Do you know the difference between a “good” and a “bad” home staging? Unfortunately, many sellers and investors don’t, and end up wasting money on poorly done set-ups that don’t achieve the desired goal of maximizing your home’s value and offerings.
Here are some common mistakes that lower the quality of the staging or, worse, fail to improve the home’s value at all:
1) Too much furniture, oversized furniture, or outdated styles, patterns, and colors. Crowded, uninviting rooms defeat the whole point of staging for sale: making rooms look larger and more attractive to buyers so they can better imagine themselves living in and enjoying the home.
2) Art that is hung too high or too small or the wrong color for the room or wall. Small art ends up looking messy in photos. Art should dramatize and enhance a room.
3) Poorly accessorizing using outdated items, small items, too many different colors, or the wrong number or size of items, which tends to make a room look unbalanced and cluttered to buyers. Alternatively, too much white in a room without contrast to add interest will not emotionally appeal to buyers.
4) Area rugs that are too small to look like scattered rugs under coffee or dining tables: Table legs and all chairs should sit comfortably within the outer margins of the area rugs. For living rooms, rugs should meet the legs of sofas and chairs or go completely under furniture.
5) Lack of lighting that makes the rooms look visually colder. It’s amazing how many homes lack table and/or floor lamps that serve to both dress up the space, accessorize, and most importantly light up rooms to make them look their best! A common saying in staging is “light and bright sales”!
6) Heavy or frilly/fussy window treatments. I generally suggest removing them to reflect current trends and lighten up rooms. The only exception to this is to leave panel curtains if the colors are neutral or at least work well with the colors of the room and are kept to the side to let in as much light as possible.
7) Accessories that are too small or outdated (such as cute plates, toasters and tea towels in the kitchen, tiny soaps or flowers in the bathrooms).
8) Small plants lying in the corners of the rooms. Greenery, fake or real, is great for adding warmth and filling in empty corners, but the plants or trees need to be large to make a design statement in the space and not look silly.
A good home stager has:
1) A solid understanding of the scale of furniture and accessories and the right number of pieces for each room will help buyers visualize the best use and maximize space at the same time.
2) A keen designer eye for colors – which colors go well together and in what amounts, the best color scheme that works with the existing items and finishes in the home, but also one that will appeal to buyers, taking into account not only trends but also geographic area and seasons. For example, warmer or deeper colors in accessories like orange, red, navy blue, dark gray, bronze work best in the cooler months. Lighter greens, blues, teals, and yellows are great summer colors IF they work with what’s already in the home.
3) Knowledge of design trends. An effective home stager needs to know “hot” colors, furniture styles to use in vacant houses (transitional for many areas, more modern styles for many cities), and trends in accessories and bedding.
4) Experience in knowing how and where to hang artwork, as well as the right sizes for each room and wall, and the best colors to use in each room to achieve the desired emotional response.
5) Education in home staging (and ideally interior design as well), and membership in a staging association like RESA (the Real Estate Staging Association) or staged homes.com