Styled, Staged & Sold

Bringing you the latest home design and staging trends. From REALTOR® Magazine.

How One Stager Prepared Her Own Home for the Market

Patti Stern shares her personal experience neutralizing, depersonalizing and sprucing up her property to get it ready for showings.

Getting a home ready to sell in any given real estate market can seem like a daunting task for anyone, even a professional home stager like me. When preparing my Connecticut home to hit the market in late June, I felt a bit overwhelmed tackling all the personal items and clutter. While it took some extra motivation and hard work to pack, sell and donate unwanted items, I used my expertise to style a standout property that would grab buyers’ attention.

Here’s what I did to show off my home, which nabbed multiple offers above list price in the first weekend on the market.

1. Ensure inviting curb appeal

Two years before selling, my husband and I began to refresh our property’s exterior by updating the original siding with vinyl, adding new shutters and replacing outdoor light fixtures. A few weeks before listing our home, we had our walkway power-washed, weeded and mulched our gardens, and gave a fresh coat of paint to our front door.

2. Neutralize and depersonalize

I was ready for a living room update several years ago and subsequently chose a palette and furnishings with clean lines to match my personal style and appeal to future buyers. A neutral foundation, modern sectional, new window treatments, cozy-chic accents and pops of warm colors brightened the space and enhanced its features. Also, while staging, I removed distracting personal collectibles and photos on the desk and shelves.

Before neutralizing

3. Remove dated wallpaper and colors

This past year, I replaced my beloved red toile wallpaper—which was at least 15 years old—and Country French styling in the dining room with Sherwin-Williams’ French Gray, which made the white trim in the room pop. While keeping the antique dining table and sideboard, I added modern chairs, a natural woven rug, white linen drapes, brushed gold drum chandelier and original artwork to brighten and increase the room’s perceived size.

4. Simplify and brighten

Since the kitchen eat-in area needed to coordinate with the other rooms, I painted the walls a warm gray and created a more modern rustic look with a large farmhouse dining table, upholstered chairs and a chic industrial-style chandelier. When staging, I simplified the design by removing personal wall art and extra objects that helped make the space feel larger and more inviting.

Before simplifying

5. Help buyers connect

An important transformation was updating the dated sunroom, which had a brick fireplace, brass screen and paneled walls. I had painted them all when we first moved in 27 years ago. I had the wall paneling removed and painted it a soft grey; renovated the fireplace to a neutral, modern style; and added furniture that featured a more open and relaxing, coastal-inspired space. With lots of natural light, a neutral sectional, new flooring and nautical colors, this space is perfect for young buyers with families.

Help buyers connect BEFORE

6. Create a cozy bedroom that’s memorable

Bedrooms are key spaces that buyers connect with. After removing personal items, the owner’s suite and extra bedrooms were painted, decluttered, brightened and styled with a neutral foundation, fresh bedding, colorful pillows, lighting and modern area rugs that showcase the hardwood floors.

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