10 Steps to Staging an Owner-Occupied Home for Sale

joy of nesting

How many times have you started a project, like painting your home office or choosing new throw pillows for your living room sofa, or organizing your junk drawer and not followed through? If you’re like me lately, a lot! I’m staging an owner-occupied home that’s for sale, and it’s my own.
kitchen with modern elements
Above, Emma Courtney
I’ve been planning a big move. I’m selling my home and relocating life and business to Sacramento County, California. For four and a half months I lived in disorganized despair. However, that all changed this week. My home is back in order and better than ever. With less furniture and fewer accessories, the focus is now on the architecture.

Here are some tips for staging that I’ve picked up in my almost twenty-year design career.




Staging for an Owner-Occupied Home for Sale  

All large surfaces like windows, windowsills, carpets, lighting, chandeliers, floors and walls should be clean and freshly painted where needed. Just because you can’t see the dust doesn’t mean others won’t.


Furniture and draperies should also be clean and in good condition but unfortunately not everyone selling a home has that advantage. Services like Coit Drapery Cleaners do come to the home and will clean upholstery provided it’s not frayed. If it’s frayed, cleaning will cause the fabric to further deteriorate.


If the sofa or chairs are especially unattractive, discount stores such as TJ Maxx have a great selection of fine quality pillows. I like to use three matching twenty inch down blend throw pillows on an average sized 90-inch sofa. Red is always a good pillow color for neutral color schemes. Cream colored throws also hide a myriad of sins.


Keep small tabletop accessories to a minimum. Instead use larger items like stacks of hardbound design books, lamps and faux or natural plants in decorative pots or jardinière.
Keep framed family photos to a minimum. For selling my own home, I removed all tabletop photos and retained my rogue’s gallery in the stairwell and at the top of the staircase.

Open, airy bedroom retreat with French doors and natural materials 

Keep all mail and clutter under wrap.


Sanitize bathrooms with a little Clorox here and there. Yes, it is toxic so use sparingly but it gets rid of household germs and smells and gives the rooms a really fresh, clean


Fluff the pillows and throws. This makes a bigger difference than you might realize.


Skip the scented candles and potpourri and instead, do scented flowers and open the windows. Many candles smell cheap to people accustomed to expensive ones, and the expensive ones smell weird to those used to the cheap ones. Besides, nothing beats clean, fresh air. It not only smells better, but it also feels really healthy upon entering a home. Like a walk in the woods.

Fluffy white towels, white sheets and white toilet paper give bedrooms and baths a spa feel.

Lastly, a few small vases of scented fresh flowers are a nice touch. Scatter them in unexpected places too like the hall, kitchen and bathrooms. I like just one variety of flower and color per arrangement, for instance all white roses or all lavender lilacs.
Light filled room
Above, McGee and Company

Bonus Points for Curb Appeal

Make sure your driveway and front door area is clean.
Freshly mow the lawn.
Give the front door a fresh coat of paint.
Add some nice potted plants and an outdoor chair and pillow to the front door area.

January 17, 2018

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10 Steps to Staging an Owner-Occupied Home for Sale

kitchen with modern elements

10 Steps to Staging an Owner-Occupied Home for Sale

kitchen with modern elements

10 Steps to Staging an Owner-Occupied Home for Sale

kitchen with modern elements