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Staging the Kitchen

Staging is about illusions. It’s beyond decorating and cleaning. It’s about perfecting the art of creating moods. Staging makes your space look bigger, brighter, cleaner, warmer, more loving and, best of all, it makes buyers want to buy it. Ask most people which room is the most important room in the house, though, and they will answer: the kitchen. Kitchens also tend to cost the most to remodel. It’s not uncommon for a home owner to spend TT$150,000 to $350,000 to revamp the kitchen.

Some may rather take that money and tramp around Europe, than spend a fortune remodeling the kitchen. But many owners pour gobs of dough into kitchen transformations, making that space a gourmet showcase for the culinary arts. Even if they don’t cook.

I’m not suggesting that you rob a bank to remodel the kitchen before selling your home. In fact, you don’t need to spend money to spruce it up, unless it needs to be painted. You can stage that space and make it a desirable kitchen by using simple, proven staging techniques. Let’s explore how the home stager tackled this job.

Getting the Kitchen Ready for Sale

  • First and foremost, clean it; make it sparkle.
  • Scrub the baseboards and vacuum the corners.
  • Polish chrome fixtures, dust ceiling fans and replace burned-out light bulbs, even over the stove.
  • If you typically cook meals that leave a lingering odor, consider dining out or bringing home take-out while your home is on the market. You don’t want a buyer walking into the house, sniffing the air and exclaiming, “Yuck, smells like bacon.”
  • Don’t ever leave dirty dishes in the sink nor in the dishwasher. Buyers open dishwashers. Don’t ask me why.
  • Wipe down all the cabinets, inside and out. Polish the hardware — if it’s worn or dated, consider replacing knobs / handles.
  • Alphabetize your spices. Turn all coffee cup handles facing the same direction. Buyers will notice and think you are meticulous about the rest of the home, too.
  • Consider replacing extremely dirty drip pans under the burners on the stove. Pull off the stove knobs and polish them.
  • Remove all cleaning products and sponges from the sink counter.
  • Get rid of magnets, photos or notes attached to the refrigerator.
  • Leave nothing on the counters but a cookbook, fruit or decorative items. Yes, that means remove the coffee pot; I know, I’m sorry. Put it under the sink.

Before Staging the Kitchen

  • If you didn’t know the kitchen was large enough to accommodate a table and chairs, it’s hard to picture it because the space at the end of the wall seems like an under utilized area.
  • The hanging light fixture looks odd in front of the window.
  • You don’t really notice the built-in shelving and drawers on the left side of the kitchen because the bookcase is empty.
  • Without photographs and plants, the kitchen appears cold and unfriendly. It’s hard to imagine cooking in this area.
  • The refrigerator is missing, and it’s apparent because the top of the refrigerator serves as the bottom shelf for a cabinet. It’s easy to see that there is no “triangle” consisting of the ‘frig, stove and sink.

After Staging the Kitchen

  • By bringing in a small table and two chairs, the dining area springs to life. Suddenly, the use of this space is evident.
  • Placing a rug under the table defines the area and makes it appear separate yet still part of the rest of the kitchen.
  • Putting books and ceramic figurines in the bookcase showcases its purpose, yet none of those items crowd the shelving.
  • Arranging plants on the counter, table and behind the chair brings warmth to the area, and hanging artwork on the wall gives it a homey feeling.

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