10 Apartment Staging Tricks That Attract Top-Notch Renters

10 Apartment Staging Tricks That Attract Top-Notch Renters

Last Updated: September 22, 2023 by Jessica Menefee

Staging your home is one of the most important things you can do to impress buyers. In fact, 58% of buyer’s agents said that home staging affected the buyer’s view of the home.

What Is Apartment Staging?

Apartment staging is an advertising and marketing tool used to give potential buyers or tenants a visual of what the space could look like.

Types of Staging

There are three main types of staging used in real estate.

  • Virtual Staging –  adding simulated furniture and décor to photos to show what a home could look like. This is a popular choice with newly built apartments and is common on many real estate apps.
  • Vacant Staging – when a property is empty, furniture and décor are brought in to give potential residents an idea of what the home could look like.
  • Occupied Staging – when someone is occupying a property but their stuff may need to be removed or added to in order to create a more cohesive flow of the space.

10 Steps to Staging an Apartment

Here are the steps you need to follow to physically stage your apartment.

1. Declutter

If you have ever looked in a home magazine, there are a few things you will notice about each home. The homes are beautifully decorated, each room has a clear purpose, and each item in the photo adds something to the space.

You do not see stuffed drawers, filled cabinets, laundry, or any evidence of an actual person living in the space.

You want your space to possess the same qualities.

If you plan to live in your staged space, you should consider renting a storage unit for all non-necessary items to go while you are trying to rent or sell your home.

Decluttering your home should include:

  • Removal of all personal photos, religious items, toys, or other non-essential items
  • Clear every counter, table, and visible shelf
  • Secure all items of value including handbags, cash, jewelry, or specific art pieces
  • Clear closets, cabinets, and drawers of everything except a few key-styled pieces
  • Get rid of anything that is broken, incomplete, or doesn’t have a specific place to go

Staging   on iPropertyManagement.com

2. Complete Repairs

Walk around your space and list all items that need to be repaired. This may include:

  • Replacing light bulbs
  • Patching and filling nail holes
  • Repainting areas with scratched or chipped paint
  • Replacing caulking
  • Stain removal

3. Gather Inspiration

    If you are planning to stage your apartment yourself, it’s a good idea to gather some inspiration from professionals. Apps like Pinterest will allow you to find similar spaces to yours to help you determine which types and sizes of furniture will work best.

    Keep in mind, this is not the time to get trendy. Classic and timeless design has more broad appeal than loud or unique options.

    If you are listing your home with an agent, ask them for their input. Real estate agents see hundreds of homes and layouts. Many have a good idea of what potential occupants are looking for.

    4. Target Lighting

    Lighting can drastically affect the appearance of any home. Natural light is welcoming and has several health benefits. Here are some tips for helping brighten your home:

    • Opt for sheer curtains that allow natural light to shine through
    • Position mirrors to reflect light into dark spaces

    There is also a big difference when it comes to lightbulbs. Different levels of lighting are important for different areas of your home. Check out these lighting recommendations from the National Association of Realtors:

    Color Temperature Best For Outcome
    2700K Living Rooms and Bedrooms Warm and Cozy
    3000k Kitchen or Bathroom Crisp
    4000k Garage or Laundry Room Clear

    Don’t forget to match overhead lighting with lamps!

    5. Select Furniture and Décor Carefully

    The goal for your space should be to create a canvas for potential occupants to see themselves in. Large furniture or decor can distract from the overall space. It can also make the space feel smaller. You will likely need to remove about half of your furniture.

    Keep in mind that you are not choosing pieces for your taste, comfort, or functionality. You want to create a calm and cohesive flow throughout the home. Many designers suggest moving furniture away from walls and creating a conversational area rather than centering furniture around a TV.

    You should also practice walking around your space as a potential renter or buyer would. They should have a clear path from room to room without bumping into anything.

    Staging   on iPropertyManagement.com

    6. Choose Neutral Tones

    Neutral tones create a palette that appeals to everyone. Walking into a space with bright orange walls can be a distraction and a pricey fix, even if the potential occupant liked the space otherwise. Again, the whole point of staging an apartment is to provide an idea of what the space could look like for as many people as possible.

    For those who prefer a little splash of color, consider the 60-30-10 color rule.

    • 60% is the main color you use in the room, the color of the walls, accent pieces, and sofa. The shade should be neutral and calming like BM Swiss Coffee, BM White Dove, or BM Simply White.
    • 30% should appear in half as much as the main color, in curtains, accent chairs, or small painted furniture. This can be beige, brown, gray, or even wood tones.
    • 10% is the accent color, it can be bolder and appear in throw pillows, decorative accessories, or artwork. Color examples could be greens, blues, or black.

    Choosing a wall color can be very difficult as the color may change throughout the day. Use larger paint stickers or paint small patches in a few areas of the home and look at them throughout the day.

    7. Hire a Professional Cleaner

    Hiring a good professional cleaner is one of the best investments you can make for your property. A clean home gives the impression that the property is well-maintained.

    It also allows potential tenants or buyers the headspace to focus on all of the appealing features of the property rather than the dust on the baseboards and fans and the grease splatter on the kitchen cabinets.

    Before you decide to do it yourself, get a few quotes. Then decide if the money is worth more than the several hours it takes to deep clean. You will need to plan to clean every nook and cranny, window, and baseboard.


    Many professional cleaning services offer deep cleaning specials. If you are planning to rent or sell, you may need another cleaning when all of the furniture is moved out, so be sure to ask about any deals offered for multiple services.

    Staging   on iPropertyManagement.com


    Even if you are the cleanest pet owner on earth, pets still have an odor. When people walk into your home, you don’t want them to immediately smell your pet. Spraying Febreze or other odor deodorizer may make the scent worse.

    Consider hiring a carpet and deep floor cleaner, especially if your pet has ever had an “accident” in your space. Ask a friend or your real estate agent to come by and be brutally honest about a lingering smell. You may be nose blind to how bad it is.

    Make sure all evidence of your pet is put away. Do not leave out water or food bowls, litter boxes, or leashes. Ensure you have checked all outdoor areas for droppings as well.

    8. Restore Curb Appeal

    Regardless of the front entrance your apartment has, it is the first thing potential renters or buyers notice. Make sure your space is clean, clear, and has a few added touches to make it feel like home. Here are a few ideas:

    • New door mat
    • Potted plant(s) near the front door
    • Seasonal items (pumpkins, small lighted tree, welcome sign)

    9. Take Professional Photos

      There is no match for a professional real estate photographer. They understand proper lighting, angles, and how to make your room come to life. While this can be an extra expense, high-quality photos can be used for years to come.

      Some photographers may also offer video services and 3D renderings to add extra value to your marketing strategy.

      10. Go the Extra Mile

      It can certainly pay off to do just a few extra things to really show off your space. Here are some ideas:

      • Host an open house and invite neighbors, friends, and family. Put a few “open house” signs around the apartment community to invite onlookers inside. Bake fresh cookies just before to really kick it up a notch.
      • Buy fresh flowers for the open house and prior to professional photos
      • Add fresh hand towels, hand soap, lotion, and a candle in any bathroom space

      Staging   on iPropertyManagement.com

      How Much Does Staging Cost?

      Staging pricing ranges depending on your needs. A consultation from a home stager can run from $150 to $600 while some may offer a flat rate of around $800.

      Staging for luxury properties typically costs about 1% of the total rental price.


      Many experienced real estate agents offer staging services. They often have staging décor and furniture they have purchased throughout their time as an agent. If you are planning to use an agent, ask what additional services they offer.

      Should I Stage My Apartment?

      There is no requirement that you must stage your apartment. However, many homeowners have found that investing in staging has paid off. The International Association of Home Staging surveyed that staging a home helps sell homes up to 30x faster than non-staged competition. It can also increase the sales price by up to 20%.

      If you are on the fence about investing in staging your apartment here are some things to consider:

      • Competition – How many apartments like yours are currently available?
      • Timeline -Are you in a hurry to rent or sell your space?
      • Budget – Do you have extra money to invest in selling or renting your space?
      • Capability – Will you need to hire a professional for all staging aspects or can you do some things yourself?
      • Help – Do you have a property management company or agent who assists with home staging?