Staging an Apartment That Flies Off the Market

Olivia Elsher

May 4, 2020


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If you need to sell an apartment quickly, staging it is an important part of the process. When a home is staged, buyers can envision themselves living in it. They see the possibilities of each space and can emotionally connect with a future life there. 

A well-staged apartment also often sells for more than empty or lived-in spaces. Again, this is because buyers can envision the possibilities of each space and are focused on the apartment’s good qualities rather than its dislikeable ones.

While many people hire professional stagers to prep their apartments for the market, others put in the time to stage their apartments on their own. Here are six staging design principles that can help you get your apartment ready to fly off the market.

1. Declutter Rooms

Decluttering and cleaning your home is the first step in staging it. However, decluttering for staging is much more intense than any personal decluttering you do to freshen your home while you’re living there. Most professional stagers recommend taking 50% to 75% of your items out of the space before staging. 

Removing clutter will open up your space and allow buyers to imagine their own items on the countertops and in the cabinets. Too many belongings can make even the most spacious closet look small. If you’re still living in your apartment while trying to sell it, you can temporarily move your extra belongings to a storage facility. 

2. Remove Personal Items

Removing personal items is the next step to successfully staging your space. Take down all personal photos and clear off your fridge. Buyers who see personal pictures will have trouble imagining themselves living in your apartment. Instead, they’ll be visualizing you living there. 

To appeal to the widest range of buyers, switch out sentimental art for abstract items with clean lines. Any knickknacks should already be packed away and collections of items should be toned down. For example, if you collect glass unicorns, leaving three out is better than having 50 on display. 

3. Delineate Spaces

Many home stagers make the mistake of pushing their furniture up against the walls. Although it feels counterintuitive, bringing furniture into the center of a room will actually make it feel bigger. You should use large rugs and furniture to create spaces with a clear purpose

For example, your living room could include a rug, coffee table, couch, small side table and extra chair. It’s best to remove your TV and face furniture toward a cozier focal point like a fireplace. Incorporating several furniture groupings into a room can make it feel bigger and show buyers how they could use the space to meet their needs. 

4. Highlight Features 

Every home has different architectural features that make it special and attractive to buyers. Even if your apartment seems ordinary, you can enhance its good qualities with the proper decor. For example, hanging floor-length curtains higher than window frames can make your ceilings look taller. 

Clearing off the top of kitchen cabinets will make this room feel tall and spacious as well. If you have a fireplace, make sure it’s the focus of the space by facing furniture toward it. Remove any unnecessary rugs to reveal more of your beautiful floors. During staging, every item in your home should be serving a purpose. 

5. Add Greenery

Although it might be a bit cliche, bringing greenery into your home really does make it feel fresh and luxurious. You can use real plants, but often faux greenery works just as well and requires less care. Key places to add greenery include the bathrooms and kitchen. 

Think about height as you’re incorporating greenery into your apartment – in most cases, short plants work best for countertops. However, you can also consider purchasing a faux tree to add freshness to your living space. To ensure their home smells fresh, many home stagers bake cookies or put lemons through their kitchen disposal before showings. 

6. Stay Neutral 

Most homeowners enjoy living in rooms with color. However, color preferences vary widely depending on the buyer. To appeal to as many buyers as possible, it’s best to stick to neutral earth tones when staging your home. Whites and light neutrals will also open up your space and give buyers a blank canvas to imagine their life on. 

If you have bright statement walls in your home, it’s a good idea to tone them down to either white or a neutral taupe. Use white bedding and put white towels in the bathrooms. You can add small pops of color with pillows and throw blankets. Choose blue over red – red tones can make people feel anxious and unsettled. 

Staging Is an Investment

When you put your apartment on the market, you want it to sell at a high price as quickly as possible. Although staging your home will take some time and money, it’s an investment that should pay off when you sell your home. 

You can stage on a budget by reusing items that are already in your house and focusing on the spaces buyers care about most – the living room, dining room, kitchen and master bedroom. With just a few simple changes, your home can go from average to elevated. 

Follow these six tips to stage your apartment so that buyers will feel excited about living there. By investing in staging, you can speed up the process of selling your home and potentially even make more on the sale. 

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