People Who Stage Homes For A Living Say You're Making Your Home Look Bad If You Aren't Doing These Things

These tips will ensure you have a swoon-worthy abode.

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Have you ever toured a house in hopes of potentially making a purchase? If you have and you’ve been swayed by the stunning furniture and gorgeous decor, you have the person who staged that home to thank. Realtors and interior design professionals take the utmost care to set up a curated space that’s stylish, welcoming, and warm — and as professionals, they know what they’re talking about.

Their recommendations will make your place look and feel better than ever, from upgrading your bathroom linens to taking care of low-maintenance plants. Whether you’re a renter, a homeowner, or somewhere in between, these tips are bound to help.


Making Extra Space By Decluttering Your Most Popular Rooms

Kim Sullivan, a realtor at Insight Realty Group, believes that boxing things up is the first step in presenting a home. “This helps people to easily be able to start to pack up (they are moving anyway, might as well get started!) and easily and neatly stackable in a basement or garage so they are out of the way,” says Sullivan.

Yet, this tip is also great for people staying put. These plastic storage boxes will help anyone better organize their clutter. If you need to move your stuff from room to room, you can lift these up by their built-in handles for easy transportation that won’t cause unnecessary strain. You can also use them in the kitchen or bathroom to display snacks or toiletries.


Changing Out Your Switchplates For An Easy Yet Noticeable Refresh

Light switches are one of many small details Winkler mentioned that might not seem like much at first, but can make a huge difference. Replace your old ones with these switch plates, which are made of a durable, flexible polycarbonate material that won't warp or break and comes in 18 colors, so you can mix and match to fit your space.

Because they're both heat and fade-resistant to temperatures as hot as 100 degrees Fahrenheit, they're safe against discoloration — so they're a long-lasting investment you probably won’t need to replace again.


Making Sure You’re Clearing Your Home Of Preventable Safety Issues

“Do not have items in pathways and walkways. Make sure your stair railings are sturdy and in good repair,” advises Sullivan; clearing out these spaces not only makes them look better, but it helps keep you and your housemates safe.

If your indoor railing is on the way out, this staircase handrail is a great option for anyone looking for a replacement; it's made of wrought iron and galvanized pipe, so it's tough enough to withstand years of use, and its high-quality anti-rust coating keeps it from wearing down over time. Each of its strong brackets can support up to 400 pounds, so it's a sturdy option you know you can rely on.


Making Sure Your Floors Really Shine

According to Sullivan, if you really want your space to stand out, “The house should pass the white glove test (yes, this is part of staging and includes windows!) [...] Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner makes wood floors gleam.”

This water-based cleaning formula dries quickly without leaving behind any residue, and it's safe to use on all unwaxed and unoiled wooden floors. You can simply spray and mop it up; it quickly picks up dust and dirt to make your surfaces shine.


Freshening Up Your Bath Towels

Sullivan knows the benefits of a good towel: “Hang them brand new and looking their best right before the photographer comes,” she says.

These soft and fluffy towels are made of 100% Turkish cotton, which soaks up moisture after you bathe or shower to leave skin feeling as clean as can be. Their double-stitched hems are tightly sewn, so their threads won't hang loose or unravel, and they dry super fast after you wash them. Since “they don't have to be ultra expensive but should look lush,” as Sullivan advises, this budget-friendly set more than fit the bill.


Adding A Flower Garden & Greenery In Front To Add Curb Appeal

Don’t underestimate the importance of a well-maintained lawn or backyard; that’s where this perennial wildflower seed mix comes in. In the real estate world, “Sometimes you'll see a listing (not very common) and the agent will write "not a drive-by". There are buyers who will not cross the threshold if the outside of the home isn't cleaned and welcoming,” shares Sullivan.

You can plant these flowers in patches of all sizes, from tiny gardens to massive yards, to create a welcoming atmosphere that includes some of the most popular and beautiful wildflowers out there. As far as maintenance, simply water them when the soil is dry, trim off anything that's dead, and watch them bloom.


Using Extra Lights To Add Additional Safety To Staircases

Sullivan also recommends that you “Check for broken steps (bricks/stone), trip and fall hazards. The last thing you want is someone getting hurt while viewing your home." These stick-on motion sensor lights are an additional way to keep your home safe for visitors or people coming in for a showing. Plus, all you need for installation are the included adhesive pads.

When they detect movement, they'll turn on automatically, illuminating the surrounding area; after 20 seconds without motion, they'll shut off to save energy.


Forgetting To Pinpoint Poorly Lit Areas In The Home

Michael Winkler, co-founder, and chief strategist at Sell Home Today, knows the importance of lighting up your space: "Identify the dark areas around your home and add a lamp or two that goes with the style of your home. I always stage homes during good daylight hours and make sure to brighten those dark areas,” Winkler notes.

This industrial floor lamp fits the bill; its chic design combines matte black metal and clear glass for a stylish option that won't make you choose between materials. Its sturdy metal base keeps it from tipping over, and its convenient food pedal switch makes it super easy to turn on and off.


Having A Home That Looks Uninviting

Sometimes, all a home needs is a little boost of color. “Though neutral colors are recommended over bright or garish colors, having too many neutral tones makes a home look dull and uninviting,” says Winkler. “Adding plants around your house, colorful artwork on the walls, or bright blankets and throw pillows on a dark couch all add splashes of color around your home and make it more appealing.”

This dieffenbachia plant is low-maintenance and easy to grow, and it comes in a charming clay pot that goes with everything. Reviewers note that it thrives in indirect light, so you can display it almost anywhere and trust that it will grow.


Adding More Color Through Wall Art

Since Winkler mentioned art helping to liven up a room, this colorful cactus wall art is especially notable. It gives any room a pop of personality that's sure to make your guests crack a smile. Each painting in the set of four is printed on a canvas that's lightweight and easy to hang up, so the installation process will be a breeze. With each set, you'll receive four screws and anchors that let you hang up your new favorite prints right away.


Using Warm Blankets For An Additional Pop Of Color Throughout Your Home

For a cozy pop of color, try this breathable throw blanket; its woven design incorporates every color of the rainbow into a joyful piece that's sure to make you smile. Its anti-shed material won't pill, no matter how many times you toss it in the washing machine, and its cheerful hues won't fade in the sun, so you can leave it out on bright days or even take it along to festivals and picnics. Plus, its high-quality acrylic material is super soft to the touch; so many decorative blankets are just ornamental, but this one is actually perfect for snuggling up.


Adding Decorative Pillow Cases For Color That’s Especially Inviting

Dress up your couch cushions with these colorful throw pillow covers, which come in sunny pastels that would fit just as beautifully into a snowy cabin as a beach house. They're incredibly easy to put on and take off your pillows, and their invisible zipper design ensures they'll stay shut. They won't fade or wrinkle over time, and if you or your guests have sensitive skin, never fear; their soft velvet material is smooth and gentle to the touch.


Amplifying Your Small Space By Using Mirrors

Space is relative, and there are numerous tips and tricks you can try to make a tiny room feel like a palace. For instance, “Strategically placed mirrors can make a small room look bigger,” according to Winkler; these decorative mirrors are just one great option. Their geometric design and rustic wood material make them a versatile choice that gels well with most other decor, and they'll show your reflection accurately, making touch-ups and check-ins that much easier.

You'll especially love their convenient shelves, which you can use to display anything from accessories to affirmation cards.


Thinking About Small Home Details That Can Easily Be Refreshed

“There are small, seemingly insignificant details around your home you should spruce up before staging it,” says Winkler, and “those small details include things like worn hardware (door knobs or cabinet handles), scratched outlet covers, chipped paint on cabinets, and dull-looking faucets and showerheads.”

These matte black door knobs make a great replacement since their minimalist design matches well with most color schemes and decorative styles. Their universal design fits most standard doors, and you can use them anywhere you don't need locking functionality, from hallways to closets. With each set, you'll receive all the installation hardware you need, so you can set them up in a matter of minutes with just a screwdriver and a dream.


Replacing Cabinet Hardware With Something More Eye-Catching

Dress up your cabinets with these matte black cabinet pulls, which will make upgrading your kitchen so easy. Each pull design is crafted by a team that works to make their handles both beautiful and ergonomic. Made from brass and built to last, you’ll get a total of 10 handles per order, alongside all of the necessary mounting hardware you’ll need to easily install them.


Touching Up Paint On Walls Or Furniture For A Cleaner-Looking Space

These refillable paint pens make it so easy to touch up any scratches or scuffs on your favorite pieces of furniture. Each kit comes with two professional-grade paint pens and a syringe to fill them with the color of your choice; paint stays fresh inside the pens, so you can perform touch-ups whenever you need. Their twist-action design gives you just the right amount of paint every time, and their smaller brush heads make it easy to perform detail-oriented paint jobs without straining to see your work.”


Swapping Out Old Faucets For Shinier, Brand-New Versions

Swapping out dull faucets was one of Winkler’s recommendations, and this beautifully-priced kitchen faucet makes that an especially easy change. This faucet lets you spray water wherever you need, streamlining the process of your kitchen chores. It's made of lead-free stainless steel that resists wear and tear over time, and it features three convenient water functions: spray, pause, and flow.

If you're new to home improvement, no sweat; you can install it in under 15 minutes, and you won't even need to call a plumber. This is yet another detail that makes your home feel so much more inviting; “Though they may not seem like a big deal, they’re all easy, cheap things to fix,” says Winkler, and they do make a legitimate difference.


Swapping Out Standard Lightbulbs For High-Tech Bulbs That Function Better

When you’re upgrading your space, Shri Ganeshram, CEO and founder of, recommends staying ahead of the technological curve. “Sоmе nоn-stаndаrd optiоns fоr stаging а hоmе includе[...] incоrpоrаting tеchnology likе smаrt hоmе devices,” he says; in his own career, he’s found that “showcаsing energy-efficient аppliаnсes саn helр аррeаl tо envirоnmеntаlly cоnscious buyеrs.”

These smart bulbs come with a myriad of brilliant functions that make home ownership that much easier, from voice controls that let you make commands at a distance to apps you can use to turn off your lights even after you've already left the house. You'll also adore their countless color options, which you can set to one specific hue or cycle through to curate the vibe at your next party.


Incorporating Decor That Looks & Feels Sustainable

Ganeshram also suggests “аdding elemеnts оf biоphilic design,” like “using reclаimеd wооd fоr furniturе оr decоr,” while looking to redecorate. This rustic toilet paper holder is one such piece, considering its durable brackets made of galvanized metal and its weathered wooden joints.

It'll screw right into your wall for secure mounting that won't wobble or budge, and you'll receive all the hardware you need with your purchase; it's a timeless piece that's somehow both industrial and romantic.


Avoiding Rugs That Are Too Small For The Room They’re Displayed In

Lori Shaw, the owner and principal designer of Lori Shaw Interiors, cautions against rugs that are too tiny, saying, “They look like islands for your furniture! I like to take rugs within one foot of the wall.”

This textured area rug is a stylish choice available in several larger sizes that won't break the bank, and because it's specifically designed to take the wear and tear of everyday life, it's a smart investment that's sure to last. Just vacuum it regularly and spot clean when needed, and your house will look just like a model home.


Adding A Red Runner To Your Kitchen Area

“It’s just classic and gives an upscale feel,” says Shaw of this stunning red rug. It's machine-woven out of synthetic fibers that are more than equipped to handle even the heaviest foot traffic; since it's so beautiful, you may hesitate to put it in the kitchen, but it won't shed and it's stain resistant, so it's safe for even the messiest chefs to proudly display by the counter.

When it needs a cleaning, you can simply vacuum and blot out stains with detergent, and it'll last through years of kitchen memories to come.


Forgetting To Refresh Your Fireplace Logs

If you’re tidying your space, don’t forget the fireplace; when you give it a little extra TLC, you can make any room feel that much more welcoming, and according to Shaw, “It’s very commonly overlooked!” That's where these ceramic gas logs come in; they look super realistic for a gas or electric fireplace, but they're clean burning and won't release ash or residue into the room, protecting your respiratory health.

Each set includes four logs, which you can organize and arrange to your heart's content; your bonfires will look better than ever before.


Focusing On How Your House Smells The Second You Walk In

According to Martin Orefice, CEO of Rent To Own Labs, “Even if you keep your house clean, things like cooking smells and even dirty laundry can linger in a house and give it a distinctive odor that isn't always detectable to regular residents.” Your home itself most likely has a specific scent; take the bull by the horns and make it a good one with this electric wax warmer.

You might prefer your scents floral, woodsy, or clean; either way, you can simply install the bulb, add the wax melts of your choice, and plug it into any standard outlet to release any aroma into your home. If you or a loved one are sensitive to candles, this is an especially great choice, since it's totally smokeless to minimize potential irritation.


Paring Down Knick-Knacks That May Be Causing Clutter

Beloved trinkets give your home so much personality, but you don’t want to let them overpower the rest of your decor. According to Joel Comino, the founder and CEO of Next Modular, “A space with a more minimalist vibe and more space instantly looks more sleek and ‘clean’ compared to a home full of bulky furniture and knick-knacks here and there.”

The best thing you can do is find a happy medium, which is where this floating shelf comes in; you can choose your favorite pieces and put them all in one place for a wall decoration that’s incredibly charming, yet not contributing to clutter. You can hang it up or leave it freestanding; either way, each of its nine display compartments will play host to the collectibles that evoke some of your best memories.


Adding Versatile Furniture That Can Serve Multiple Purposes

Space-saving furniture is always worth looking into, especially in the eyes of someone who shows homes. “You may want to invest in space-saving items and dual-purpose furniture such as storage ottomans and bookshelves that double as room dividers,” Comino recommends.

This faux leather storage ottoman provides the perfect storage space for extra clothes, books, toys, and other essentials that don't quite fit on your shelves. Not only is it capacious enough for all your stuff, but its padded lid provides you with a comfortable seat that looks amazing with all sorts of decorative styles.


Paying Close Attention To Your Flooring

Comino recommends that you “use flooring that matches the look you're going for in a certain section or room,” but choosing the right design can feel like a commitment. That’s what makes these peel-and-stick floor tiles such a great option, since they’re easy to install and remove whenever you feel like switching things up.

They're made of textured vinyl and have a strong adhesive on the back, which keeps them in place for as long as you like; one reviewer noted that they're super easy to trim with kitchen scissors in case you'd like to adjust their shape.


Adding Color & Texture To Wall Space, Even As An Accent

If you’re still looking to try something new, “Pop in a brightly colored accent wall or accessorize with furniture and textiles of different colors, shapes, and sizes to create an eclectic but unified look,” Comino recommends. Color and texture can make all the difference when you’re sprucing up your space, and luckily, it’s not too hard to change on your own.

This peel-and-stick wallpaper in a charming brick pattern gives you another way to completely overhaul any room when you’re ready for a change. Its durable PVC material is self-adhesive, so you won't need any additional stickers or glue to stick it firmly into place, and when you're ready to remove it, you won't leave behind any residue.


Having A Presentable Bed

When Casey Napolitano, realtor, broker, and founder of NDA Real Estate, stages a room, she likes to make sure prospective buyers can imagine feeling cozy: “Making the primary bedroom look like a hotel suite is crucial for staging and listing photos. The beds, especially in the master bedroom, should be made with white sheets, a white comforter or quilt, and white pillow shams with just a pop of color.”

Bring this principle into your own home with a white comforter set that’s made of 100% soft and breathable cotton for year-round coziness and temperature control. Each set comes with one comforter and two standard pillowcases, so you'll have all the pieces you need, and its microfiber fill feels absolutely amazing when you curl up in bed.


Putting A Quilt On Your Bed To Add To Its Appeal

"If you have time to iron out wrinkles, a comforter is also a great option. However, if you need a quick fix, a quilt is a great option that does not need to be ironed beforehand,” advises Napolitano; this reversible quilt has two equally soft sides (standard cotton and soft jersey), so you can switch it around based on your temperature and mood. Its chic, versatile design makes it look much more expensive than it actually is, and both of its fabric styles are breathable and elastic for lightweight warmth that feels amazing on your skin. When it needs a wash, you can simply toss it in the machine on cold, and it'll be as good as new.


Making Sure Your Bed Has The Proper Pillows To Exude Comfort

As Napolitano advises, “Don’t forget fresh white Euro-size pillows!” These particular pillowcases are made of soft cotton and feature a two-inch flange on all four sides, so they look and feel worthy of even the most luxurious hotel bed.

They're also unique in that they help prevent static electricity, so you won't be shocked whenever you try to fall asleep (unless you’re just pleasantly surprised at how great these are); they're both silky soft and breathable for the best night's sleep you could imagine.


Using Big Pieces Of Art To Cover Up Wall Space

"Staging living rooms with large statement art pieces and mirrors is very important and immediately elevates the look of the house,” says Napolitano. “Hanging large, beautiful, and tastefully done artwork and mirrors makes the room look bigger and more inviting.”

This sweet painting is a larger option with a budget-friendly price point that will beautifully complement any bedroom or living room; its canvas material gives it a classic touch that you'll want to take with you, should you ever move. Reviewers praised its dreamy color scheme and the romantic vibe it brought to their homes; many of them bought another one to gift to family members.


Replacing Outdated Lighting Fixtures

“If a home has any outdated light fixtures,” says Napolitano, “it is very easy to replace them with more modern fixtures to look more appealing to potential buyers.” This industrial ceiling light features four bright bulbs that illuminate your space with a vintage vibe that's both trendy and timeless.

Use it in conjunction with LED, incandescent, or CFL bulbs; no matter which you choose, you'll find yourself basking in the glow of your new decor. Your purchase includes all the hardware and tools you'll need for installation, so even inexperienced DIYers can put it up in no time.


Using Colorful Planters To Help Dress Up Your Front Entrance

Christy Walker, broker and owner at RE/MAX Signature in Arizona, recommends dressing up your entrance to make a great first impression: “Beyond sweeping up the front porch, removing any cobwebs and washing the windows, think about freshly painting the front door and adding a potted plant with some colorful flowers.”

This resin planter looks like glass at first glance, but it's much more lightweight, and its orange hue gives your porch a sense of warmth all year long. It's weather resistant, so you can leave it out in the rain or snow, and its UV coating keeps its bright color from fading over time, even in direct sunlight. It’ll draw attention without being too much.


Letting Guests Feel Welcome Before They Even Enter Your Home

Another fun addition to your front door is a cheery mat like this one — just ask Walker, who says, “I also recommend adding a great welcome mat that makes people smile or laugh.”

This one is made of a tough, durable coir material that thoroughly scrapes your soles for cleaner shoes when you step inside, no matter where you've been walking. You'll also love its sweet message, which is sure to make you smile while you reach for your keys and give your guests the feeling that they’re more than welcome in your space.


Addressing The Poorly Thriving Plants & Half-Dead Greenery In Your Home

Elsbeth Loughrey, the director of staging at Everset, knows a thing or two about brightening up your space, and she believes that "Nothing brings a room to life like the look of fresh flowers! We recommend simple arrangements featuring uniform white flowers.”

For a low-maintenance option, try these silk hydrangea flowers, which look incredibly realistic and are soft to the touch. They're almost exactly the same size as real hydrangeas, so you can display and arrange them just like you would their counterparts from the flower shop. If they're getting dusty or dirty over time, you can clean them off with cold water for a quick refresh and set them out in your kitchen, on your nightstand, or at the center of your coffee table.


Protecting Faux Flowers And Decor From Sun Damage

“Pro tip: pick up some floral UV protectant spray to prevent yellowing,” Loughrey adds. This particular spray protects your dried and artificial flowers from fading, and it works equally well on indoor and outdoor decorations. This can help your faux plants last significantly longer than they would otherwise.

Reviewers say they spray their flowers at the beginning of the spring season, and they find that’s all they need to do.


Decluttering Your Coffee Table

“Replace your remotes controls and knick-knacks with a couple of sleek books” if you want to redesign your coffee table, according to Loughrey. This coffee table book takes readers through the journey of Vanity Fair magazine with revolutionary photography and rich prose, from its notoriously glamorous parties to its pivotal role in media history, and it’s a go-to choice for Loughrey.

The book itself is large enough that you won't need many other coffee table decorations to level up your living room. Not only did reviewers love its sleek look, but they were endlessly fascinated by its pictures and anecdotes.


Decorating Your Coffee Table With Books

This is another chic coffee table book Loughrey recommends, with much more to offer than just a stylish cover — especially for photography enthusiasts. With over 300 seminal images of stars from Yves Saint Laurent to Kate Moss, it celebrates the legendary career of fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh, who bucked convention and celebrated his subjects' idiosyncrasies to widespread acclaim; flip through, and you’ll find models, designers, and Hollywood stars wearing some of the most celebrated designs of the 20th century.


Fixing Nicks & Scratches In Furniture

Realtor Gregory Martire advises you to pay attention to furniture that’s past its prime, especially considering the numerous options you have to fill in nicks and scratches, saying: "[I] touch up flooring and or furniture with putty crayons or regular crayons."

These wood furniture filler sticks are an excellent tool for preserving your favorite furniture, and it's much more sustainable to touch them up with a product like this than to regularly replace pieces with imperfection. You can use them to draw directly onto your furniture; they come in five colors that match the most popular wood colors and finishes, including black, white, and three versatile shades of brown.


Making Sure Rugs Stay Securely On The Floor, Especially During High Foot Traffic

Eli Pasternak, interior designer and founder of Liberty House Buying Group, doesn’t just use rug grippers in the homes he stages; they’re all over his place, too. Says Pasternak, “They come in particularly handy when a rug pad is not an option or when a door needs to open over a rug. They keep everything organized, are safe for hardwood floors, and can be reused!”

Their unique design allows you to pull up the corners of your rugs when you'd like to clean the floor and push them back into place when you're finished; they're made with a hook-and-loop gripper design instead of a sticky adhesive, so they move when you want them to and stay put when you don't. It's an especially smart choice for homes with kids and pets since they can prevent slips, slides, and spills.

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