Staging the “Make or Break” Areas, Part 2: The Living Room

In my last post, I talked about staging the “make or break” areas of a house which are the specific rooms that rank highest on buyers’ must-have lists and will often “make or break” their interest in placing an offer. These rooms include the kitchen, living area, and master bedroom, so when you’re staging your home for sale make sure they are as attractive as possible. This doesn’t always have to mean spending a lot of money on renovations; sometimes, you just need to do a little redesign!

The living room is where family and friends will gather. Buyers want to know their is enough space not only for their furniture, but also for their loved ones. If you’re living room is dark, cramped, mismatched or cluttered, most buyers are automatically going to feel uncomfortable and won’t be able to imagine themselves living there. It must be an inviting space that makes people feel at home. The good news: this isn’t hard to accomplish! Try these 10 living room staging tips…

1) Clear out all the clutter! This is a tip that applies to every room in the house. Make sure all children’s toys are put away out of sight, as well as any dog or cat toys and bedding during showings.

2) De-personalize the space. Remove all family photos, artwork, crafts, etc because both you and the buyers want them to be able to imagine themselves in the home.

3) Don’t block a fireplace. They are a major selling feature for many buyers, so you should show off these beautiful architectural assets. If any furniture is blocking it, rearrange it so that the fireplace becomes the focal point of the room. During the winter months, light the fireplace during showings and place candles in it during the warmer seasons.

4) Arrange furniture in conversational-style seating. Sometimes the best seating arrangement does not face the TV! Sometimes this is a necessary sacrifice because your motive is to sell your house as fast as possible and arranging the furniture around the TV will not always offer the best flow.

5) Let the light in. Nothing should be blocking the windows, so make sure the curtains and blinds are open so that plenty of light can pour in. Add extra lamps to illuminate any dark spaces and make sure they’re turned on during showings.

6) Group accessories by color. Keep your accent colors only in pieces that could easily be removed like lamps, books or vases so the space remains as neutral as possible to appeal to the most buyers.

7) Arrange accessories and knick-knacks in odd numbers such as 3, 5 or 7. These arrangements are most pleasing to the eye. Try not to have groups higher than 7 because they can become distracting to buyers and risk looking like clutter. Personal collections are wonderful to display in your own home, but when you’re selling you must de-personalize and de-clutter as much as possible.

8) When staging bookcases, always take the paper covers off the books. You will be amazed by how much this simple step greatly affects the overall look of your shelves being neat.

9) If your furniture is worn or has a “busy” pattern, invest in some neutral slipcovers. This is an easy, low-cost fix to make the overall look of your living room more appealing to buyers.

10) Consider bringing in an area rug. This can help pull together a large or awkward space to give it some much-needed warmth.

Stay tuned for bedroom staging tips! For a comprehensive guide to staging your whole house, check out my book Stageology: How to Stage to Sell which is available through all major booksellers nationwide.

Warm regards,

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