Selling Your Home - The Kitchen

When selling a home, the kitchen is an area of vital importance. There are several reasons for this. For one thing, kitchens have a lot to do with a home's resale value, so a potential buyer should be able to see value in this area of the home.

Secondly, people generally spend a lot of time in the kitchen. If you've ever been to a party where everyone stood around the kitchen island chatting, you know what I mean! This is why kitchen design and staging are so important when selling a home.

And when you get these things right, you greatly increase your chances of selling the home quickly, and for the best possible price.

Credits to Staging Bug

The question is, where do you start? Which kitchen design ideas should you focus on when staging your home for sale? Here are some things you can do in the kitchen to wow potential home buyers.

How to Stage a Kitchen

  • Clean your kitchen like the sale of your home depends on it, because it does. Pay extra attention to the sink, counters, stove, etc. Kitchen design is certainly important when selling a home, but cleanliness is also a must. When you stage your kitchen for a home sale, use the motto "clean and bright" as your guide.
  • Spend some extra time de-cluttering. Of all the rooms in a home, the kitchen in particular has a way of attracting clutter. Countertop appliances, coffee pots and mugs, utensil holders, baskets for bills and mail, knick knacks ... these things must be moved out of sight. Don't let clutter detract from the other kitchen design ideas you've implemented.
  • Consider making upgrades to the kitchen if necessary. In a buyer's market, you should go beyond basic cleaning and actually upgrade some of the kitchen's features. Tour some model homes (or view them online) to get an idea of current trends.
  • Turn the lights on and open the curtains to showcase the sparkle. Shed some light on the subject. If you have dark areas of your kitchen, you might even consider adding supplemental lighting, such as recessed lighting around the edges. Remember your kitchen staging motto — clean and bright.
  • If your cabinets and counters are outdated or ugly, upgrading them could make a big difference in resale value. If it doesn't make sense to pour extra money into cabinetry (based on your local real estate market), you might try staining the cabinets. This can make a big improvement at a fraction of the cost.

Remember, people spend a lot of time in their kitchens, and most people realize that they are a resale value item of importance. If you spend some extra time or money anywhere while staging your home for sale, the kitchen is probably the place to do it.

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.


  • The stager used subdued earthtone colors to complement the granite counters and travertine tile, making the updates pop.


Kitchen Staging Tips


  • Smaller tables make eat-in kitchen spaces appear larger.


  • If the dining area is spacious, set the table for an intimate breakfast for two.


  • Arrange knickknacks in odd groupings such as 3, 5 or 7.


  • Use color sparingly in a dramatic kitchen and complement existing color schemes.


  • Bring in plants to liven up the space.


  • Creative placement of rugs and artwork adds depth and dimension.


  • Use a stand to hold an open cookbook of colorful photographs.


  • Don't block windows, let in the light.


  • Consider placing large bowls of polished fruit on the counter, next to gourmet olive oil or a full bottle of red wine.

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.

The Cost of Kitchen Design & Staging

Home staging is a balance between cost and results. Sure, you want to improve your home in a way that makes it sell quicker. But you don't want to spend too much money doing it either.

This is where it pays to understand the type of real estate market you're in. For example, if you're in a buyer's market, you will have to go the extra mile to sell the home. On the other hand, if you're in a seller's market, you can get away with doing less.

This is the general rule with home staging expenses. But what about kitchens in particular? Of all the rooms in your home to put money into when selling the home, the kitchen should be at the top of the list. Investments in kitchen design and improvement typically contribute more toward resale value than improvements in the rest of the home.

In other words, an investment in kitchen design is almost always a smart investment!