Designing With Joy: Make Your Home Stand Out in Today’s Market

Meet Christen Anderson of Live Christen Joy. Each month in “Designing With Joy: Inspired Interiors and Events with Christen Joy,” Christen inspires readers with a recent project. This month, she staged a home to stand out on the market.

Photos by Tara Scherling, Scherling Photography

Staging Your Home to Get the Most Value

Staging a home is setting yourself up for success. Recently, we staged a home on the market that’s a real showstopper! Built in 2017 in West Fargo, this light-filled home has six bedrooms, five bathrooms and three floors with a panoramic view of a restful pond. The 6,900 square-foot home has ten-foot ceilings, even in the lower level – a rare find in our area. The sellers were listing and asked to have the home staged to highlight its beautiful features to sell this $1,250,000 home. Why? Let me share the reasons staging is crucial to a fast sale and give you a tour with tips for success.

Top Reasons to Stage Your Home

Make the best first impression
Because the real estate market is more competitive than ever, you need to make your home stand out. If you don’t, chances are, your competition will. For this reason, more and more homeowners are enlisting the help of home stagers to help sell their properties faster and for top dollar in today’s crowded real estate market.

Set the stage for the best outcome
Home staging is the process of packaging, preparing and presenting your home so that it sells more quickly and at a higher price by making it appealing and attractive to the widest possible audience.

See it through a buyer’s eyes
According to a survey carried out by NAR (National Association of Realtors) in 2019, more than 83% of buyers said that they found staged properties easier to visualize as their next home.

View your home objectively
Because you live in your home each day it can be easy to overlook issues that need fixing, or clutter that agents and buyers see as deal-breakers. 

You’re not alone. Most homeowners can’t package their homes effectively because they don’t view it objectively. A professional home stager will help you see it in a new way and from a fresh perspective.  

Stage and declutter
53% of sellers’ agents say that home staging decreases the amount of time a home spends on the market, and 95% of agents recommend that sellers declutter their home before putting it on the market.* 

Upstage the competition
Buyers have very high expectations, making the competition very stiff. Successful realtors know professional staging is the key to competing because it increases offers, drives buyer traffic and creates a great online presence. 

Standout online
Over 95% of buyers look at pictures of the home/property online first before they call an agent or go visit.*

Overlook the “flaws”
Though I recommend fixing your home’s flaws before putting it on the market, when a home is professionally staged, almost a third of buyers will overlook property faults.*

*Source: National Association of Realtors (NAR) 2019.

Tips to Stage Your Home

Add curb appeal
The vegetation around your home should be alive and healthy. Clean the walkways. Add furniture and flowers to the porch. If your lawn is dry, consider re-sodding or replacing it with drought-tolerant plants. Buyers may drive past your home before they decide to further inquire. And don’t skip the backyard!

At 3716 6th St. E., we added fresh mulch, power-washed the porches and patios and added bright new pillows. The ‘Welcome’ entryway mat, cobalt blue planters and vibrant red flowers invite guests to the front door, while the white rocking chairs and leaning birch branches act as a foreshadow to the family-friendly finishes inside the home. 

The lush green backyard and pond are another key outdoor feature of the home. This space is clearly a value adding feature of the home. Buyers can imagine relaxing around the fire pit with friends in the Adirondack chairs and soft pillows, covering up with luxurious throws, surrounded by colorful planters and a few fun accessories that make this their fun summertime hangout of choice. 

Edit it or pack it up.

Space sells. Pack away personal items such as photos and collections. Let buyers see how much space the home has to offer. This lets them imagine their personal items in the home. Buyers will want to see how much space is in the closets and cupboards so keep these areas clean and uncrowded.

At the 6th Street home, we removed all items from the kitchen cabinets and counters. Then we displayed a few pieces of white dishware with fresh flowers for pops of color so potential buyers could focus on the great storage and display areas, not cluttered countertops or cabinets that may not look ‘picture perfect’. In the butler, we rearranged the coffee area with the owner’s cute mug collection and made subtle updates. We also opened all the window shades, doors and turned on all lights to illuminate the home to showcase the full natural light the builder and architect designed into the space.

Add a joyful touch to your home. Cut fresh citrus fruits or tie dried herbs such as relaxing lavender to naturally scent your home and provide a (Christen Joy) pop of color! 


The interior should gleam. Wash the exterior and interior window surfaces of your home. Steam clean the carpet, re-grout the tiles, replace corroded faucets and consider refinishing wood floors if they are worn. 

At 6th Street, the owners rolled up their sleeves and did most of the work. Then, professional cleaners came in before I did the finishing touches to ensure the place was spotless before any showings. 

You should clean every area of your home. And consider staging all areas as well, including rooms and areas you may not necessarily think of staging, such as a toilet or shower. The bathrooms in 6th Street are spacious with beautiful tile. We staged the space by adding fresh towels, loofahs, dried lavender, fresh flowers and what I call ‘pretty shampoo & conditioner.’ The space felt bright, extra clean and refreshing for agent showings.  

Make it serene, not sterile. 

Decorate your home with subtle touches such as table settings, bowls of fruit, fresh flowers, plush towels, new bedding and other neutral furnishings to help your home feel comfortable and inviting. Stay neutral with selections as you want buyers to focus on how the house feels versus focusing on décor that’s too loud with colors or patterns. 

The already beautiful home on 6th Street increased its welcoming vibe with fresh with towels throughout (tip: steam out any creases), fluffy new pillows (on every surface from beds to furniture – and each one gets a karate chop after you fluff them for that designer look), folded throws (I personally love a neatly folded blanket in most places), subtle pops of colors, interesting yet neutral objects (from agate stone to wine bottles to a fun lit-up sign) and fresh arrangements. 

Paint it

A fresh coat of paint applied both outside and inside your home does wonders to brighten it. Keep it sophisticated yet trendy. Neutral colors are best, as they appeal to a wider audience. Most paint stores have a brochure that gives neutral color favorites, start there! 

The colors were already on trend at 6th Street so using blue tape here and there made for quick touch-ups prior to listing. If your home has unexpected colors – maybe from letting your kiddo select their paint choice – neutralize it with fresh paint before listing and showing. 

Arrange furniture properly

Each room should be arranged to maximize its flow and potential for its defined purpose. Pack away the tattered recliner, no matter how comfortable it is. If necessary, consider renting furniture that is better suited for the space. 

6th Street didn’t need new furniture, however, we did remove and rearrange it to ensure the room’s potential was the focal point. In the entryway, we removed a bulky bench to add a modern piece of artwork to compliment the home’s selections. In the living room, we removed two chairs and flipped the sofa and matching chairs. This removed the focal point being the back of the sofa – opening up this beautiful space – all the way to the large windows and view of the pond. 

Ready, set, sell!

You now have some professional tips and ideas to start preparing and staging your home for sale. I also hope you enjoyed the tour of 3716 6th St. E. in West Fargo to show how it’s done. If you are starting the journey of selling your home, I wish you all the best and a quick sale. If you’re looking to have your home staged – you know where to find me!

Interested in 3716 6th St. E., West Fargo? Contact Danielle Paulus, Keller Williams Inspire Realty 701-306-3593

Christen Anderson of Christen Joy Homes


Meet Christen Anderson of Christen Joy.  Each month she shares her designs ranging from commercial, residential to events.  Anderson is a Minnesota native with an eye for decor and design. Christen Joy specializes in new-construction commercial projects, exceptional remodels, furnishing high-end living spaces and creating memorable special events. Anderson is also a passionate art collector, world traveler and home cook who frequently entertains for friends. 

Join me on my Instagram & Facebook pages to see my latest projects and email at [email protected] for project inquiries.


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