When staging your house, It’s important to appeal to every person who walks through your doors. Sure, you love your quartz countertop and light blue walls, but what will the buyers think? While it’s impossible to cater to everyone’s different preferences, some designs appeal to many buyers – simply based on your location. To help you get started, Redfin reached out to design experts from California to Connecticut to share their best secrets on how to appeal to buyers across cities across the United States. Keep reading to see what they had to say.
1. Los Angeles, California: Modern decor and art
“One trend we’ve seen in Los Angeles for the last few years has been a move away from traditional furnishings, to a transitional look that incorporates modern elements. Modern decor, especially modern art, now works with every style,” shares home staging company Meridith Baer.
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2. San Francisco, California: Natural interior and modern art
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Local company Halcyon Home Staging + Design says, “Buyers in the San Francisco Bay Area love a classically modern home with eclectic touches. They are knowledgeable about the latest trends and appreciate quality furnishings and high-end design. Natural interior elements, original art, and modern decor are incorporated into each home we stage. This offers the ‘WOW’ factor that is highly appealing to buyers and allows them to mentally unpack while touring the home.”
3. Fresno, California: Clearly designated spaces with a touch of elegance
“Potential homebuyers in the Fresno area are impressed by a modern, yet comfortable-looking home,” remarks Selling by Design-Staging. “They appreciate an up-to-date appearance with touches of elegance and clearly designated spaces such as a home office, or a cozy patio area outside. We like to stage these areas to show a home’s maximum usability. Staging spaces for work and play in a home definitely attract buyers.”
4. Boulder, Colorado: Stylized bar carts
“One small touch that gets rave reviews when staging homes in Boulder, Colorado is a perfectly styled bar cart either in the dining or living room. It sets the tone for entertaining with ease and has a fun, upscale feel and people can imagine having friends over,” raves home stylists A Change of Space.
5. Washington D.C: Oversized artwork is a must
Masterpiece Staging + Design notes, “In Washington D.C., monuments and museums are a part of everyone’s daily ‘visual vernacular’ living in our nation’s capital. Eyes here become accustomed to oversized art, despite the small size of most homes. With that concept in mind, we find using oversized art is one of the keys to setting the tone for the luxury staging.”
6. Miami, Florida: Bring in light, trendy furniture, and warmth
“Every space either in a house, a condo, or an office is different. The modern style can be projected as simple and cold. However, good staging will always bring warmth and comfort. Good staging will showcase the room’s focal point because every room has a focal point! Lastly, the staging has to be balanced with color, pattern or texture,” shares Miami, FL-based Clara Godbey Home Staging + Organizing.
7. Atlanta, Georgia: Minimalism is a must
“Home staging in Atlanta has taken on the always emphasized ‘less is more’ concept,” says No Vacancy Home Staging Services. “We are creating clean lines with neutral furnishings and minimal decor in our stagings from condos to high-end luxury homes in all price ranges. People are asking for staging that literally blends in where we are utilizing hushed tones of complex grays, sand, and various shades of blue in pillows and artwork for some subtle pops of color. Minimalism is in, and grandma’s furniture and collectibles are out.”
8. Honolulu, Hawaii: Combine coastal and urban flair
“Our staging techniques focus on improving a property’s appeal by transforming it into a welcoming and attractive home. It’s about creating a feeling, a sense of lifestyle, and selling a dream. Our staging techniques are a fusion of coastal, island, and contemporary styles with an urban flair, inspired by the colors of the ocean, which are appealing to buyers who consider living in Honolulu,” says Inouye- Interior Decor & Luxury Home Staging Hawaii.
9. Chicago, Illinois: Show multi-functionality of rooms
“In Chicago, having smaller-scale inventory that is appropriate for condominiums, townhouses, and apartments is a must. Along those same lines of smaller spaces, it is important to show the multi-functionality of rooms. For example, a family room could be staged with a seating area and play area for children, or a bedroom that functions as a guest room and office help buyers see the duality of the space,” recommends locals Haven Home Staging and Redesign, Inc.
10. Indianapolis, Indiana: Showcase greenery and natural texture
“Indianapolis is a uniquely cosmopolitan city in the sense there’s still plenty of nature that has been preserved within the area, as well as the surrounding suburbs. It’s not unusual to pass a few farms on your morning commute into the city or to see a Maserati passing a tractor on the highway,” remarks Elephant in the Room Home Staging| Redesign. “As a result of this diversity, buyers are naturally drawn to greenery and texture in homes. I receive quite a few requests for roughly textured, imperfect wood pieces in a diverse range of homes, from the modern farmhouse and rustic industrial style homes to mid-century modern homes as well.”
11. Kansas City, Kansas: Embrace the “modern farmhouse” look
Kansas City Home Stagers notes, “Some of the latest staging trends in Kansas City include the ‘modern farmhouse’ look. White kitchens are still the rage, warmed with brass and gold details from hardware to light fixtures. This new version of a transitional home features texture, including hand-scraped wood floors, cabinets to the ceiling, and a huge return to the classic subway tile with interesting sizes and textures to feel more modern. Marble countertops and quartz seem to appeal to most buyers keeping up with the lighter and brighter interiors. Although gray remains a very popular neutral color for staging, the new ‘black’ coming along is actually white.”
12. Louisville, Kentucky: Transitional and contemporary decor
“Louisville has been a conventional city, but it is spreading its wings culturally, socially, and physically. This vibrancy is mirrored in the home with a transformation from traditional design style to transitional and contemporary décor. Staging has to morph homeowners’ traditional styling into a fresh, upbeat design scheme to inspire today’s Louisvillian buyer,” notes Home Detailing, a home decorating service.
13. New Orleans, Louisiana: Balance bright exteriors with neutral interiors
“New Orleans is well known for its Creole cottages and historic mansions with colorful architecture mixing all possible styles,” says Hom Staging. “Homes have a bright explosion of colors from the outside, and as a staging expert, my purpose is to bring tranquility from the inside. Beige, neutrals, and whites are extremely demanding. The transitional trend is the ideal combination of the styles that houses need. The buyers like the warmth and comfort of the traditional style, which balances the color boom from the outside and the contemporary clean look.”
14. Baltimore, Maryland: Soften steel with raw elements and warm lighting
“Baltimore is historically known as being a city of industry. Developers are now salvaging original steel and using it in these new construction homes for railings, beams, and fireplace mantles,” shares Domus Design & Staging. “While that might sound a little cold and unwelcoming at first, that’s where we come in and try to soften the industrial look with some raw elements like reclaimed wood and pair that with some chic warm lighting. Once the finishes and fixtures are selected, we then go and stage the property with a mix of contemporary and traditional furnishings.”
15. Boston, Massachusetts: Place furniture away from the walls
“One of the ways I like to make a room look larger is to furnish the space by floating the furniture away from the walls creating conversational settings. Many of the properties I stage in and around the city of Boston have a smaller square footage to work with. You would think spreading out the furniture close to the walls would make a room feel larger, but actually using this floating technique will open up the room making it feel more spacious,” notes Boston Modern Staging.
16. Detroit, Michigan: Oversized art and rustic accents
Impact Home Staging Experts shares, “With the revitalization of Detroit and the popularity of ‘loft living’ we have found that rustic accents and oversized art are important pieces in our staging arsenal. These are very appealing to a younger buyer, who is the targeted consumer in this type of construction. Scale for these same spaces is usually smaller and more casual.”
17. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Buffalo Checks, textured throws, and vintage pillows
“Here in Ann Arbor, the mindset is more of practicality and function of space,” remarks stagers Bloom that Room. “For the kitchen, laundry, and mudroom areas, ceramic plank flooring is a practical alternative to real wood floors. It gives the look of hardwoods but with the durability and ease of maintenance of tile that can take the abuse from the snow and mud that’s trekked indoors. Neutral grays continue as a top choice for wall colors, but the trend is adjusting to warmer taupes and shades of blues for upholstered furniture, area rugs, and accessories. Finally, buyers love buffalo checks, textured throws, and vintage design-inspired pillows.”
18. Las Vegas, Nevada: Integrate pops of metallic and mirrors
“In the city of Las Vegas, we see staging and home décor moving away from the traditional style and toward a more contemporary and modern style of design. With all of the glitz and glamour on the Las Vegas strip, we like to use pops of metallics, mirrors, and gold accents to ‘wow’ our buyers. In staging, we have to design our homes to appeal to the most buyers, so we tend to use a very neutral palette like gray and white and then add pops of silver, chrome, and gold in our art and accessories, trays, vases, accents, and mirrors to make a space feel much larger,” shares Intuitive Solutions Home Staging.
19. Albuquerque, New Mexico: Use neutral colors and natural elements
“In Albuquerque, buyers are looking for an updated, modern feel while still keeping a bit of the enchantment of the southwest in the design,” says Sucasa Staging. “We use a lot of neutral colors and natural elements. We use neutral colors like white, cream, tan, and gray and natural elements like sticks, palms, cactuses, and greenery to add texture and interest to the space.”
20. Raleigh, North Carolina: Don’t neglect the outdoors
Showhomes Raleigh, an interior design service, notes, “Raleigh is considered a hub of the South, and with four moderate seasons, outdoor living is a crucial part of enjoying life in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Always consider how important staging your exterior spaces are when selling your home. Many sellers focus on the inside of the house, and neglect the exterior living spaces. Front porch, rear deck, and screened-in patios are all critical aspects to consider when staging your home for sale and allowing buyers to visualize the true potential that your home offers.”
21. Columbus, Ohio: Use unique pieces to create emotional connections
“Downtown Columbus is in the middle of a revitalization, with historic beauties being brought back to life for a new generation of buyers. Buyers are drawn to comfortable, transitional furnishings mixed in with unique pieces that pay homage to the past – like leaning a leaded glass window on a mantle, placing a framed historical map of the neighborhood in a foyer, or putting a cool old rotary phone on a desk in the office. These unique touches make staged properties stand out and create emotional connections for buyers,” raves Sanctuary Staging.
22. Cleveland, Ohio: Create height on counters to add drama
Helpful Home Staging shares, “Cleveland, also known as the ‘forest city,’ often has gray skies, so our rooms need extra color to really enhance them. Many of our homes are older and smaller, but simple white towels in a bathroom don’t do it. I like to add height on the counters to add drama then tie in color with art, towels, or shower curtains.”
23. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Utilize furniture arrangement to showcase the outdoors
“Buyers in Oklahoma City love the feeling of a cozy and spacious home. They also enjoy having the outdoors come inside,” remarks McKasson Interiors. “With this in mind, as I am staging a home, I work to give homes an open feel by using furniture placement and strategically placing accessories in areas that will lead the buyer’s eyes to the outside space or to an interesting aspect of the home. This creates a larger appearing living space. Furniture arrangement and styles can lead to a cozy feel through the use of different textures and colors.”
24. Portland, Oregon: Add industrial pieces and Moroccan rugs
“The Portland market is known for being pretty hip, so I like to add industrial pieces with more classic sofas and chairs. When staging with bookshelves, desks, or coffee tables and side tables, I like to use pieces that have reclaimed wood or pipe/metal frames that give it a more modern edgy feel. Also using Moroccan-style area rugs and textiles are well received in the Portland market right now,” says Furnish Staging.
25. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Hardwood floors
“Buyers in Philadelphia love homes with hardwood floors because they are timeless, look great, can outlast carpet, are easier to keep clean since they don’t hold allergens or stains like carpets, and are an attractive selling feature no matter the price point of the home,” shares Organized by Design.
26. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Juxtapose modern design with historic decor
Abode notes, “Pittsburgh is a city rich in history, with beautiful old homes and unique architecture. Buyers really respond to a mixture of vintage pieces (especially furniture) mixed with contemporary textiles and decor. For example, we may pair a graphic printed throw pillow and sheepskin with a vintage Eames-style lounger. I feel that buyers respond to spaces that illustrate how to live a modern lifestyle in a historic Pittsburgh home.”
27. Providence, Rhode Island: Remove dated items and add personality
“In Providence, a staged room needs to be three things: on trend, warm, and purposeful,” remarks Ready to Show It. “Remove the most dated item in a room and replace it with a current top-selling piece or accessory. Remember, you are selling a home – not a hotel room. Add a few well-placed personal touches, define a room’s purpose to one job, and take that desk out of the bedroom.”
28. Charleston, South Carolina: Arrange open floor plans and showcase luxury touches
“Charleston home buyers want to see luxury finishes that are both functional and comfortable – large showers with overhead rainfall; kitchens with an abundance of natural light; and light fixture packages that complement the architecture of the home,” says Carolina Spaces. “The most preferred colors in new construction, updating materials, and paint are neutrals mixed with whites. Popular accent colors are all shades of blue.”
“Buyers want an open floor plan, but they get confused about how to layout furniture. Builders and sellers need to furnish the open living, kitchen, and eating areas at a minimum in vacant houses. Sellers are selling square footage; they should never show wasted space.”
29. Nashville, Tennessee: Clean lines and musical decor
“Buyers prefer clean and simple lines in decor, so our staging color story is grounded in neutral backgrounds with pops of color, drawing the focus to the features of the space. And because Nashville is the Music City, it is appealing to buyers when we include art or accessories that gives nod to our musical heritage,” recommends Superior Construction and Design.
30. Memphis, Tennessee: Showcase your entryway
“Southerners in Memphis are known for our hospitality. So, we pay particular attention to entryways in our staging projects, remarks Bee Inspired Staging. “The entry is a house’s greeting. It sets the tone for the house and grabs the buyer immediately. When staging a foyer, we like using soft lighting and greenery to bring life into the entrance. We usually hang a mirror for reflection or a beautifully painted canvas.”
31. Houston, Texas: Stage a room as a home office
Home Staging for Houston shares, “Real estate developers all over Houston are building new construction properties with the inclusion of home offices. Real estate investors are renovating homes, tearing down walls, and opening the main living area to one large open space where we as home stagers will include the addition of a staged home office in that space.”
32. Salt Lake City, Utah: Adding rugs, art, and small objects that feel personal
“The most successful staging is making a space feel like it hasn’t been staged at all. Making the space feel lived in and cozy is really important. Adding rugs, art and small objects that feel personal like books and knick-knacks help buyers to imagine how they could live there with their own things,” notes Salt Lake City-based City Home Collective.
33. Burlington, Vermont: Maximize light by removing valances
“In Burlington, there is not a lot of sunlight, so it’s important to maximize light that comes through the windows. This means, removing all valences and stacking drapes on the walls rather than over the windows. In addition, cut shrubs and outdoor plants, so they don’t block out the sunlight.
The key to staging a home is to showcase the house, not your things. If items are too unique or unusual, buyers will remember the stuff, not the house. If they don’t remember the house, they won’t buy it,” says Design Matters.
34. Alexandria, Virginia: Paint walls a light gray
“Buyers in The Alexandria, Virginia area tend to prefer a neutral palette,” remarks Design Box. “Light gray walls are very current; it opens the space and provides a great backdrop for furniture and art. We love using Sherwin Williams Gray Screen SW 7071. Every property we stage using this color looks great.”
35. Bellevue, Washington: White, light, and bright is the goal
“White, light, and bright is our goal,” shares Bellevue-area-based Open House Staging. “We stick to neutrals, wonderful textures, and small pops of color. Buyers want help figuring out spaces, so we show how a room can be laid out or even reinvented. Perhaps a space off a kitchen was an eating area, but now we create a small family room or sitting room. We make certain we create a clean, fresh look for every space.”
36. Seattle, Washington: Up-cycling industrial objects
“The Pacific Northwest is known for its dedication to green building and eco-consciousness. One of the staging styles we find to be a must-have in Seattle homes is the up-cycling of found or industrial objects into art or usable furnishings. This aesthetic appeals to a broad variety of people, whether they be first-time home buyers or those in the luxury home market. These items make a statement and ensure conversation,” remarks Rosichelli Design.
37. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Add pops of white
Locals Milwaukee Home Design and Organizing share, “Milwaukee area homes have lots of stained wood and brick. But to keep with the trend, we suggest adding pops of white. For example, painting a staircase or railing. With brick, unless it is our signature Cream City Brick – we recommend painting fireplaces white and leaving mantels a natural wood.”