Top 10 Stupid Staging Ideas

Top 10 Stupid Staging Ideas is excellent article written by my staging colleague Justin Riordan of Spade and Archer Design Agency, and it outlines in a humorous way how staging is a highly misunderstood tool. Used properly and professionally staging can be one of the best marketing tools a home owner and realtor can have.

Some of my “favorite” misconceptions are:

If they can’t see past that ‘__________’ then they don’t deserve to buy my house.” 

The truth is, if they can see past “____________” then you did a poor job preparing your house for the market. If you find yourself saying this, think again.

My personal pet peeve:

I can just lightly stage this room and it will work.”

Light staging or, as I call it, “the placing of random objects in a room,” like a chair and a rug in a bedroom, does not help sell houses. It will actually slow the process down. Staging is only meant to do three things:

  1. Show the room’s purpose
  2. Show the room’s scale
  3. Add light to the room

Random objects in a room serve only to draw attention away from the house. Light staging is like hiring a clown to dance in front of a rack of dresses to help sell the dresses. Your buyers end up paying more attention to the clown than they do the dresses. Either stage the room completely, or don’t stage it at all.

I am paying for the staging, you should only stage with things I like.”

You are correct in that you are paying for the staging, but you are incorrect in that you think you are the customer. Really when it comes down to it you are now a retailer, trying to sell a product. You have hired a stager just as a department store would hire a visual merchandizer to display their items to sell to a customer. Your stager is concerned about what the potential buyer will like. You should be too.

Staging can fix anything.”

I couldn’t agree more: staging can fix issues that price reduction wouldn’t, like a problematic layout or a room that seems too big or too small, too dark, etc and creates an environment that allows potential home buyers to fall in love with your home. But if your home is painted in rainbow colors or has a leaking roof, no amount of staging can help you and these issues need to be fixed before staging. If the budget doesn’t allow for both then things need to be fixed instead of staging and this is where a two hour consultation with a professional home stager is going to save you money. A professional home stager will know to advise you which price eroding items you should take care of first and how.

#1 “stoopidest” idea … “Staging is easy.”

It is amazing how many sellers I meet on a daily basis. Nearly every single day somebody calls me to explain to me why they don’t need staging services. They say they know exactly what their house needs in order to sell, and how they have a lot of experience doing what I do and they could just do it themselves. I always wonder to myself, “Then why are you calling me?” The truth of the matter is, home staging is not as easy as it looks.

I often compare it to women’s gymnastics. You know you are doing it right when it looks effortless. If you get a chance Google “Nadia Comaneci, perfect score” and watch the video. I don’t think she even broke a sweat. Good home staging looks like that.

What it all comes down to is that “staging is easy” is the No. 1 biggest myth we would love to perpetuate.


Bottom line, bad “staging” does not help you and it could actually hurt your sale. If you want top dollar for your house you will want to work with a competent home stager.