How to Stage Your Home for Showings and Open Houses

Planned open house appointments will allow you time to prepare. But oftentimes, the window of opportunity to expose your property to a motivated buyer can be small. So every time you leave your home, make sure it is ready for an unexpected showing.

General Preparation

When preparing your home, think about the techniques used to show builder’s model homes or what you might do to prepare for honored guests.

  • Review pointers from “From Impressions” checklist, particularly regarding cleanliness, clutter and repairs – interior and exterior.
  • Create as light, cheerful and serene an environment as possible.
  • Open drapes and light lamps including those in closets, basement or attic.
  • Add a welcoming touch by filling candy dishes and putting out fresh flowers.


  • Make beds, put clothes and toys away, keep decorator pillows orderly.
  • Turn blinds so slats are uniformly open. Put on light if room is dark.


  • Put out a clean hand towel, fresh soap and soap dish.
  • Put commode lid down and ensure tissue supply is adequate.
  • Potpourri dish can provide a nice sight and scent.


  • Put away last minute dishes and conceal countertop articles.
  • Simmer a few drops of vanilla on stove.

Dinning Room

  • Arrange inviting counterpiece.
  • Consider setting the table with fine china and linen.
  • Light chandelier.

Living Room/Family Room/Den

  • Straighten pictures on walls.
  • Adjust couch cushions and throw pillows.
  • Dispose of newspapers and drink containers, and polish tabletops.
  • Light fireplace in winter.
  • When exiting just before buyers arrive, turn around at front door and see what the prospect’s first impression will be. What is the first thing you notice from that vantage point? Is it an asset?

Notify your neighbors of scheduled open house days, and assure them they’ll be welcome. Their eagerness to discover decorating ideas for their own homes may actually result in them turning up a buyer among their friends.