The First 10 Ways a Professional Stager Would Pretty Up Your Home

Whether you're looking to sell or just want that "wow" factor, these home staging tips will improve every room.

Clear out the coat closet

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Sure, you could push as many puffy winter coats in here as possible and create a slush pile of odds and ends so that they’re not cluttering up other rooms. But this is a high impact area—so at least focus on getting the floor clear, says Lisa Vaisvila, owner of Chicago-area Home Staging By Lisa. “This gives the appearance of space—and everyone wants to know there’s space for their stuff,” she says. Don't miss these secrets to a tidy hallway.

Switch with the seasons

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While clearing out the packed coat closet, consider what season your home is portraying, which helps people picture themselves moving in now. If there are lots of winter coats, snow boots, and heavy clothes in the closets and it’s spring, move these out in favor of lighter wear. Here's permission to toss these items from your closet for good.

Limit shoes

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“I’ve seen homes where there’s a line of shoes going from wall to wall in the mud room,” says Vaisvila. It gives the impression of disorganization, which is never good. “If you have a shoe rack, that can stay as long as those shoes are arranged on it in a nice and neat way,” she says.

Display art, not personal photos

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Of course you adore your kids and those pictures from your wedding—no matter how many years ago it was. But “it’s difficult for people to envision themselves moving in when there are photos of someone else’s family,” says Vaisvila. Photos on a side table are fine, but remove larger ones, especially if they are the first thing people see when they walk into a room.

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Decorate your countertops

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Decluttering can go too far, says Vaisvila. You don’t want kitchen countertops stacked with toasters, mixers, cookbooks, and knick-knacks, but removing everything makes it too sterile. Place something in a corner or on an island, like a decorative bowl or plant, which will showcase nice countertops and help make the room warm and inviting.

Open up wall space

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Furniture that runs from one end of a wall to the other shrinks the room. The key is to reveal more wall and floor space. For example: if you have a sofa on a wall, along with a bookshelf, end tables, and pieces of art work, pare that down by centering the sofa on the wall, removing bookshelves, and keeping only a couple pieces of art and the end tables. These decorating mistakes make your home look messy.

Draw eyes to the highlights

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What’s one of the best parts of the room? Maybe it’s the big windows, for instance. So why is there a sofa blocking that great source of natural light? Vaisvila would advise you to move that sofa away from the window, placing it on a bigger wall. Then, angle a chair by the window. The result: your eyes are immediately drawn to the window and the homey, cheery light streaming in.

Show off the hardwood

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Whether cherry or oak, nice floors are another highlight that you want everyone to see—but that’s not possible if they’re covered by too many pieces of furniture or an area rug that’s way too large for the space. An easy fix is to rearrange furniture and using a smaller, more appropriately sized rug.

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Update the little things

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If you’ve lived in your home for a long time, things may look a bit… old. That may be wallpaper or dated brass fixtures. “Since the majority of people can’t see beyond what’s in front of them, it’s important to make these minor changes,” says Vaisvila.

Beware of quirky coloring

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Vaisvila recently advised owners to replace the blue carpeting covering the entire second floor. It was apparent that while on the market, this was a point of contention with potential buyers. The lesson: knowing what’s in in paint colors, finishes, and flooring will helps your home give off that coveted "wow" factor.

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