During this unique time, folks are viewing many more homes online before deciding on a select few to see in person. Because of that, staging is more important than ever. We spoke with Helen Bartlett of Refined Interior Staging Solutions about what she recommends.


Q. For starters, what is the purpose of staging?


A. To market a home for the quickest sale at top market value. Staging not only helps sellers accomplish this, it also allows buyers to picture their lifestyle in these homes. It shows the purpose of each space, it gives buyers perspective in how furnishings will fit and work within the space and it helps a buyer emotionally connect with a home.


Q. In this current normal, staging must be on point because people are spending so much more time looking at houses online in advance. What do you recommend people do? What things do folks have to consider for photos and videos?


A. Today, 95% of buyers are starting their home searches online. With so many homes to look at, if photos and/or videos don’t stand out, a buyer will be quick to move on to the next house. To get the best-looking photos, have a professional photographer shoot the property. They’ll be able to capture the room, focal points and other details that might be missed with amateur photos. To help a buyer focus on the room itself, distractions need to be at a minimum, so clean up the clutter! Good lighting is also important for getting good photos.


Q. Is there anything you’d recommend regarding color?


A. Staging with neutrals is key, because color is very subjective. For example, if you have a buyer come into a home with a brightly painted dining room, the first thing they’ll notice is the color. They’ll immediately decide if they love it or not, and rather than focusing on the space, they’ll be focused on the color. If they’re focused on the color and not the space, they won’t connect with the space, and if they don’t connect emotionally with the space, they won’t buy it. When you keep a space neutral, it allows a buyer to focus on room size, layout and purpose. Adding color through art and accessories is a great way to make the room feel alive and current.


Q. What about style? What do people need to consider regarding style of furniture?


A. For a home to appeal to a buyer, furnishings need to be current and on trend as well as compliment the architecture of the home. If you have a mid-century home, very traditional furniture will not highlight the architectural features of the space. Just like modern furniture will make a traditional home feel awkward. Another important thing to remember is the demographic of your buyer. If you’ve lived in your home for decades and your furnishings reflect the time you moved in, that may end up being an issue if a younger family looks at your home. If your home is filled with antiques and your buyer is young, they won’t be able to relate to how this will become their new dream home. It’s not necessary to remove all your furnishings if they are dated, but a good editing will definitely help!


Q. In a perfect world, we’d all hire people like you to stage our houses. If they can’t do that for whatever reason, what are a couple of simple things people can do to make their houses look better in photos?


A. Make sure your paint color is on trend. Declutter or edit your space to make sure the room shows its purpose and focal point. If there is a fireplace in the room, make sure it’s visible. If you have a beautiful wall of windows, make sure that it is highlighted. Accent any architectural features that will allow your house to stand out. Remove small area rugs in entryways, bathrooms and kitchens. Make sure surfaces are clean and clear. Remove collections or small décor items and use larger and more impactful pieces. Remove outdated window coverings and replace any outdated light fixtures.&


If you’ve had thoughts about selling your home, connect with a ReeceNichols agent today! We can guide you through thehome selling process—from listing to closing.


A national award-winning home stager and home stylist, Helen Bartlett has been staging homes in the Kansas City area since 2011. She has been awarded several national home staging awards, including the Top 10 Professional Home Stagers in the United States for Vacant Homes, Owner Occupied Homes and Redesign. Her work has been featured on local television in the Kansas City area, The Kansas City Star and Kansas City Home & Styles Magazine. Helen also co-authored a book: “Home Staging: The Power That Sells Real Estate. Visit herwebsite for more information.