Selling your house is a big deal, especially in this real estate market. Most homeowners have the same dream: to help their home sell quickly and for the best price. Sellers are finding that the best way to do this is by staging your home.

More than just moving around some pieces of furniture, staging involves a bit of art to create the type of space buyers love: open, roomy, with plenty of light. But how do you get there, especially if you have a small space? Here are four living room staging tips to get you started out on the right foot.

Living Room Staging Ideas

1. Paint the right way.

It’s the last thing on many seller’s minds when selling their house, but it’s often the thing that helps the space the most. Painting the rooms in the house opens up the space and provides a nice backdrop to the elements of the room.

Avoid bold or dark colors that will make the place feel smaller rather than more open and airy. If you must do a bold color, try an accent wall which can help draw attention to your focal point without making the roof feel too small for potential buyers.

While you certainly don’t have to paint the house hospital white, neutral paint colors such as a soft beige, light gray, or tan work best for all spaces.

If you have dark or outdated wood on your mantelpiece or trim, consider painting that a contrasting white to open the space up even more.

  1. Make the Space Feel Welcoming

Real estate agents and home stagers agree: clutter has got to go when prepping a home for sale. Clutter makes the space feel like it’s not large enough to house everything it needs to, so it’s spilling on coffee tables and the sofa and chairs instead.

One of the best things you can do to sell your house is to declutter. While this may seem overwhelming, remember that it’s all just part of the moving phase anyway—you’re just doing it a bit early.

Cut back on anything that doesn’t add to the space. This includes old mail and magazines, trinkets and miscellaneous items that don’t really belong anywhere.

Take a look around the room as if you were a buyer or ask a friend or neighbor to come in and take a look around. We get used to our own clutter, so it helps to take a look at it through new eyes.

  1. Choose the right furniture.

One of the best things we can do for living room designs everywhere is buy furniture that compliments the space rather than takes away. It seems as though many people try to cram in as much furniture into the living room as possible. While a sectional and bulky end table may be functional, they can dwarf a small space fast.

Rather than remove all of the furniture from the room completely (this can leave the buyer without a point of reference for the size of the room), create a conversation area with a small sofa, a few chairs, and a coffee table. Center the conversation area around the focal point, whether that’s the fireplace, windows, or a piece of art.

One last note about furniture: Wooden tables and chairs look wonderful, but can really weigh down a space. Rather than bulky wood furniture, try those with elements of metal, glass, or wicker which adds an air of lightness.

Living Room Ideas: What Buyers Look For

There are a couple of things that buyers look for when the first walk through a house. Here are a few staging tips to make the most of that first look.

Have a point of reference.

Walking into a house for the first time, most people glance at the room from left to right, the same way we read. They look for a point of reference to get a gauge on how well their stuff will fit in the room. A great way to trick the eye into seeing the space as larger is to place the tallest object in the far left corner. The closer that object is to the door, the smaller the room will appear to potential buyers.

Include natural light.

Potential buyers love natural light in heavy gathering areas, so let your light shine! Window treatments are what trip up most sellers here. Rather than cover the windows with heavy cloth drapes or blinds, use a simple shade (rolled up, of course) or some sheer curtains. These will draw the eye to the window and imply privacy while still allowing a lot of natural light to come through.

Find the focal point.

Buyers need something to draw their eye to in a living space. As they scan the room picturing themselves living there, they’ll need something for the eye to settle on and simply imagine. As mentioned above, this can be art, a fireplace, or windows, but it needs to be something that the conversation area can gather around.

While many living rooms feature the television, professional stagers say it’s not such a great idea to have that be the focal point unless it is mounted on the wall and is sized appropriately for the room.

Staging your living room doesn’t have to take up much of your time or budget, but it could be the difference between a full-priced offer or a discounted one. If you need help with living room staging, talk to your real estate agent. They should be able to point you in the direction of a great professional stager.