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7 Ways to Stage Your Current Home Without Busting the Budget

Staging your home can make a difference in how quickly it sells, and in what price you get. The National Association of Realtors conducted a survey in 2015 that showed that the vast majority of realtors believe that staging can impact the way buyers perceive a property. Are you wondering what you can do to get your home ready, beyond cleaning and decluttering?

From creating the illusion of more space to understanding what’s worth upgrading, design expert, S.A. “Sam” Jernigan, a California-based interior designer who has been featured in the Chicago Tribune and websites such as and, has some advice for budget-friendly changes that make a big impact.


1. Use Paint to Direct the Buyer’s Eye

“Is the fireplace ‘lost’ in a sea of off-white walls? Painting the break-front, or fireplace surround, an accent color will give new importance to this feature,” says Jernigan. Strategic use of a fresh coat of paint can make a huge difference in highlighting or downplaying architectural details.


2. Streamline Your Entryway

Whether your home opens to a hall, foyer or a mudroom, corralling this catchall space is easy. Jernigan suggests adding a stately coat tree or a handsome set of wall hooks for upscale organization.


3. Make Rooms Look Larger

Jernigan recommends adding bold, vertical lines to older homes that have lower ceilings. For example, cut large-scale wild foliage and arrange 6-foot branches in a narrow floor vase. Hang draperies from a rod mounted on the ceiling rather than the wall. Another rule of thumb: well-lit rooms look larger than rooms with dim spaces.


4. Give New Life to Old Furniture

One of the fastest ways to give your room a facelift is by covering worn, upholstered pieces or furniture with updated patterns. Jernigan recommends using ready-made slipcovers to freshen up the look of your sofa, loveseat and chairs.


5. Light It Up

Lighting is an often-overlooked key,” Jernigan points out. When did you last replace your fixtures? If it’s been a decade or more, then upgrading can really pay off. Use some of your staging budget for new fixtures and quality bulbs that cast each room “literally, in its best light,” as Jernigan notes. Bulbs with warm tones flatter the complexion and create an inviting atmosphere, which is especially important in bathrooms and vanity areas.


6. Update the Bedrooms

All-in-one-bag bedding sets are a comparatively low-cost way to quickly make over a bedroom. “If the ensemble comes with matching sheets, it’s possible to fabricate these into ad-hoc window treatments too,” according to Jernigan.


7. Go Easy on the Nose

“How does your house smell? Is it fresh and inviting? Or are there musty, smoky, or pet odors? Believe me, buyers can and will notice.” Jernigan recommends scouring and cleaning so that your home looks and smells as fresh as possible, using citrus-based cleaners for best results. Air purifiers may help, and homey touches such as fresh flowers, live plants and bowls of fresh fruit can subtly scent the air.


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