Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Staging our home - part 1

I wanted to write a little bit (ok...a lot) about this subject since some of you have asked. I really enjoyed staging our home for resale, even though it meant removing of a lot of personal items. I felt like I was hosting my own HGTV "Get it Sold" show like Sabrina Soto! There's a lot of information I want to share here, so I'm hoping I give it to you in the most concise and organized way possible! I think it will be best to break this up into at least 2 separate here we go!

First let me address what staging is and why it's something you might want to consider before putting your home on the market. Staging really just means to prepare your home for resale. The goal of staging your home is to make it as appealing as possible, to as many potential buyers possible...and hopefully this will all lead to a quick sale! Staging is different than decorating. When staging, you want to play up (or in some cases, play down) the features of your home, while decorating is more just about personal taste and style...having less to do with the actual features of your house. 

For part one of this little adventure, I'll be addressing the staging we did on our own before meeting with the professional.

First, we took care of some maintenance/cosmetic things we knew needed to be done and would dramatically improve the look of our home:
  • Touched up wall and trim paint
  • Replaced a foggy glass patio door
  • Replaced all faucets (nothing was wrong with them, they were just outdated)
  • Re-sealed the driveway
  • Re-caulked the shower in the master bathroom
  • Planted new flowers/shrubs in the front and back yards

Now for the longer, in-detail list of things we did to get ready to sell:

1. Removed almost all family photos from the walls around the house. And let me tell you....if you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that there were LOTS.

Initially, I was torn on whether or not to remove all of my pictures from the walls. I thought they looked great, and they made the house feel cozy and it was ours. Then I realized that was exactly the issue. If I didn't remove them, I think potential buyers would have had a couple of problems:

One...not being able to imagine themselves living here with their own family photos and decor.
Two...being distracted by the photos and looking at them instead of the features of our home. 

Those two points made my decision easy. And so, as painful as it was, I took down nearly every framed photo and packed them away! Oh yes....then I had to spackle the holes, sand and repaint too! 

The only family pictures I left in the house were 2 very small ones above the crib in Audrey's room, and then a couple on her shelves as well.

In the living and dining room, the framed pictures were a big part of the decor and helped to define the space, so instead of removing them completely, I replaced the existing family photos with more generic ones.

In the dining room, I used black and white floral prints inside the frames:

In the living room, I used white and gray damask wrapping paper inside the frames:

Not a dramatic change, but an important one. By using more generic art in the frames, the rooms still felt lived in and had some decor, without drawing anyone to get caught up in "who lives here anyway....". I know that's something I did when we were house hunting! If I saw a family photo, I would always go check it out! It's not the end of the world, but it's certainly a distraction from what you really should be looking at while viewing a home. More generic art will also help potential buyers to envision their own decor and family photos in the space, rather than yours.

2. Depersonalized. Removed small trinkets/sentimental items. This sort of goes along with removing family photos, but takes it a step further. We also packed away things like trinkets on our dressers and end tables (candles, frames, books, small jewelry boxes), and other memorabilia, like Audrey's shadowboxes. Basically, anything that was creating visual clutter without serving a purpose. We also removed all identifying objects like the initial prints above our bed, and the name banner above Audrey's crib....again, to allow potential buyers to imagine themselves and their family living here, instead of  imagining us living here.
All of this depersonalizing really helped me start emotionally detaching from our home too...which is really important, because of course, I am very attached to our first home. The good thing is that the more generic it starts to look, the more I can start to think about leaving and moving on.

3. Cleaned out closets and cabinets. We packed away any shoes, sweaters, coats not currently in use (this was pretty easy since winter is over and those extra bulky things were just taking up valuable space). We really purged and got rid of anything we were hanging onto but not using or wearing. This freed up so much closet space (especially on the floor) and made our closets look so much bigger! We also moved anything out of the house that wasn't essential (like...tons of extra guest soap in the bathroom cabinets, boxes of cards I saved from our wedding, photo albums, books, clothes of Audrey's that I'm keeping but no longer fit her, extra linens, extra candles, decor, etc). We moved all of this into a storage unit that we already had...although we've since had to rent a second unit!

I'm not joking when I say we must have packed up 50 boxes of things like this! It's amazing what you can accumulate over just a few years! Moving these non-essentials out instantly made the house feel bigger and gave us extra "hiding room" for things we needed to put away for showings (more on that later). As an added bonus, we now have less to pack when we move out!

Now imagine...all of this was done before even meeting with the stager. It felt like we had already done so much, I couldn't imagine what she could have left to suggest! But....she sure had plenty! To my relief, she was very complimentary of our home, and said it was the most fun she had ever had working on one, because she was able to get right to the "fun" staging, rather than spending all of her time telling me I needed to repaint the walls, de-personalize, or get rid of a ton of clutter.

I think I will leave this first post at that for now! Have I sufficiently exhausted you with all this home staging talk?! Oh don't worry! There is more to come! Next up, I'll tell you about the professional stager's suggestions and how I think they worked out for us.

Stay tuned for another episode of Staging Rachel's Nest. me?! ;)


  1. Great post - very helpful! I'm looking forward to Part 2. We just finished putting our house on the market and staging - it's amazing how much work you do upfront just to have someone come tell you to do MORE! But it all paid off, well worth the hard work!

    1. Thank you! I'm sure you can totally relate!

  2. Thank you for this post! We'll be putting out house on the market soon and these are all great tips.
    Love your blog!!!

    1. Thanks so much Awn! Good luck with the sale of your home!

  3. Great tips! We'll be putting our house on the market in a few months, so I should start preparing now!

    1. Thanks RHOD! Good luck with getting it ready and up for sale!


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