6 Tips for Staging Your NYC Home on a Budget

Given last year’s slowdown in the real estate market, staging your home is more important than ever if you hope to lock down a sale. You might think you need a bunch of money to properly stage a property, but that’s not the case. So don’t worry, no one’s asking you to win the lottery (although if you do, we wouldn’t mind a small donation, just kidding…or are we?)

Despite the challenges in the housing market, a few simple tips can help set you up for success. 

1) Chuck out Overhead Lights: 

There are few things less appealing than bright, blaring white overhead lights that make your home look like the inside of a hospital cafeteria. Such lights are also good at highlighting all the flaws in your property. Trade these lights in for lamps, soft lights, and LEDs. They are more relaxing and inspire feelings of tranquility and ease. 

2) To Highlight or Not Highlight a View? 

Based on the previous tip, you might think we’re saying that lighting is bad. That’s not the case at all. We’re talking about the quality of light. Soft, natural light from outside can make your property look very appealing. If you have a beautiful view of the outdoors, get rid of your curtains to highlight that view as much as possible. However, if the view is not so appealing—perhaps looking out onto a dumpster or a brick wall—consider getting sheer curtains so you can bring in light without emphasizing the view. 

3) Declutter:

Decluttering a space will make it look bigger. If you’re struggling to figure out what is clutter and what isn’t, you can have a friend come over and give their perspective. Or you can take pictures of the property to help you look at it from a different perspective. Other ways to make your apartment look cleaner are repainting walls and doors, putting away winter blankets, and putting new pillowcases on your pillows. 

4) Embrace Neutrality: 

When staging your home, you want it to be a place that prospective buyers can imagine themselves in. Since you can’t possibly know the personality and style of every buyer, it’s best to go with neutral colors and themes and avoid dark colors and patterns. It’s better to use light colors and solid colors on furniture and linens, rather than patterns. If you want to have something exciting in the space, maybe you can have one interesting centerpiece, but don’t overdo it. So this might not be the best time to show off your lava lamp collection (even though we personally love it!!).

5) Wow the Buyer ASAP:

A buyer begins their evaluation from the moment they enter your home. In the field of Psychology, there’s a phenomenon called the Serial Position Effect. What this means is that people are more likely to remember the first piece of information they are given than the rest. This is why first impressions are so important! Thus, you want the first room your buyer sees to impress them right away. Don’t skimp on the entryway in preference to another room you may personally find more exciting. 

6) Stage First Then List:

Stage before you list. Don’t put off staging to see if you get interest first. It’s best to start off on your best foot immediately. If a property lingers on the market too long, people will start to wonder if there is something wrong with it and potentially avoid it. If your apartment hasn’t been renovated in a while, it may also be difficult to sell. 

We’re not saying that staging is easy. But it’s definitely affordable and worth your while. Don’t know where to start? We LOVE staging and actually consider ourselves pros (if we do say so, ourselves.) Get in touch and we’ll help you make all those tough decisions – sometimes a third party opinion is all you need! 

For other tips on how to make your NYC home look its best, check out our article on renovation loans and spring cleaning


If you’re interested in learning more about the selling process, download our free Seller’s Guide. We share a ton of valuable resources to demystify the selling process and help you along this emotional journey.

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