Staging a home is a great way to help buyers envision themselves living in a space. It’s much easier for some people to picture your place as their home when there are furnishings and decor present rather than yawning, empty spaces. Studies have shown that staged homes sell 88% faster than unstaged homes. However, there is such a thing as going too far. You don’t want your home to look too stark and sterile. How do you find a happy medium between a crisp, cool, beautifully appointed space and a warm, lived-in home? How do you keep staging from looking too staged?

Start with decluttering.

The very first step in the staging process is to remove all clutter from the home. Remove anything that could distract potential buyers from the house’s best features. Pack up your family photos and mementos. Buyers want to picture their family living in the home, not yours.

Don’t do matchy-matchy.

Whether you use your own furniture or rent some to stage your home, it’s important to inject a little personality and style into it. Don’t use an impersonal, matched set. It can make a room look sterile and uninviting. Choose attractive furnishings that work well together but weren’t necessarily designed to go together.

Keep lighting soft and warm.

You want good lighting that will show off the home and accentuate the positives; but at the same time, you don’t want super bright, sterile lighting that washes everything out. Switch out LED and fluorescent light bulbs for ones that cast a warm glow. Add in lamps to brighten any shadowy spots or dark corners.

Nix the white paint and linens.

It’s true that you don’t want a lot of color all over the place, but you should also stay away from bright white everything. It might look crisp and pretty, but it can also make a space feel like a museum, causing buyers to feel uncomfortable and afraid to touch anything. Don’t be afraid of color, but be careful not to add too much. If you want to use neutrals, try a dove gray or beige, or even a nice blue.

Bring in life with plants and flowers.

Flowers and plants can do a lot to make a space feel fresher and more inviting. They bring a little life into what can otherwise seem like a blah, vacant space. As an added bonus, houseplants help refresh the air that might seem stale in a house that’s not currently being lived in.

Add decor back in.

Once the house is decluttered, clean, and all set up, it’s time to bring some of the decor back in to warm the space up a little. Throw pillows and blankets add warmth and dimension. Setting the table and adding a beautiful centerpiece add to the homey, lived-in feel. In the bathroom, keep towels on the racks and soap beside the sink. And a few books and ring dish or water decanter on the bedside table are the perfect personal touch. Add your most beautiful wall art on those freshly painted walls, and you’re done!

Staging has become an important step in selling a home, but the last thing you want is to make buyers feel uncomfortable or unwelcome. Use these steps to keep your staging from looking too sterile, and your efforts won’t go unnoticed.

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