How to Stage a House to Sell

beautifully decorated bedroom in property showing how to stage a house to sell

If you are looking to find out how to stage a house to sell it, we give you some of the top tips we have employed over years of working with clients to do just this.

When you decide to sell your home, it is likely that your estate agent will advise that you begin to “stage” it for viewings. This means making a few changes so that any potential buyers can view your property at its very best and make it easier for them to imagine themselves living in it.

The main aim of staging is to showcase your property’s best features and minimise anything that might distract a buyer. You want to ensure your property stands out and makes a positive impression with the buyer and this can be done very easily and without great cost to the vendor. Think of it as another level of visual merchandising.

How to Begin

When beginning to stage your home for viewings, it is best to make a list for each room. Walk around your property and try to look at each room with fresh eyes. If this seems too difficult, ask your estate agent to do this with you and ask them to point out anything they feel is stained, broken or simply off-putting. Make a list of any features that need changing and any ideas you have of how to improve that space and then begin staging room by room.

Appeal to the Senses

When you are staging your property, it is helpful to keep the five senses in mind – sight, sound, taste, smell and touch. By making changes in your home that appeal to each sense you are appealing to a buyer’s natural instincts in a subtle but effective manner.


Your home needs to be visually appealing.  This is the most important sense to focus on when staging your home.

Avoid mess, clutter, damages and anything that is too personal to you or may not be to everyone’s taste. For example, you may love that neon pink flamingo sign or the collection of porcelain dolls, but it is likely that they are not going to appeal to everyone.

Keep all areas freshly cleaned. No stains or areas of accumulated dust or grease should be visible. Remember buyers may look in places you don’t often see, so extra attention when cleaning is needed. If the buyer feels that you have taken care of the property, they are likely to feel as if they would be buying a home that has been well maintained.

In order for potential buyers to be able to envisage themselves living in that space, they need to see very little personal belongings of the current owner. This means things like your family photos, collection of DVDS, CDS or records, children’s toys, dog or cat bowls and beds, stacks of books or magazines, game consoles or documents should all be tidied away. All evidence of pets should be removed, as this could be very off putting for those who do not wish to live with an animal.

Try to keep each room minimal with just the amount of furniture you would need to enjoy that room intact. Try to declutter where possible and ensure things like plants, that have seen better days, are removed before a viewing. Remove as much as possible from kitchen counters and tables so that their function is emphasised, not hidden.

To make your home more visually appealing, add some new soft furnishings to the room such as throws, cushions, bed spreads or rugs. These new additions can transform a room and cost very little, if chosen wisely. Remember, keep the colours to a neutral shade so as to appeal to more buyers.

It is also useful to keep in mind that each room should have a purpose. So, if you have a box room that was previously used for storage, now is the time to declutter and potentially change it into an office or snug.


Avoid having any appliances running during viewings, such as a dishwasher or washing machine which may take away from the overall experience of viewing your home.

Taste and smell

These go hand in hand and so there are subtle ways to improve on this that can be very cost effective. Smoking should be taken outdoors when you decide you are going to sell, and precautions should be taken with the smell of animals in the home, if you live with a pet. Bins should be emptied before a viewing and try to avoid cooking anything with strong odours, such as fish, the night before.

To appeal to this sense, it is a good idea to light some scented candles beforehand or to use air fresheners. Be careful when choosing a fragrance though, as strong odours may make some feel nauseous. Use neutral scents such as vanilla or lemon.

fresh scones laid out for property viewing

A fresh vase of flowers always helps to refresh a room and it can be very attractive on the main dining table or side table in the entrance hall. If you want to really impress, engage in some baking before the viewing begins, this will help to make the house smell homely and inviting.


When adding any soft furnishings to a room, try to opt for warm neutral colours and textures that are soft to touch. You want the space to look comfortable and inviting and so the textures you use can really enhance this sense and appeal to a buyer’s idea of comfort. Similarly, ensuring that all lights and lamps are left on and that blinds and curtains are left open, can showcase it at its best and provide an impression of warmth to those who are moving through the house.

Appealing to the Current Market

Since the Covid19 pandemic, people have started to view their homes differently and now require their homes to function in different ways than before. Two key outcomes of this shift have been an increase in the importance of outdoor space and having a space to work in.

Outdoor space has never been so important. To maximise what you have and make sure it looks its best for any viewings, here are a few simple tips that can be used. Consider pruning and trimming trees, plants and hedges; laying new soil or mulch; buying some new potted plants; and creating a seating area with new outdoor furniture. Things like outdoor rugs, cushions and string lights really help to create a show-house look to any garden and display that space as an area that is both functional and relaxing.

Inside, desk space is particularly attractive in properties now as working from home has become more common. If you can find a space where you can fit a desk, chair and some storage then it adds value to your home and shows that it can also function as a workplace.

First Impressions

Many buyers often do drive by viewings of a property before they go inside and so it is really important that the exterior is looking fresh and appealing.

This can be done with minimal extra cost by doing things such as weeding, trimming hedges, clearing gutters, washing windows, reviving window boxes, power washing drives, painting the walls and window sills and giving your front door a fresh coat of paint or polish. All toys, garden tools and bikes should be removed from sight.  A new clean welcome mat can even make a difference. Don’t underestimate the little things, they all build up to the overall picture.

How can we help?

Not all vendors take the time to stage their homes so by taking a few easy steps to do so in yours, you are automatically helping it to stand out from the crowd. Staging increases your chances of selling your property more quickly and at the highest possible price.

If done wisely, you don’t have to spend a lot of money and anything you do spend is likely to be reflected in the amount for which the property will sell.

Herbert & Lansdowne are happy to assist you in knowing how to sell your house to sell. We can help with furniture storage and removal, painting and decorating, carpet cleaning, installation of new flooring and design advice specific to your property.  We have the experience and knowledge to know what impresses buyers and what can really help it to stand out in the current market.

Herbert & Lansdowne is a Dublin estate agency that prides itself on providing an excellent service to property vendors. Click here to find out more about our residential sales service.

Or call + 353 1 532 9000 and ask to speak to Niall O’Hagan.

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