I Sent a Stager Photos of My Bathroom — Here’s What She Told Me to Toss

published Sep 12, 2023
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Neutral colored bathroom.
Credit: Sarah Magnuson

Recently, my husband’s office became the saddest room in our home, thanks to a stacked tower of black and yellow storage bins in the corner. You see, our beloved friends Andrew and Lauren announced they’re moving and selling their condo. To make space for home staging, they stashed some of their belongings in our home office.

Seeing our loved ones in the middle of their move brings me back to my own condo sale a couple of years ago. My maximalist one-bedroom was oozing with personality like a Museum of Me, and that needed serious toning down. After removing some of my stuff, I was delightfully surprised to discover the sense of calm and order that my newer, more subdued home offered. Creating the illusion of ample storage space and removing personalized bric-a-brac is essential to prepping a home for showings.

Now that my husband and I have been in our home for almost two years, there’s still one room (besides the office) that baffles me: our massive primary bathroom. Looking back to my peaceful, pared-down paradise, I asked Austin-based home stager Denise Roberts how she would stage my spacious primary bath to sell. 

First, Roberts zeroed in on the feature I hate most: the lack of storage. “Hide away all extra bins with products — on the toilet, on the counter, and hanging over the shower head,” Roberts says. This is a simple enough fix for folks selling their home; just switch to a shower-caddy method until the sale is complete. “Furniture pieces for storage should be removed,” she adds, and advises tucking away my hamper in a closet. 

Credit: Sarah Magnuson

When we first toured our now-home, the owners had already relocated and furniture was sparse. I wish I had paid attention to the minimal storage (no drawers!). That said, I could definitely consolidate what I have… and goodness knows I’ve got hundreds of dollars worth of expired makeup I can eliminate.

Roberts also recommended I reconsider the placement of certain objects to better guide visitors’ eyes around the room in a productive way. “I’d opt for one long runner rug instead of the three smaller bath mats — the runner would help the eye travel around the space without breaks, making the bathroom feel larger,” she reasons. While I love the color of our rugs, I agree that their size and placement chops up the space. Why keep something that doesn’t serve our household?

Credit: Sarah Magnuson

In addition, Roberts says, “Instead of the two storage pieces on the entry wall, I’d just do a large-scale piece of art. This will add interest to the room but won’t close in the walls making it feel smaller.” This makes so much sense! Honestly, the hamper and cabinet exist because of our limited storage space, but there are alternatives I haven’t tried. I hate not seeing straight into the mirror upon entering, and I also feel the entryway is cramped. A large statement piece is easy enough, and will eliminate the initial obstacles.

Roberts recommends cultivating a spa-like experience, starting with the towels. “I’d freshen up the bath towels and hand towels to be all white — crisp and clean. You don’t want buyers to walk in and see your used towels (and get grossed out),” she explains. Initially, my impulse was to select a vibrant color for the towels since the room was already so bright. We settled on patterned muted gray towels as a more masculine option. But I see how leaning into bright, crisp white linens would streamline the whole look.

Credit: Sarah Magnuson

“The plants on the tub are a little large for the space,” Roberts adds. “I’d take those out and replace with a bath caddy over the tub. [You] can put a candle and plant on that to add to the spa vibe.” I’ll use this safe space to disclose: the large faux snake plant by the faucet exists primarily to disguise an abysmal peel-and-stick wallpaper job! Whoops! It might be best to take time adjusting the paper finally (deep sigh) and size down. 

Roberts also recommends sellers open the blinds for showings, utilizing the natural light to illuminate the best features of the room. While we won’t be doing this every day due to… nudity, I will be looking into privacy window film to help us enjoy all of the natural light that we so richly deserve and definitely paid for! If you’re looking to refresh your spacious bathroom or stage to sell, start with Roberts’ advice and you’ll be ready to move — or enjoy a peaceful bubble bath! — in no time.