Lived-in Homes - Amy Harley Photography

Home Preparation for Lived-in Homes

You can’t change your home’s location or square footage, but you can prepare your home to look its best for the listing photos. You may want to consider consulting with a professional home stager for specific recommendations to best showcase your home.

Getting your home ready for photos can be a challenge if you’re still living there. To make it a bit easier, the checklist below is organized into two parts: tasks that can be completed prior to the day of photographs and things that might not be practical to do until that day. However, feel free to prepare your home according to your own schedule.

Closets and garages are not usually photographed.

Please have your home ready before I arrive.  I will be on-site for only 45 minutes to 1 hour, and there will not be time for last-minute tidying or staging once I arrive.

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Click here to download Word version.

Prior to Photography Day

Whole House

• Vacuum carpets

• Sweep and mop floors

• Wash windows

Living Room

• Remove everything from tables and floor (family photos, magazines, tissues, toys, etc.)

• Items under sofas and chairs are often visible in photographs

• Remove majority of items on shelving

• Stage with pillows on sofas and chairs


• Declutter bed-side tables (photos, books, etc.)

• Remove everything on dressers

• Remove everything on the floor

• Items under the bed are often visible in photographs

• Remove children’s names from their rooms


• Remove everything on top of fridge and cabinets

• Start decluttering counter tops

• Remove fridge magnets

Dining Room

• Remove everything on the table and floor

• Wipe down table

• Stage with a low centerpiece

• Place settings optional


• Start decluttering vanity

• Clean mirror, vanity, and floor


• Mow

• Trim hedges

• Rake leaves

• Hide garden hoses

• Put away toys

On Photography Day

Whole House

• Lights off

• Ceiling fans off

• Open curtains and blinds, making sure they are even within each room

• Contain pets

Living Room

• Hide remotes, phones, tissues, toys, etc.


• Remove everything on bed-side tables (alarm clocks, tissues etc.) except lamp

• Make the bed and stage with pillows


• Remove everything on counter tops – coffee pot, hand soap, sponges, food, paper towels, dishes in sink, etc.

• A nice cutlery block or a fancy stand mixer can be used to hide outlets

• Wipe down counter tops

• Hide trash cans from view

• Remove dish towels, kitchen rug, pet bowls

• Stage with a bowl of fruit or similar


• Put toilet lid down

• Remove everything on the vanity (toothbrushes, hand soap, etc.)

• Remove bath rug, trash can, and toilet brush (these can go in the shower if it’s not being photographed. Usually, only tiled showers are photographed.)

• Close shower curtain

• Remove nightlights

• Stage racks with clean folded towels


• Hide trash cans

• Move cars out of view

Examples of Well-staged Rooms

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