Stylist gives top tips for staging an older home for a quick sale

Older homes can be trickier to sell; an interior design professional gives top recommendations to spruce up your interiors – and get quicker and better offers

A Mid-century living room
(Image credit: Paul Raeside/Future)

When you're preparing a home for a sale, careful staging can make a big difference, both to how quickly your home will sell, and the offers you'll get. With newer homes, the work is often mostly done for you, with neutral decor and fresh finishes generally appealing to most buyers.

If you live in an older home, on the other hand, staging a house is a must – it's one of the best ways to add value and make the property more appealing. We've spoken to Alessandra Wood, VP of Style at online interior design service Modsy. These are her top tips for staging an older home for a successful and fast sale. 

1. Avoid retro colors

Mid-century living room with brown furniture

(Image credit: James Merrell/Future)

Alessandra urges sellers not to underestimate the power of color to form associations. She advises against using 'typical 70s primary colors like bright yellow and avocado green' in an older home – the effect will be too retro. 

Instead, 'try earthy, saturated hues' – this will allow you 'to pay homage to the original space while preserving the bold vibe'. It's not necessary to go all white and cream – try mixing in some rich browns, too. 

2. Add interest to walls

Green hallway with wood flooring and bench

(Image credit: Simon Brown / Future)

Leaving the walls neutral, as well as opting for neutral decor, is playing it too safe, according to Alessandra. Of course, this shouldn't mean 'wild wall treatments', but a nicely textured wallpaper, or bold paint ideas, can actually make a space look more modern.  

'Try a dramatic color, like a smokey green', Alessandra advises.

3. Don't shy away from statement furniture pieces

Pukka armchairs, Ligne Roset

(Image credit: Ligne Roset)

Another too-safe mistake often made by sellers is going for very plain, boxy furniture when staging. Especially if you live in a Mid-century home, Alessandra recommends including 'high drama, sculptural furniture that features interesting curves, unexpected shapes, and bold colors can make a space feel sophisticated without being over the top.' 

That curvy sofa you love will make a favorable impression on savvy buyers. 

4. Get rid of carpets

A living room with wood floor

(Image credit: Matthew Williams / Future)

Carpets are a big no-no when staging an older home for sale. Instead, Alessandra suggests you 'embrace your house’s good bones. Deep shag carpeting often covers up hardwood, which can be a major selling point to buyers or renters.' 

So, instead of replacing the carpet, learn how to refinish hardwood floors

5. Go for natural finishes only

A Mid-century living room with wood finish

(Image credit: David Lovatti/Future)

'Mid-century rooms can sometimes be dark and close feeling, Alessandra admits. 'But a few cosmetic changes can transform a space into something light and airy.' Do not underestimate the power of natural materials to give a space an instant uplift: 'lighter finishes, soothing color tones, natural wood finishes, and organic-feeling furniture are great places to start.' 

These tips are simple and easy to follow, and they are guaranteed to transform a space that feels a little retro into a timeless home every buyer will desire.

Anna K. Cottrell is now a freelance writer, having previously been a Content Editor for Future's homes titles. She writes about interior design, property, and gardening. On H&G, she specialized in writing about property – buying, selling, renting – sustainability and eco issues.