The Staging Life: Decorate Built-In Shelving for Selling


By Nan Johnston, Southern Staging & Redesign

While preparing a home to sell, shelving can often be a bit of a challenge to arrange in an attractive way.

If you’re fortunate enough to have built-in shelving, then you probably have them full with books, family photos, collections and memories.  That’s fine for decorating to live, but when you are selling your house, decorating to sell is a must.  The house decor needs to say less about you and what your family’s interest are and be more neutral.

So let’s try to break it down.  The above photo is great for living but can be seen as junky to a buyer and close a space in.

What should be used?  Books, art, sculpture, greenery, pretty boxes…sounds like the list above, right?  Remember, Less is More when staging to sell.

When staging built-in or free standing shelving, I like to use a method of 1, 3, 2, 3.

Although the photo on the right isn’t arranged on actual shelving, you can see the rhythm of the 1,3,2,3 method that is easy to emulate.

Remember, you are going to have to pack your items away for moving anyway, so start with the shelving and leave the pretty non personal items so your buyer can relate to the amount of storage your built-ins have to offer.


Nan Johnston is a professional home staging consultant from Newnan with over 30 years experience in the real estate industry. Check out her website for some interesting before and after photos at Feel free to contact her at [email protected].

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