There’s magic in the power of staging, helping sell your home quicker, even maximizing your profit. In today’s market, buyers are looking to be dazzled and inspired by the idea of starting a new life in your home. Don’t let a lackluster set-up leave your home sitting stagnant on the market. Whether you hire a pro or take a DIY approach, these simple tricks from local designers and staging specialists will make your home a show-stopper.

When real estate broker Michael Palermo’s client decided to put his classic, southern mansion with a stunning golf course view and central urban location on the market, he had no idea how challenging it would be to close the deal. The 6,000-square-foot home had a “difficult” floor plan, leaving buyers unable to grasp the layout. After sitting idle on the market for quite some time, Palermo hired Jeanne Warner, accredited staging professional master and owner at Staged By Design to turn his client’s empty abode into a standout in the zip code. With a mix of contemporary and classic pieces, Warner furnished the home, giving it a livable feel. Palermo received offers from the first two buyers who walked in. Warner’s artfully staged home made it easy for potential buyers to envision themselves in the space. “Staging is about emotionally connecting with your buyer,” explains Warner. To make buyers feel comfortable in their future home, Warner emphasizes the importance of lighting to create a warm, inviting ambiance. One thing buyers consistently look for in a new home is an abundance of natural light. You might not have complete control over your home’s natural lighting, but you can maximize brightness by drawing the drapes and making sure all blinds are open during showings. 

WHEN CREATING A SCENE-STEALING STAGED HOME, neutrality is the key to using color effectively. Color is highly evocative and elicits an emotional response so it’s important not to overstate color with vibrant hues or trendy wallpaper. While you might think white is the obvious “neutral” to help create a blank canvas for potential buyers, warmer shades are more effective in creating inviting spaces. Jeannine Ryan, HSR-certified home staging and redesign specialist and owner of Non Stop Staging shares a few of her favorite colors and home accessorize to add extra drama while walking the tight rope of neutrality.  

House Lights To supplement natural light, decorative table lamps are a great way to add a bit of flair to your flicker. A decorative lamp on a side table or console table at a front entry will welcome your buyer and present your house in the best possible light.

Standing Throw-vation A soft, inviting, neutral throw will add softness and a touch of texture to a sofa or the foot of a bed. Add them to pillows you already have and you have a quick, updated look.

Premiere Image This handsome mirror would give a fresh look to any entry. It's always great for buyers to see themselves in the property and what better way to do so than to see this mirror above a beautifully decorated entry table?” Allen + Roth Bronze Rectangle Framed Wall Mirror, $100, Lowe’s.

HOME DECORATING AND HOME STAGING ARE IN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT GENRES. While decorating is personalized, staging is about selling a lifestyle—one that is fresh, simple and organized. Strategic editing enables onlookers to envision their own idealized lifestyle without your clutter. Connie Allegra, ASID registered interior designer and owner of Sarasota Interior Design Group, knows how difficult the de-cluttering process can be. 

Vanishing Act Allegra sold her West of Trail home a few years ago, realizing her biggest challenge was accepting that she needed to rid her space of a few too many chairs. “Yes,” she admits, “my name is Connie Allegra and I’m a chair-aholic.” On countless shopping trips to antique and furniture stores, she’d find the coolest chairs, invariably bringing them into her home. When it was time to list her house, she realized many of her chairs needed to go. “Truth is, they didn’t go far.” She didn’t send them on a “chairway to heaven,” but she did temporarily store them in her garage, giving her home a more spacious feel. Allegra suggests examining every piece of furniture, artwork and accessory in your home to evaluate if it’s really necessary. “Be brutal and get rid of everything that isn’t making the space look its best.” When you cleanse, your home’s best assets shine.

Shady Business Allegra’s favorite way to make a space shine bright is with these locally made, one-of-a-kind lamp shades by Elle Daniel. Founder and designer Linda Daniel custom makes each lamp shade from either your own fabric or fabric she carefully selects, enabling you to creatively coordinate your staged décor.