How to Stage Your Kitchen

Define spaces with rugs is another part of how to stage your kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of the home, especially in the South. As a mother I am always in the kitchen, so the kitchen is the most important space for me in a house. So how to stage your kitchen is a key part in the selling process of your home.

Since the kitchen is so important to a buyer and a key component in selling your home, let’s talk about some ways to win buyers over. You can do this by preparing your kitchen properly before getting it on the market.

Visualization is key.

You want the home buyers to see themselves in the space. You want them to walk into your kitchen feeling like this is their new home. To imagine cooking in the kitchen, making family memories, and celebrating holidays.

The goal is to make your kitchen area look and smell clean, seem big, and feel like a space the buyers want to spend time in.

The Process

If you’re trying to sell the home you’re still living in, it’s important that you show buyers the potential of the house. You want them to like the house based on the spaces it provides.

Sometimes though, if the house isn’t prepared properly, buyers get caught up in the visualization of your home and it might not align with them. So streamlining your home and really letting the space show is key.

On the flip side, sometimes an empty home can leave potential buyers with a hard time seeing what the space could be. This is why staging is such an important part of how to sell your home.

Whether you are staging for an empty house or one you’re still using, here are the first steps you need to know for how to stage your kitchen:

The first part of staging is cleaning. If the kitchen isn’t clean, it won’t be as attractive to buyers. Show your kitchen some love with a deep clean.

Let’s start with the outside. The counters need to be cleaned and the cabinets need to be wiped down, no handprints please! Be sure to clean the hardware too.

Cleaning your kitchen is the first step for how to stage your kitchen

Next, clean the sink, dishwasher, fridge, oven, and all appliances inside and out! You want these features so clean they gleam in the light. The backsplash needs to be cleaned as well and if it’s tile, be sure to clean all the crevices and fill in any missing grout.

Replace the backsplash if needed, it’s a main feature of

the kitchen!

The inside of the cabinets and drawers need to be wiped down as well, buyers will take a look inside a cabinet or two. Everything needs to shine. This makes the buyers feel like you really took care of the house.


Appliances are a big deal to buyers. Be sure to clean them well and polish them. Make them shine! Whether or not the fridge is staying in your home once sold, don’t leave anything old or smelly in there or any spills! People love to sneak a peek and open fridges.

Guess what? Home buyers will also open your dishwasher! Make sure it’s either empty or that you wash the dishes down enough that it seems like they’re opening a dishwasher full of clean dishes.

The sink also needs to be clean. This means no dirty dishes left in it! Get the sponges out of there too. Make it shine. If you have a dishwashing soap bottle that looks like it’s seen better days, remove it as well.

If something doesn’t add to the vibe you’re creating (quick! What was it again: looking and smelling clean. Inviting is a nice theme.) and you need to think twice, save yourself the trouble and hide it.

If there’s a ceiling fan, that needs to be cleaned as well. Last but not least, time to clean those baseboards! You’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes.

If you need a fresh coat of paint, then paint the space.

You’ll be surprised at how much this one simple thing

can change your area.

Next, declutter the area. If the space seems too busy the buyers may be looking at all of your things instead of marveling at your kitchen! Decluttering also clears out space and allows the area to feel bigger.

While you’re decluttering, it’s important to depersonalizing your kitchen as well. This includes your fridge: photos and those magnets of all the states you’ve been to!

Anything overwhelming or taking away from the focus of your kitchen space needs to go. We want the buyers to focus on how amazing your kitchen is and how well they can envision themselves using it, not thinking about how cute your family and pets are!

Counter Space

One of the first things that the buyers eyes go to is the counter space. You want to give the buyer a visual of how much they can utilize the counter space for cooking!

Declutter everything! If you have a microwave that isn’t built in, pop it away in a cabinet for now. Dirty old toaster? Guess what, stick it under a cabinet.

If the coffee machine isn’t too bulky, leave it. If it’s taking up a lot of valuable counter space, be safe and store it away for now.

Flow of the Space

Like I mentioned before, visualization is key. You want the kitchen space to flow. You want people to imagine themselves cooking in the kitchen with their families. What you don’t want buyers to do is feel like the space is too small.

While every kitchen is different, there are common guidelines that apply to all shapes and sizes. Make sure your kitchen table isn’t too big for the area. Don’t put too many chairs around the table, declutter! Less is more here.

Define spaces with rugs is another part of how to stage your kitchen

Put a neutral color rug under your table to define the space. Be careful not to have too many rugs on the floor. If you have one near the sink that’s close by, remove it. You don’t want the potential buyers eyes being drawn to the ground, only to your beautiful counter spaces!


Sellers often overlook how important lighting is to their space. Leave lights on before a showing. Be sure that your light bulbs are bright. If you need new ones, simply replace them! An easy fix that will make a big difference.

Natural light promotes your space the best, so be sure to leave window blinds open. Turning on the lights should enhance the space, not bring it to life out of the dark.

Have something blocking one of your windows? Get rid of it! Since natural light is important, this also means you need to clean your windows inside and out. They should sparkle!


Believe it or not, smell can have a huge impact on whether or not someone likes your home! Do yourself a favor and make your kitchen not only look clean, but smell clean. Try not to cook anything with a strong odor before a showing.

Tip: As a natural deodorizer, Baking Soda does wonders

to mask smells!

While candles can be an option, sometimes they only mask odors instead of eliminating them. Lemons are a great smell neutralizer and leave that fresh smell people want in a kitchen!

Color Scheme

The colors in your kitchen are such an aesthetic feature and are an easy fix if they aren’t to a buyers liking. But unfortunately a bad color scheme can turn away a potential buyer. They can’t visualize the space in another hue!

Therefore, neutral colors are recommended. This goes for the backsplash, kitchen table, and rug. But there’s nothing wrong with adding a pop of color! You can easily do this with a vase, flowers, or even with a fruit bowl.

Adding a pop of color is the last step to how to stage your kitchen

If you feel like the countertops are too bare, add a nice green color splash with a plant. Remember, less is more with your brighter colors.

The Pantry, Cabinets and Drawers

Once again, decluttering is key when working on the pantry. Declutter enough so that buyers can see the space. You want them to feel comfortable enough that they can make a Sam’s run to stock up!

Cabinets and drawers are often overlooked. Sellers tend to stuff items inside. These spaces really need to be decluttered! Home buyers will open them and if they open that one kitchen drawer that’s Pandora’s box, well they may get a different feeling that the space isn’t as well kept as they thought.

Enjoy the Finished Product!

Before you do any of this, including cleaning, take a before picture! Then once the kitchen is finished, take an after shot. You’ll be amazed at the transformation!

Now that you’ve cleaned, decluttered, organized, and staged your kitchen I bet you’ll be so impressed with the results that you can’t wait to start on the other areas in your home!

Start staging the next most important room in your home, the living room. Click here for information. If you want to create a great first impression for potential buyers, see this post on how to stage your entryway and dining room!

To learn how to stage your master bedroom, check out this post and for how to stage your master bathroom click here. Or, if you want to learn how to stage the other bedrooms, bathrooms, and closets in your home, see this post! If you have a home office, learn how to stage this space here and click here to learn how to stage your garage!

Want to skip all the rooms and learn how to stage your entire home? Check out this post that covers how to stage your home inside and out!

Special thanks to David Henderson for the beautiful photos! You can see more of his artwork on his website:

Enjoy a summary of this article in video form:

If you have any questions about house staging we would love to help you! Please contact Dianna Howell with The Howell Group at 205-568-5435 or email her at

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