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Staging a Bedroom: Design Tips to Help You Get the Offer of Your Dreams

At HomeLight, our vision is a world where every real estate transaction is simple, certain, and satisfying. Therefore, we promote strict editorial integrity in each of our posts.

If you’re looking to receive top dollar from your home, have a speedier sale with less time on the market, and appeal to more buyers online and at showings, you should strongly consider staging your home. Especially when it’s the primary bedroom, this can help nudge buyers toward an offer. Here’s what you need to know about staging a bedroom.

Staging a bedroom can make a difference

The following statistics from the National Association of Realtors, 2021 Profile on Home Staging survey present data from agents who represent buyers and sellers every day.

  • 23% of sellers’ agents reported that when staging a home, buyers offered an increase of 1% to 5% of the dollar value compared to homes on the market that weren’t staged. That’s a $4,000 to $20,000 increase for a home with a list price of $400,000.
  • 15% of seller’s agents believe a staged home could increase the sales value by 6% to 10%.
  • 43% of those surveyed agreed that staging the primary bedroom made a huge impact on a buyer’s decision, just 3% behind staging the living room (46%).
  • 31% of sellers’ agents reported that home staging significantly decreased the amount of time the home was on the market.
  • 22% percent of sellers’ agents reported that there were slight decreases in the time on the market when the home is staged.
  • 82% of buyers’ agents agreed that home staging made it easier for buyers to visualize properties as their future homes.

Staging a bedroom can impact the sale and helps buyers form an emotional connection with the house.

We reached out to elite agent Kim Alden of Barrington, Illinois, who has sold over a thousand homes in her career, and to top agent Maribel Sotuyo of Houston, Texas, who has a record of selling homes quickly, to share their home staging expertise. In this article, you’ll learn the steps to making your home — and specifically your bedroom — more marketable while you create a relaxing sanctuary that buyers can’t wait to move into.

I always tell people less is more: on your nightstand, have one item like an alarm clock and a lamp; on the other, maybe a lamp and a book.
  • Kim Alden
    Kim Alden Real Estate Agent
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    Kim Alden
    Kim Alden Real Estate Agent at Compass
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    • Years of Experience 17
    • Transactions 1533
    • Average Price Point $324k
    • Single Family Homes 1225

1. Declutter and depersonalize to inspire buyers

When people view a primary bedroom, they try to imagine what their life [would] be like living there, says Alden. They don’t want to see somebody else’s chaos or clutter. “The last thing buyers want to see is your personal belongings, the pictures of all of your kids, and all of your clutter,” says Alden. “I always tell people less is more: on your nightstand, have one item like an alarm clock and a lamp; on the other, maybe a lamp and a book.” “Don’t have your nightstand stacked up with your medicine [bottles] and your books,” advises Alden.

“You want the bedroom to look like a beautiful hotel with a nice clean slate, where the buyer can imagine plopping down, taking a nap, and falling asleep.” When you’re staging your bedroom, Alden recommends that sellers envision what the bedroom would look like if it was in the publication, Architectural Digest.

Follow these essential steps to declutter and depersonalize your primary bedroom:

  • Remove personal items that broadcast your personality
  • Place one item on the dresser and one on the nightstand
  • Decorate the room in soft, soothing neutral colors
  • Create a cohesive flow from the primary bedroom to the ensuite bathroom by displaying white fluffy towels and placing a shower caddy under the sink to organize shampoos, toiletries, and other personal items so buyers can’t view them from the bedroom.

2. Skip eye-catching vignettes in bedrooms

Many people love eye-catching vignettes they see displayed in large living rooms and kitchens on HGTV. However, they’re not for the bedroom, according to Alden. If your primary room has a king bed in it, a vignette with two chairs and a table by the window can crowd the space and minimize the perceived square footage in an average sized bedroom.

Alden isn’t a big fan of vignettes when staging a bedroom because the majority of the houses she sells are an average bedroom size of 18 X 20. “You want to show as much space as you can and appeal to the masses,” explains Alden. Buyers might not appreciate the style of furniture or want a plaid fabric chair and a table by the bed or the window.

“You want to leave some space so buyers can imagine where they would put their own items so they say,’Oh, gosh those two great leather chairs we have, we can put them right here in front of this window.’”

3. Deep clean from top to bottom

To make the best impression on buyers, make sure you deep clean your bedroom from the baseboards to the ceiling fan and everything in between. You want every surface to be free of dust, dirt and scuff marks. The room should sparkle and smell fresh. You can hire a professional cleaning company if you can book an appointment.

Alden shares some great deep cleaning tips for tackling the job on your own:

  • Wash your bedding: Make sure your bedding is freshly laundered. “Nothing is worse than that old sheet smell or pet odors” if you allow your furry friend on the bed.
  • Dust everything: Most of us dust our furniture, but sometimes we miss things like the baseboard, the lampshade, and the ceiling fan, which can leave dust on the walls.
  • Deep clean the carpets: If you don’t need new carpeting in your bedroom,you might want to consider having your carpets cleaned. Alden recommends calling in a professional to remove stains and musty odors from carpets.
  • Deep clean your windows: A sparkling clean window free of spots and streaks speaks volumes of how you maintain the rest of your home.
  • Bring in the outdoors: “When showing your house, pull your blinds to the top so buyers can see outside,” Alden says.

4. Appeal to a buyer’s sense of smell, but keep it light

A fresh, subtle scent can please the senses. “Stay away from strong-smelling room fresheners that can make your eyes burn because then people think, oh, what are they covering up,” says Alden. “You want the fragrance to be light and subtle.”

Alden recommends a simple fragrance by Capri candles named Volcano that has a really nice subtle citrus scent. “I haven’t found a person that doesn’t like the scent of that candle.”

5. Paint your bedroom walls in a nice, neutral color

I tell clients that paint is one of the best investments you can make for your house,” Alden says. “Make sure you pick a nice, neutral paint color and hire a professional painter that can cut a nice, straight edge.”

Top real estate agent Maribel Sotuyo of Houston, Texas, recommends neutral, cool colors for bedrooms because they’re easy to pair with crisp white linens — a clean and classic bedding choice — yet they still leave wiggle room for an accent color or texture.

Most importantly, a primary bedroom painted in a neutral shade allows just about any buyer to imagine their favorite decor style fitting into the room. Neutral paint colors go with anything, says Alden. “Again, you’re trying to take your personality out of the house and allow a buyer to [put theirs in].” Here are a few of Alden’s favorite neutral paint colors, all by Benjamin Moore:

  • Revere Pewter: one of Benjamin Moore’s top-selling gray paint colors that has a mix of cool and warm tones
  • Bleeker Beige: a subtle buff hue with pleasing gray undertones
  • White Dove: a soft, neutral white that isn’t too stark or sterile

6. Remove excess furniture

Removing non-essential furniture makes a room appear spacious and uncrowded. “[Many homeowners] put too much furniture in their bedroom; they have chairs; they put a bench in front of their bed, sometimes they have a dresser or a chair right next to the door frame, ” Alden tells us.

“You have to remember that you’re going to have four or five people walking in and if there’s no place for them to stand and they feel crowded, they’re going to think that your room is small,” says Alden. “It’s probably not a small room; it just has too much furniture,” says Alden. “Remove any benches that are in front of the bed and any excess chairs that don’t need to be there.”

7. Make your bed the feature attraction

Your bedding is the star of the show and sets the stage. “The key to any bedroom, and how it’s going to show is your bedding, ” explains Alden. “I always tell people the best money you can spend on bedroom staging is on nice bedding.”

Beautiful bedding doesn’t need to cost a fortune, either. “TJ Maxx and Marshalls are great places that sell everything together; you can also buy some inexpensive pillows at Walmart, Target and Costco, ” says Alden. “Get solid white or cream bedding, no patterns; if it’s purple they might not like purple; if it’s red they might not like red.”

Alden says to make sure to have a couple of pillows stacked up so it looks like it’s a bed out of a magazine. “Fluffy pillows are key; it’s just gonna make the bedroom feel inviting.”

8. Empty your closet and stage it like a showroom

A cluttered closet can be a deal-breaker for buyers when it comes to making an offer. If your closet is bursting at the seams, people are going to think their stuff is going to burst at the seams as well,” says Alden.

An organized closet gives the impression of having more space than a closet crammed with belongings. Alden says that you want buyers to say, ‘Oh, wow, they have a lot of space; we can put all of our stuff in here too.’

A good way to maximize closet space is to take your off-season wardrobe out of the closet. Alden recommends storing off-season clothing in suitcases. “I always tell people you have a bunch of suitcases in the basement; Utilize those empty suitcases and fill them up with your off-season clothing.”

Staging your closet

Some homeowners take style up a notch by turning their closets into a designer display showroom. “If you’re going to do a display of handbags, put two or three on a shelf, [rather than] 15 handbags,” says Alden.

Here a few quick tips for closet organization and style:

  • Arrange your shoes on shelves, but leave plenty of space between each pair (think upscale department store shoe department!).
  • “Leave a foot of space between items on hangers, and spread out your clothing.”
  • Keep the floor as clear as possible to give the illusion of additional space.
  • “Make sure dirty clothes are in a hamper, Alden says. “Nobody wants to see anybody’s dirty clothes.”

Final Thoughts on Staging a Bedroom

Staging a bedroom should evoke an ambiance of a spa-like sanctuary that your buyer can enter and “melt from the day.” White fluffy pillows, neutral soothing colors, and a clean and comfortable atmosphere should take precedence over showing your personal taste, a computer on a desk, or books piled atop chairs or dressers. “Keep it simple; keep it very lean as accessories go,” says Alden.

Header Image Source: (Logan Nolin / Unsplash)