You’ve heard the expression: “The kitchen is the heart of your home.” Nothing could be more accurate when you’re selling—how you go about staging your kitchen to sell your home can significantly affect how fast you find a buyer and how much they’re prepared to spend.
As the hardest working space is the house, your kitchen does double duty when selling your house. How you stage it matters—particularly if you’re selling a family-sized home—because it’s likely to be the focal point where they’ll share hours of family time.
And, with contemporary open-plan design, it’s a good bet most kitchens will feature prominently in family events and entertaining.
Make no mistake—your kitchen can be the secret to a more successful sale. Ensure it captures a buyer’s imagination, and it could influence the price you get, too.
Here are our top tips on how to stage a kitchen to sell faster and create a warm, inviting place:
1. Make sure it’s spotlessly clean.If you want to stage your kitchen to sell faster, a spotless, sparkling kitchen is de rigueur. A grubby kitchen is the fastest way to put off buyers, so it pays to be meticulous and thorough. We can’t stress this enough! Set yourself a to-do list, crank up your favourite tunes and get to work. Wipe everything—the inside of your drawers and cupboards, cabinet doors, refrigerator (top and sides), tile grout, stovetop and inside your oven. Polish any stainless steel to remove fingerprints, remove crumbs and grime from the corners of your splashback and counters, and don’t neglect grease attracting range hoods. Make sure the dishwasher is empty (you’d be amazed how many buyers will look inside). Your kitchen floor should be vacuumed and mopped to within an inch of its life. And don’t forget the windows! Daily cooking can build up grease and dust on your sills and window coverings. Hot tip: Don’t just throw things in cupboards and hope for the best—assume buyers will look inside everything. Overflowing, cluttered cupboards and drawers give the impression you don’t have a lot of storage space, so declutter and remove half of the contents. And, while you’re at it, try turning all your teacups handles in the same direction—subconsciously, it says you’ve looked after your home.
2. Time to edit.Staging a kitchen to sell is as much about what you take away as what you renovate. Getting rid of clutter will make your kitchen seem much more spacious and easier to live in. Don’t let your “stuff” get in the way of potential buyers imagining themselves entertaining in your kitchen. Put away all those cookbooks, small appliances, utensils, and spices. Remove magnets, photos, and paperwork from your fridge. Get rid of sponges and cleaning products. If you have multiple seating options, you can also try taking away some to see if it makes your kitchen look larger. Instead of four stools, try two, or remove three chairs from a six-seater table.
3. Upgrade and maintain.Nothing puts off buyers more than a rundown kitchen. A major kitchen overhaul can cost a serious amount of—an average of $20,000 in Australian homes, according to recent reports. Many buyers would prefer to use the kitchen immediately on moving in than contemplate a costly, inconvenient upgrade. But that doesn’t mean you need to do an extensive renovation before you sell. A few low-cost changes can do wonders. For example, replace old light fixtures, handles and taps. If your lighting is dim, consider adding something brighter. Repaint or reface old cabinets or add furniture oil to wooden doors. Repair damaged appliances and make sure the taps don’t drip. Buyers like shiny new-looking appliances. If yours are looking old, replacing them could boost your sale price. Think high-end brands to create a luxe feel. Make sure buyers know they’re new and energy efficient. If you need to repaint the walls, use universally appealing neutrals to make it look inviting to a broader range of buyers. You may think your favourite shade of teal is a bold, exuberant choice, but are you willing to bet every potential buyer will feel the same way? If in doubt, paint it white—it’s a classic popular choice for kitchens. You can always add a dash of colour with a patterned rug or bright artwork (but don’t go overboard – less is more).
4. Fresh smelling kitchen.Try not to cook anything too stinky the night before your inspection day. Lingering odours can put people off. Better still, eat out, so there’s no chance someone might take exception to the garlic steak, fish chowder or parmesan laden pasta you had last night. Just before your inspection, pop on a pot of coffee or bake some biscuits (you can buy the pre-made dough at supermarkets to make it easier) to make your kitchen smell inviting. But be careful of drenching the room in perfume—some people can have allergies or get headaches from strong odours. Just to be sure, all blinds and windows are open on inspection day to bring in maximum sunlight and freshness.
5. Set the scene.Build a scene that helps buyers imagine themselves in your kitchen. You could leave a stack of gourmet cookbooks on the counter, fresh flowers or a tableau of potted herbs to bring the outside in. Add fresh, unused tea towels or some well-curated artwork to add depth and dimension. Hot tip: Displaying a bowl of fresh fruit in a neutral kitchen looks wonderful. But stick to just one type of fruit per bowl for maximum impact.
Your goals for staging a kitchen to sell your home faster.
If you’ve followed our tips, here’s what your successfully staged kitchen should look like just before an inspection:
- It looks, feels, and smells fresh
- It’s bright and spacious and, when you open the cupboards, there’s plenty of space inside.
- Everything’s stylish and tasteful—there’s no out-of-date features or appliances.
- It’s welcoming, alive, and easy to imagine using and enjoying.
For more tips and tricks on staging your entire home, check out our ultimate staging guide.
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