Stage It Yourself

Kortney Says...

In addition to wearing my designer and house flipper hats, I am a realtor in Nashville. Over the years, I’ve learned that my clients are willing to do pretty much anything, when push comes to shove, to sell their homes. In fact, when I do a walk through to see the house for the first time, I can usually bet that the homeowner will point out all of the things they wish they did, never got to do, but are willing to do now, before getting it on the market in order to make the most profit. And to that, I always want to suggest that when they move to their new home, they front load all of those projects so they can enjoy it and live in the house they always dreamed of having.

Give your home a makeover

If your house could use a little “pick me up” to list it, take it room by room, and stage it for yourself. Paint the walls, buy some furniture and accessories that will elevate the rooms and make them look their best. When it’s time to sell, the process will be much easier to get it on the market. And guess what? You get to take your purchases with you. This is contrary to staging where you pay thousands of dollars to essentially rent the furniture. Now don’t get me wrong, I highly suggest staging to help elevate most houses to appeal to the most buyers who will pay more because they are taking the guesswork out of where everything goes by laying out the rooms in a professional way. The idea is that the buyer falls in love with the way everything flows. Usually, the seller falls in love with this house that they own but didn’t know its potential. It’s worth hiring a designer on the front end to seek out that potential, enjoy the home for the years that one lives in it and be proud to put a sign in the yard and sell it when it’s time.

Design by Kortney Wilson

Prioritizing rooms

Some rooms should definitely be prioritized; for example, any room in the main living spaces will get the most eyes on them. The kitchen, living, and dining areas are the most important to stage, especially so in open concept homes. The kitchen really shouldn't take much; less is more so if you need to cut one room out of your budget, that's the one. If you can't afford to stage all of the bedrooms, the master suite is definitely the best one to prioritize.

If there are any flex spaces or bonus rooms, it's nice to lay out what that can look like for the buyer. It's hard for someone to imagine what to do with extra rooms, if they've never had extra space before, so help them visualize it by laying it out for them.

Consider renovating

Nobody wants to hear that undergoing a $30,000 kitchen renovation after living in the house for five years will result in asking $60-70,000 more in some markets, but it could be true. Speak to your realtors and find out which renovations you should tackle with a good return on investment. You may have a “mini- flip” right under your nose.

Design by Kortney Wilson

Curb appeal

More and more, outdoor living spaces are becoming popular to stage. People are trying to live healthier, and that includes spending more time outdoors. It's best to spend the money on the porches and areas you can see from the street to maximize the interest from the first impression standpoint but if there is still money in the budget, or the backyard leaves much to be desired, consider it a win to distract the buyer from the negative and turn those areas into a positive.


Often lighting is overlooked in all aspects of home design. I like to layer my lighting. To say there is a light, is certainly not enough. Is there mood lighting to create ambiance? This can be easily accomplished by putting your main light on a dimmer switch. Is there task light for the things that actually take place in that room? A lamp by the bedside table or built in desk by the pantry.

Lastly, are there things in the home that you'd like to accent? If so, you need an accent light. Perhaps it's a piece of art or a mantel. By layering and thinking of these three categories, you will create a home that is well lit for any occasion.