Home staging is a seller’s secret weapon—it preps the home to be viewed by potential buyers in a flattering, neutral light, all with the goal of attracting top-dollar offers to sell your home. There’s a lot that goes into it, so we turned to Oklahoma City-based pro Amanda Layton of Layton Designs and @thestagedlife (and member of our ambassador program, The Loop!) to get all her top home staging tips. Read our Q&A and check out photo inspiration from her home and latest projects below!
Why is it important to stage your home when trying to sell, whether you enlist a pro or do it yourself?
Staging before selling helps create an environment that is more appealing to potential buyers. When you go to sell your home, you have to understand that it is no longer your home—it is now a house that you need to sell. The goal is to appeal to the highest number of buyers to attract top dollar. Therefore, you have to pull your personal self away from the home and try to create a neutral inviting environment for potential buyers.
Do you have to spend a lot of money and buy new things? What home staging tips do you have for staying on a budget?
No! Do you occasionally have to spend some money? Yes, but trust me—it will be worth it! You will be shocked how far neutralizing your home can go. There are tons of great low-cost options that look high end, especially for pillows, curtains, bedding, and rugs! For example, I recently used a Rugs USA rug that was a 12’ x 15’ that cost less than $500 in a million-dollar home! By hiring a stager, they can help you determine what needs to be changed or purchased to get your home ready.
In general, what styles work best when staging a home to sell?
Neutral! For example, if your home is a certain style, say midcentury modern, it may only appeal to the buyers who want that type of home. But by staging in a more neutral, transitional style, you will increase your range of buyers significantly.
What rooms are most important to focus your efforts when staging?
The most important areas to buyers are the living areas, kitchen, and primary bedroom and bath. Do not stress that the second guest bedroom needs new window treatments. If you are working on a tighter budget, focus on the areas buyers see first. The first five seconds when a potential buyer enters the home are the most important!
What home staging tips do you have for furniture placement?
Furniture placement is so important, especially for the living room. This is the room where people will spend the bulk of their time. It needs to be open and inviting, and less is more. Also, furniture should never block doorways or focal points.
How do you strike the balance between giving the home charm, while taking out personal belongings to create a blank canvas?
Family pictures should never be a focal point. But do you have to remove every picture? No! I actually think they can help create a cozy, comforting vibe when used sparingly on a bookcase or on a side table.
Let’s talk curb appeal! How do you make the front of your house look its best?
I always recommend a new front door mat and wreath, plus fresh mulch and clean windows. Potential buyers’ eyes will be wandering while waiting for the agent to open the door, so you do not want buyers to be turned off before they even get inside!
What home staging tips do you have when it comes to rugs?
Neutral, neutral, and clean! Let’s not distract potential buyers with dirty rugs or crazy colors and prints. You want them to notice all the amazing things your home has to offer, and not get caught up on your purple zebra print rug. If you know me, you know I am a huge fan of jute rugs. They are amazing for many reasons: They are neutral, provide texture and warmth, and are by far the most bang for your buck!
What are some common mistakes you see people making when staging their home?
To be 100% honest, it is very hard for people to see their home in the eyes of the buyer, which is why hiring a stager is so important. It’s a no-judgement point of view. Selling your home is very different from living in your home. Staging is also not design. For example, in my personal home I know if and when I choose to sell, there are things I will need to do—like rearrange my living room, remove my son’s art from the fridge, make my office not look like a scene from Jumanji.
What is an unexpected piece of advice for staging homes, or something people may not realize is important?
Decluttering! Let’s be real—if you are really serious about moving, you are going to have to pack anyways! So why not be a step ahead and declutter before you list? If you have not used something for the last two years, I promise you will not miss it. Let it go to the trash, to a donation center, to your sister—I don’t care, just let it go!
Any last home staging tips you want to leave us with?
Again, the first impression is so important, and remember that the first few seconds are a huge deal! So bad smells, entryway clutter, the random sofa on your front porch (you might laugh, but this happens a lot!) can really deter potential buyers from making an offer.