I’m currently getting an older home – built in the 1950’s – ready to be listed. It’s a great house and an opportunity for a family to get a good deal, but it’s currently unoccupied, which doesn’t show well to potential buyers – I’ll explain why below. So, I asked my friend and staging guru, Laura Anderson, founder of Anderson Design Group (previous post she’s featured in) to help me get this home staged for sale. There were two caveats, I told her: 1) We have to do it for less than $1,000; and 2) We have to stage the entire, empty house from scratch. As I write this, I’m surprised that she’s still my friend! 😉 Oh, and the third thing is that whatever’s currently in the house is from the 1950’s and needs to go. So, there you have it, that was our challenge. And through this process, here’s what I learned about staging a home on a dime:

  1. Have a professional designer involved!
  2. Have a professional designer involved!
  3. Have a professional designer involved! Really, a pro is so helpful, and if you’re in Atlanta, please call Laura so that she’ll forget how I’ve abused her with this challenge and help me out next time I call her. But seriously now, even if you can’t or don’t want to afford a designer to do the entire job for you, you could ask them if they would consult for you, tell you what to do, and you can do all the leg work.
  4. Pay attention to the tiniest details – The little touches can go far when staging or updating (or both). Think of it like the shoes or accessories you choose to go with an outfit. Changing them can totally change the outfit. The same is true for a home. What we did with this home was to replace the old, outdated, brass light fixtures and ceiling fan, spray paint the brass fireplace screen to a modern black and voila, the look began to change. Other tiny details might include changing switch plates; and kitchen drawer and cabinet hardware; or even replacing old bathroom faucets. All are relatively inexpensive, yet go a long way to improving the look.
  5. Phone a friend – Like I mentioned above, this house was totally vacant when we got started and there’s really no way to totally stage a home with less than $1,000. So, Laura and I bought some pieces at Ikea and pooled some pieces from our own homes together to outfit this home. And, it’s looking pretty good! So, when staging your home, think about borrowing pieces from friends and family to fill in or update your look where needed.
  6. **Best tip** Tell the story of how the house lives – When I list a home or show a home, I like to be able to tell its story, of how it’s best lived in, so that the potential buyers can visualize the home as their home (or not their home). A home is not just square footage, it’s a great wrap around deck for entertaining, it’s a kids-only finished basement playroom with a drop ceiling. Staging a home effectively helps tell the story of the home and removes annoying distractions like the brass fireplace screen.

And yes, we did get it all done for less than $1,000! Watch the companion video below and you can SEE the home and the updates we made as well as more tips to stage your home on a dime.