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The expert home staging tips – to help you sell your home quickly in 2021

There’s no doubt that staging your home – whether or not you use a professional company – can give it real ‘buyer appeal’.

Home staging tips
(Image credit: Future / Richard Powers)

Home staging your property prior to selling it is one of the best investments you can make to ensure it achieves the highest sale value – and sells quickly. Research has shown that a staged homes sells three times faster than a non-staged home – and 70% of real estate agents stated that home staging increased the offer value on a house by up to 10%.

Homes & Gardens caught up with experts in the field, Anne Carr of Los Angeles-based Anne Carr Design and Alex Willcocks, managing director of London-based Burbeck Interiors, to discuss the benefits of home staging – and how to do it.

Staging a home incorporates a vast array of different services, from basic decluttering to a complete interior makeover. Prices can also vary depending on the scope of the work that needs to be undertaken, however there is a lot a vendor can do by themselves to increase the marketability of their property.

Keep scrolling to find out everything you need to know.

See more: 13 best ways to add value – home improvements to boost your house price in 2021

Why use home staging to sell a house?

Home staging tips

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'Staging is really important for two reasons,' says Anne Carr. 'Most people cannot see beyond what is in front of them. They get caught up in past perceptions, so you need to show them what is possible. 

'Sometimes rooms are awkward and you need to show people how a space can be best utilized. The second reason is that the person may not be very good with space planning. Rooms tend to feel a lot smaller without furniture, so how we place furniture gives buyers a sample of what is possible.'

Home staging tips

No matter your budget these golden home staging tips are sure to have an impact.

1. The home staging must-dos

Home staging tips

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'A fresh coat of paint makes a huge amount of difference. It brightens a room, it can make it look bigger and, it gives an overall appearance of a well-kept home,' advises Anne Carr of Los Angeles-based Anne Carr Design. 

'Colorful throw pillows that work together also give a home a look of well-balanced look as well as matching throw blankets. 

'Accessories make a big difference, too. Consider placing a coffee table book with a candle or an interesting decorative piece.

'I also arrange the room to look its best – not for practicality's sake. For example, sometimes a table may be too close to a cabinet for proper opening and closing, and that's because we are just after a balanced look, instead of necessarily trying to be practical. The same goes for television placement. Some brokers get hung up on whether the TV placement is viewable from different furnishings. I say it doesn't matter for selling purposes, because no one is watching TV while viewing the home!'

See more: Paint trends 2021 – the colors you need for the ultimate wonder walls

2. If you invest in one renovation detail, it should be this...

Home staging tips

Interior design / Tom Howley

(Image credit: Paul Raeside)

'A new kitchen has the most impact on a new buyer. It demonstrates to buyers that the house has been updated. You always recoup your investment from upgrading kitchens and baths,' continues Anne Carr.

'Bathrooms and landscaping are important, too,' advises Anne Carr. 'Redoing floors is worth it if you are staying in the home, but not needed for a sale. Built-in cabinetry is another one.'

See more: Kitchen ideas – decor and decorating ideas for open-plan, galley, U-shaped and L-shaped kitchens

3. How to stage a home without spending a fortune

Home staging tips

(Image credit: Future / Jonathan Gooch)

'Get rid of all stained rugs and furniture. It gives an overall bad feeling to prospective buyers. It makes a home look beaten up. If you can’t replace it, you can buy inexpensive sisal rugs and place them on top of the existing rug, advises Anne Carr. 

'It is not as pricey as people believe to reupholster furniture and it can make a huge difference. If you like the shape of a piece, reupholstering can really revive it. You just have to choose a moderately priced fabric. 

'New, fresh looking furniture will elevate the entire room. If you cannot redo the kitchen, and your kitchen is dated, painting the cabinet fronts can give a kitchen a huge facelift without a big investment.'

4. What home buyers are looking for that you can home stage for in 2021

Home staging tips

(Image credit: Alicia Taylor)

'Comfort is much more important because people are staying in their homes for long periods of time,' says Anne Carr. 'We are getting requests for large comfortable sectionals for long Netflix watching with the entire family. 

'Unlike the early 2000s where everyone wanted open concept living, clients are realizing that they need privacy and quiet to work or go to online learning. Many clients are changing room formats so that every family member has an office.

'I think buyers like to see up-to-date furnishings that don't look too cold. There was a trend a while back for everything to be white, but it also has to make people feel like their lifestyle could fit in with this on a daily basis, so it's important not to give any space an impersonal, hotel look. '

5. Best colors to use for home staging

Home staging tips

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

'People do like to see a pop of color in pillows or in an occasional chair,' continues Anne Carr. 'We also like to add an element of surprise through art with color. The psychology of color says that the majority of people gravitate towards things that are blue. In more modern homes, we will use a neutral palette with more black than we would in a farmhouse style of architecture.

'In Southern California the look doesn't really change that much in different seasons, however we do tend to use more subdued colors in fall and winter. We may add a chunky throw and more organic materials to add texture to the design. Summertime is always a happy time, so we try to throw in some bright colors in our design, especially in the outdoors.

6. Make a good first impression by staging your front garden

home staging tips

(Image credit: Dan Duchars)

'This timeless expression is applicable to selling your home,' says Alex Willcocks, managing director of London-based Burbeck Interiors. 'A buyer's decision making process doesn’t start once they are in the property, it started 100 meters before that. As such any remedial work or improvement that can be made to the entrance of the property will pay dividends.

'This can be as simple as weeding the path leading to the front door to a new coat of paint on the door itself. Try and clean any windows you can, especially the one at the front of the property. As summer continues new flowers or a hanging basket can give a positive impression, their aroma can also create a good first impression.'

See more: Front porch ideas – make a good first impression

7. Declutter your home

home staging tips

(Image credit: Richard Powers)

'Nearly all of us have too much ‘stuff’, which has been accumulated over years if not decades. Decluttering each room is an excellent investment of your time,' continues Alex Willcocks. 'It's important potential buyers can envisage themselves living in the property, for that to happen it has to feel like you don’t.

'Try to free up as much surface space as you can on shelves, coffee tables and especially in the kitchen. Wicker or rope baskets are excellent for throwing items in that you need but don’t necessarily want to see. Storage units and containers are another great option should you require more space.'

8. Make small but necessary changes

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'If you do nothing else, make sure your home is clean, clutter and odor free (you may be used to your pets’ pong but buyers won’t be!), and that there are no "yet to be finished" DIY jobs as they’ll give the impression that your house will need a lot of maintenance,' advises Alex Willcocks.

'Making small changes to a room can often have a big impact on its ambiance. I would recommend always replacing bed linen and towels with new crisp white replacements. The same rule applies to bath and hand towels. Scented oil diffusers and candles are always a good idea to create a warm welcoming environment.'

9. Use real plants in home staging

small dining room ideas

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'We like to use real plants if it's possible for us to maintain them on a weekly basis,' says Anne Carr. 'Again, it feels less like a hotel to buyers and more like a place they can see themselves living. We rarely use faux flowers, unless they are really high quality and difficult to decipher from the real ones.'

10. Don't forget to stage the garden

home staging tips

(Image credit: Emme Lee)

'If you are lucky enough to have any outside space, you really need to maximise this as much as possible,' continues Alex Willcocks. 'It doesn’t matter if it's 6ft by 6ft or 300ft long, you need to get this to do the selling. 

'Just like with the front of the property, assess what needs to be done to make it as presentable as you can. Treat it as an extra room and stage it accordingly. Start by measuring your outdoor area and deciding what type of furniture will best suit your needs and lifestyle – a bistro two-seater table and chairs is perfect for romantic al fresco dining on a city balcony, whereas a large sofa set is a good choice for a sociable family household.'

11. What not to use in home staging

'I try not to use metallic accents. I feel it is a dated look and can cheapen a room,' concludes Anne Carr.

Thanks to Burbeck Interiors and Anne Carr Design