Staging Your Home with Renovations – Main Floor

Last week I discussed staging your home with renovations and detailed the upgrades we made to the 2nd floor of our house.  We spent about $3,800 in total on our renovations and we sold our house for $17,500 more than our real estate agent would have suggested we list it at had we not done the work.  In the end we got a 461% return on investment (ROI).   Looking back at all of the things we did we are still surprised we got so much work done in the two and a half months of working every evening and weekend.  We were convinced however that staging your home, and in our case updating and upgrading our home, was essential to sell your house quickly.

While we didn’t have any renovations as time consuming as installing hundreds of square feet of flooring we did have the entire main floor to paint and numerous smaller projects to keep us busy.  The entire living room needed a fresh coat of paint.  The room was about 20′ x 35′ (it had been a living/dining/kitchen prior to the addition) and had 10′ ceilings.  Our contractor friend Jim and Mrs. SPF bought the paint which led to some conflict as we discussed beige and ended up with yellow.  But it worked well as it made the room appear bright.  It also helped that we removed window coverings that were dated to let more light in.

Our house also had very dated dark brown wood panelling that lined the staircase to the 2nd floor. Jim advised us that link the rest of the house this look was very “80s” and that with today’s buyers it needed to be dealt with when staging your home to sell.  Jim suggested painting it, which we did – beige this time.  He introduced us to a nifty paint roller that was exceptionally plush and stringy which makes getting paint into cracks (such as those between wood panels!) much easier than hand painting each crack with a brush.

staging your home living room before
Living Room – Before
staging your home living room after
Living Room – After









Speaking of the staircase – what an eye sore to enter a home to.  Turquoise carpet.  Yuck.  I decided it HAD to go and ripped it all out.  When you are staging your home, as i’ve mentioned in the past, leaving glaring issues is problematic.  The staircase underneath was unfinished but filled with plenty of staple, nail and tack holes (that held the carpet in place).  All of the edges of each step had gaps. How did I solve these problems?  Drywall compound filled in the surface holes and while it likely wouldn’t hold up to traffic over time it was a cosmetic fix I could easily make.  For the gaps I used white caulking to fill in the cracks and the final touch was 2 coats of exterior porch paint.  The finished product looked great.

When buying a home a buyer doesn’t want to deal with issues and that is why you should perform house staging.  We had a wood fireplace in the living room that was not certified and if used was not covered under home insurance.  It would cost a few thousand dollars to upgrade the fireplace which was not something we felt we would get a good ROI on.  So instead of fixing this issue we bought an electric fireplace insert and I built a wooden “mantle” to cover up the gap between the insert and the brick opening.  We left it to the buyers to determine if they wanted to get the fireplace up to code or to install a gas fireplace.

staging your home dining room before
Dining – Before
staging your home dining room after
Dining – After









Mrs. SPF was in charge of the kitchen.  Here she (and her brother) updated in 3 areas.  First, Mrs. SPF removed all of the hardware from our very nice oak cabinets.  The hardware was white porcelain button knobs with a black circle smack dab in the middle of them mounted on worn copper plates.  Somewhat ugly, very dated.  So we bought some low end but much more modern pewter knobs.  Mrs. SPF filled in the holes left behind from the tacks that held the plates in place with wood filler and installed the new knobs.

Next on the kitchen to do list was replacing the range hood.  The range hood was beige while the other appliances were white, and, it was down right filthy.  When staging your home you want things to appear uniform so we installed a new range hood – well, my brother-in-law installed it when he came to visit for a weekend.  Very cool of him to lend us a hand.

Lastly, our fridge was about 20 years old and it looked old.  The doors were banged up pretty badly.  Instead of replacing the fridge, our friend Jim told us about a product called appliance paint!  Two coats of white later and the fridge looked much newer than it really was.  Small things that are purely cosmetic can really help.

staging your home kitchen before
Kitchen – Before
staging your kitchen after
Kitchen – After

19 thoughts on “Staging Your Home with Renovations – Main Floor

    1. Location location location. We cut our walk to work in half (30m->15m) and got much more walkable.
      Our old house was across from a MASSIVE parking lot which was an eyesore (w/ a view of a water tower and a commercial building). We were next door to an auto body shop – great guys, but loud. We were 1 lot away from a busy street which always had traffic noise on it – day and night. And lastly, we were in more of a working class neighbourhood. Nothing wrong with that per se, but we did not have friends in the neighbourhood + our neighbour behind us would scream at her screetching kids all the time.

      We wanted to pick a house together which I think was most important. I had bought that house and I wasn’t too attached to it. We really adore our new place (except for a lack of a den and no central air – should be interesting) and the neighbourhood we’re in now feels like “home”.

      If we could have moved the old house to this neighbourhood we probably would have been happy staying in that house. The new place has an attic we can finish for a master suite – which is cool, a whole other floor to play with. And it also has a laneway out back. Mrs. SPF grew up in Montreal with a laneway and she has great memories of the kids on the block spending summers and winters out there.

      So, lotsa reasons I guess!

        1. We did wonder ourselves about leaving the house once we had done the work! A lot of sweat, tears, elbow grease and in my case some blood went into doing all of that work!

    1. Thanks Denise! The real key for us was selling quickly as we knew we would be carrying two homes for a number of months. The quicker the sale the more quickly we would close and stop paying 2 sets of household bills.

    1. 2.5 months, evenings and weekends. I also took one week off work to get the upstairs flooring done. It may seem like it took forever and at times it felt that way, but we had 3 floors + the exterior to do. I’ve detailed 1/2 of it thus far.

      What was really weird was when we showed people it seemed like we did so little as it is quite difficult to put into words all the tasks we undertook to complete each mini (or major) project. The place looked 150% better though!

    1. That is a great idea-in retrospect we kind of wish we had done many of the improvements well before we decided to sell the house in order to enjoy it more

  1. Those are incredible before and after pictures. I have heard that staging is a very useful technique but have yet to really understand the practical aspects of it. I will definitely be doing this when it comes time to sell my house, although I don’t plan to for awhile. Nice ROI, by the way.

  2. Looks WONDERFUL! We have our home on the market now and couldn’t agree more with your recommendations. I am painting and hubby and I are streamlining and decluttering. The house really looks great. Keeping it tidy is challenging us quite a lot :)

    1. Thanks Barb,

      Are you on the market already or prepping ahead of time?
      We found that it was better to clean post renos. Doing both took too much effort. We spent 3 weeks cleaning however, which was awful, but we just couldn’t justify cleaning when we were constantly making a mess (especially all of the laminate flooring saw dust!).

  3. Hope I never purchase a home from you !!!! If you are not going to do something properly you should at the very least warn the prospective buyers that you only cosmetically corrected something. “Drywall compound filled in the surface holes and while it likely wouldn’t hold up to traffic over time it was a cosmetic fix I could easily make. For the gaps I used white caulking to fill in the cracks …

    1. I said “likely won’t” but I have no proof it will not. For 4 months we used the stairs and none of the staple holes we plugged opened up. The caulking was done around the edges of the stairs and much like sealing a bathtub caulking rarely comes off.

      When you drywall mud a wall it won’t last forever either – it can crack and need patch work. It is a cosmetic “improvement” that no seller is going to tell a buyer they did.

  4. It’s amazing what a few changes can do to a room. It’s also amazing what used to be popular! Just a little effort makes a huge difference in your ROI.

    1. Some of the rooms took more effort than others. Luckily on the main floor we didn’t replace the hardwood. The 2nd floor and basement on the other hand took a lot more work.

  5. Cosmetic things like paint, carpeting, etc., do help you get the most money when you sell. They aren’t “renovations,” though. :)

    Also…the correct fix for the stairs was wood filler, not drywall mud. I winced a little when you wrote that.

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