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Staging a House to Sell OR Simplify to Live Beautifully.

Perhaps you’ve heard of “Home Staging.” It is the art of preparing homes for the market so that they sell faster and for more money. If a home is vacant, we stagers simply bring in furniture, rugs, art and décor from our warehouse to give it a “Model Home” look. But if a home is occupied with people living in it, we generally de-clutter, rearrange and bring in one or two key items to give it a fresh, new, more appealing look. Lately, everyone is catching on to staging tricks and using these simple techniques to create a more beautiful home, even when they are not planning to move!

Here are some simple staging tips that may give you some insight into how you can create a more beautiful home using what you already have.

Pick a key piece of furniture to anchor the room and place the rest of the furniture room around it.

To paint or not to paint.  Painting is the fastest, easiest, least expensive way to change any room.  However, some of us are quite happy with our current paint color or choose not to go through the hassle of painting.  It’s up to you! Either way, a room can undergo a fantastic make over by following these steps:


The easiest way to make any room look and feel better is to de-clutter. If you don’t love an object, either donate it or pack it away. If you can’t part with an object right away, simply pack it away in a box and put it in storage. If you have not gone to look for it in two years, donate it. The point is, do not keep items around that you are not using. They clutter your space and clutter your mind.


Every room has a focal point. To create a nice focal point in the rooms in your house, pick a key piece of furniture to anchor the room and place the rest of the  furniture room around it. Remember to keep in mind the traffic patterns of how you’ll walk from one room to the next and move within the room. Leave these traffic patterns and pathways open. If you have accumulated too much furniture in one room, perhaps you can move some of it into another room. Or make the decision to get rid of extra pieces of furniture. You can also use furniture differently from how you are accustomed to using it. I’ve used dressers as foyer tables and dining room consoles and chairs as bedside tables. I’ve used ottomans and trunks as coffee tables and folding kitchen tables as desks. Think creatively and come up with your own ways of repurposing items.

Add the layers

Once the furniture is in place, add area rugs to anchor each room. Usually an area rug will go in the entry, in the living room under the coffee table, in the dining room, under the dining table (making sure the dining chairs can be pulled out and still be on the rug) and under the beds in the bedroom (making sure it surrounds the sides and foot of the bed).

The easiest way to make any room look and feel better is to de-clutter.

Next, place the art. Again, start with your favorite piece of art over the key piece of furniture for each room and build around it. Mirrors are a great option because they can make a room look and feel larger, as well as bounce the light around and make the room brighter. Often times, I’ll group art together before I assign it to a room. I start by grouping it based on the color in the art and the frames. You can make a large impact by hanging several smaller pieces in a grouping to create one large piece. Feel free to hang anything on a wall, not just “art.”  I’ve hung wheels, tapestries, place mats, skateboards, tennis racquets, etc. As long as it coordinates with the other art in the room and the décor, it should work!

Pillows are a great way to add color and texture into a room. It’s easy to change them often and give your room a different look and feel. Also, by sprinkling the same color throughout the room, you’ll create a balanced, designer look.

Lamps and accessories are last. When placing lamps on each side of a sofa, bed or console table, it’s best to make sure they match. If there is a third or fourth lamp in a room, make sure it coordinates with the matching set.

When placing lamps on each side of a sofa, bed or console table, it’s best to make sure they match.

Accessories are very personal and really show your personality. If you have many accessories, keep them grouped together. This will prevent the room from looking cluttered. When staging model homes, I tend to group accessories in threes at various heights.

I also like to use nature to create focal points and add beauty. Floral arrangements go on entry tables, coffee tables, dining tables, bedroom dressers and even in the bathrooms! Bringing the outside in always tends to lift our spirits.

Of course tackling an entire house can be overwhelming. However, you can probably tackle your living room or bedroom in just one weekend. Get creative, have fun and you’ll be left with a beautiful, new, fresh space to live in!

Tracy Kay Griffin is a member of Express Homebuyers Design Team. She was the Series Designer for HGTV’s “Get It Sold,” a Guest Designer for HGTV’s ” My First Place” and the Lead Stager for Washington DC’s premier staging company, Red House Staging & Interiors.

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