Home Staging: Open House Time

With all of this talk recently about home staging, I would be remiss if I didn't talk about an open house or showing. Treat this as if you were hosting an event in your home because...well...you are. What would you do to your home if you were hosting an event?

Decorate and create an ambiance

  • Make sure your home smells good, or at the very least neutral. No pet odors. No cigarette, pipe or cigar smoke. Air it out. Set out baking soda boxes (don't leave them out during the open house!). Febreeze the heck out of all fabrics. Reader Dawn commented that she also likes to polish the wood with something that smells good - leaves woods shiny and makes the house smell recently cleaned.
  • How's the lighting? Open the blinds. Turn on lamps. In a party we want dim lighting. In an open house, dim lighting makes people wonder what you're hiding. If you have lots of windows that let in tons of natural light then show it off!
  • I like a touch of music in the background. Nothing too loud but just enough that the potential buyers feel welcomed, as if they were entering a party. My default is jazz, but go with whatever will best suit your potential home-buyer.
  • Strategically place cut flowers throughout the home. They look good, add a pop of color and also some fragrance. However, make sure they're not a sparse or dying arrangement. In that case, it is best to have no arrangement.
  • Don't leave out unconventional decorations - perhaps a bowl of fruit in the kitchen or on the dining room table. Again, nothing too sparse or past it's prime.


  • Have some refreshments. I like to bake before an open house - it shows the kitchen is functional and makes the house smell good. Plus, there are goodies to offer the buyers.
  • Offer up some iced tea or water with cucumber or mint. And especially refreshing touch on a hot day.

Rain Plan

  • Have a place for potential buyers to put their wet rain coats and umbrellas. An easily overlooked touch that will make them feel more welcome in your home.
  • Reader Shadow reminds us to make sure the gutters and downspouts are clean. Nothing worse than that clogging up during inclement weather. This can lead the buyer to think that other things are awry with your home as well.

And once it's all set up and done -

Get out.

You've trusted your realtor this far. Let them do their job. Buyers are often uncomfortable speaking openly and candidly in front of the owners. Now hopefully your realtor and home stager have already delivered any uncomfortable news so that the buyer doesn't have any issues. However, that isn't always the case. Remember, don't take anything personally. Everyone's taste is different and your home won't be a good fit for everyone. Declutter. Make it pretty. Hide the magic. You'll attract someone who does love your home and get it sold.

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