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  • Writer's pictureAbigail Halal

Day 2 of Shelter and Stage with KLH - Today's Focus: Kitchens

Welcome back!

It’s day two of our 14 days of home staging tips! #ShelterandStagewithKLH

It’s time to talk kitchens!

Before even thinking about how to stage the countertops, it’s so important to start by rolling up your sleeves and cleaning! Top to bottom! (Literally, actually.)

Start by dusting the top of your cabinets and the blades of your ceiling fan (if you happen to have one).

Wash the outside of your cabinets and polish your knobs, handles and pulls.

Remove everything - everything - from the counters and scrub your backsplash and walls followed by your countertops.

Wash and wipe down the inside of your sink and get the faucet sparkling.

How do your appliances look? Some homeowners consider updating their appliances before listing. If that’s not an option, at least get them as clean as possible. Potential buyers will not appreciate the grease and grim built-up on your stove top! While they may not be bold enough to open your fridge or dishwasher during an open house, you can at least get the exteriors of your appliances clean!

Wash any windows to allow as much natural light into the kitchen as possible!

End your cleaning spree with the floors... Sweep then mop!

Phew! Sometimes staging is cleaning! Sometimes our kitchens have a lingering smell from the meal we last prepared. Consider using room sprays or light a candle. Avoid cooking or baking foods that tend to have lingering smells before scheduled open houses or showings.

Just as we did in the entryway, remove all personal art, family photos, religious items, plaques or trophies. While these items may not be hanging on the walls in your kitchen, they could be on the fridge! Remove all magnets and papers. Again, these personal items are distracting to potential buyers; they begin to wonder more about you and how you live in the space. When in reality, we want them to envision themselves prepping and cooking meals in the kitchen!

For photos and during the open house, temporarily store away any cleaning supplies; these items are usually found near the sink! Remove dish soaps, sponges, brushes, etc. You’ll also want to remove any dish drainer racks or trays. While all of these items have obvious function and are a necessity in your daily life - they’re simply eye sores!

How many small appliances do you have on your counters right now? It’s not unusual to have a microwave, toaster and a coffee maker - maybe a few, actually. (I know I love my latte machine, KitchenAid stand mixer and, yes, I’m guilty of owning an oversized bread machine. But I use it, I swear!) Consider removing as many small appliances as possible. KitchenAid mixers are arguably attractive machines that could be used for staging as long as they’re sparking clean... And perhaps just keep ONE coffee maker. But we can’t stress enough: Less is more!

Now let’s talk about what you CAN have on your countertops... And, more importantly, how many items! And colors!

First, let’s focus on color. If you have dark cabinets and countertops, you’re going to want to try and stage with items that are light and bright. They’ll photograph better.

On the flip side, if you have light cabinets and countertops, darker items that pop and stand out work best... Stick with neutrals colors, like blues, greys and blacks. Don’t be afraid to use natural elements like wood or marble, assuming they complement your kitchen cabinets, countertops and finishes. (For example, a marble cutting board in a country kitchen just doesn’t make sense!)

Regardless of color, always try to incorporate greenery - either real of faux. Bring some life into your kitchen!

In a staged kitchen, you’ll typically find:

- Neutral, stain-free dish towels thrown *just right* near the sink... We’re going for that lived-in, casual look! (Can’t throw the dish towel just right? I get it. It happens sometimes. Just fold and place it on or near the sink.)

- An attractive dish or hand soap dispenser.... By attractive, we mean take a look at the bottle! Is the label worn or starting to tear off? Is it the product itself used and almost gone?

- Cookbooks with colorful and delicious looking recipes either left open on the perfect page, or stacked on the counters.

- Cutting boards, spice bowls, salt and pepper shakers... Remember to stage using cutting boards that are in *decent* shape and preferably made from an attractive and natural element... Wood cutting boards are a great option, whereas a worn, plastic cutting board may not do you any favors!

- Stacked plates and bowls, as well as glassware, displayed on open shelves or behind glass front cabinets.

- Bowls of fruit.

- A neutral canister by the stove with just a few matching stirring and cooking utensils. Think three to five spoons, spatulas, whisks, etc. We typically use a set of wooden spoons.

- A “staged” coffee or cocktail area... Such as a French press with two matching coffee mugs. Or a bottle of wine with two matching wine glasses on a tray with a dish towel.

Group items in varying heights in odd number groups, such as three or five.

If you have a large island or bar area in your kitchen with stools set-up, consider staging place settings for each seat. This will draw attention to a great selling feature and make the space feel more inviting! Use chargers or placemats, plates, bowls and utensils – this is also your opportunity to introduce a pop of color with a napkin and napkin ring.

Use what you have!

Here are some visual examples! (Sometimes it’s just easier to try to recreate a visual example.)

I made sure to include examples of dated kitchens, as well. Even dated kitchens deserve proper staging. We’d argue staging is a great way to make a space feel updated without major renovation!

Now go give it a try!

Thanks for reading!

Stay safe! Stay home! Stay healthy!

Abigail Halal

Project Manager, Home Stager

KLH Home Staging


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