Home staging is a fascinating sub-industry within real estate, all based on evidence that a home “staged” with certain decor and design techniques is likely to sell faster and for a 10-15% higher price than un-staged homes. Before showing your home to potential buyers, it’s important to make it appear as spacious and inviting as possible. You can hire a professional accredited home stager to do this for you, or do it yourself by following the best practices outlined here.

Remove all clutter and excess furniture from your living spaces.
Although it may be tempting to place these items in a basement or a garage, we recommend using a storage unit instead. When showcasing your home, you want to highlight the ample storage space around the house. By using a self-storage finder, it’s easy to locate an affordable storage unit for excess belongings and furniture. Then you can proudly show off that clean garage, encouraging potential buyers to imagine how they would fill it with their own possessions.

Each room should have a singular purpose.
When staging your home, you want every room to represent a clear, unique function. For example, you don’t want a treadmill in the same room as an armoire.

Try to keep bedrooms gender-neutral. 
When painting the walls of the master bedroom, we recommend using a neutral color pallet. This makes it easier for buyers to envision their dream bedroom right there in that room, with minimal distraction.

Remove all personal items.
You want your home to be as depersonalized as possible, so make sure that there are no family portraits, monogrammed towels, children’s drawings, or trophies in sight. In buyers’ eyes, these items make a home look more like a stranger’s than their own.

Remove all personal hygiene products.
You don’t want to have your toiletries lying around. Think about what hotel bathrooms look like; soap baskets and plants work well.

Bring in as much natural light as possible.
Open up those blinds and let the sunlight in wherever you can.

Artwork and mirrors.
Mirrors can make rooms feel spacious, and if showcased well, beautiful artwork can make the home feel inviting. When purchasing new artwork for home staging, be sure to select works you would like to see in your next home.

Ask friends for honest feedback.
When you’ve finished staging your home, reach out to family or friends. Oftentimes, we are too close to our homes to remain objective. It helps to get a pair of fresh eyes and a second opinion on how you did.

Be weary of pet odors and other smells.
While some people recommend baking cookies or grinding a lemon in the garbage disposal, these strategies can backfire if the potential home buyer thinks you’re just trying to mask a noxious smell. Your best bet is to clean your house immaculately, and invite a neighbor or friend to sniff around. This is key, as you might be unaware of some of the smells in your home.

Even if you’re confident that your home will only be on the market for a short period of time after following all these home staging techniques, you may want to choose climate-controlled storage. This is especially true if you are storing wood furniture, clothing or electronics. Also, if you live in a city that can get extremely cold, say Minneapolis, climate control is an absolute must to avoid damage.