Home Staging Tips & Tricks

I am not a professional home stager, so this project represents my very first time staging a house! Recently I partnered with a local real estate investor who flips houses here in Ohio. She found me online and asked if I ever staged a home. Technically, yes – if you count the six or more years that it took to “stage” my own  ;-). Staging an empty house under a time crunch is a bit daunting for someone new to the business. But then I toured the house…and wow!

Home staging before and after dining room before

She flips homes in modern farmhouse style, so of course I was up to the challenge. The house was just beautiful. I immediately designed a mood board and shared it with my business partner. Once she approved, I was off to repurpose some old things and thrift some items online.

Home Staging Before and After

I had to snap these quickly with my iPhone as I finished up before the sun set. There was mud on the floor since we were in and out and the crew was working outside. But since I KNOW you’re creative enough to see past that and you love before and after photos, I’ll show you what I was able to pull off using my stash.

Tips I Learned:

  • Facebook Marketplace is ideal for last minute furniture and accessories. Since I was staging an empty house I searched near the zip code of the house and picked up gently used items at nominal costs.
  • A well staged house may receive an offer on the furniture.
  • Keep all the packaging for items purchased just in case you need to return any items to the store.
  • Photography tip:  turn off all lights and photograph in broad daylight. Interior lights case a yellowish tone in photos. You want your colors to remain true for any potential buyers.
    • Never photograph at night – it casts shadows and yellow tones.
  • I used many items from my own house…and since I’m a fan of interior decorating I seemed to have enough “stuff” for every room in the house.
  • Look for cheap furniture with good bones online. Painting it white or a neutral color works wonders. You can reuse in future homes, too.
  • Your initial investment can be reused for future houses.

The Fake Bed Formula

(the approximate cost to stage for 3 bedrooms with this formula is around $250):

  • Master bedroom (queen):  To create a standard height bed, place 6 file boxes on the floor, evenly spaced. You will purchase 2 queen air mattresses. Place the first queen Intex air mattresses on top of file boxes. Next, add the bedskirt overtop of first mattress. On top of the bedskirt layer, add second mattress. Then add bedspread and style the bed accordingly.
    • If you don’t have a queen bedskirt: use a king bedspread instead of a queen which will cover sides of bed to the floor
  • Smaller bedrooms (twin):  Follow the same process above, but this time you only need 4 file boxes supporting two Intex twin mattresses
    • If you don’t have  a twin bedskirt: use a queen bedspread instead of a twin which will cover the sides of bed and hang to the floor.

Bedding Suggestions: 

  • No sheets needed, just add the bedspread (white is best!)
  • Lay a throw across foot of bed to add texture and visual interest.
  • Add a tray with home magazines / coffee cup / flowers, etc.
  • Add 2 standard bed pillows (from Walmart, under $3 each, I left mine in packaging).
  • Layer on 2-4 decorative pillows.
  • Headboard ideas (optional):  I used a cathedral window frame from The Shop, which worked out nicely. If you find an old, brass headboard online (Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist) you can spray paint it a color of your choice  – I would suggest black in a light colored room, or white in a dark colored room. You can also use oversized canvas art. Even an old window or door with a wreath can be very dramatic and beautiful. If you use Euro pillows and prop them up, you may not need a headboard at all.

With the right backdrop, you don’t need much to make a home look beautiful!

Home Staging How to stage your home for resale

I’ll be staging two more homes in the near future. Stay tuned!

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  1. What a great story! The house looks great! I’m not ready to sell yet, but would like to stage my home when the time comes. Do you have more tips? Looking at your photos I am seeing that less is more. ? Is the goal to make rooms appear larger than they are? So much to think on! Thank you so much for sharing! I love your style 😍.

    1. Darlene, thank you! I will think up some more tips include them in a PDF download that you can use when you stage your home. So yes, less is more. It has a fresh, airy feeling when you walk through the house. If you are staging an existing house, I’d suggest putting a significant amount of extraneous or overstuffed furniture items in storage, too until you’re left with the basics. Stick with white bedding if possible, too. Add color or texture in pillows and throws. Maybe a printable download will be helpful for anyone trying to accomplish this on their own.

      1. Lisa Logan says:

        I would love a printable download as well….. it would be great to have some more tips !

  2. You did a great job staging that house- bet it will sell quick!
    Thank you for all the tips-

    1. Thank you Jeanne, I hope it does sell quickly! Then the next house will look basically the same (I’ll reuse the same furniture) until I build my inventory.

  3. I enjoyed seeing your staging!

    There’s a typo under “What to put on the air mattress.” It says “…we used one of our widows from our shop…” :)


    1. Thank you, Greer! I never see my own typos. I often type “and” when I mean “an”…:)

  4. You did a wonderful job staging! But I can’t believe they covered up hardwood floor with carpet!!! So many people seem to have allergies or just find carpet “dirty”. Even in cold climate areas, I would think hardwoods with area rugs would appeal to more clients, then they could choose to have rugs or not. :)

  5. Great staging tips! I never thought about the use of natural lighting only with photos but, it makes sense. And less really is more.

  6. Hi Jeanette! I just found your article….wow, thank you! I have read a lot of tips over the years on home staging and had heard of the concept of air mattresses to make a bed. I couldn’t remember the exact way it was done, so thank you soo much for posting this awesome tip! You have great ideas that others haven’t mentioned and are much more specific and therefore helpful!:) We just bought our dream house a few days ago and now the panic is setting in to get our current house ready to list. I’m also in the Columbus area and am a little scared about selling a house in October…yikes! Can you offer any ideas on the front entryway? I have a tiny one and am not sure if I should clear it of everything or risk making it seem crowded by adding a bench or something.. Thank you so much!!