This past weekend I awoke to the unmistakable beeping sound of an over-sized U-Haul truck backing into my neighbor’s driveway up the street; they had sold their house and were now in the process of moving to another city.  If I recall correctly, their “for sale” sign hadn’t been up all that long, quite possibly because they had effectively staged their home.

These days, home buyers are savvy, scrutinizing, and detail-oriented, and many are looking for that “move-in ready” situation where they can easily  visualize themselves living in their new home with minimal effort. Coincidentally, last week’s real estate segment on the Today Show highlighted some helpful tips to make home staging doable and affordable.  With the help of Sabrina Soto, designer and host of HGTV’s “Real Estate Intervention“, I thought I’d pass on some simple solutions to help you stage your home to sell.

Living Room









Problem: Dirty fireplace

1. Simple Solution: Clean with foaming bathroom cleaner to remove soot.

Problem: Clutter

2. Simple Solution: Store items like toys, DVDs, magazines, etc., in coordinating woven baskets to keep within reach; use plastic bins for non-essentials to be stored away and out of sight.

Problem: Bare walls

3. Simple Solution: Hang gallery-style, neutral artwork (local landscape photos, paintings, pop art, framed mirrors) to warm up the walls.

Tip: avoid family photos or personalized/funky art. *Photo on left courtesy of

Problem: Too nuetral

4. Simple Solution: Add “pops” of color with artwork, pillows, and accessories to give life and energy to the room.

Tip: Remember your lighting…Sabrina suggests you always have three sources of light in every room (i.e. table lamps, hanging lamps, sky-lights, natural light).


Problem: Dark room

5. Simple Solution: switch up linens with neutral and lighter colors.

Tip: You can purchase low cost “bed in a bag” linens (i.e. Target, Macy’s, Bed Bath & Beyond).

Problem: Unappealing, dark, and/or outdated curtains

6. Simple Solution: Buy new panels/curtains and hang them as high up on the wall as possible to create the impression of higher ceilings, allowing them to touch or “puddle” the floors for a more complete look.

Dining Room

Problem: Poor or no color

7. Simple Solution: Add a neutral paint color and keep details visible (moldings, box trim, chair railing).

Problem: Crowded space

8. Simple Solution: Switch out furniture for a smaller set.

Tip: glass tables take up less visual space, creating the effect of more space.

Extra Tip: Set the dining room table for any open house as it evokes the feeling of warmth, family togetherness, entertaining, etc., which helps a potential buyer imagine themselves living within your house.


Problem: Drab exterior

9. Simple Solution: Add fun and colorful accessories like lanterns, porch table/chair throw pillows, flower planters/pots, umbrellas, etc.

Tip:  Be sure to start your buyers on the right foot with a new/clean “Welcome” mat.

Problem: Shabby curb appeal

10. Solution: Fire up that lawn mower, weed whacker, and/or edger and spiffy up your lawn. If you mostly have a hardscape exterior, remove weeds, paint stairways/porches, and give the overall area a good cleaning.

Tip: A pressure washer is easy and inexpensive to rent and can make the job of cleaning fast and fun.

Note: Click on images for photo credits.

More Jelly