Staging a Home: 5 Designer Secrets for a Fast, Profitable Sale

Selling your home? Fresh paint and flowers aren't enough to move it—not in this market. Here's how to transform your open house into opening night.

View as Slideshow

1. Define the space.

Susan Phillips, a theatrical-set designer (, says the secret to a fast, profitable sale is "staging a home," and she uses traditional set-design elements to hook home-buying audiences. Her first improvement? Define the space. Confusion on a set confuses the audience, so make the purpose of each room clear. Get rid of toys in the den. Roll the exercise bike out of the kitchen.

2. Unblock the sight lines.

Actors need clear paths to maneuver, and so do home buyers. Make it easy to walk from the door to a window in the master suite or from the hallway to a living-room sofa.

3. Highlight the focal points with clever use of color.

Reds and yellows are "advancing" colors; blues and greens are "receding" ones. Remember that, and you'll be able to control your audience's gaze. Elegant granite countertop? Place a bowl of red peppers on top. Beautiful fireplace? Hang a yellow painting above it. Dreary corner? Put a green plant there.

Content continues below ad

4. Light your rooms to flatter the people in them.

Soft, southern light makes complexions look warmer and healthier. Harsh, northern light makes people look sick. So replace stark daylight bulbs with warmer ones, especially near mirrors.

5. Quiet the set.

Don't distract your audience with creaky doors or floors. A noisy set makes people question the integrity of what they're seeing. Got all that? Action!

Content continues below ad

Become more interesting every week!

Get our Read Up newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you this newsletter. For more information please read our privacy policy.

Funny Jokes
Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane. Dennis Miller
Funny Jokes
I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.” Kevin Nealon
Funny Jokes
“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram @kristencarney
Funny Jokes
A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water. Comedian Greg Davies
Funny Jokes
Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous. @sixthformpoet
Funny Jokes
Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral. From
Funny Jokes
My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.” @NicCageMatch
Funny Jokes
“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 
—Alcohol @yoyoha (Josh Hara)
Funny Jokes
My parents didn't want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that's the law. —Jerry Seinfeld
Funny Jokes
Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse's mouth? A: A mechanic.