• Find the focal points. Visit each roomwith the intention of finding the strong points. Is it the large closet, the extra space near the bedroom window, the impressive master bath and Jacuzzi, the built-in shelves in the basement, the lighting on the staircase? Take note of all this, with ideas of how to make them stand out. Even go out to the patio or deck to add that to your list. A pro will be able to spot many strong points, but will also want your advice on what you consider to be the focal points, so doing this step is never a waste of time. • Prepare the props. You have taken note of all the furniture that you’re willing to keep, and have sent unwanted furniture on its merry way. Now, if you’re leaving it up to a staging pro, this is where he or she will really take over. However, if you’re doing it yourself, follow your notes. What remaining furniture do you have that you can use in each of the separate focal areas? Will you need to purchase or rent any more to create the effect that you’re working toward? You can purchase cardboard furniture to dress up like real furniture, or you can rent the pieces you need. Whichever way you go, be sure that your list covers the entire house — even the deck and garage. You don’t want any rooms to be empty! • Set the scene. Stage actors have an important rule that they must put into practice during every performance: never turn your back to the crowd. This is the same for staging a home, particularly for the furniture that you put into place to draw attention to a focal point.
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