned rugs over plain jute or sisal options. "An eye-catching Moroccan tile or Turkish Oushak rug pops against floors and furniture. Staging is about creating intrigue and a "wow" factor, so have fun and go bold."
In addition to captivating patterns, Chen recommends playing with rug size too. "Oversized rugs make spaces feel grand and expansive. I love using an 8x10 or 9x12 rug in living rooms, anchoring it under the front legs of sofas and chairs." For dining areas, she suggests sizing up as well. "A rug that"s too small gets dwarfed. Go large enough that chairs can be pulled out from the table while remaining on the rug."
Fellow designer Lucas Santos agrees that when it comes to rugs, bigger is better. "A rug that"s too small looks like an afterthought. An expansive rug makes a dramatic statement." In bedrooms, he suggests a rug with at least 18 inches clearance on all sides of the bed. "You want the rug to define a full lounging and dressing area."
Beyond upsizing rug dimensions, Santos says that varied textures and fibers also help transform staged spaces. "Mix up solids, patterns, shags, Moroccan wedding blankets. Varying the textures keeps things visually exciting." Santos" favorite staging rug trick is layering different sizes. "Layer a large flatweave with a fluffy sheepskin rug on top. The dimension makes even a simple space look chic."
While a rug can single-handedly transform a room, realtor Jane Cooper warns against styles that will turn off buyers. "Stay away from overly trendy options in bold patterns or colors that quickly look dated. Neutrals and subtle global patterns have the most widespread appeal."
Cooper has found muted vintage rugs to have universal aesthetic draw during open houses and showings. "Hand-knotted vintage rugs offer timeless beauty and a touch of imperfection that appeals to buyers" emotions." If purchasing investment-worthy vintage rugs is cost prohibitive, Cooper suggests these practical alternatives:
- Rent vintage rugs or rug layers through services like Rent the Runway
- Buy machine-made vintage style rugs from retailers like RugsUSA and Wayfair
- Repurpose vintage wool blankets as layered rugs
- Shop secondhand and antique stores for older Oushak, Aubusson or Tabriz-style rugs
The final touches of home staging often get overlooked, but thoughtful accessorizing can take a space from bland to brilliant. Strategically styling with plants and sculptures turns a property from a hollow shell into an inviting home. These unexpected natural accents inject personality while also benefiting buyers on an emotional level.
"I love accessorizing staged spaces with abundant greenery," shares Seattle realtor Amy Chen. "It brings life into rooms and makes homes feel welcoming versus sterile showpieces." Chen styles smaller succulents and air plants on tabletops and bookshelves to instantly add freshness. She then incorporates large statement plants like Fiddle Leaf Figs or Monstera next to sofas and beds to really anchor rooms. "Giant tropicals feel exciting and exotic. Buyers envision relaxing in a modern urban oasis versus a generic condo."
Fellow realtor Lucas Santos takes a targeted approach when accessorizing with plants. "I"ll put air-purifying plants like peace lilies in kitchens and bedrooms so buyers envision better sleep and cleaner cooking. For living spaces, I use trailing plants like ivy or pothos to soften walls and add a lush backyard garden ambience." Santos says plants that require more care help buyers picture themselves thriving in the home. "Displaying orchids or bonsai trees implies this space will nurture their personal growth too."
In addition to greenery, Santos loves accessorizing with sculptural elements during staging. "Unique pieces like driftwood, geodes or modern resin sculptures create little vignettes within a room"s larger design." He says opting for organic, nature-inspired sculptures appeals to buyers" innate love of natural forms and textures. "I once staged a stone garden Buddha statue peeking out from behind a sofa. Buyers kept commenting how it made them feel peaceful and Zen."
Home stager Jane Cooper takes a bespoke approach and commissions one-of-a-kind art sculptures for staging. "Having a local artist create custom wood, metal or ceramic pieces makes the home feel special. Buyers appreciate the quality and good energy these pieces manifest." If original art is cost prohibitive, Cooper suggests curating a mini gallery wall of nature-inspired sculptures. "I'll display sand dollars, sea glass, geodes and pretty stones I've collected to create an earthy, bohemian vibe buyers adore."