Are you looking for kitchen staging ideas and coming up short?
Staging your kitchen can be a great way to make it look more inviting and attractive to potential buyers. Whether you are trying to sell, rent, or just want to spruce up the kitchen space for some Insta-worthy photos, these kitchen staging strategies are sure to get your kitchen in tip-top shape.
I’ve spent the last 20 years staging and decorating furnished and unfurnished homes for multi-family and single-family home developers. There is a difference between decorating your kitchen and staging your kitchen.
Staging vs. Decorating what is the difference?
Simply put, decorating concerns the current occupants, their preferences, and their needs. Staging is all about selling the dream. Everything we do in staging showcases a lifestyle that will appeal to the masses.
The good news is that kitchen staging ideas should be simple and inexpensive without needing a major kitchen overhaul.
This blog will explore modern and small kitchen staging ideas, kitchen staging ideas to sell, and kitchen staging for photography. After reading this blog, you will have countless ideas and pictures for your countertops and kitchen island.
1. Declutter the kitchen
Decluttering the kitchen is one of the most essential steps to prepare a home for sale or photography.
By eliminating clutter and unnecessary items, you create an atmosphere that will be more attractive to potential buyers.
Not only does decluttering make your space look bigger and brighter, but it also sends the message that this kitchen has ample storage and is easy to maintain, organize and keep clean.
Depersonalize kitchen counters
Remove all personal effects from kitchen counters; this includes family photos and mail. Kitchen knife holders, cleaning products, brushes, and sponges should also be stored away. Leaving only a few clean, well-maintained small appliances like a kitchen-aid mixer, coffee maker, or tea kettle.
Clean out kitchen cabinets
Go through the kitchen cabinets and throw away used and abused dishes, like plastic cups, with all the graphics and wording worn off.
Remove any vitamins and medications and store them safely out of sight.
Stack your matching cups, bowls, and plates neatly and organized.
This applies to spice cabinets and glassware and ensures it is stored neatly.
For anything you haven’t used in recent months, consider donating, throwing away, or packing.
Each cabinet should have one defined purpose, i.e., cleaning products, pots, pans, small appliances, etc.
Remember, the goal is to ensure the kitchen appears spacious and functional.
Organize Kitchen Drawers
We all have catch-all junk drawers. It’s time to clean them out.
Remove any personal documents; you don’t want your personal information stolen. Again ensure that each drawer has a defined purpose.
Remove Refrigerator Magnets
You knew this one was coming; the time has come to remove magnets and children’s artwork from the fridge. Keep the fridge doors and the top of the refrigerator free and clear.
2. Deep clean every crack and crevice
From first-hand experience, a dirty kitchen is a great way to send guests and buyers running.
This is the heart of the home where we nourish our bodies and feed our souls, and we want to do so in a sanitary environment.
Once a buyer sees a stain or smells an unpleasant odor, they will always see and smell it, you will never get it out of their memory, and they will discount or dismiss you for it.
I’m not talking about your daily cleaning routine but about white glove inspection cleaning. Pay special attention to kitchen appliances that will convey with the home’s sale.
There should be no verifiable evidence of the current homeowners. This includes your hair, fingerprints, smells, photos, or dirt.
You must clean and clean well. The cabinets, countertops, backsplash, microwave, oven, stovetop, and fridge must be wiped down to remove all food residue, fingerprints, visible dirt, smudges, etc.
The drawers must first be vacuumed to grab crumbs, and dust, then wiped down thoroughly.
The refrigerator needs to be cleaned out. Throwing away any expired food, containers that have less than a serving, and all interior shelves, drawers, and racks need to be cleaned and dried thoroughly.
Pro tip: Use a few drops of baby oil on a paper towel to polish your stainless steel kitchen sink. Watch the spotless shine sparkle.
Do not leave dirty dishes in the sink and or dishwasher.
Dishes should be cleaned and stored away before any showings. Buyers like to open appliances such as dishwashers.
If you can’t accomplish a white glove cleaning on your own, then you should hire a professional this is a non-negotiable.
3. Update kitchen cabinet hardware
Replacing dated cabinet hardware is an easy and inexpensive way to update kitchen cabinets. It’s a simple DIY project that can make a big impact on the look of any kitchen.
New handles, knobs, or pulls can instantly transform the style of your cabinets from outdated to modern and chic.
Changing out old cabinet hardware also adds value to your home. With so many styles available on the market today, finding new hardware for your kitchen cabinets can be fun and rewarding, no matter what type of look you’re going for!
4. Replace the kitchen faucet
Say goodbye to tired, outdated faucets and liven up your kitchen with a new one! Installing a sparkling, stylish faucet can be an easy way to upgrade the look of any kitchen.
Not only that, but it can become a focal point of your entire design scheme — you’d be surprised what a big difference such a small change can have.
From modern and sleek designs to classic options with an antique flair, a kitchen faucet can define your kitchen design style.
Pro-tip Fresh flowers sitting in the kitchen sink look fantastic in kitchen photography.
5. Fresh coat of paint
When staging a kitchen for sale, a fresh coat of paint can be an extremely powerful tool.
Paint can add contrast and brighten up any space while also helping to mask lingering cooking odors.
Consider painting walls, cabinetry, and even the backside of the kitchen island for a contrasting pop of color that will help draw potential buyers in.
A new coat of paint can instantly transform an outdated or dull kitchen into one that looks modern and inviting – making it much more appealing to those looking for their dream home.
6. kitchen Counter Staging Ideas
Stacking freshly-baked cookies in a neat array in a glass cookie jar can make any kitchen appear more homey and inviting. It’s an inexpensive and delicious way to add style and charm to your cooking space instantly!
Nothing pops a kitchen counter like a few Pelligrino bottles! Add a pop of green to the decor by arranging your bottles on a decorative tray.
It’s an easy and affordable way to give your kitchen a fresh, modern look. Plus, you have some delicious mocktails to enjoy once your guests arrive!
Cutting boards are a must-have for any kitchen! Not only can you use them to chop and slice ingredients, but they can also be used to stage countertops.
Add style, texture, and organization to your kitchen space by using cutting boards as trays on the counters. Make sure you read my previous post, where I gave dozens of ideas on how to style cutting boards in the kitchen.
Bowl of fruit
Fresh fruit can add color and life to your kitchen staging when used thoughtfully. When staging a kitchen for sale, pick one fruit in your chosen color palette and gather it together in a bowl, creating an inviting atmosphere.
The beauty of lemons, limes, and apples is that all three fruits come in various shades – from the palest yellow lemons to deep emerald green limes.
Pro tip: Artichokes look a bit more modern and are a great alternative to fruit.
White kitchen staging ideas
White kitchen staging accessories can be a great way to make a small kitchen look bigger! Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, but white colors help reflect light and give the illusion of more space.
Plus, the clean lines will add an element of sophistication to any home. So, if you’re looking for a smaller kitchen design that packs a punch, white kitchen staging accessories are the way to go!
Acrylic accessories are a great alternative to white kitchen accessories, especially for small or modern kitchen staging. The transparent nature of acrylic visually does not take up any space.
7. Kitchen island staging ideas
Stage a coffee bar
The kitchen island is a key element in staging the perfect kitchen. Not only can it provide additional countertop space and storage, but it can also act as an attractive centerpiece when decorated with stylish accessories.
Plus, it’s a great place to add practical seating options for guests or family gathering around the room. The kitchen island should be noticed for its versatility when staging a kitchen.
Designer soap dispenser
You want to avoid your half-empty bottle of Dawn dishwashing soap next to your off-brand hand soap in your listing photos.
Curate the look of your kitchen island with these simple yet elegant dispensers. They are inexpensive but provide a wow factor in kitchen staging.
Utilizing a decorative tray is a good idea when staging the kitchen island.
Kitchen islands are so long and deep that accessories can appear lost on a large island; a tray helps keep accessories cohesive and grouped together.
Pro tip– Accessories look best when grouped in odd numbers. To avoid having too many decorative items, aim for three accessories of varying heights.
8. Update pendant light fixtures
Don’t let dated kitchen lighting keep you from getting a good offer on your home.
Kitchen pendants are reasonably priced, and an electrician or handyperson can quickly swap out your old lighting.
Kitchen pendants are an excellent focal point for the kitchen. They are visually beneficial when staging a kitchen for a photoshoot.
9. kitchen rugs and runners
Adding a kitchen runner to your staging set-up can bring texture and warmth to the room.
This will draw attention to hardwood floors, tiles, or other details that need to be noticed.
Kitchen rugs also add extra comfort and style to the dining room and breakfast room areas.
Pro tip– Use a bright-colored rug to draw attention to your beautiful floors.
10. Add a backsplash
A kitchen backsplash is a critical way to improve the space’s texture, functionality, design, and appeal.
A backsplash can be used as a decorative element or to protect walls from dirt and water damage. It also helps to create a cohesive look throughout the entire space while adding visual interest.
Select a kitchen backsplash that will be cohesive with the countertop; busy patterns like natural stone granite are best matched with solid backsplashes like a subway tile, while subtle quartz veining can select a backsplash with a bold, fun design.
11. Glass pantry door
Suppose you cleaned, organized, and decluttered as instructed in my first two kitchen staging ideas. In that case, adding a glass pantry door can showcase all your hard work.
I often use them in our furnished model homes, staged with wicker and wire baskets. You can use them to show off a walk-in pantry or how well you have organized your dry food storage.
Buyers love them! I have lost count of how many people would ask if they could add it to their homes or where they can purchase them for their homes.
Glass pantry doors are an affordable upgrade that goes a long way in making the kitchen look and feels more custom.
12. Kitchen island tree branches
The newest trend in kitchen design is the addition of large, sculptural tree branch arrangements to the kitchen island.
Creating these arrangements is a great way to make your home memorable during an open house.
The trick is to find exciting branches with movement and curves and place them in an oversized vase.
You can have an eye-catching and dramatic feature piece with the right arrangement and styling.
This is a great look for kitchen staging photography. I recommend you have lots of natural light and a tall ceiling for this idea.
13. Add barstools to the kitchen island
Bar stools at the kitchen island are a must-have in kitchen staging. Bar stools have a few essential kitchen responsibilities.
The first is functionality. Bar stools offer additional dining space and additional seating.
Second, bar stools can add texture, color, and warmth, and lastly, bar stools define the kitchen design style, and in many instances, bar stools can be a focal point.
14. Kitchen table staging ideas
Kitchen table staging does not mean you need to run out and purchase place settings, wine glasses, and dinnerware sets for 8.
A well-staged kitchen table only needs a vase or floral arrangement. Keep it simple for a minimalist look.
15. Window Treatments
Think of window treatments as the necklace and earrings to the dress. Window treatments such as roman shades, blinds, and curtains help to soften the drywall and elevate the kitchen design.
Pro tip– Buy side panel curtains and drapes designed and installed to sit on the sides of the windows.
Side panel curtains and drapes will be less expensive because they are not as wide and do not require long rods to stretch across the window. However, they do an excellent job of updating the space.
Common home staging mistakes to avoid
- Failing to clean thoroughly
- Forgetting that staging is about demonstrating a lifestyle, not personal needs, design style, and preferences. Remember, it’s all about the new homeowner now!
- Leaving personal items in plain sight, like dirty dishes, family photos, sponges, mail, and children’s artwork.
- Removing all items, leaving the home vacant and sterile.
- Staging greenery and other accessories on top of the kitchen cabinets is a dated staging strategy. It’s best to leave the top of the kitchen cabinets empty and dust free.
- Forgetting about the five senses. Smell- Odors are a buzz kill; be sure the space smells great. Touch-Potential buyers like to touch (it’s actually a buying signal), so ensure everything, including light switches, is clean and free of smudges and fingerprints. Hearing-Easy listening music playing softly on the TV or radio in the background creates an inviting and familiar atmosphere. Taste- If you are hosting an open house, instruct your real estate agent to bring in fresh cookies ( better yet, bake fresh cookies at home to get that yummy aroma) and serve flat and sparkling water.
- Have your tile floor grout professionally cleaned
- Never show the home when it’s not clean and tidy
- Touch up paint walls, and don’t forget baseboards
- Any sign of deferred maintenance sends the message that the home has not been well cared for, so make sure you replace all blown light bulbs, refrigerator and hood filters, fresh caulking, and tighten loose screws.
Pro tip-— we all love our fur babies, but it’s best to have pets removed from the home when you have a showing.
How to stage a modern kitchen
Modern and contemporary kitchen design is all about minimalism; less is more.
Modern design incorporates a neutral color palette with clean lines and geometric shapes.
Select hardware, faucets, decor, and accessories that embody these elements.
Decluttering, deep cleaning, depersonalizing, and organizing are necessary for all kitchen settings, regardless of design style.
Pro tip– Modern plants and greenery to decorate with include succulents, bird of paradise fiddle leaf trees, olive trees and branches, and boxwood hedges.
Is staging a home worth it?
Yes, staging a home is worth it! According to the National Association of Realtors, “staging can help homes sell 30 times faster and for more money.” Staging allows potential buyers to easily envision themselves in the space and helps to emphasize the best features of a home.
It also helps create an inviting atmosphere that can attract serious buyers and increase listing exposure. Overall, staging your home is well worth the effort!
Final thoughts and conclusion
Staging your kitchen is one of the most important things you can do to increase value and make a great first impression when selling your home.
By following these simple steps, you can create a beautiful modern space that will give potential buyers an idea of how they could use the room in their own homes.
Whether decluttering and deep cleaning or adding some greenery for texture, staging helps show off all the value your kitchen offers without needing a full remodel.