Home staging: the way to supercharge your sale or let

We are all familiar with the idea that properties should be clean and tidy before they go on the market but have you given much thought to how the furniture and accessories you choose – and even how they are arranged – can contribute to a successful sale or let?

Every year The Home Staging Association publishes a report on how successful its members’ efforts have been at helping homes that have come to market, and it’s just released its findings for 2020. Every single respondent said that home staging had been a helpful marketing tool when listing a property. In fact, 71% said home staging increased the number of viewings booked, while 51% said a staged property sold twice as fast as a non-staged one.

Another endorsement was the statistic that showed 75% of those surveyed found home staging increased the value of offers, when compared to similar properties. The increase noted was as much as 10% when a property was staged.

The practice of staging a property sounds rather grand but it isn’t an activity that should be exclusively reserved for vacant properties or mega mansions. Experts agree that all homes could do with a degree of staging – whether it’s moving, storing or replacing furniture; changing accessories or redecorating with a certain buyer or tenant in mind. 

When should I stage my home?

There are two schools of thought as to when a seller or landlord should stage their property. The Home Staging Association found 71% of respondents said an available property should be staged from the outset of the marketing, while 16% commented that home staging should be introduced if a property is stuck on the market with a lack of interest. Home staging is always advised if the property is coming to market vacant, as many people find it hard to envisage a lifestyle when faced with empty spaces.

Getting started with home staging

You can, of course, hire a professional to come in and stage your property. They will have access to a bank of furniture and accessories that can transform your home, while knowing how to appeal to people using the latest trends. If you prefer the DIY approach, there are furniture rental companies with ‘packs’ designed especially for home staging, as well as a number of stores that offer cost-effective items to purchase – think Ikea, Dunelm, B&M and Home Sense.

Here are some ideas you might like to try:

Use furniture to draw attention to the property’s best features: position armchairs or sofas so they’re facing a fireplace, instead of staring directly at a TV screen, and apply the same principle if there’s a room with an attractive view. If you have a spacious hallway or landing, think about adding a small desk or sideboard to show off the proportions.

Stage bedrooms as bedrooms: always put a bed in a first floor spare room and make sure it’s the largest size that will comfortably fit, as double bedrooms tend to carry a premium. Pay attention to bed linen and accessories – crease free covers, a throw and some scatter cushions are small additions that make a big impact.

Don’t fall into the ‘dumping ground’ trap: small or redundant rooms can often let a property down, especially if they don’t have a defined purpose or are used to sort laundry. In today’s market, home offices, larders and dressing rooms are highly sought after, so if you have a room that’s become a dumping ground – no matter how small – stage it so interested parties can see its potential – you can search Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration.

The devil is in the detail: home staging is about selling a lifestyle and no one wants to buy a house that feels crumpled or chaotic. Calm can be restored with a few small changes.

  1. Reduce belongings on display and banish clutter: pay particular attention to kitchens, bathrooms and hallways – less is definitely more.
  2. Neutralise by whitewashing anything that is overpowering: whether that’s a bold paint choice or flowery wallpaper – and remove wall decals for a blank canvass. See point 3 for how to carefully reintroduce interest.
  3. Add back colour with accessories: cushions, candles, rugs and throws can be cheap and taken with you when you move. Stick to a limited, complementary colour palette for a professional feel.
  4. Be neat: this can be as subtle as a stack of folded towels in the bathroom, labelled jars in a larder or a bookshelf organised by the spine’s colour or book height.

We can advise you on who is active in your local property market and you can use this information to stage your property to appeal to those most likely to make an offer. Get in touch for ideas and advice.