Interior Design

Value Of Staging Your Home – The Five Steps Of Do It Yourself Staging

Looking to get top dollar when selling your home? One consideration when preparing your home for sale is staging and the value that it can provide when preparing your home for sale. There are a couple of versions of staging such as doing it yourself, hiring a professional stager and hiring an interior decorator. There are reasons for considering each of these options.

In this blog, I’ll cover the do it yourself version of staging. I’ve broken down the do it yourself staging to 5 steps for you to follow. I’ll cover hiring a professional stager and hiring an interior decorator in a future blog.

Do it yourself staging at its best. This is my listing at 73-1217 Ikenanani that I sold earlier this year. The homeowners had modern furniture and a great sense of space and style. 

Do It Yourself

If you’re handy, have muscles like Arnold Schwarzenegger and want the most economical option the do it yourself route could be for you. Remember you’ll be moving furniture so do it yourself-ers get ready for a good workout!

Step 1 Of Do It Yourself Staging

The first part of staging is depersonalizing a home. This means all those family photos of you on vacation at the grand canyon, on the great wall of China and on that Caribbean cruise should come down. I know they are awesome photos, but remember you want someone to picture their life in your house. I know it sounds a little odd at first, to consider someone else living in your home, but that’s what needs to happen for a successful sale. Besides, once you sell, you’ll just need to pack these anyway. You might as well get a head start.

You’ll also want to remove any items that are too much of a conversation piece. This means any artwork that may be too eye-catching or furniture pieces that are too bold. You want the topic of a Buyer’s showing to be about the house, not about the bright orange ottoman with the pet fur. Pet lovers please don’t take offense to this. I have furry family members that I love too. Just remember that the person who may buy your home may not.

See I do love pets! On a recent visit to Japan, my sister and I experienced a Cat Cafe in Harajuku. It’s a great picture that I would immediately take down from my wall when I sell my home. 

Step 2 Of Do It Yourself Staging

The next step is to declutter your space. Many times staging a home that you have lived in has more to do with taking things out than putting things in. This usually requires a garage sale or donations to a local charity thrift store and sometimes renting a storage unit for items that you’d like to keep for your next home.

When removing kick knacks think of a basketball. I learned this analogy somewhere along the line in my career and it’s worked well. Kick knacks should never be larger than a basketball. This means you can have a grouping of items that equal the size of a basketball or one piece that is about the size of a basketball. Anything larger starts to clutter the space. Of course, there are always exceptions.

When talking with Sellers I find that decluttering is the most difficult part of staging. If you’ve lived in a space for some time it is difficult to get a good sense of the space. To work through this here are some good questions to ask yourself.

  1. Does your space feel too small? Think Shaq in a dollhouse.
  2. Does your space feel too big? Think of you in Shaq’s house.
  3. Is your space being utilized in the best way? Do you have a basketball racks?
  4. Is the space being used in a way that is too specific? Are there too many basketballs in the house?
  5. Can a buyer visualize themselves in this space without you being in their visualization? There are probably too many basketballs in the house.

This is my listing at 73-4354 Koikoi St currently listed for $799,000. Notice that all of the groupings and items are smaller than a basketball. 

Step 3 Of Do It Yourself Staging

The third step of staging is painting and cleaning. When a Buyer is paying top dollar for a home they expect it to be clean. When working with Sellers I have a list of how detailed a cleaning should be, walls, baseboards, windows, window sills, cabinet faces etc. Some of my previous sellers may have thought it was a little overkill, but it’s much easier than a remodel. If you don’t have the time to clean or want some help I have a couple of cleaning companies that I have worked with over the years who know exactly how to clean a home to prepare it for successful showings.

Once you’re done cleaning it’s time for paint. If the interior of your house has not been painted in the last 7-8 years a fresh coat of paint will do wonders. If you have pets or small kids in the home you may want to consider painting even if you’ve only been in the home for a couple of years. Don’t forget the trim and baseboards!

Step 4 Of Do It Yourself Staging

Step four is the actual staging. Start moving furniture around to make the space feel as spacious, usable and inviting as possible. It will be important to have good furniture to work with. By this I mean furniture that isn’t old or tattered, furniture that fits the space property, and remember — no orange ottomans with pet fur.

Here’s an example of my listing at 73-1176 Akaula St I sold for top dollar. This is a photo of the second bedroom. The staging looks nice, but the queen size be is a little large for the space. It looks especially large in the photo.

You’ll also want to make sure that you have a good sense of what good staging looks like. You want the space to be fresh and fantastic. Not fantastically dismal. To get ideas look at websites like, and magazines such as Architectural Digest and Dwell.

When you’re done staging you’ll want to get an honest opinion of your work. Ask a family member or friend what they think of your skills. You could also ask your agent. As an agent who works with Buyers and Sellers I can look at a house from a Buyer’s perspective and share that perspective with the Seller. Not all agents are created equally and some may be better at staging that others, but most agents see enough homes to give you a good idea if you’re on track or not.

The best compliment that you can get after a showing is an offer. The second best is that your home looks like a model home! Does the person you’re asking think your house could rival the local developer’s model home? If so, you have accomplished staging success!

An example of do it yourself home staging success! This is my listing that sold earlier this year at 75-6159 Haku Mele St for just $8,000 less than the listing price. 

If you don’t have good furniture to work with, don’t have a good sense of how big or small your space is relative to your furniture don’t worry. There are two other options when it comes to staging, working with a professional stager and hiring an interior decorator. I’ll cover these options in future blogs.

If you’re looking for top dollar on the sale of your home I’m full of more tips and would love to hear from you. Thanks for reading!

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