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.


What do Millennial home buyers want? – Move in ready

According to recent studies millennials or gen Y comprises the largest share of home buyers. What do they want? Here is my tip as professional home stager in Chester County: younger home buyers want a house that is turn key.

While homeowners are hesitant to invest in a property they are getting ready to sell – and it is understandable, they should reconsider. Selling your home AS-IS might cost more than doing some easy fixes and it will only help selling the competition. Of course, a full kitchen or bathroom remodel are not necessary most of the times, or even recommended. But if you lived and raised your family in your home for 15-20 years most likely your house needs a face lift.

Home buyers are not looking into getting an allowance to fix up the cracked concrete steps or to repair the roof, redoing the kitchen or the bathrooms, or repainting. They want a home that is priced well so they can move right in without spending any extra time or money.

One of the reasons younger buyers want updated homes is that they have limited budgets and most of their budget will probably be maxed out by the down payment and furniture. They won’t have extra money to paint, update the kitchen or the bathrooms. They will want to move in as soon as possible and not when they’re done with the improvements that would make their new home livable.

Let’s say you offer a $3.000 allowance for replacing the carpet. The buyer will think: “Ok, but will this be enough to get new carpet for the whole house/ whole floor?” or “I’m new in the area – I don’t have time/want to source that right now”. Your potential home buyer might take your offer and knock down another 10% just to be on the safe side and make sure they cover all the costs. Or they reject your home, and move on to the house down the street that is in move in ready condition.

So work with your home stager, and let them help you find what repairs, improvements and finishes that would bring the best return on investment and help showcase your property. Don’t ask your potential home buyers to assume risks and additional expenses. Most of the times, they will be either unwilling or unable to purchase a home that will require repairs before they can move in.

As a professional home stager here is my advice: if you want to get your Chester County home sold faster and for more then price it right and have your team in place to make sure it is in move-in ready condition and marketed right.

Home Staging Tip: Don’t leave anything to buyers imagination

Are you selling your home in Chester County?  Here’s an important staging tip: don’t leave anything to buyers imagination. And don’t make your potential buyers guess if their furniture will fit in the space or how could they place their furniture.

For more than 90% home buyers it is very difficult to walk into a room and see the possibilities. If there is no furniture there’s no reference. This is why the feedback for vacant homes on the market is usually is that the house feels “cold and barren”. Buyers have a hard time imagining themselves living there and empty rooms usually look smaller. Having a few pieces of well-chosen furniture helps tremendously.

Let’s take this bedroom as an example. Would you take a nap here? :) What would a buyer think about this room: it fits a bed for sure, but is it a king, a queen or a twin?

bedroom  before staging

Same bedroom from the same angle and it’s clear that you can fit a queen size bed in the space, 2 nightstands and still have space to move around.

guest bedroom staging after

A vacant home leaves no impression on the home buyers, they rush through the house and sometimes focus on posible negative details.
When you have a home professionally staged, you allow potential buyers to see how large the rooms really are and most importantly you help them to fall in love with your home and give them a vision of a home that can be theirs.

Home Staging Tip: How to Make a Small Room look Bigger

Staging a house for sale doesn’t have much to do with decorating, it is more about marketing. When staging a property for sale I may make the place look boring or spare to the home owner, but the way we live in a house is completely different from the way we’re selling it. When staging a home for sale I’m selling the property and it’s architecture, not a personal style.

As an expert home stager in Chester County I have 4 main goals and everything I do in staging is done to meet one of these goals.

One of my main goals, as well as a frequently asked question by homeowners and real estate agents is how to make their home or listing look bigger in order to appeal to more buyers.

Here are 9 tips for making a small home feel bigger. You can use these tips whether you are staging a home to sell or if you are planning to stay and just need some help dealing with smaller rooms.

  1. Remove clutter. Lots of smaller items eat up visual space and make a room look smaller. Only display a few items at a time and in odd numbers like 3 or 5. Try and follow the “cantaloupe rule”: items smaller than a cantaloupe just crowd a room.
  2. Use appropriately sized furniture and pare it down to essentials. Having a large sectional in a small family room will highlight how small the room is. If possible opt for sofas and armchairs with exposed legs, it will create a sense of light and space.
  3. Cooler colors recede while darker colors make a room seem cozy. Opt for lighter paint colors like gray, pale blue and light colored flooring as well to make the room feel airy. You can also make a room appear larger by painting the walls, trim, and detailing in different shades of one color, such as off-white.
  4. Pulling the furniture away from the wall will create the illusion of spaciousness.
  5. Show more hardwood. The larger the expanse of hardwood, the larger the room will look. Area rugs are good for defining spaces but you should try and see how it looks without a rug too.
  6. Strategically placed mirrors make a room feel larger.
  7. A well lit room feels larger. Use a few smaller lamps to spread the light around and draw the eye around the room.
  8. Use fewer and less busy patterns on upholstery. Extra tip: If you have a big sifa that has a busy patter you can always “break it up” with a solid color throw and throw pillows.
  9. Minimize or even remove window treatments if they’re dated. The simpler the better. Shutters, blinds or simple drapes take up less visual space, give a cleaner look.

If you need help figuring out how to make your home or listing feel larger or more appealing contact us for a home staging consultation. It’s a great investment in preparing your home or listing for sale, or making your home more livable if you are planning to stay.

Home Staging Myths

Even though they know the importance of Home Staging, a lot of Realtors have a difficult time bringing up the subject and when they do they find that clients are going to be skeptical and resistant for many reasons. Here are some of the most common myths:

Myth 1: I Don’t Need to Stage:  My Realtor will sell my house anyhow 

Maybe, but the question is how long are you willing to have your house on the market and how much is that going to cost? And the cost doesn’t include only the financial toll but also the emotional part. And always, the longer a house sits on the market the lower sale price will be.

Myth 2: Staging is Decorating/Staging is a Critique About How You Decorate
Staging is NOT decorating. Staging is a marketing tool.

While decorating and home staging have elements in common, the way you decorate is to express yourself, and to fit the personalities of your family. When staging a home you will make it look more appealing but  one should not be able to to profile who lives there. The way you live in your home is different from the way you sell your home.

Myth 3: Staging is Only for High End Houses

You would think so…but regardless of the listing price of the home, home staging is always beneficial to the seller. The only difference between an “average” priced home and a high end home is the amount of staging that has to be done. In the average home, it just might be as simple as de-cluttering and re-working the existing furniture.

According to a HomeGain study, the number one thing that added value to a house was de-cluttering which added an average return on investment of a ridiculous 403%!  
The key is how to de-clutter, how to de-personalize and how to make emotional connections, and using a professional Home Stager can give you the direction that you need.

Chester County, PA Home Staging Tip: How to Live In A Staged Home

So you’ve had a professional home stager come to your home and you’ve done everything that they recommended in order to get your home sold fast and for top dollar. Now you probably wonder how are you going to keep your home show ready all the time.


[/one-half-first][one-half]Model homes make us dream about living there, but living in your own home while it is being staged can be exhausting. Your home doesn’t have to look show-ready ALL the time because the way we live is different from the way we stage a home to sell. The key is to contain you personal items so your home can become show-ready at the last minute.

Now that you’ve packed up all the things that are not needed for the next few months, keep in mind this is not the time to be buying more toys or kitchen gadgets.

We want buyers to think that there is adequate storage and staying organized is easy so don’t try to shove everything off counters into kitchen cabinets and closets at the last minute. Buyers will probably open every cabinet and drawer unless it’s furniture.

Instead you can use a basket or a box to store keys, mail, bills, unread magazines etc. and keep it in an out-of-the way place such like in a drawer in a desk. It will not only eliminate a cluttered appearance, but it will also protect your privacy.[/one-half]
[one-half-first]Remove all toiletries from the bath counters and showers because buyers don’t want to see your used bottles of shampoo and body wash. Think “spa” or “hotel”. If you don’t have a closed cabinet under the sink, purchase baskets to store these items.
Your home stager probably recommended white, new and fluffy towels be displayed during showings. You can keep the display-only towels, on the towel bars, and hang your regular towels elsewhere. Before a showing remember to remove the laterr and put in the washing machine or laundry basket. Another option would be to have the new towels neatly stored in a linen closet or in the cabinet under the sink. Before an open house do the towel switcheroo.




[one-half]At the suggestion of your home stager you’ve probably packed away some or most of the toys(children only play with maximum 10-20 of them anyhow!). Make sure you have storage bins or chests in which to put these items. They make for a much neater appearance.

For a fast clean up another suggestion would be to take a laundry basket and walk through the home and put everything in there that you don’t have room to store away. The laundry basket can be stored in the basement, or the trunk of your car to be safe:)

There are many other things that should be done prior to showing your home and having an open house checklist handy is helpful so that you know exactly what you have to do.[/one-half]