Spring is coming, and that means that the peak of home buying and selling is on its way. Now is the time to plan how your home can appeal to potential buyers. Staging is the process of readying your home for showings and tours, essentially turning it into a model home prospective buyers can envision living in. If you are serious about getting the most value for your home, it’s crucial to put your home’s best face forward. Staging is not necessarily expensive, and can actually increase the value of your property. It also has the added bonus of serving as the first step of the move-out process, since it involves deep cleaning and decluttering. Read on for Network Real Estate's top 10 tips on staging effectively and efficiently.

1. Increase your home’s curb appeal by trimming the hedges, mowing the lawn, repainting siding and shutters if necessary, and replacing old mailboxes. Make sure your house numbers are visible and large enough to spot from the street. Invest in some seasonal flowers for your flowerbeds. Put down a fresh welcome mat. How a home looks from the outside can effect how a potential buyer sees things inside. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression!

2. Get rid of clutter—in every room! It’s important that potential buyers can imagine themselves living in your home, and they won’t be able to do that with your personal photos, clothes, art, books, and other bric-a-brac lying about. Make sure surfaces like counters, shelves, tables, and appliances are clean and free of clutter. Your space should consist primarily of furniture and appliances—most everything else should be packed away. A storage unit is a great way to unclutter your space without throwing away more than you’d like.

3. Do a deep clean from top to bottom. Steam clean carpets and furniture, polish hardwood, dust all surfaces including fans and air conditioning units, and make sure toilets and showers are spotless. Pressure wash windows, and make sure all glass surfaces shine flawlessly. Make sure your home has a pleasant smell, and there are no pet odors lingering. This is a cost-effective way to prepare your home for a sale.

4. Paint your walls a nice neutral color like taupe, eggshell, or classic white. This is an easy way to make your home look fresh and sophisticated. Avoid varying color choices too much between rooms, but don’t be afraid to throw in an accent wall.

5. Reposition your furniture to best facilitate movement and conversation. Experiment with ensembles you haven’t tried before—you can peruse home and lifestyle magazines for ideas. Try pulling your couch and chairs away from the wall and arranging them in the center instead. You may want to try a new spot for that telephone table, or see how that lamp would look in a different room. It’s also possible that certain pieces just won’t work with your new aesthetic. Don’t hesitate to put old or mismatched furniture into storage, or donate it to your local Goodwill.

6. Make sure your home is flooded with natural light by choosing sheer, neutral curtains and open blinds. This is a simple solution for making your home look fresh and modern. Keep artificial lighting soft and make sure it doesn’t glare in guests’ eyes anywhere in the home.

7. Choose a few well-placed accents to make the space look inviting. Although your home should be spotless and free of clutter, decorative accents such as boldly colored throw pillows, fresh flowers, interesting vases, area rugs, or a colorful painting can add warmth and texture to the space. Try to strike a balance between immaculate and lived-in.

8. Keep décor gender-neutral, especially in the bedrooms. You never know whether buyers will be male or female, or what their personal taste will be. Avoid those floral frills, and keep artwork tasteful and universally appealing. Neutral tones and crisp white are solid bets.

9. Repurpose miscellaneous spaces to highlight the functionality of the home. Turn that space under the stairs into a reading nook by throwing in a comfy chair and a lamp. Turn your spare office into a yoga studio. Add a birdbath, small garden, or hammock to that empty backyard. Buyers will see your home as versatile and charming.

10. Make sure your space is “open” by opening blinds, closet doors, and doors between rooms. That means that your closets’ interiors should be showroom ready, and there is no one room of the house still crammed with your junk. Prepare for showings beforehand, and greet guests at the door.