Do you want your home to be nominated as best in its category? Staging is the answer. And staged bedrooms can be one of the best ways to garner the votes of buyers.  

Make your bedrooms the star of the show when you list your home. To get maximum wattage from your star, it needs to be staged so almost anyone wants to move in! And -- good news -- because there are no major appliances or plumbing fixtures there -- bedrooms are the easiest rooms to stage to get them ready for their premier performance.  

Start with the walls

A neutral background sets the scene for the ideal bedroom. If it's time for a repaint, choose a color that anyone could love. While living in a home, you may have painted rooms the colors that you love, but it's time to view your home as a package to be sold to a wide audience. 

Consider pale grays, beiges, pastels, and creams as good options for any of the bedrooms in your home. These tones remove color associations for buyers, and help the room to appear larger because they bounce more light off the walls instead of absorbing light the way dark tones do. You can add accents of more intense colors with throws, pillows, and artwork in their roles as supporting players. 

Avoid technicolor-bright colors or gender-specific colors. Usually, having walls painted by a painting contractor will cost between $1.50 and 3.50 per square foot of floor area in that room. If you need both the walls and all trim painted as well, the price could go to $3 or 4 per square foot. Getting rooms painted is the biggest payback you can get for your home staging money. 

If you plan to tackle the job yourself, calculate that a single gallon of paint will be enough for the walls in a typical 12-foot by 12-foot room with 8-foot ceilings. But that coverage depends on what color paint you are covering and the quality of your new paint. Get advice from your paint store, not a discount store or big-box retailer. Tell the people there the dimensions and description of the room and the color you are painting over, and they will calculate the quantity. 

White walls will let the next buyer decide how the 
rest of the room should be decorated. Spruce it up with
some colorful bedding like this duvet set from Pottery Barn.

Plan your cast of furniture 

Today's bedrooms are scaled-down versions of your parents' bedroom. You don't want rooms to appear dated with matching pieces of furniture or multiple dressers. The formula for today in the primary bedroom is one bed, two nightstands that don't necessarily need to match each other, and a bench or chair at the foot of the bed or somewhere in the room. Declutter and organize your closet so that cumbersome dressers and bureaus don't eat up floor space in the room. Sometimes a dresser can simply be moved to the closet, with hanging space above it. 

Often a dresser, if it is low enough, can substitute for a bedside table, giving you both storage space and a surface for a lamp or decorative item. If you need to use a bulky dresser in a bedroom, perhaps you can add screw-on legs painted to match, to lighten the look and reveal more flooring. 

In the same way you can spot a 1970s or 80s movie by the style of its clothing and phones and cars, buyers will spot a bedroom that's lost touch with the times by its old-fashioned decor, usually dark and heavy furnishings. If your home is a historic one, you can stage it more in tune with the times of that period. Otherwise, look at store displays, catalogs, and Pinterest for today's bedroom trends that will make these rooms look stylish and fresh.      

The leading role of your bedroom goes to the bed itself. Stage it to create a visual focal point in the room so that visitors' eyes are drawn to something specific and then move around the room from there to notice other features like windows and closets, and whatever else the room has to offer. 

This bedroom has it all -- luxurious bedding,
a nightstand that offers storage, some greenery,
pale and restful colors, plenty of light, and 
lovely, plump pillows. Photo: Pure Salt Interiors

Stage the leading player  

With the spotlight on the bed, its size is going to make a difference. If you have a crib or bunk beds, for example, and potential buyers don't have children, they may have trouble picturing themselves in your home. And while a California king may make you feel like you're living luxuriously, if it's too big for the room, it can make the space feel cramped. Stars don't like to be upstaged.   

If you're living somewhere else during the home staging process or you're open to change, consider adjusting the bed sizes in the bedrooms of your home. A queen-size mattress is 60 by 80 inches and is one of the most common bed sizes. Switching to a queen or a full-sized mattress can help the room feel more luxurious and versatile. But if the room is small, stick with a standard double, a twin bed, or a daybed. 

Here's another award-winning bedroom. It shows plenty
of textures, some seating, matching lamps, restful
artwork, a soothing color palette, and just the
right amount of interesting colors. Photo: Studio McGee

Dressing beds in a home that's getting ready for market is often the most fun part of DIY staging. You can take the easy route and purchase ready-made bed-in-a-bag combinations that will give you a comforter or duvet cover, a flat sheet, a fitted sheet, and two pillow shams. It's a good opening scene, but sometimes additional pillows are called for to add texture and color. A simple farmhouse setting could look great with three pillows, but an elaborate four-poster bed in a high-end home bedroom is begging for more. 

A common mistake is to use pillows that have lost their loft, or to lay pillows flat. Fluff them and stand them up so they look perky. The styles you see in shelter magazines and on Instagram feature the messy bed look, but I don't think this goes over big with the typical home-buying audience. Neatness is reassuring. 

A staged bed needs at least three pillows and not more 
than six, to look finished but still believable. Photo: BHG 

A puffy duvet is stylish and takes the work out of bed making. Also, if your bed is stationed with space on both sides, the job goes more quickly. Making your bed every morning is simply part of effective home staging. It starts your day with a positive habit and helps you achieve other goals. Once your home is listed for sale, you won't always get a generous advance notice when your it's going to be shown. Be ready for your close-up! 

Depersonalize belongings

You want to make your bedrooms look interesting but you don't want to reveal too much about the people living there -- you and your family. It's best to eliminate personal items that might make a buyer feel unwelcome. Items like family photos can give away information that could hurt your bargaining and negotiating clout. The less buyers know about you, the more they will assume you are someone like them, someone likable and honest. Also, personal items can be distracting when someone tours a home. 

You'll want to remove monogrammed or customized things, any unique toys and signage, and anything else that shows strangers too much. That includes indications of hot button topics like political, religious, and even professional sports teams preferences. Focus on making the room feel private and accommodating, like a room at a bed and breakfast, where everything is welcoming but nothing is personalized, a place to retreat, relax and recharge.  

The best bedrooms are getaways that capture the imagination, just the way the best movies are ones that transport the viewer to an interesting place where they can project themselves as winning heroes and attractive protagonists.  

Add the right decor

Appeal to the masses the way Hollywood does with films, because you want to create a feel-good setting that can be appreciated by anyone. The right lighting (nice and bright) and the right props will set the scene. 

Consider carefully the finishing touches you will choose -- accessories that have some visual weight instead of small objects that cheapen the effect you want. You don't have to purchase new accessories to stage. Simply put away small items and use the best vases, lamps, art, and books you own. If you have pretty props that add to the look you are aiming for, but are small, cluster them on a tray for a unified look. You are the director and you are hiring a cast of extras.  

For wall art, use oversized landscapes or abstracts. Other options would be botanical prints or animal paintings for a more traditional look. For lamps and overhead lighting, choose ones with pleasant shapes and generous size. For plants, choose large potted palms or trees. These finishing touches are the visual effects that make the room look more important, and they're especially valuable in the main bedroom.  

A refreshing color scheme, some oversized furnishings
like the pillows, the fiddleleaf fig tree, the 
overhead light fixture, and artwork, all pull together to 
make this bedroom a winner. Photo: Life on Virginia Street

Get the look, get the book

How you stage your home will determine whether it's a blockbuster or a flop with people who are shopping for their next home. You can make the bedroom the room that sells the house. Whether you are listing with a Realtor or selling the house FSBO, you'll need to be ready for the spotlight to shine on it. The award you win will be that purchase offer with a price you love.  

I have blogged about the best DIY headboard for staging,  as well as how to easily make a bedskirt, and everything a well-staged bedroom should have. 

My eBook, DIY Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home Fast and For Top Dollar includes more advice on bedroom staging. I've given you the script, and all you have to do is follow it. The eBook can be yours with one click. Follow the link to download it and get started today making your home more valuable.  

Top Photo: Donna Guyler Design

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