The 6 Dos and Don’ts of Successful Home Staging

Published on
June 5, 2021

Staging is not the same as decorating. While interior decorating is based on individual preference. Staging is the creation of a blank canvas, where potential buyers can easily envision themselves living. 


Done right, home staging ups the perceived value of your property and could increase the actual value by 6-10%. Done wrong, properties could stay on the market longer, decreasing its perceived value and interest in the eyes of potential buyers. 


Having staged homes all over the San Francisco Bay Area, we’ve become attuned to what successful home staging looks like and the dos and don’ts involved.


DON’T use your own or the seller’s subjective style as a guide. 


There’s a tendency to equate interior design with home staging. But while interior design is totally subjective to your own individual style, a staged home needs to appeal to a large portion of potential buyers. This might require you to repaint any brightly colored rooms and replace any avante-garden furnishings with something more standard.


DO involve the seller in the staging process. 


Stagers and real estate agents should be the driving force behind the staging design. But including the seller builds trust and a better working relationship. At the end of the day, they are the client and should be treated as such. Stagers should work around their schedule and keep sellers informed throughout the staging process. 


DON’T leave the home feeling empty or cold. 


If you leave rooms bare or with only very minimal furniture, the space can feel cold and uninviting to potential buyers. Soften the edges with a few accessories, plants, or rugs that give off a more homey feel without creating clutter. 


DO declutter and depersonalize.


Too much clutter can make a room feel small and personal items can make potential buyers feel like they’re intruding--two things that could turn people away from your property. Be sure to box up and remove any unnecessary or personal items before staging. These include trophies, souvenirs, family portraits and vacation pictures--anything that makes a house look like your home instead of a home


DON’T rely on any single design or color scheme. 


Having the walls, furniture, and decor match each other too closely depletes the room’s energy and any photography will look flat or uninteresting. Same goes for design--if everything is monochromatic, the house may appear less attractive and less exciting to potential buyers. 


DO create contrast. 


It’s easy to think an ultra modern, minimalist style will look great everywhere, but too much modern style can seem sterile and uninviting. Contrast creates interest and provides a warming touch. Blend Midcentury aesthetics with industrial touches or add Bohemian furnishings to a predominantly coastal look. Use round tables in rectilinear spaces and a mix of materials. Little touches can make the property much more appealing and exciting.


DON’T cover up poor structural or mechanical problems.


Home staging isn’t meant to hide structural flaws and deceive potential buyers. At some point, likely before the sale is finalized, the prospective buyer will inspect the home. And if they learn you tried to cover up any major issues, it makes you and the property much less attractive to other potential buyers. Fixing major structural or mechanical problems (like the roof, sprinklers, or plumbing) is always worth the investment.  


DO minimize flaws and accentuate assets.


Strategic staging choices can make smaller spaces seem bigger and dimly lit rooms seem brighter. Frame large windows to highlight them. Hang wall decor to cover up small imperfections. Place focal points to detract attention from less attractive elements. There’s a lot that can be done to improve your home’s perceived value without needing to remodel the entire house.  


DON’T forget about the home’s exterior.


First impressions definitely count. There’s no point to having an immaculate interior if no one walks through the front door to look at it. Entice potential buyers with a clean exterior and inviting entranceway. 


DO think about curb appeal.


Good curb appeal makes people curious about what the interior looks like. Relatively minor adjustments like roof repairs, repainting the walls, cleaning the driveway, and tidying the front yard can make a world of difference. No landscape artist required. And now you’re much more likely to get prospective buyers to take a look inside. 


DON’T go it alone.


Home staging requires much more than just dusting off countertops. You will need to scrub tiles, clean the grout, steam clean carpets and drapes, muck out the pool, polish the windows, mow the front lawn, and triple-check that everything is in good working condition. And that doesn’t even cover the “staging” part. Instead of trying to do everything yourself, get help. Hire a professional cleaning service to prep the house. And get a home staging service to do all the heavy lifting and marketing for you. 


DO hire a professional staging service.


Bold Interior Group knows exactly what people in the San Francisco Bay Area are looking for, and how best to incorporate those characteristics into your staging. Our pro designers will know how to enhance your home’s best features, like that gorgeous view or spacious kitchen. We want to make the entire process as quick and painless as possible. Schedule a consultation with one of our designers and we can start constructing a picture-perfect interior look that entices buyers and ups the asking price. 


Successful home staging requires more than good design aesthetics. You need good marketing, good project management, and a great understanding of the real estate business.

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