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Take the stage: How to stage your house for sale, on a DIY budget

If you’re planning on selling or renting your home, a little styling effort can make a big difference to the financial outcome.

It’s not rocket science that taking the time to make your house look good is essential to get the best sale price or find a tenant quickly. As with most things, you can seek professional help, and spending money to make money isn’t a bad idea. But while engaging professional expertise can be worth the spend, not everyone is in a position to pay for a professional stylist. With just a few simple tips and a bit of your time, it’s easy to style your house yourself, on a budget.

Home staging is all about showing your home’s best side to the market. People need to quickly see the positives and be able to visualise themselves living a great life there. Rather than seeing it as a cost, you should look at staging as an investment in time and money. So, do you do it yourself or get someone in?


Using the services of a home staging specialist is certainly a good option. As a general guide, you’re looking at anywhere between $2,000 for a basic service to $10,000 for a big home. It’s not just initial advice, a package will include furniture and homeware hire and last for several weeks.

But if your budget can’t stretch to engage a professional, there are ways to do it yourself. It’s estimated that staging your home for sale can increase your sale price by up to five per cent. If, for argument’s sake, you can get a 2.5 per cent increase on a $600,000 home, that’s a tidy $15,000. Not a bad result for doing a few of these simple things that don’t need to cost you a lot.


Remove as many personal items as you can – things like family photos, your framed uni degree, personal objects, sporting memorabilia, knickknacks, and the finger painting your toddler did at day-care. By taking away reminders that someone else is living there, it’s easier for people to imagine themselves making a home there.


Space is a luxury and something that people attach great value to, be it living areas, storage areas or just a general feeling of openness. Make your place feel more spacious, lighter and brighter with these tricks:

  • Mirrors create the illusion of space by taking whatever natural sunlight you have and bouncing it around the room. Trawl Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace for inexpensive mirrors to hang in every room. You can even make a feature of a large mirror by sitting it on the ground leaning up against the wall. If the room has a window, try positioning the mirror opposite to reflect it for bonus light (or a view).
  • Open up doors, both inside and outside, and raise the curtains and blinds to fill your home with free-flowing spaces and natural light.
  • Rearrange furniture to open up the rooms and create an easier traffic flow through the house. Consider putting some pieces into storage to further help create an illusion of space.
  • Declutter cupboards, wardrobes and drawers. People love storage (and will open your cupboards during the inspection!), if you reduce the amount of stuff kept in storage spaces, they will naturally look more spacious.


It’s time to channel your inner Marie Kondo. It’s not just the storage that needs decluttering, it’s your whole place. Less is more. Clutter doesn’t just get in the way; it gets in the way of people seeing your property at its best. Pack as many items away as you can to create a sense of tidiness and order, then get to cleaning everything else. Dusting objects, wiping surfaces, vacuuming carpets and mopping floors to make the home look sparkling is a non-negotiable.


Indoor plants have made a big style comeback of late and are a marvellous way of bringing life to a room. If you don’t have the budget to buy nicely potted plants for every room, you could try borrowing some for a short time from a green-thumbed family member or friend.


Style shelves, cupboards and drawers. In the kitchen pantry, use matching jars and storage containers. If you have a bookcase, regroup the books according to the colour of their spine to create a clever colour block impact. In wardrobes, organise clothes by type and colour – and try using matching hangers. In your linen cupboard, try to match linen colours, textures and types (and if you have too many of any item, store some of it away from your home).


We don’t mean adding gold tapware. Install a feeling of luxury by using matching, fluffy white towels. Swap out the generic supermarket soap dispenser for a more luxurious brand such as Aesop. A fresh, new shower curtain is a cost-efficient way of making over the room.


Make up the beds to look like they belong in a boutique hotel. Think matching linen, double pillows, cushions and throws.


An open and welcoming entrance makes a great first impression. Open the gate, buy a new doormat, add a pot plant alongside the front door and declutter the hallway to create room to enter.

In the end, the trick to successful DIY staging is not overspending and reducing the gain of any increase in value. And if you can remember one thing, it’s that people want to be able to visualise themselves living in a new home, and if they see what they like, they’ll pay a little more to get it. It’s your job to show them the potential for a great new life in your home.

Any advice contained in this article is of a general nature only and does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. Therefore, before making any decision, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice with regard to those matters. Information in this article is correct as of the date of publication and is subject to change.