Ann Kellogg Schooler, who has more than 20 years of experience as an interior designer, keeps an arsenal of top quality furnishings and upholstery at her disposal inside a vast warehouse, including antique Persian carpets, custom upholstery, and 18th and 19th century antiques. During the past two years, she and her team at Schooler, Kellogg & Company have staged 14 homes using her collection of fine furnishings. She claims that 12 have sold within a record time of three months. More than half of those homes had languished on the market for as long as six months prior to staging, she says. One buyer liked Schooler’s staging so much he bought the home fully furnished, while others have picked out individual rooms or items to purchase along with their home.

“The houses I stage are typically in the $2 million to $7 million range,” Schooler says. “Not everyone can engage a full team of stagers with fine antiques to ready their house for resell.” Even if you’re on a budget, she has plenty of tips for you.

photography by Danny Piassick

Simplify, simplify, simplify
One reason staging is successful is that it eliminates all personal effects from a home. A potential buyer sometimes can’t see past the ceramic rabbit collections or the children’s art projects. Typical buyers are uninterested in purchasing someone else’s history and aesthetics. Have your garage sale before the house goes on the market.

photography courtesy of Adleta Fine Properties
Get your hands dirty
Paint and plants are cheap! I believe fresh paint and landscaping come back to the homeowner in dollars many fold.

Don’t bother baking
Your home should smell nice, but not too nice. If you bake fresh cookies before a prospective buyer visits, it’s a little too obvious.

Think Switzerland (go neutral)
You may love your lavender walls, but they are a deterrent. A coat of paint in a neutral color will keep it looking fresh.

Send the cat to camp
Eliminate all evidence of pets.

Add square footage
If you don’t already have an outdoor living area, create one. Buy outdoor furniture. (You can take it with you when you move.) Bring in colorful potted plants.


Create a clean scene
Hire a cleaning service before the house sells. Target areas: windows, grout, and carpet.


Ask the experts
Hire a reputable outside appraiser who understands the market and selling points in your area. Do you live in an area with great schools? Then make your home more attractive to people with children by creating a kid-friendly living environment.

photography by Danny Piassick