Home Owner Tips, Real Estate Marketing Ideas

How to Stage a Kitchen to Sell

By Meaghan Loraas Last Updated May 6, 2022 4 min read

It is commonly said that the kitchen is the heart of the home. As such, kitchens play a considerable role in the buying and selling process. Before you plan a photoshoot or host an open house, spend time to refresh and style the kitchen to get the most out of your real estate marketing.

Declutter, Depersonalize, and Clean

Kitchens are so highly used that they get dirty quickly, but buyers want to see the sparkle of a light, airy, and mess-free kitchen. Luckily, cleaning is the most affordable way to bring a kitchen to life. Whether you hire professional cleaners or do it yourself, follow these steps. 

To get started, declutter the most critical spaces in a kitchen – countertops, pantry, and fridge. For the countertops, remove nearly all appliances. The goal is to show off counter space and let people know plenty of cabinet storage exists. The same goes for the pantry – showcase shelf space by not packing each one to the brim. Take time to organize cans, boxes, and containers with labels facing out like at a grocery store. Add wicker baskets to hide unruly and mismatching items.

Refrigerator Maintenance

When it comes to the fridge, cleanliness is essential. Start by removing old or expired items and leftovers. Stick to the motto – less is more. The emptier the refrigerator is, the bigger and more spacious it will seem. Next, clean each shelf, vacuum dust, crumbs, and thoroughly wipe down the front and sides. Be sure to also remove personal items like magnets, art, and pictures.

Clean all Surfaces

Once the kitchen is clutter-free, clean all surfaces – countertops, appliances, cabinets (especially those lingering fingerprints), baseboards, and floors, it’s essential to clean and see the kitchen at its best to decide if the investment in new appliances or cabinets is necessary.

Update the Cabinets and Appliances

If you notice that the cabinets just aren’t cutting it even after a good clean, consider your options to update them. Replacing cabinets is both expensive and time-consuming, but fresh paint might achieve the same goal. If you’re dealing with the orangey-hues of outdated wood, consider transforming them with a trending white color such as Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace or Simply White. White acts like a backdrop and will provide a clean slate for buyers to visualize their decor.

Fresh Hardware Can Make a Huge Difference

Next, add new hardware. Cabinet pulls can be found everywhere, from Amazon to Hobby Lobby and Home Depot. You don’t have to choose the most expensive option to make them feel new again. While shopping, keep an eye out for new light fixtures and possibly a sparkling sink faucet – buyers will surely notice these thoughtful updates.

Upgrade the Appliances

Appliances take up so much real estate in a kitchen that they are also significant. A new refrigerator, dishwasher, and microwave will wow potential buyers, even if they aren’t top-of-the-line. Remember, we are trying to create a blank slate that feels fresh. Stainless steel is a bonus to any kitchen.

Tell a Story with a Scene

Now that you’ve removed the excess and updated necessary features, it’s time to tell a story with intentionally-placed items. If the goal is to pull on buyers’ heartstrings, you want the kitchen to inspire fresh cooking, family meals, and organized routines. Consider a few items for the counters or island space, such as a glass jar of stacked cookies, fresh flowers, a bowl of real fruit, or a marble soap tray. If the floors are bare, consider adding a rug in front of the sink or under a dining table.

Think About the Smell

Nearly just as important as the aesthetics is the scent of the home. Some would say that the best scent is no scent. Of course, we don’t want any foul smells like pets or smoke, but we want to keep pleasant aromas subtle. Try a citrus candle, freshly-baked cookies, or an essential oil diffuser to add a bit of freshness.

Tips for Small Kitchens

Staging should change based on the size and layout of a kitchen. There are a few things to consider when dealing with a small kitchen.

When picking furniture for the space, go small. A staged kitchen doesn’t have to meet the practical needs of your family; it needs to highlight the room. For an eat-in kitchen, swap out a large table with six chairs for a small, round table with four chairs. Or, change bulky island stools for a few white ones. Smaller furniture will help the space feel less cramped. A few great furniture lines with size-appropriate items are Ikea, Smalls Spaces by Pottery Barn, and Room Essentials by Target.

Impress buyers by adding a statement piece. A small kitchen may be a negative for some, so draw them in with a herringbone backsplash or state-of-the-art gold faucet. An extra design touch can go a long way in a small space.

Although already mentioned, it is most important to clear countertops and decorate with light colors in a small kitchen. Both will help the space to appear large and open.

Tips for Open Layouts

Open concept layouts are trendy. However, it is essential to identify distinct zones when staging them to sell. Make sure to stage a dining area with a table, rug, and hanging light fixture. If the kitchen opens up to the living room, use a large area rug to make the living room its own distinct space. Remember to also keep paint and color schemes cohesive throughout the entire space. 

No matter what kind of kitchen you are working with, spend time to make it shine, and buyers will notice the difference.