Posted from HGTV magazine – Meridith Baer

1. White for walls.  Period. “I tell people to give rooms a coat of white paint, especially if the walls are a bright shade of anything in the mauve family – big turnoffs! White not only makes everything look new but also makes rooms seem bigger.  Pick a warm one with no gray, blue, or green undertones.  Glass of Milk by Sherwin-Williams and Decorators White by Benjamin Moore are two of my favorites.”

2. Paint your front door an unexpected color. “It sends the message that your home is well cared for.  I often like red or light blue on a white house.  If your home is tan or brown, try yellow or lime green.   No matter what color you pick, paint the trim around the door white to make it stand out.”

3. Six personal photos, max. “You may have a cute family, but when people are looking at a house, they want to picture themselves in it, not you.  A few current pictures on a shelf or wall are fine, but replace the others with simple art, or keep the space bare.”

4. Clear out 50% of your stuff.  “If a closet is jam-packed, buyers will question whether the house is big enough.  If it’s half empty, they’ll think there’s plenty of room for their things.  For storage I like pods, a service that delivers big containers to your house and transfers them to your new place once they’re filled.  The cost averages $185 per month for four rooms’ worth of storage space, plus delivery fees (”

5. Add a bedroom sitting area.  “It seems counter intuitive to pack in more furniture, but if you have the space, put an upholstered bench at the foot of the bed, or a pair of chairs with a side table in a corner.  It’ll give the impression that the room is larger since the setup offers more than one use – sleeping and sitting.”

6. Big mirrors are a big plus.  “They give the illusion of more space.  I like to lean a large one – at least 6 feet tall – against the wall in a bedroom, or hang one over a credenza in the dining room.  Place a mirror opposite a window and it’ll bring in more light.”

7.  Make your bathroom look like a hotel’s.  “This means a counter free of all products except two or three with pretty packaging.  And steer clear of anything too heavily scented! Place rolled-up white towels in a basket, and put fresh flowers or potted plant on the counter.”

8. Change the lighting for day and night.  “I’m a big fan of dimmers for setting different moods.  During the day, keep on all the lights to make the house feel bright and welcoming.  When it’s dark out, your house looks better in a softer glow, so turn down the lights if people are coming by at night.”

9. Show potential buyers how they’d live in your house.  “If you don’t spell it out, people can have trouble imagining how they’d live in someone else’s home.  In the kitchen, prop open a cookbook so they can picture themselves making meals there.  In your bedroom, put a water carafe and a current book on your nightstand, so buyer will think, Oh, that’s where I’ll read my novel.”

10. Toss in at least one quirky item.  “In the first house I staged, I put a cast stone pig on the kitchen counter, and the home sold quickly.  I’ve been doing it in all my houses ever since.  Real estate brokers see a lot of homes, so if a fun little figurine helps yours stand out, all the better!”