Sometimes I go into a house and while the bones are terrific, it’s cluttered. I’ll usually go from room to room, making suggestions, like removing personal photographs, clearing shelves, and putting things away.
The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the house. Here are a few tips on how to stage it, simply by decluttering.
This is my kitchen, and this is what it looked like first thing this morning.
It has some lovely features; the Neff kitchen cupboards, granite countertop, the stained glass. It’s clean enough, but the counters have the usual breakfast debris and cleaning supplies that collect when you live somewhere. And unfortunately, that’s what draws the eye — not the nice details.
Although you can’t see it in this photograph, there is a dish rack by the sink, even though I have a dishwasher. Note that as in so many kitchens, the refrigerator is covered with magnets holding family photographs, appointments, and reminders.
To stage this kitchen, I first removed all that stuff from the fridge. We want prospective home buyers to imagine what this house looks like with their things in it, not mine. The counter is cleared as well; counter space is really important. This meant putting the dish rack away too.
Kitchens should sparkle, so even though this one was already pretty clean, I cleaned it again top to bottom. Don’t forget that the inside of your cupboards should also be tidy, clean, and organized. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve opened a cupboard door in an otherwise lovely kitchen to find spatters, stains, and sometimes –ickk– bugs.
Finally, I hung a nice new dish towel on the oven door. I didn’t put away the toaster or the kettle; there’s nothing wrong with leaving items like that out, as long as they don’t clutter up the space. Can you see the difference?
The kitchen still has all its original charm, we can just see it a little more clearly. Notice that I left the folk art (the heron carving) and the decoy in place; on other walls, there are paintings I left up as well. You don’t have to remove all of your belongings to stage a home, just those that distract. And the nice part is that it doesn’t take much time — in this case, less than 10 minutes.
In the next couple of weeks, I’ll post up some before-and-after photos from an Ottawa professional staging company, to show just how far staging a house for sale can go. Meanwhile, if you live in Ottawa and would like me to walk through your home sometime (or if you want to email me photographs), I’d be happy to give you suggestions on what you can do to declutter your space and show it off at its best.