3 Living Room Accessories Home Stagers Say You Should Always Buy Used

published Jan 10, 2021
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Credit: Julia Steele

After a year like 2020, you may be considering making some big changes going forward. If selling your home is on the list, you should consider implementing a few frugal home staging tips before you go and spend money on new items you don’t need. 

With the likes of HGTV and Instagram influencing buyers’ expectations, they might be inclined to view a professionally styled home more favorably. Staging, of course, can be an expensive task—especially for a home that hasn’t been renovated.  

However, Houston-based home stager Shelley Barndollar says that homebuyers can purchase at least three living room accessories used to elevate the price tag of a home. The goal is to create a boutique-like environment on a resale budget. 

Barndollar, the owner of Showhomes Houston, says professional home staging can cut the time on market by 60 to 80 percent. She says staged homes also typically sell for more money and is less likely to drop in price.

“If the staging is bad, this can have the opposite effect,” says Barndollars, who urges homeowners to seek a professional home staging consultation before making any major purchases. 

Bins and baskets

The first step of home staging is to get rid of things you no longer need or want, says Barndollar, who has staged more than 500 homes in five years. She says she tells her clients to declutter and depersonalize their home. This process includes taking down family photos, degrees, and other personal effects. 

Homeowners are selling the square footage and should maximize the space as much as possible. Barndollar suggests purchasing used bins and baskets to cut down clutter in closets and shelves. Brand-new baskets aren’t necessary in this case.

For example, you can transform an overstuffed closet by taking items out, removing the items on the floor and placing other items in a container. 

“You don’t want the house to look like you are living there, but that someone else could live there,” Barndollar says. “Think selling, not dwelling.”   


Strategically placing mirrors is an insider’s tip to help buyers envision themselves living in your home, Barndollar says. Mirrors also bring in light and openness that can make the space feel larger.

Larger mirrors can cost hundreds of dollars. Barndollar says secondhand mirrors can be purchased from thrift stores, used furniture stores and outlets that sell furniture from model homes at a discount. She says friends and family may also have furniture items that you can use. 

“They need to be able to envision themselves living there,” she says. What better way to do that then to show buyers their own reflection?

Neutral accessories

When thinking about the overall design of the space, less is more, Barndollar says. A few pre-owned home accessories can go a long way. Items such as throw pillows, blankets, curtains, greenery, artwork and rugs can be purchased at a consignment or resale shop. 

Homeowners should stick with white, solid and neutral colors because they are easier on the eyes and photographs better. She recommends purchasing a jute, sisal, or natural color rug or even a faux cowhide rug for a pop of flavor.  

Barndollars also says feel comfortable about leaving open space. For example, she suggests removing some of the books from a shelf or removing curtains to allow more light in. 

“Don’t fill up every shelf. It’s OK to leave open shelves and blank walls,” she says. “You want the home to be as organized as possible.”