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Cleaned Out Bedroom with Gray Walls and Lots of Natural Light

19 Tips & Tricks for Home Staging on a Budget

Staging your home before putting it on the market is a good way to help your home sell faster and for more money. In fact, real estate agents say home staging can even impact buyer interest in your property. If you don’t have the budget to hire a professional home stager, you can always do some DIY home staging! Check out these 19 home staging tips to learn more about styling your house for sale!

Go on a Cleaning Spree

Clean White Kitchen with Leather Bar Stools. Photo by Instagram user @vlentine

Photo via @vlentine

Giving your home a thorough cleaning is a simple way to stage your home on a budget. In addition to normal tasks like vacuuming and dusting, sellers should go the extra mile by scrubbing bathroom grout, soaking faucet heads in vinegar to remove limescale buildup, wiping down baseboards, and otherwise deep cleaning the house. Best of all, the supplies you’ll need to do this cost very little money. Of course, if you already have some cleaning supplies on hand, you can tackle this step without spending anything at all!

Declutter Everything

Clutter can make a home feel small and messy, so when staging a house, less is more. Even small homes look much larger once they’ve been cleared out and properly staged. Decluttering might feel overwhelming at first, but you can use a number of decluttering methods to make the process go more smoothly. And, as a bonus, decluttering will make it easier for you to get packed and moved when your home finally sells!

Keep Flat Surfaces Clear

Simple Bedroom with Blanket Draped Over Bed. Photo by Instagram user @sarahshireed

Photo via @sarahshireed

Take extra care to ensure shelves, countertops, desks, and tables are left mostly clear. Keeping surfaces free of clutter is one of the top professional home staging tips. A few decorations here and there are fine, but clean lines are a home staging staple. The less stuff lying around, the larger and tidier rooms will appear. Try to keep items on surfaces to simple decorations like a vase of flowers, a bowl of potpourri, or a lamp.

Remove Personal Items

One of the primary goals of staging your home is to showcase the property’s potential. To keep potential home buyers focused on your home, remove any personal items like family photos, knick-knacks, or memorabilia, as this can be distracting for potential buyers. And since depersonalizing a living space is all about removing things rather than adding them, this home staging trick is totally free!

Paint Walls with Neutral Colors

Dining Room with Board and Batten Wall. Photo by Instagram user @styled_by_ja

Photo via @styled_by_ja

Sometimes, buyers have a hard time looking past bright or dramatic paint colors. To appeal to the widest number of potential home buyers, repaint your walls a neutral color like white, cream, beige, or light gray. Paint is relatively cheap, and studies have found that neutral paint jobs can bring sellers an average 107% return on investment. In other words, painting is a perfect option for home staging on a budget!

Refresh with Mild Scents

Shelf with Flowers and Oil Diffuser. Photo by Instagram user @coco.camellia_

Photo via @coco.camellia_

A well-staged home should engage multiple senses—not just sight. Homeowners can easily become nose blind to certain smells like pet and cigarette odors after living with them for a prolonged period of time. To eliminate these odors, try sprinkling baking soda on soft surfaces like furniture, leaving it to sit overnight, then vacuum it up in the morning. Washing your windows, steam cleaning your carpet, and scrubbing your walls with soap and a non-abrasive sponge can also help. You can also add ambiance by placing a diffuser with light natural scents like vanilla or lavender!

Remove Evidence of Pets

Cat Laying on a Leader Chair. Photo by Instagram user @gatsbylechatnz

Photo via @gatsbylechatnz

Odors and other signs of household pets like scratch marks on the floor or chewed-on furniture might deter some buyers from considering your home. Thankfully, carpet stains or scratches on hardwood can also be handled on a budget. When you begin the home staging process, treat carpet stains with a mixture of vinegar, water, baking soda, peroxide, and detergent. Or disguise scratches with a hardwood repair kit found in most major hardware stores. In addition, make sure you find a place for your pets to stay while you’re staging and showing your home so that your furry friends don’t get in the way of a potential sale!

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Let in Natural Light

Bringing sunlight into your home won’t cost you a thing, and natural light can make all the difference when staging a house. In fact, professional home stagers and real estate photographers usually recommend opening or even removing all window coverings to let in as much natural light as possible. Well-lit rooms are a strong selling point for many buyers, and natural light can help make small rooms appear larger.

Choose the Right Light Bulbs

Unless you’re staging a home with several large windows in every room, natural light alone isn’t always enough to keep your home bright. When staging a home on a budget, simply selecting the right light bulbs can make a big difference. Mimic natural light by replacing fluorescent bulbs with soft white bulbs, which is the typical incandescent light that most people are used to. You can also use “daylight” bulbs that give off a refreshing blue hue, which work well in kitchens, bathrooms, and home offices.

Create More Space with Mirrors

Living Room with Large Mirror Set Up to Open Room. Photo by Instagram user @rustandtrust

Photo via @rustandtrust. (Mirror via @arhaus)

Another way to achieve a spacious look when staging your home is by strategically placing mirrors, which can create the illusion of more square footage without major (and costly) renovations. Stage your living room with a large mirror at eye level near a light source to make the space feel more roomy and comfortable, or make a small bathroom look bigger by covering the wall behind the sink with a mirror the length of the room. As with all home staging tips, overusing this technique can make your home appear unnatural, so don’t go overboard.

Upgrade the Cabinets

Updated Farmhouse Kitchen with White Cabinets. Photo by Instagram user @cabinetjoint

Photo via @cabinetjoint

Cabinetry can make or break a home’s kitchens and bathrooms. Rather than replacing cabinets altogether, home stagers working within a budget can transform existing ones with a fresh coat of paint and updated hardware. Swap out old knobs for sleek fixtures, and paint the cabinets a color that complements the rest of the room. White cabinets, in particular, are very popular right now. If you don’t want to get new hardware, you can simply remove and spray paint old hardware as another way to transform cabinets on a budget.

Organize the Closets

Adequate storage is one of the top features buyers look for in a home, so organizing your closets prior to showing your home is an easy and effective way to stage on a budget. Keep the floors clear, make sure clothes are hung neatly (with matching hangers all facing the same direction), and remove items you won’t need before your move. Chances are you can get rid of about half of what’s currently in your closet to provide a better impression of the space. When it comes to showing off the room’s storage, your goal should be to create as much empty space as possible!

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Rearrange Your Current Furniture

When staging a house on a budget, work with what you already have—that includes furniture. You should try to create an open, flowing layout that’s easy for touring buyers to navigate. First, sketch out the layout of each room. Then, measure the furniture and determine how much space it will take up in the room. That way, you can try different arrangements without having to pick up and move your furniture several times. As you plan, be sure to take tips from professional designers, such as building rooms around a focal point.

Use Existing Items

Dining Room with Reclaimed Wood Dining Set. Photo by Instagram user @jfuerstphoto

Photo via @jfuerstphoto

Most people have home goods and decor they don’t often use. As you’re staging your home, why not “shop your house” for these items and place them out for buyers to see? Put those embroidered towels you’ve been keeping in your linen closet out on the rack by your shower, or set your dining room table with the good dish set that’s been collecting dust in the box. Even if you don’t plan on using these items after your move, using them as a decorative touch while your property is on the market is a great way to give them new life.

Thrift New Decor

Thrift Store Stool with Plant on Top. Photo by Instagram user @dinasdigs

Photo via @dinasdigs

Thrifting decor can be helpful if you don’t have enough home decor on hand to create your desired for sale look. Browsing estate sales, garage sales, and even online marketplaces like Etsy and Facebook Marketplace can lead to some great finds without breaking the bank. Check out local thrift shops, too. Even if you don’t find something on your first visit, thrift shops and antique stores often get new stock on a daily or weekly basis. And since you should only aim to use a few pieces per room, you won’t have much to buy!

Place Decor Using the Rule of Three

An insider tip among home stagers is to group decor pieces by three. Place a large, medium, and a small piece of complementary decor next to one another on a coffee table or between the books on your bookshelf for a put-together look. This compositional rule is simple enough for anyone to try and leads to professional-looking results, all while allowing you to minimize the amount of decor you use for staging. Try, for instance, pairing a tall vase with two smaller candles. Or set a stack of coffee table books next to some fresh flowers and a small, sculptural piece.

Buy New Bedding

If your bedding doesn’t match or looks worn, then buying a new set is a worthwhile investment. A well-made bed is essential when staging bedrooms, so buying an inexpensive matching set from a budget-friendly retailer is an easy way to transform the space. Using your bed set as a pop of color is fine, but as a general staging tip, make sure the overall look is neutral.

Put Slipcovers on Furniture

Placing slipcovers on couches and covers on throw pillows that are outdated or dirty makes them basically look brand new and can be achieved without blowing your budget. Choose slipcovers that match the color scheme of your room for a more seamless look. You may even want to try covering dining chairs that look worse for wear. Ultimately, covering small flaws with a slipcover will be much less expensive than buying new furniture altogether.

Try Virtual Staging

If your property is already vacant, you don’t need to purchase any furniture or decor to stage it. One of the best ways to stage an empty home on a budget is through virtual staging. Using photo editing, artists can render virtual furniture into your home to create photos of what the space could look like for interested buyers. The results look very real, and hiring someone to virtually stage your home can cost as little as $50 per photo, making it much more affordable than hiring a traditional stager.


Looking for somewhere to store furniture and decor while you prepare to sell your home? Extra Space Storage has convenient self storage facilities across the country to help ease your transition. Find affordable storage units near you!

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