Home Owner Tips, Real Estate Marketing Ideas

How to Stage a Living Room to Sell

By Lauren Vaccaro Last Updated October 12, 2022 4 min read

Living rooms are arguably one of the most essential rooms in a home. They are a shared space that needs to appeal to parents and kids alike. After all, the living room is where families hold meetings, enjoy movie nights, drink coffee with friends, and host playdates and parties. 

When you stage a listing to sell, pay special attention to the living room. Without proper staging, a living room can look uninviting, cluttered, or confusing to potential buyers. Enhance your marketing efforts by staging an easy-to-love living room.

Identify Focal Points

Begin by identifying the living room’s focal points—for example, a fireplace, large bay window, or custom built-in can impress buyers. Although flat-screen TVs are often the center of most living rooms, they fail to highlight the best features of a home. The goal is to draw the eye to permanent fixtures and upgrades that will wow buyers.

If large, modern windows are the focal point, make sure there is no furniture blocking them, and plenty of natural light shines through. Consider pulling blinds up or using sheer curtains for optimal brightness.

living room with fireplace mantle

When highlighting a fireplace or built-ins, avoid over decorating. Choose a strategic layout and aesthetically-appealing books, candles, and décor pieces without cluttering the mantle or shelves. Remember, when it comes to staging, less is more.  

If the room doesn’t have obvious focal points, arrange seating that inspires conversation. Try making a coffee table or ottoman the focal point with several options for people to sit face-to-face—for example, a small sofa on one side with two chairs on the other. Add a stylish serving tray with mugs and fresh flowers atop the table or ottoman.

Fresh Coat of Paint

Living rooms can see wear and tear as a busier space in a home. Freshening up paint makes a huge difference. Choosing a light and bright color helps the room appear larger and acts as a clean, blank slate. Also, a neutral color appeals to a larger buyer pool. Don’t worry; you can add a few pops of color when decorating later on.

While you’ve got your painting supplies out, don’t forget to freshen up the baseboards. Scuffs, marks, and dust make a house feel dirty and dated. Fresh, white baseboards, however, really make a room shine.

Scale Down Furniture

Staging should open up and highlight a home. With that in mind, it’s best to take out unnecessary furniture. Too much furniture makes it hard for potential buyers to move around and see the space, making a room feel small. It’s an interesting balance because an empty room can also feel small.

The tried-and-true staging setup is a small sofa, two chairs, and a coffee table. Remove end tables, multiple lamps, and numerous accent pillows. You can even take out a large television console and hang a flat-screen television or maybe even remove it altogether! 

When you scale down furniture, you create more opportunities to choose the layout and design the room in a way that looks incredible in professional real estate photos and at in-person showings. 

Depersonalize, Declutter, but Don’t Empty

It might feel strange to take personal touches out of a home, but it is an integral part of staging. You want to achieve the perfect balance between minimal and lived-in. When a room has family photos, knick-knacks, or a basket of your dog’s favorite toys, it may be difficult for someone to picture themselves living there.

Try removing most books, personal items, awards or trophies, and any collector’s items. All of these things distract potential buyers. Remind yourself that the goal is to show off the space, not the stuff in it. 

Your real estate agent will guide you through the entire home selling process, including smart staging strategies and tips. In fact, the real estate agent you hire may already have a professional stager in mind. 

Decorate the Scene

Great décor makes you feel a certain way – it inspires you. When you stage a living room, think about how you want the buyer to feel and what you want them to visualize. For a living room, try to create a cozy, open, and family-friendly space.

A classic decorating technique is the rule of three. Simply put, design elements look better in a group of three. Add three pieces of art next to each other or three items on a shelf or table—for example, a candle, frame, and vase.

living room with green chair

You can also add a few pops of color with a throw blanket, fresh flowers, or artwork. Ensure there is plenty of light in the space, and table lamps or and updated light fixture if necessary.

A well-staged living room appeals to a more extensive selection of prospective buyers. So, take the time to freshen up, clean and declutter, and thoughtfully decorate to set the mood – you won’t regret it.