Sun shining in living room with glass coffee table, couches with colorful pillowsSelling your home the right way involves far more than just opening your door to potential buyers. How you present your home can have a big impact on the success of your sale. One study by Coldwell Banker found that staged homes spent half the time on the market of un-staged homes and sold for more than 6 percent above their asking prices. Staging a home means preparing it so buyers can “mentally move in”. This generally involves decorating your home in an inviting and neutral way that appeals to your likely buyers. Professional home stagers with interior decorating chops and inventories of home furnishings are available to hire, but with some thought and effort, you can do great home staging yourself. Here are seven simple ways you can stage your home to impress buyers and help encourage a strong sale.

  1. Bust out the blooms

Few things add color and liveliness to a home like fresh flowers. Short vases with small, tightly arranged bunches are a popular staging solution. Ask your florist for varieties that smell good and last for a while. You can use a rubber band to hold stems together. Trim the stems and replace the water every few days to keep the flowers looking great longer.

  1. Furnish a fruit bowl

Fruit isn’t just a healthy part of your diet – it’s a healthy addition to your home staging as well. Your potential buyers may not know that fruit symbolizes abundance, prosperity and good luck, but the lively burst of color and texture it provides will make a splash. Oranges, lemons and green apples are the ideal fruits to utilize, especially green apples with their long shelf life. Stay away from bananas, berries or pears unless you plan to consume them before they turn overripe. There’s no need to be an artist with your arrangement – just stack your fruit in a ceramic or glass bowl or on a serving platter.

  1. Class up your coffee table

A coffee table is one of your home’s more versatile spaces when it comes to staging. You can make yours look smart and neat by organizing its contents in sections of thirds or fourths. For example, one section could contain a tray with coasters, candles or a plant; two sections could be taken up by large art books and the last quarter could have a stylish box for your remotes or simply be left empty. Alternatively, a large floral or plant arrangement or a tall piece of art would be well suited here.

  1. Place the right pillows

Functional pillows may help you get the best sleep most nights, but decorative throws that help sell your home can certainly put you on Cloud Nine as well. Aim to strike a sensible balance when staging with pillows: adding enough to look comfortable and inviting but not so many that furniture becomes cluttered or distracting. For beds, include a sleeping pillow on each side with a Euro pillow in front, and consider adding one accent pillow. Three to four pillows per sofa, two pillows for large chairs or love seats and a single pillow per upholstered chair is a good standard for seating. Choosing pillows with similar color palettes but differing prints creates cohesion without too much uniformity.

  1. Tuck in your towels

A stack of plush, folded towels is a welcome sight at the spa or in a hotel room. That’s the kind of appeal you want to recreate when showing your home. Folding your towels into thirds looks best. Simply fold one side toward the middle then the other side so that no edges are left showing, then fold it in half lengthwise before stacking or hanging. You should never display any soiled or tattered towels. Pick up a new set of sensibly priced matching towels if your current ones don’t impress.

  1. Tidy your bedside table

When your mission is selling your home, even your bedside table must stay tidy and neutral. As with most other staging opportunities in your home, simpler is usually better. A handful of books, a candle or small plant and a lamp are a good combination. Family photos are best kept out of sight as they make it harder for buyers to imagine the home as theirs.

  1. Clean up the closets

Closets can be easy to neglect when it comes to home staging. What’s worse, it’s also tempting to stuff them full of clutter from around the house before showings. That may be okay for a few out-of-the-way storage spaces that buyers are likely to ignore, but serious home shoppers will want to peak into your closets. Cluttered and disorganized closets don’t just look bad, they can lead buyers to assume that your home has insufficient storage space. Make sure everything is off the floor and take the time to group similar items together and sort by color. Consider investing in matching clothes hangers, and find storage elsewhere for anything that doesn’t fit. These steps will make your closets feel more spacious and appealing.

By employing some or all of these ideas, hopefully you too will entice a quick sale and a strong sale price from the right buyer.