Decorating Do’s and Don’ts for Home Sellers by Mark Nash


  • Take the time to paint walls, trim and ceilings. Keep adjoining rooms in the same color palette which will make your home appear larger and flow better. Clean up spills from messy painters. Hire professionals to paint mullions on windows and staircase spindles.
  • Slipcover mismatched furniture in a room that requires visual unification. Streamline window fashions. Heavy drapes are in the minority. Think “let the light shine in” when placing placing blinds and shades. Light and bright can overcome other issues with home.
  • Test all door and cabinet knobs. Replace mismatched or inexpensive hardware for a quick update. Buyers rarely can get beyond a knob that comes off in their hand as they attempt to use a door.
  • Freshen-up closets with closet organizers to maximize storage space and paint a neutral washable color. Make sure buyers can see the back of all closets and cupboards. Lighting is often overlooked feature in closets, but buyers will always turn on lights when viewing a closet, big or small.
  • Install technology wiring for high-speed Internet, cable, and WI-FI, if you have walls opened up. “Wired homes” are becoming one of the top whistle and bells buyers demand. Don’t overlook the bathrooms!
  • Consider the appropriate level for finishes in kitchens and bathrooms. Buyers in a mid-priced neighbourhood aren’t looking for high-end finishes. Clean every surface until it shimmers and shines. Clean can seal a deal. Don’t forget the windows.
  •  Polish and wax hardwood floors to brighten and blend an old finish.
  • Get rid of family and highly personal photos. Buyers can’t visualize themselves in a home that’s still territorially yours.
  • Edit your furniture and accessories in every room. Less is more, buyers are looking to purchase your real estate not your personal property.               
  • Make sure there is balanced lighting in every room for dusk and evening showings. Dimmers help set the right tone.
  • Take the time to clean, organize and paint basements, attics and garages. Many a home buyer has passed on a home they otherwise liked because it had a “creepy” attic or basement.              
  • Install new light switch covers. Most buyers interact with these on home showings. Worn or out-of-date covers lack attention to detail.


  • Don’t install inexpensive home-center light fixtures nor use interior fixtures outside. The right fixtures say quality to buyers.          
  • Don’t block good room and house flow. Awkward furniture placement can make a room feel smaller than it is. Keep in mind that groups of people will be walking through your home together.        
  • Don’t overlook the front door. First impressions count. Paint the door, polish the hardware and illuminate the entry area and house numbers.           
  • Don’t forget to remove all dated and dusty silk flowers and plants. Budget for weekly fresh flowers and potted plants while your home is being toured.

Mark Nash, Real Estate Author, Broker & Writer

Mark Nash is the author of “Fundamentals of Marketing for the Real Estate Professional”, “Starting & Succeeding in Real Estate”, “Reaching Out: The Financial Power of Niche Marketing”, and “1001 Tips for Buying and Selling a Home”. Mark is a contributing writer for: Realtor (R) Magazine Online, Broker Agent News, Real Estate Executive Magazine, Principal Broker, and Realty Times. He contributes residential real estate analysis to Business Week, CBS The Early Show, CNN,, The New York Times, and USA Today.

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