Tips For Staging Your Kitchen

Staging your home for selling is a balance between costs and results.  When deciding where to spend your time and money you should most definitely put the kitchen on the list.  Arguably kitchen design, improvement and cleanliness contribute more to the resale value of your home more than the rest of your rooms.  Staging your kitchen is just a smart choice.  

So what should you do?  Here are my top ten suggestions.

1.  Make it sparkle!  This means scrubbing the baseboards, vacuuming the corners, cleaning the stove, replacing the drip pans, polishing the fixtures and dusting the lights off.  Make sure to be thorough. I can't count the number of times that I've gone into a kitchen that is all ready to be listed and have looked at the top of the fridge to find a thick layer of dirt; clean the top of the fridge not just the sides!

2. Clean the inside of your fridge.  It's easy for a fridge to start looking a mess and now is the time to purge the contents.  Wash down all the selves, remove drawers and wash, and throw away anything past its prime.  Buyers will look inside the fridge, whether it is included in the sale or not.

3. Remove all but 2 small appliances from your counter-top.  If you don't have a lot of counter space then remove all of the appliances.  You want to give the impression of a large counter-top and too much clutter will make it impossible to achieve this.

4. Organize and de-clutter your kitchen pantry and cupboards.  This is key.  Buyers want storage space and if you're cupboards are spilling over when they open them (and they will open them) they will not see the potential great storage, they'll see small cupboards with limitations.  If you have the time to take it to the next step then organize your spices, turn all the coffee cups the same way, and consider storing flour, sugar, cereals, and other products in clear glass/plastic containers. 

5. Do not under any circumstances leave dirty dishes in the sink or in the dishwasher.  Buyers open dishwashers, I'm not sure why but they do.  

6. If you tend to cook things that have leave a lingering odor you should probably consider not cooking these items during the time your house is on the market.  This is something to think about for the entire house, some people have very sensitive noses, so it is best to stick with unoffensive scents throughout.  Avoid strongly scented flowers (Stargazer Lilies are an instant source of migraines for my wife) and perfume sprays and stick to smells that are light and fresh.

7.  Remove all items from the outside of your refrigerator.  It is clutter, take down the grocery lists, pictures, and all magnets.

8.  If you have outdated hardware on your kitchen cupboards then consider replacing them.  This is a relatively inexpensive way to give them an updated look.  Keep it simple and neutral, you can always purchase the decorative hardware of your choice for your new kitchen.

9. Displays of fresh fruit and vegetables make pleasing centerpieces and fall in with Tip #6.  Make sure the fruit stays fresh, replace as needed.  If you use lemons and limes in the display you can always use their grinds to put in your garbage cans and waste containers (in the kitchen that is) to add a great non-offensive scent to the space.

10. Let there be light.  Turn the lights on (make sure to replace any and all burned out light-bulbs) and open the curtains to showcase how bright and clean your kitchen is. 

These are my 10 basic rules of thumb for staging your kitchen.   In addition to these basic rules you may  want to consider spending a little extra money on the kitchen for selling; upgrading your cabinets and counters (if they are extremely outdated or ugly) can make a big difference in the resale value of your home.   

The key is that people spend a lot of time in their kitchens and as such it is a room of value in the resale market, if you're going to spend a little bit of extra time or money on a space this is the one to do it in.


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