Insider Secrets of an Atlanta Home Stager!

By: Carla Bradfield
Atlanta, Redesign Your Space

Did you know that staged homes spend on average half the time on the market as non-staged and sell for more than 6% above comparable homes?  There are 3 essential elements to successfully staging your home for a lightning fast sale, and we all know…time is money.  I’m going to share my experience with you and the secrets to successful staging!

Declutter, Redesign and Add some “Wow”!


We are often blind to our own “clutter”.  It’s like comfort food.  It makes us feel good.  You know those family pictures, presents you couldn’t re-gift, candles, little boxes, figurines and nick knacks you have collected over the years.  They all find a home with you.  It’s the decoration of our lives and it speaks to us.  However, things keep coming in, but nothing ever goes out!  It’s known as the point of SATURATION and it is most evident when it’s time to sell your home.   Suddenly these things become a roadblock for prospective buyers who want to envision their new space!  You may even feel a bit offended when your experienced Realtor starts the conversation about clearing out your spaces.  In your mind, these belongings are really wonderful!

Remember, your Realtor wants nothing more than to SELL YOUR HOUSE!  Smart sellers are open to editing their belongings in order to get there.  Your goal is to create a sleek and clean look that buyers can’t resist.  Bottom line…only the strong survive!

You’ve GOT this:

  • Remove anything that is personal to you and your family
  • Remove trinkets that don’t serve a purpose
  • Clear off tabletops
  • Remove large gallery walls with family photos
  • Take out small pieces of furniture, ottomans, etc. that make a room feel smaller
  • Remove heavy drapes that block out natural sunlight
  • Find a hiding place for toys, blankets, etc.
  • Clear out bookshelves to make room for a few decorative items
  • Store any collections such as snow globes, figurines, etc.

This is when a professional can help you take it to the next level by offering an unbiased perspective and years of experience!  Understanding the subtle cues that make things come together in a space is essential  to achieving success.  Once you have determined the layout of the room you are working with, you can then begin to change the placement of existing furniture and accessories to optimize the space.  This is what you need to consider:

  • Assess the flow of the space you are working with
  • Note the location of the doors and windows and identify the focal wall in each room

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I need to remove some of the furniture to showcase the size of my room?
  • Are my pieces placed in the optimal position?
  • Is the scale and style of my furniture neutral or should I store it and rent a few pieces?
  • Once you have maximized what you have on hand, you have a clean canvas with good bones. Move on to step three!
  1. Add the WOW! 

This is the fun part, but also the part that you have to be most prepared for.   Staging professionals keep a bevy of treasures on hand that create a positive, impressive vibe that grabs and emotionally lifts buyers as they enter.  It’s a bit like mind control.  You control a person’s mood and emotional state by visually suggesting and stimulating ideas that activate the mind to feel peace and happiness.  This is done with color and texture along with themed style that hints at far away places and happy times. These elements make a prospective buyer want to stay.  This is the key to selling quickly and for a higher price.  Eliminate references to the seller and allow the buyer to envision themselves living there.

  • Bring in accent furniture
  • Replace dark drapes with light airy window treatments
  • Lay beautiful, well sized rugs to define spaces
  • Add cheerful lamps and other lighting
  • Hang neutral and inviting art
  • Place properly sized accessories that create a high end vibe
  • Add spa like accessories such as large candles

Remember the 5 Senses!

Is the temperature of my home comfortable?
Does my home smell fresh and inviting?
What are my eyes drawn to when I walk in?
Should there be soft music playing to distract for traffic or other noises?
Have I left a personal welcome for my visitors like a bowl of candies?


In the BEFORE picture on the left, the red walls are not allowing the light to flow.  The Sofa is blocking the dining area and closing off the nice, large size of the room and the focal wall behind the dining table was not providing a strong visual.

The AFTER photo on the right has opened up the room visually with a light gray paint on the walls.  The large sectional sofa was eliminated before a sofa and chair were positioned to open up the space and allowing the dining room with its focal wall to be important.  A larger more neutral rug defines and separates the living area from the dining area.  I brought in a fun mirror for the focal wall in the dining room, a small accent chair for some softness and color along with a soft fur throw in the living area.  A glass top cocktail table was borrowed from another room. The home sold quickly after staging.

Carla Bradfield

Carla Bradfield
Interior Designer/Re-designer
Atlanta Redesign Your Space

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