Because we are now in the expansion phase of the real estate ebb and flow cycle, people are buying. So that means it’s a good time to sell! Go ahead and get ready for your showing with our open house staging checklist! Let’s get started!

1. The Front Door

An attractive front door means a lot and is a major player in terms of curb appeal. Your front door should suit the home’s design, but this does not mean you have to keep the original door if it’s in ill repair or really dated. That being said, if you choose not to replace the door, make sure it’s well-tended, clean, and welcoming. Repaint it if needed and any matching exterior shutters, too.
glass front door

Although replacing an old door with one of these stylish options might be tempting, do not change your door if you have a historic home such as a Mid-Century, Victorian, Craftsman, or Cape Code. Some buyers want to purchase a historic home with all the appropriate design elements still intact. If you are lucky enough to have one of these classic homes, look into ways to rehabilitate a worn door or chipping shutters. Make sure that repairs you make preserve the historic appearance of your home instead of clashing with it.

Elevate your curb appeal by painting the door a strong accent color. Reds, blues, greens, and even yellows are popular choices as well as the classic glossy black.

2. The Front Porch

Just as your front door makes the first impression to a potential buyer, so does your porch. Make sure that the front of your home is clean by power washing the porch, deck, sidewalk, and driveway. Even make sure that hardly noticeable aspects of your home, like the gutters, are clean as well. Potential buyers will be scrutinizing every aspect of your home, so make sure the outside of your home looks clean.

On top of cleaning the front of your home, I also suggest planting seasonal flowers, displaying candles, and creating a small sitting area.

3. Entryways and Foyers

The leading principle is to make the home look stylish and livable. This means making your home marketable by filling it with warm decor that has aspirational appeal and makes your visitors feel as if they can imagine themselves living in the home.

Top entryway staging pieces include:

  • A small table with clean lines
  • A small bench or cozy chair if the space allows
  • A mirror
  • Flowers

It is important to remember never to clutter or overcrowd this space! Just beautify the space. No one wants to feel confined when entering a home–the decor should impart a sense of flow and comfort. Your visitors must be able to move about freely without bumping into furniture or each other!

In general, neutral colors are the best for entryways and foyers, but a thoughtfully staged area of color, such as throw pillows or a bright lamp, works well. Make sure all flower arrangements are fresh and that candles are well placed. Candles are lovely on a tray, but be sure the fragrance is subtle! Universally appealing scents include vanilla, lime, bergamot, orange, cedar, pine, and basil.

4. Living Room

Living or family rooms are often the heart of the family. Make sure you have at least one cozy chair, such as a chaise lounge, as well as a sofa or other shared sitting space.

Tip: Arrange the soft furnishings close to one another, and oriented towards the fireplace, television, or music center.

Warm colors, soft textures, and welcoming decor is key here. I love clean, sleek modern interiors, but I do not really want this in a family room.

Living or family rooms often work best when anchored with an area rug in a neutral or monochromatic color scheme.


The use of simple mirrors, natural light, with accent lighting adds freshness. Open the curtains, add live plants, and have a social, warm and intimate seating arrangement, with a styled coffee table at the center.

Again, make sure the space is not over cluttered but welcoming. Make it a place where your visitor can imagine reading a book, entertaining, or chatting with family.

5. The Kitchen

Your visitor should have the urge to cook and spend time with family or friends in this space. A kitchen, above all, should be clean–in fact, it should be absolutely immaculate.

Warning!: Most guests will open cupboards and drawers.

Try to bring in as much natural light as possible. All countertops must be clear of all appliances, including coffee makers and blenders.
Kitchen ready for visitors,

Keep the display of cooking utensils at a minimum. Always have fresh flowers and brightly colored fruit sparingly and nicely arranged on a tray or bowl.

Tip: Stainless steel appliances can elevate sales appeal.

Keep your drawers and cupboards clean and tidy, organize them well, and line them if needed.

6. The Dining Room

A beautifully presented formal dining room immediately makes the home seem more valuable.


When preparing your home for a viewing, be sure to set the table in an elegant and welcoming manner.

7. The Master Bedroom

The master suite is one of the most important selling points, it should be warm, relaxing, and absolutely uncluttered.

When staging your home, do not leave any personal items such as photos, cosmetics, or paperwork on display.

To create a finished look and sense of privacy, curtains are a plus, but keep these open during the day. Low light and candles are a must as well.

Tip: Wash all linens before as well. The bed should have a well presented appearance.

Open the windows for fresh air before the open house.

8. Guest and Children’s Bedrooms

Fresh decor and storage are the highlights of additional bedrooms, including children’s rooms and guest rooms. Keep them simple but add some color! Too much white in a small room will make it forgettable, unless of course, there is a set of veranda doors or another outdoor feature in the rooms.


We want the home to look like it will adapt to the different stages of one’s life–a baby’s room can become a child’s room or be updated easily for a teen. Maybe a study can be made into a guest room some too. Let the room’s decor guide the potential buyer’s imagination.

9. The Bathrooms

The bathrooms in your staged home, like the kitchen, must be immaculately clean and free of personal items, including any hygiene items such as toothbrushes, razors, as well as cleaning supplies. Folding freshly washed towels and displaying them creates a spa-like setting.


Towels should be plush and neutral in color. Simple touches may include small decorative trays with flowers, candles, and attractive bottles of bath items.

Just as in the entryway, make sure the scents used in the bathrooms are neutral. Do not leave out a strong smelling candle that piques your fancy, but upsets an unsuspecting vistitor.

Image courtesy of JED Designs Steven Back, Australia, The Hunted InteriorRed BubbleAmber, My Lists of List,  Little GreenDomaine Home,  Coco Cozy, Elizabeth Metcalfe Interiors & Design Inc., DecorpadHome Adore, My Domaine, HGTVAudrey Campbell DesignSherry Hart Designs and Jennifer Kessler, PopsugarKerrrisdale Design Inc., Decorative Bedroom,  Residence StyleHGTV, Walpole Interior Designers & Decorators, Town & CountryMagenta and LimeSarah MacklemMy Simply Special, and BDG Style, with Ryan Bunker


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