Staging That Won’t Break The Bank

Most homeowners preparing to sell won’t have the budget for a $7,000 bathroom renovation, or a $19,000 for a kitchen remodel as mentioned in But some “elbow grease” and staging will help keep the cost comparatively low. Follow the guidelines below to lessen the time your house will sit in the market, and get your asking price from a better presentation of your home.

Remove Distractions


What do you see? The kitchen or the knick-knacks?

  • If you are living in the house while it’s on the market, remove clutter and knick-knacks, and reduce personal items down to all that you need for the next 2 to 6 months. I would even recommend that you rent a storage unit to open up space in each room including the basement and garage.
  • Store away family photos and religious symbols as they are too personal for buyers.
  • Remove odor and stains as they are one of the biggest turn-offs for buyers. If you were to sell a car, you would take out stains and vacuum it for the buyer right? Since many buyers will be allergic to dander or sensitive to pet odor, pets need to be temporarily housed at a relative or neighbor.

Fix Minor Repairs


(The Spruce)

Buyers make mental notes on the repair 3x the actual cost, so make these repairs before showing your house.

  • Leaky faucets
  • Scratched floors
  • Holes or cracks in the walls
  • Mildew stained grout tiles
  • Sticking doors and windows
  • Peeling paint

Look At Your House Through Buyers' Eyes

Wallpaper removal

(She Knows)

After you’ve done all of the necessary repairs, the next step will be to make a few cosmetic updates to appeal to the current buyers’ expectations. Below are some common updates to consider according to your budget:

  • Take out old wallpapers and paint walls with neutral colors. Greys and “greige” (grey + beige) are not only very popular these days, they suit many tastes so people can easily imagine themselves in the house instead of YOUR favorite accent wall.
  • Remove old carpet and refinish wood floors.
  • Replace outdated fixtures such as lights, faucets, shower heads and cabinet handles.

Find The Focal Point And Showcase It

Front doors

(Realtor, Home Depot)

Do you know your home's focal points? Typically these will be the front door, the fireplace in the living room, the kitchen island, the dining table, the beds in the bedroom, and even the views from the window. And how do you showcase them? This is where Showcase by Essex Designs come in to execute the planning and styling. I will be creating a series of articles on styling, but here are some guidelines for now:

  • Remove excess and rearrange furniture to focus on the function of each room. So a bedroom should really only have a bed, one or two night stands with lamps and a dresser. A dining room only needs a table, 4 to 6 chairs, and a nice light fixture. A living room needs seating for 5 people, a coffee table, and side tables.
  • Rent furniture if the property is vacant. Make sure to use the proper size for each room.
  • Decorate with curtains, art, and a few accessories to make the rooms inviting. This part will wow your buyers when they see your listing pictures.

Hire Essex Designs

    Living Room

    (The Spruce)

    Before your home goes on the market, it needs to be prepared and look it's very best. Not only does it need to be cleaned and decluttered, it also needs to be updated and be in move in condition. You can do all the work mentioned above, but these small projects can add up to days of work. 

    Hire a staging service like Essex Designs to relieve you of the planning and staging of your property.  We take it to another step further with showcasing techniques, because you only get ONE chance to make a good impression. Look here for a sample of before and after images of our latest work. 





    Gwendolyn, really great reminders! Many people live with clutter and can’t even see their own home anymore for all of their own belongings. Coming in as a buyer, we have such huge expectations and actually want to buy a place, but will look at the things that are wrong (and costly) first. Great post!

    Gwendolyn Munoz

    Great point Judith! But there is a difference in how we live and how we present the house for sale. We can live with deferring that to-do list of maintenance and repairs. But these will turn off buyers when it’s actually time to sell.

    Judith Taylor

    Great reminders. You know, It seems like it is about finally getting around to that todo list. So why not do it for yourself rather than for the next homeowner to benefit from.

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