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Updated on March 22, 2011
Old Cabinet painted white and placed in the entry with a chair and a few accessories.
Old Cabinet painted white and placed in the entry with a chair and a few accessories.
A small round table with purple violets provides a place for business cards, fliers.
A small round table with purple violets provides a place for business cards, fliers.
Designer fabric used for a table square.
Designer fabric used for a table square.
Lack of organization prevents this room from looking inviting.
Lack of organization prevents this room from looking inviting.
The same room, re-arranged, pictures grouped, accessories carefully placed.
The same room, re-arranged, pictures grouped, accessories carefully placed.


Who among us has not walked into a house for sale and been assaulted by perhaps a very strong odor, messy worn out furniture, dirty walls, broken window blinds, dishes in the sink and worse?

To sell your home you need to create an environment in which those prospective buyers can easily imagine their own things in your home. Better yet, an environment that sparks their imaginations and generates a little excitement. Even better, something so charming when your buyers go home to ponder all the homes they have viewed for sale, they remember yours favorably because of. . .what?

Staging can give you that favorable what.

It’s going to take some time and dedication. Don’t even think about selling your home if your attitude is, “let’s put it on the market and see what happens.” You must be committed, determined and dedicated, and you will succeed.

Staging can help you get there faster and it does not need to cost a lot of money. If you have a budget that allows for professional stagers to move in beautiful furniture and accessories then by all means do so, but this article is for the seller that simply must be frugal.

You will need to rent a storage facility and move out just about everything you own. Yes, everything you own and you must live without these things for a few weeks or months. You will need your bed of course a few dishes, some clothes and etc, but all the pictures, chairs, sofas and tables must go. If you have somewhere to live for a few weeks then strip the house of every single item and move out.

Paint everything in the entire house including the ceiling a soft ivory. Having one clean color of neutral paint throughout the entire house will open it up, give it continuity and buyers can more easily imagine their own things there if they are not distracted by bright dabs of color here and there or wallpaper that simply doesn’t work for them.

If you have carpet that is old and soiled and beyond repair, you’d be wise to replace it with something neutral but no color. Neutral means beige or ivory. Be sure it’s synthetic and cleans well. If you have hard wood floors you are in luck. Clean and shine them.

Remove all window coverings unless you have blinds that are fairly new and in good shape. Nothing is more distracting than broken blinds, droopy curtains, dark draperies or bamboo blinds and roller shades. Clean, freshly painted windows are good.

Now comes the staging part. You’ve moved everything out of the house and you have a sparkling clean ivory shell. You are going to create vignettes. By the front door where your lookers will enter, set up a table with a chair next to it. This table can be a round board on a stand like you can find at a builder’s supply like Home Depot. These are very inexpensive. The diameter of the tabletop should be about 36 inches. The chair should be wood and clean and interesting, like a ladder back. You can find a used one and paint it. But it should be a side chair and not large.

You will buy a king sized ivory flat sheet and lay it on the floor in the middle of one of your empty rooms.( This must be a new sheet) Find the center, pin a string to the center and put a pencil on the end and draw a circle. Cut and hem. This is your under cloth for your table. With a table 36inches wide with a 30-inch drop, your cloth will be 100 inches across which allows for a 2 inch hem..

Next decide on a color scheme for your living room vignette. If you have a neutral shell your choices are endless but stick to calm colors and an accent of brighter color. Green, Blue, Purple, pale yellow and pastels. There are thousands of fabrics with which you can make a table square. Designer fabrics are so wide you will only need to cut a square and hem 2 sides. ( I use fabric glue for this step) There is a website that carries a huge selection of fabrics and you can order samples.(

Now you have a round table with a graceful cloth to the floor, accented by a table square of color and interest, next to a wood chair that you’ve painted to match one of the colors in your table square. Take a trip to the World Market or Pier One and find a great vase or urn, fill it with a very large green plant or if you are great with flowers a very big tasteful floral arrangement. Pier One often shows these big vases with just a mass of all one flower variety. This is dramatic and exactly what you need on your table. It needs to be large and simple.. The folks at Pier One, and World Market are always anxious to help, and they are great at accessorizing. Your table and chair arrangement should be backed up to the wall and you may want to add a picture to work with the vignette.

You can create vignettes in several rooms, always creating a focal point of something pretty and creative for your buyers to remember.

An entry vignette is a clever place to put a guest book or your card or your realtor’s card if you have an agent or a flier that your lookers can take home. The point here is to create a smashing little vignette that gives sparkle, color and excitement to your entry or living room.

With a tri-plex I once sold I set up a table in the all white Victorian kitchen with a yellow and blue color scheme, a huge wire bowl of yellow lemons and a gingham yellow checked table cloth. A buyer called later and asked if I was the lady with the lemon basket. So, he lost all the information but he remembered my pretty vignette. He bought the property.



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    • mslizzee profile image

      elizabeth 6 years ago from Buncombe County, NC

      Thanks Dirt Farmer. Are you really a farmer? My dad was in the San Joaquin valley when I grew up.


    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 6 years ago from United States

      Wow! Great advice. Before we put our house on the market, I'll revisit this hub. Thanks!