Staging 101

It seems obvious that when you put your house on the market, you want to make sure it looks and shows the best it possibly can. In today’s world, the way your home photographs and presents itself online is of the utmost importance. You have roughly five photos or 10 seconds to capture the attention of a potential buyer online, hopefully leading to an in-person showing, and ideally an offer! But the work it takes to get to that point isn’t always obvious. There are certain paint colors, furniture positions, and organization tips that the typical seller doesn’t know. This is where Brittany Simon comes in, she is one of our go-to home stagers who knows exactly what to do to get your house photo and market ready! From decluttering, organizing, and furniture staging, she does it all and is here to give you a few quick tips!



by Brittany Simon of Simon Staging

So you’ve decided to put your home on the market. Your realtor will probably advise you on timing, price point, and elements of staging. Why has home staging become such an important aspect to selling your home? Well, for starters the increased popularity of TV shows like HGTV and DIY Network has elevated buyers expectations like never before. The NAR reports that more and more home buyers feel that homes should look the way they were staged on TV. Not only that, but the numbers speak for themselves. According to, 88 percent of staged houses sell at or above list price and sell, on average, in 10.3 days, versus 84.6 days for non staged houses. Bottom line, staged homes sell faster and for more money! Lastly, if you’re looking to buy a home, there’s a 95 percent chance that your search will start online. This means that pictures of your home will be the first impression for potential buyers, so it’s even more important that your home stands out against the competition.

Clients often ask how they can create that staged look on their own. So I like to use the hotel analogy. Why do most of us love going to stay in a hotel? Well, its probably because of these three things and interestingly they translate into great guidelines to follow when staging your own home. I call them the Three Cs. Overall, this is the feeling you want to create when prospective buyers walk through the front door.


1) It’s Clean
And I mean Q-tip clean. This seems like a given but you’d be surprised! You need to detail and clean your house just as a hotel would in preparing for the next guest. Starting from the outside because first impressions are everything, right? Make sure the yard is free of debris, leaves are swept off steps and porches, and bushes and shrubs are groomed to the appropriate levels. Windows and gutters should be cleaned and the exterior should be power washed and updated with paint if necessary. Inside the house, it’s the attention to detail when cleaning that really makes it shine. Clean the baseboards, window sill corners, and stovetops. Unfortunately potential buyers snoop around, so clean the inside of the fridge, microwave, and oven. Bathroom? You should be able to eat a meal off that floor. Get rid of any mold in the shower and bathtub areas and clean the grout with bleach (power toothbrushes work wonders). Nothing makes a potential buyer feel more unwelcome than a house that looks dirty and uncared for. So spend the time doing a good deep clean or hire a professional to do it for you, but this is a must.



2) It’s Clutter Free
Hotels are not filled with unnecessary items. They don’t have coffee tables filled with a collection of snow globes, piles of random papers spread all over the desk nor are they packed with so much furniture that you can hardly walk around. There is a saying in the home staging world and that is, “Clutter eats equity.” The bottom line, if you’re getting ready to sell your house, then that means you’re getting ready to move. If you’re getting ready to move then you’re getting ready to pack. Most of the principles of staging just mean that you are going to pack up some of those things early. It takes some time, but this is crucial for any home to appear larger. The majority of people just cannot see past one’s “stuff” which means they can’t see the potential of the space or themselves living in it. 

So here’s what I suggest: 

  • • Open all the closets (coat, linen, pantry, etc.) and reduce everything in it by a third. If you can get rid of half even better, and leave nothing on the floor. 
  • • No more than three decorative items per coffee table, end table, shelf or countertop. Three is visually pleasing to the eye, any more than that and it starts to look “cluttered.” On that same note, reducing the number of personal items, i.e. pictures of the family, diplomas, trophies, personal collections, religious affiliations, etc. is a must. Personal affects make a potential buyer feel like a guest in some else’s house and limits their ability to see themselves living there.
  • • Be mindful of the natural pathways of the house. In most cases, people have too much furniture in any one space. This usually interferes with the flow and entertaining areas of the home which we want to sell. So when in doubt, reduce the amount of furniture, create cozy conversation areas, and let things breathe. Less is more!



3) It’s Got Color
There’s no doubt that when you walk into a hotel you notice the design element. It feels “put together.” Now, we’re not trying to win any interior decorating awards here, but it’s important to incorporate a consistent feeling throughout the home. I think a great way to do this is by adding color. This is important because it gives warmth, personality, and life to any space. However, there is a big difference between permanent color and moveable color. For example, you may love the color blue but I wouldn’t suggest painting a big blue accent wall in your dining room. Instead leave the walls, floors, cabinets, bedding, and bigger furniture a neutral color and add the blue through art work, pillows, throws, and accent pieces. Hence, color should be added by items that can be “moved.” Another way to incorporate color is to bring the outside in. You’ll notice hotels always add natural elements like plants, flowers, sticks, rocks, and moss to their spaces. Lastly, stick with colors that are not jarring. Blues and greens are traditionally soothing and tend to appeal to the masses.



  • The latest from Britt
Born, raised, and bred in Alexandria, VA, Britt Patterson is a true product of the great state of Virginia. Britt attended Waynewood Elementary (Class of ’96), Carl Sandburg Middle School (Class of ’98) , and West Potomac High School (Class of ’02), she then went on to attend Virginia Tech (go Hokies!) where she majored in Business Marketing and Minored in Real Estate. Britt “officially” joined the family business as a licensed Realtor in 2008 after two years of working the political fundraising field and prides herself on her Alexandria real estate knowledge, alongside her integrity, loyalty, and professionalism as an agent and Vice President for the family business.

The Patterson Group is one of the most experienced and trusted real estate teams in the area, serving Alexandria, VA for over thirty years. We offer professional, hardworking, detailed and friendly service and a large network of contacts and resources accrued over our many years in Alexandria real estate. Comprised of seven Alexandria locals, six of whom are licensed realtors and three of whom are accredited staging professionals, The Patterson Group is passionate and knowledgeable about Alexandria, VA and here for all of your Northern VA real estate needs. Allow us to help you find your home here and discover all that the Alexandria lifestyle has to offer.

400 South Washington Street
Alexandria, VA 22314


1 Comment

  1. Avatar Elisabeth Dupee says:

    Great feature! Love watching this Patterson team grow into an empire with the clever idea of Simon Staging. You are all so innovative, professional, and industrious.

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