10 Ways to Stage Your Home

A Nice Entranceway

Impress buyers right off the bat with a beautiful entrance. “I always tell sellers to put a fresh coat of paint on the front door,” says real estate agent Theresa Evans of Charleston, SC.

And if you don’t have an entrance at all, make one. “A lot of my buyers have mentioned that they don’t like to just go through the front door into the living room,” says Los Angeles-based realtor Rhonda Kohn.

This problem, more common in condos and apartments, is solved by cleverly placing furniture to create more of an entryway. “A console table or demilune chest of drawers with something over it creates a welcoming vignette,” says designer Sue Adams of Andover, Mass.

Hardwood Floors

Realtors agree that most buyers are hunting for hardwood. You can bet that of all types of flooring, hardwood floors will “have the most longevity and will never go out of style,” according to designer Linda Applewhite of Sausalito, Calif.

A synthetic wood floor, like Pergo, “is always a good option for those who can’t afford hardwood,” furthers real estate agent Rhonda Kohn. But know that a laminate floor “won’t fool everyone–it has a hollow thud when you walk on it and it doesn’t look the same,” adds designer Sue Adams.

Fab Fixtures

“Fixtures,” says designer Linda Applewhite, “are the jewelry of the house.” Only the extremely detail-oriented among us will stop to inspect doorknobs, faucets and cabinet knobs, but designers and real estate agents argue that we’ll prefer the look of a place that has coordinated fixtures that are a cut above standard developer grade.

“Newer construction is so chintzy with fixtures and fittings,” observes Miami-based interior designer Simon Temprell. Replacing knobs and drawer pulls “is the quickest way to make over a bathroom or kitchen,” he says. And when it comes to faucets, he adds, “for $60 or $70 dollars you can buy something infinitely better” than what you likely already have.

Beautiful Baths

According to real estate agents, marble counters, whirlpool baths and steam showers up the attractiveness of any bathroom. But if you don’t have these luxury items, it may be more practical to address the unattractive aspects of your existing bath.

“Rip out that big sheet mirror and those globe lights that look like you’re in a theater dressing room,” suggests designer Simon Temprell.

Replace them with an elegant framed mirror (don’t be afraid to look outside the bathroom section, he says) and sconce lighting on either side.

This lighting scheme is also more flattering to the face, observes designer Sue Adams, and making buyers feel pretty will pay off!

Counter Intelligence

You’ve probably heard that granite is the secret to a contemporary kitchen, but that’s not necessarily what buyers are after. “It’s really about the slab,” says designer Linda Applewhite. Buyers don’t want to see grout lines on their counters, she explains.

So when it comes to slab countertops, granite is the top pick because it’s hard, nonporous and easy to care for. But then again, so is Corian, so are composite stone surfaces such as Silestone and, she notes, with the help of today’s sophisticated sealants, so are concrete, limestone, soapstone and marble.

Even butcher-block, which is much less expensive than stone, can be a more appealing alternative to tile or laminate countertops. “When it gets funky, you can sand it and oil it and it looks good again,” she says.