Top Seven Home Staging Mistakes

Top Seven Home Staging Mistakes

While many people think that staging a house is easy, it is really an art in and of itself. Staging should never be considered the same as decorating. While we decorate houses to live in and reflect our personality, staging done right has the opposite effect: we stage to sell and to eliminate our personality from the stage. If you are going to stage your house yourself, keep this in mind. This article is a compilation of areas in and around the house that people often neglect to stage. Staging every area of a house will highlight every usable square foot, so it pays to stage every space.

If you are really serious about staging your house to sell, you will have to stage more than just the living room, bedrooms and kitchen. Use this list as a helpful reminder that all spaces in your house should be staged. After all, you’re selling the whole house, not just selected areas.

* Don’t forget your closets. Storage is a major selling point, but cluttered storage can kill a sale. Be sure to maximize all the storage spaces in your house. Either sell or use a storage unit to clear out the clutter to make your closets appear as spacious as possible. Buy some inexpensive shelving to organize your closets. And don’t forget the kitchen cabinets. Make sure that they are neat and tidy.

* Don’t forget the pantry. The pantry is specialized storage space for food. Make sure it is organized and that all items are grouped in a meaningful way. If a potential buyer looks in your pantry and sees a jumbled mess of food and paper goods, they will think that the pantry storage in your house is obviously not adequate.

* Don’t forget the garage. I have never understood having a two-car garage packed so full of stuff that the cars have to stay in the driveway. Most two-car garages are at least 400 square feet. Maximize that space as much as you can. Clear it out, have a garage sale, give a bunch of stuff away, donate it to charity, but just get it out of the garage. Arrange necessities neatly by using a pegboard or other similar system. Make sure that you can get both cars in the garage.

* Don’t forget the laundry room. The laundry room is often a no-man’s land of hidden and hiding socks, half empty bottles of cleaner, shoe polish and all the other odds and ends that you can’t find another place for. It’s a laundry room, people. It’s used for doing laundry. Go through everything in your laundry room and get rid of anything that doesn’t pertain to laundry. Everything that’s left should be arranged neatly.

* Don’t forget the pictures. Most staging books will tell you to hide or store your personal family photos. This is fantastic advice. You want to make sure that your house is as “person-neutral” as possible, so it is very important that you depersonalize by getting rid of wedding pictures, family portraits and school pictures. If, however, that is all you have up on your walls, do invest in some inexpensive, generic pieces of art to hang on the walls so they don’t look too bare.

* Don’t forget the refrigerator.

Most people use their refrigerators as big metal advertizing kiosks. What do they advertize? Your entire life: doctors’ appointments, snapshots, the school newsletter, your children’s artwork, coupons, the honey-do list–it’s all up there. Take it all down and put the honey-do list in your honey’s sock drawer.

* Don’t forget the knick-knacks. Everyone has them–the coconut monkey head that you got on vacation to Hawaii, the collection of shot glasses from around the world, the toothpick holder collection. There is no need to show off your obsessive compulsive tendencies by showcasing 200 Pez dispensers. Seriously edit your collections to the ones that will appeal to the broadest range of potential buyers. Of those, limit the display to five pieces, maximum. The rest of what makes the house your home needs to get packed away awaiting a place of honor in your next home.

Other areas that will need to be staged are the entryway, the porch and the front, back and side yards. Stage every space, and keep this in mind: you are setting the stage for others to project their lives on. Don’t let your “stuff” or your decorating sense get in the way of your goal.

Jennifer M Field
Jennifer sold her house in the perilous real estate market in the summer of 2008 Orlando, Florida. She sold in 27 days for 98% of her asking price! Jennifer has written an ebook detailing her house selling action plan.
For more information, please visit her website:
Visit Jennifer’s I CAN Sell This House blog at

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