Happy Valentine's Day. For readers who live in countries where this is not a national holiday, I can explain. It is a day set aside for people to show their love. We do this by spending money. This day of celebration was invented by the chocolate, florist, greeting card, restaurant, and jewelry industries.

But seriously, I think people should show their love 365 days a year. Instead of bestowing commercially produced tokens of affection, loyalty, and passion on February 14, how about we all just show kindness to the people we love? Like, all year.

Still, go to Olive Garden for their breadstick Valentine bouquet.

If your home is for sale, spend that chocolate and roses money on a few things to make people fall in love with it!

You can make buyers fall head over heels for your house, and all it takes is paying attention to the senses and how they make an atmosphere inviting.

Colors speak to buyers

Soft colors like pastels and whites add a romantic feel to any space. Colors like corals, lilacs and blues -- even in pale shades -- may not be ideal for all the walls in your home, but elsewhere they are what will add personality to your home.

So, use these "friendly" colors in small doses, like vases, artwork, pillows, or lamps. The books, lamps, paintings, rug, and bedding in this photo from Whitney Campeau show how soft tones can create a soothing bedroom scene.

Do you have some paint left from DIY projects you've done for your home? Properly stored, a can of paint will last for up to five years. If you add some of it to white paint you'll automatically have a pastel that will harmonize with what's existing in your home. It takes lots of white to make a pastel, so don't try adding white to a can of dark or highly saturated colored paint. Rather, start with white paint and gradually add small amounts of that leftover deep color.

Professional stagers know that intense wall colors can be hurdles to prospective buyers. Most of today's buyers want a home they can move into without fixing or updating anything. As much as you love your cherry red dining room walls or chartreuse powder room, buyers see these as projects they don't want to tackle. Go neutral with walls. Here's my best advice on choosing interior paint colors.

Don't let your house get photographed and listed like this. 
If you are having an open house, use signs and pennants with matching colors. When it's for sale, your house is like a mini-business, and up to half of all customers find a business because of signage. Does your Realtor have an eye-catching sign that's well-maintained? 

Textures make a room interesting 

Incorporating some varied textures is important in any well-decorated home. This fact is especially true in a staged home where the color scheme is simple, and a simple color palette is usually the kind of look we aim for when we stage. 

Here's a homework assignment: Walk through the rooms of your home and look for interesting textures. Have you incorporated some smooth and shiny surfaces, some rough and nubby textures, and some fluffy or even furry materials? If you're not seeing a variety, here are samples to get you playing with textures.

Place a rustic basket or wooden bowl on your glass- or marble-topped table. How about a Flokati rug on the tile floor of your entrance? Or a loopy yarn throw on the arm of a leather loveseat? Stage a wicker bar cart with chrome tumblers and a crystal decanter. These kinds of contrasting textures add subtle variety to a room

I'm crazy for these pillow covers I made from a fuzzy, thrift store sweater, and then
combined them with velvet pillows to telegraph that feeling of relaxation. Yum! 
People touring your home will "feel" these surfaces with their eyes. They might even want to get close, run their hand over the cool granite countertop, or touch that lush, potted fern on the nightstand. These are the luxury touches that appeal to the tactile sense. Buyers want to think they are taking steps up the social ladder with their home purchase. Luxury is important to Americans, who spend a whopping 42 hours a week commuting. They want a dream home to come home to.

Retail outlets know that when a customer picks up a piece of merchandise to handle it, chances of an actual purchase go up. Make buyers feel your home.

Scents put buyers in a happy frame of mind

The sense of smell is so important that it's another trick high-end hotels and department stores use to coax buyers into a positive mindset. Forward-thinking stores that can afford it scent their indoor air with fragrances like vanilla, lavender, jasmine, bergamot, sandalwood, musk, lemongrass, citrus and pine.

You can imitate this powerful strategy. People will tend to linger longer, and judge your home as more pleasant, cleaner, and more memorable when it has a pleasing ambient scent.

The right way to cast this spell is to use essential oils, not artificial fragrances like so-called air fresheners and scented candles. Sorry, Scentsy, Fabreze, and Glade, but you guys are hormone disruptors that mess with our health. Follow that link to read how to make natural scents with essential oils. (Relax, I am not a distributor.)

Using essential oils will keep you healthier, and will prevent anyone touring your home who is chemically sensitive from experiencing common allergic reactions like coughing, sneezing, and itchy eyes. That's not the experience you want to create for prospective buyers.

Edibles appeal to the sense of taste

You don't need a fancy expresso machine
to stage a refreshment center for
your home on the market. This one by
Nina Hendrick would let people on
tour of your home make a cup of coffee.  
Some Realtors recommend setting out cookies for people who come to see your home. It seems a little hokey to me, but if that's the tradition in your area of the country, you don't want to be the exception.

An open house is another story. That's the perfect time to have some light refreshments that will set a welcoming and casual tone, and perhaps encourage people to stay a little longer. It would have to be monitored, especially if children are coming by.

If it's winter, hot drinks like green tea (which has less caffeine than black tea) or hot chocolate would be a nice touch. In warm months, you can't go wrong with chilled water or iced tea.

You may even consider having some candy in a small bowl by your front door. Make them individually wrapped and nothing too precious. Peppermints, small candy bars, or wrapped chocolates are a nice touch.

These are the kinds of things that will help people remember your home after touring a number of homes in one day.

Florals delight the eye

Staged homes on the market often get criticized for being "too vanilla." And to that I say, "What is wrong with vanilla?" Vanilla is America's most popular flavor! But if you want to add some "sprinkles" or "hot fudge sauce" to your staged room, flowers and plants are the way to do just that.

There is something special and even magical about flowers, even ones that are not real. I never recommend buying fresh flowers for staging unless you are living in your home, have a generous floral budget, and already have a routine of picking up a fresh bouquet every week. If your Realtor is scheduling an open house, I hope she's springing for the fresh flowers.

My vote goes to silk flowers that stay looking just-picked. Today's silks are classy and convincing. In lieu of flowers, you can stage with green plants that are either real or artificial. Green plants add that sense of freshness to a space without calling attention to themselves the way a big floral centerpiece does. I have my favorite very-low-maintenance houseplants.

I encourage you to try a few of these ideas when you're staging your own home, and I know you'll see, feel, and smell the difference. If you need more inspiration and how-tos, download my eBooks on home staging. They come with a money-back guarantee. One click takes you to more information about how to order and what you get. You can start smart-staging your home today!