How to stage a house – Ideas for Effective Focal Points

how to stage a house - ideas for effective focal points

How to stage a house – Ideas for Effective Focal Points

We talked about why every room needs a purpose when you’re selling your house here – so we know how important it really is.  Many have asked how to go about defining the purpose of a room for buyers.  The answer to that question is with a focal point.

Every room in your home should have a focal point that either clearly states or clearly supports the purpose of a room.  Here is a list of focal points for each room and how to go about establishing the purpose of a space using these the focal points:

  • Curb appeal:  The front door is the focal point from the street view.  Make sure it is in great shape and the hardware looks clean and updated.  Draw attention to the space with a great welcome mat and some freshly planted flowers.  Simple potted flowers and other plants in this space make a huge difference in how buyers will perceive your house when they walk up to the door.
  • Entry way:  This space needs to greet people as they enter the home and also “say good bye” on their way out.  A perfect focal point of an entry way is a mirror and table or shelf to hold keys or a bag.  This space should also have a touch of greenery to provide warmth.
  • Formal Living room:  Formal living spaces are not common in most homes built today, but if you have one it should be staged as an adult space for visiting and conversation.  If there are architectural details in the room such as a fireplace or large window then this will be the focal point of the room.  You will establish the focal point by placing the largest piece of furniture, such as a sofa,  either directly opposite of the feature so that it is in the direct line of vision of seated guests or perpendicular to the feature so that the furniture draws the guests’ eye to it.  The furniture and accessories should be comfortable and more refined than what you would find in the family room.  Think clean lines with tight back upholstery.
  • Formal Dining room:  This is the room that most commonly goes undefined for buyers.  Many people don’t use the space as it was intended when the home was built, however, many buyers still want this space in their new home.  From game rooms to music rooms – I’ve seen more things other than a dining table in a formal dining space than I can count.  Anything other than dining furniture in the space does not work for buyers.  A beautiful dining table centered under a chandelier is the ideal focal point for a formal dining space.
  • Family room:  In most homes today the family room and living room are one and the same, but if you have a separate space in your home for a family room then the focal point of the room should be the key architectural feature of the room and the furniture and accessories should be family friendly in nature.  You still want to arrange the largest piece of furniture either directly opposite or perpendicular to the focal point of the room.  In this space furniture and accessories should be more comfortable and kid friendly in nature.  Think big overstuffed sofa that kids can climb on.
  • Kitchen:  If there is an island it is the focal point of the kitchen because this is where everyone will gather.  If there is no island the focal point should be the cooktop and vent hood.  Everyone knows the basic purpose of the kitchen is to prepare meals – so in this space it is necessary to define comfort and entertaining space.  When you entertain people almost always end up in the kitchen.  Potential buyers want to be sure this is a space they will be proud to have their guests in.
  • Guest bath:  Everyone knows the purpose of this room – human needs.  The focal point in this space should be the vanity area.   Again, buyers  need a space that is functional and that they will be proud to entertain their guests in.  Draw attention to the vanity area with nice hand towels and soaps and a few well-chosen accessories.
  • Study/Office:  More people work from home today than at any other time in history.  If all the current reports are correct the number of people who are working from home is going to increase dramatically in the future, especially in suburban communities.  It is important to stage an office area with a desk to show buyers both the purpose and functionality of this space.  Otherwise it could go unnoticed as they search for a space they are going to be able to work from.
  • Master bedroom:  The bed is the focal point of this room – and it needs to be done very well.  This is a critical buyer decision area of any home.  Your buyer needs to want to crawl into this bed and not have to leave it.  Make sure it is accessorized with good linens and pillows for comfort.  This space ideally also has two nightstands with matching lamps and just a couple accessories like a framed quote, small plant, and clock.
  • Master bath:  If there is a tub in this space it is the focal point of the room – if not , then the focal point is the shower space.  It needs to appeal to those looking for a place to relax and unwind at the end of a long day.  It also needs to appeal to those needing a great start to their long day ahead.  It needs great towels and nice accessories to convey these feelings.  You cannot overlook this space as it is another key buyer decision making area.  It is really super important this space is done well.
  • Secondary bedrooms:  These are the most neglected rooms in a home when you are preparing a house for sale – but please, don’t leave them out.  Many families are raising children and at the same time having to provide for older adults as well.  The number of these families is also on the rise so make certain your home appeals if you have these spaces.  If you currently don’t use these rooms, or use them for a different purpose, then clear them out.  If there is only one secondary bedroom and your home is located in an area popular with families with children stage the room as a child’s room with the bed being the focal point.  If you have more than one secondary bedroom, or the house is located in a more adult area, then stage the room as an adult guest room.  Ideally, you want to have one of each!
  • Backyard entertaining:  As a society we live in these outdoor spaces more and more each year.  These can be make or break spaces when selling a house – make sure yours is great.  The focal point of this space should be a dining area designed as an entertaining space.  Your buyer is looking for a space they will be proud to host their family and friends in.  This is it.  Make this space count.


It may feel overwhelming staging your house for sale, but if you break it down and work through one space at a time, you can accomplish much more than you realize.  There are some amazing professional staging companies ready to help you as little or as much as you might need.  Please call or email today to learn how staging can help you sell your house for more money in a shorter amount of time.  It is an investment you will be glad you made on closing day!