Declutter Your Dining Room

How to sell your home and make a faster, more profitable sale

Neutral staged dining room tableDining area staged in neutral colors.

Declutter your dining room before you put your house on the real estate market, so that home buyers can see the true potential of your home.

A dining room is typically a formal entertaining space that is ignored the greater part of the year. On the other hand, they can often be the hive of family activity; a station for paperwork, craft materials, kids projects, and in my case; a sewing machine or laptop.

Even if I had a separate home office, I would probably still park myself at the dining room table because it's located in the center of action. But, I am NOT staging my house for sale...

When you stage your dining room, you want to create an impression of spaciousness. You want buyers to see that they can fit their entire extended family around the table for holiday meals.

Whatever type of room you have, there are ways to stage it so that it looks larger than it is. But, before you stage your home, you need to declutter and depersonalize.



Aside from the table, most dining rooms don’t accumulate a lot of clutter. The biggest mistake that people seem to make in this room is cramming too much furniture in.

You often see a matching dining room furniture; a table, sideboard, china cabinet, corner hutch and even bookcases taking up space in this room.

In addition, most people have far too many chairs around the table, making it difficult for people to maneuver around the dining room. Buyers will be frustrated trying to squeeze around the table and excess furniture will make the room appear cramped.

Now is the time to pack up any excess stuff for your new home or have a yard sale.

Declutter your dining room

Gather up some packing boxes, totes, garbage bags, tape and a permanent marker. You will also need bubble wrap for your breakables.

Start by unloading your china, glassware, silverware and linens from their storage areas. Carefully wrap everything you don’t need while your house is on the market, box it up and take it to your chosen storage area to await your move.

Be sure to save a few special pieces for staging your dining room later.

Declutter your dining room by removing ALL of the furniture and accessories. This includes artwork, draperies, and rugs.

Cleaning the dining room

Home staged dining table.What buyer wouldn't want to sit down at this beautifully staged dining table?
    With everything out of the room, now is the time to examine the ceiling, walls, floor, windows, trim, and baseboards for any damage. Make repairs, if needed. 

  • Remove dust and cobwebs from the ceiling down to the floor.
  • Wipe down any crown molding too.
  • Chances are you will need to freshen your walls and ceilings if you haven’t painted for a few years. Tone down overly bright, distracting colors in the dining room. 
  • Paint your dining room in a soft neutral color. I like to use an eggshell paint finish for walls, because it has a slight sheen and is washable. Paint the ceiling before painting the walls.

  • Showcase the beauty of any crown molding, chair rails, or window finishes by painting walls in a contrasting, but coordinating color to the trim.  
  • If window casings, trim, and baseboards are banged up or dingy, repair and repaint. Painting all the trim work white, or an off white, will give the room a clean contemporary look. Use a semi-gloss paint finish for molding. Trim should be consistent throughout the house, whether it's painted or stained.
  • Wash, debug and polish all light fixtures. Take the fixtures down, (if you can) and throw into the dishwasher. If the light fixtures are outdated, consider investing in new contemporary lighting fixtures.
  • Swap out low wattage lightbulbs for the highest wattage allowable to brighten up your dining room. 


Hanging a chandelier over the dining room table will help define the space and create a focal point in the room.

The distance between the chandelier and the tabletop should be about 30 to 35". Proportionally, the chandelier should be 1/3 the width of the table. The chandelier should match the architectural style of your house.

Center the table directly under the chandelier. If not centered, the entire room will look askew. If the light fixture is in the wrong place, insert a swag hook into the ceiling above the table and swag the chandelier over. (See video below.)

A popular trend right now is to use old-style crystal chandeliers in modern homes; or add a fixture in the popular farmhouse style for that unexpected touch.

Adding a dimmer switch to your chandelier will tone down glare and lend ambience to your dining room.

How to install a swag hook into the ceiling. Video by godking333.


  • Clean dining room windows inside and out until they sparkle.
  • Update or remove window treatments. If you have a great view, you may want to just remove the window treatments to allow maximum natural light in. If you are going for ambience, and the view is awful, select classy ceiling to floor draperies in neutral colors.
Neutral colored dining roomRemoving just two chairs from around this table will make the room look more spacious.
  • Floors:  Shampoo carpets-- if badly worn or stained, replace them, otherwise buyers will negotiate new carpeting into the sales price. There’s no disguising a worn out carpet. 

  • Hardwood floors should gleam;  give them a good cleaning and polish with Murphy Oil Soap-- it cleans well and gives wood floors a nice luster.
  • Plan on placing ONLY FOUR chairs back into the dining room. If your dining room and table are large, maybe six chairs, plus a hutch or sideboard.

If your dining room is small, don't put more than 4 chairs around the table. Remove all of the table leaf segments as well. This will make your dining room look more spacious.

If your dining room is large, leave in a leaf, and place up to six chairs and a hutch or sideboard.


Return from declutter your dining room to declutter your home

Staging the dining room

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