Kids vs. Staging: How to Stage a Home for Sale with Young Children at Play

By Keith Loria

When it comes to selling a house, homeowners with young children face a dilemma: how to make their home attractive and appealing while still maintaining kid friendliness and safety.
Living in a staged home with kids while waiting for it to sell is not easy. Trying to maintain the “staged look” while kids are creating instant messes with food and toys can be overwhelming. The most important thing to do while your home is on the market is trying to maintain cleanliness and reduce the messes that kids can make.
“Children’s bedrooms are often problematic when getting a home ready to sell. They tend to have more clutter than most rooms in the form of toys and different activities that are set up for the children,” said Külli Yee, founder and president of Ilus Design Home Staging and Re-design. “Additionally out of season and hand-me-down clothes and toys are often stored in the child’s bedroom.”

One important tip is to reduce the amount of toys and activities set up for the children.

“Most kids only actively use 3-4 favorite toys at a time and the rest just sits there collecting dust,” Yee said. “Pack away extra toys, stuffed animals and books. Organize the remaining toys neatly in baskets, boxes and bins and display only a few items on the shelves.”

Alice T. Chan, a home stager who has penned the book, “8 Steps for Creating an Irresistible Market-Ready Home That Sells,” recommends maximizing a child’s bedroom floor space by using closets or storage strategically.

“Reduce the amount of items stored in the closets. Pack, store or give away anything that the child doesn’t need for the next 2-3 months. This is also the perfect time to get rid of unused or broken toys and old clothes,” she said. “Buyers like to open closet doors and closets that are filled to the brim give an impression that there is an issue with storage space.”

If the child’s bedroom is painted in strong colors like red, dark blue, orange or yellow, consider re-painting the room to a neutral color.

“Strong colors remind buyers that they need to spend time and money painting the rooms,” Yee said. “In their mind, it will be easier to find a home that is already move-in ready.”

Sellers should also remove posters and child’s drawings from the walls, as they may have sentimental value to you, but not to a potential buyer.

“Same goes for child’s portraits and photos; it is safer if your open house visitors don’t see the faces of your children,” Yee said. “Instead, display some nicely framed art using plastic instead of glass for safety.”

For those with little ones, a nursery should also be kept tidy with all extra diapers, wipes, lotions, baby bottles and clothes hidden away in a dresser.

“Make sure that the diaper pail is emptied at least daily, and if possible, take out dirty diapers immediately to reduce the odor building up in the nursery,” Chan said. “Remove any furniture that doesn’t serve a purpose in the nursery. Crib, dresser, rocking chair or arm chair for feeding, changing table and small accessories is about all that should be left in the nursery.”

Yee adds one other suggestion that could make your home more attractive.

“If you have a couple of kids each having their own room, consider asking them to share a room for a couple of months until the home sells,” she said. “This allows you to set up the second child’s bedroom as a guest room or home office adding value to your home.”

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