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.

However, hiring a professional home stager is another expense that will come out of your pocket as a seller. A consultation can cost up to $600 or more for pricier homes, and will cost you around $500 to $600 a month for as long as your home is on the market. Home stagers will essentially furnish and decorate your empty home to make it more appealing to prospective buyers. The main idea is to make your home appear as spacious and inviting as possible.

For those sellers who are looking to minimize expenses while also boosting the sale price of their home, DIY home staging is worth a try. By implementing even a few of the home staging tips below, your home will become more enticing to buyers.

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. Declutter by gathering all of the loose items around your house that doesn’t have an organized place to belong. Find a self-storage unit near you where you can stash your assorted odds and ends. 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. Presenting an extra small bedroom or small nook as home office could be a smart move, as working from home is becoming more common place.

Try to Keep Bedrooms Gender-Neutral

When it comes to choosing a paint color for your bedrooms, 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. This also goes for bed linens, window treatments and other decor as well.

Remove All Personal Items

You want to depersonalize your home as much as possible, so make sure that there are no family photos, 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. By removing these items it make it easier for them envisioning the home as their house.

Choose a Few Focal Points

The key to a successful DIY home staging is to not over do it. Less is more. To put this into the practice, limit the decor in each room to just about three focal points per room. For example, the focal points in a living room could be a sofa, rug and coffee table. Crowding to many things into the space will just remind the buyer that all of their stuff might not fit!

Freshen Up Your Bathroom

Remove all personal hygiene products, and don’t leave your toiletries lying around. Think about what hotel bathrooms look like; soap baskets and plants work well. Be sure to conceal your prescriptions as well. Buy fresh new towels and brand new shower curtain to give your bathroom an even fresher look.

Create a Clean Kitchen

Presenting a crowded, cluttered kitchen is a big mistake that home sellers often make. Clear your countertops off as much as possible. With the exception of a bowl of fruit or vase of fresh flowers, the more bare the better.

Bring in as Much Natural Light as Possible

Open up those blinds and let the sunlight in wherever you can. Take down any heavy drapes that block light and put up airy curtains that filter light.

Makeover Your Front and Backyard

You didn’t think home staging starts and stops on the inside of your home only did you? Curb appeal is one of the biggest factors in making a strong first impression. Even something as simple as a fresh coat of paint on your front door can make a difference. And believe it or not most real estate agents say black or charcoal gray are the best options.

Selecting Artwork and Mirrors

Mirrors can make a room look more 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. Be selective with your selections as you don’t want to overcrowd your walls with too many things. Remember, less is more.

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. Better yet, ask your real estate agent for their opinion. Realtors have a strong understanding of anything that might turn off buyers.

Be Wary of Pet Odors and Other Smells

While some people recommend baking cookies during an open house or grinding lemons 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.

One More Tip About Using a Storage Unit

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.