Staging Checklist: Your Ultimate Guide

March 13, 2021

Toronto real estate market is on a high roll once again, I mean, the Spring market has started early, and “bidding war” is the popular phrase yet again.

Speaking of bidding wars and offers – If you’re selling your home soon and you’re imagining multiple offers or at least a great offer on the table, we’ve got you covered. I put together a home staging checklist that will take you through every step of the way.

1. Plan Ahead

  • Walk through each room and criticize your home from a buyer’s perspective. Your goal is to show off and create as much space as you can.
  • Work with your local real estate agent and home stager for their advice to ensure you’re headed to a successful sale.
  • Consider getting a professional home inspection to see if any repairs are needed.
  • Hire a contractor or a handyman service to handle common repairs or any unfinished projects around the house.

2. Edit, Clean, and Declutter 

  • Clean the entire home. Better yet, hire professional cleaners to give your house a good deep clean including all your kitchen appliances.
  • Scrub tiles in the kitchen and bathrooms.
  • Give your flooring a thorough cleaning. Re-wax your hardwood floors if necessary to bring back their shine.
  • Steam clean carpets. Consider replacing carpet if stains are prominent.
  • Remove heavy drapes to allow for more natural light.
  • Get rid of all dust bunnies.
  • Organize room closets and store out-of-season clothes.
  • Remove all small appliances, toys, school projects, and pet items.
  • Remove family photos, personal collections, and medications.
  • Remove all the overgrown and dead plants inside the house.
  • Remove items from your garage and store them off-site. Your garage shouldn’t be a “catch-all” space.
  • Purge. This is the perfect time to get rid of items you don’t need. Sell, donate, or trash pieces you no longer need.

3. Work on Your Home’s Interior

  • Repaint the interior if necessary. Light colours work best and use the same wall colour for the whole house including bathrooms and closets. 
  • Repair cracks and holes in the walls.
  • Remove excess furniture pieces and edit accessories to a minimum.
  • Store oversized furniture pieces.
  • Re-evaluate furniture placements and room layout to maximize space and function.
  • Re-evaluate your home decor (or lack of).

4. Maximize Your Home’s Curb Appeal

  • Paint the home’s exterior, including trim, doors, and shutters if needed.
  • Check the front door, doorbell, address number and welcome mat.
  • Power wash the siding and windows.
  • Repair cracks in the driveway and sidewalks.
  • Sweep the entryway and walkways.
  • Repaint your garage doors if necessary. 
  • Mow, water and fertilize the lawn.
  • Trim shrubs and trees and rake the leaves.
  • Plant colourful flowers and shrubs.
  • Store any toys or equipment lying in the yard.
  • Clean up pet droppings.
  • Clear all garbage bins from your front yard.

5. Pay Special Attention to Kitchen and Bathrooms

  • Clear the countertops and cabinets.
  • Replace outdated hardware.
  • Clean all kitchen appliances and all light fixtures.
  • Clean and organize the pantry, cabinets, and drawers.
  • Free up some space in kitchen cabinets, and cupboards.
  • Replace any old or mouldy caulking around sinks and bathtubs.
  • Remove stains from sinks, toilets, and bathtubs.
  • Hang fresh towels.

6. Appeal to Senses

  • Replace busted light bulbs.
  • Push all drapes to the side to make each room as bright as possible. Let more natural light in! 
  • Open windows to let in the fresh air and let the house breathe.
  • Open curtains or blinds and show off your views.
  • Neutralize any smell from cooking or from your pets by deep cleaning and opening all your windows to let the house breathe.
  • Relocate pets while your house is listed.
  • No smoking inside your house.

7. Highlight Your Home’s Best Features

  • Remove rugs in some rooms to show off your beautiful floors.
  • Pull back drapes to showcase the view if you have a good view.
  • Stage the front porch or deck with furniture and some greens.
  • Set the mood by making sure fireplaces are in good working condition.
  • Clean the backyard and/or pool area.

Be sure to print out this handy checklist when staging and preparing your home for sale to make sure you have everything covered. Good luck!


Toronto-based stager Red Barrinuevo is the property stylist on HGTV Canada’s Hot Market Series and the Principal Designer at Redesign4more. He is an award-winning interior stylist who was also named one of the most influential people in real estate staging this year by RESA Global. His firm is known for enhancing and creating stylish yet functional spaces through its creative home staging, interior decorating, and design services.

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