Top Menu

The Five Deadly Staging Sins – sellers and real estate pros ~ this is for you!

OK, that is a bit dramatic but not knowing what you need to do can cost time, money and stress when selling your home. It is equally important to know what you shouldn’t do when preparing your home for sale.

Most people have misconceptions about staging a home to sell, so today I wanted to bust some myths and set the record straight for those of you confused by this process that can be an amazing boost to the sale of your home.

First of all know that my background in Interior Design, Accredited Stager, Feng Shui Practicioner, lover of  Neuro-architecture and author of a popular staging book “Step By Step to Sold” (available at B&N and Amazon) gives me the right to give my informed opinion.

Know too there are tons of amazing homeowners and stagers out there who already know what to do but we can always learn new and exciting ways to make things work.

Let’s begin with  the fact that you probably think staging is only about the furniture and accessories, removing clutter and cleaning, but it is equally about perception, it is a head game. You must put aside your likes and dislikes and try to think like the person who will walk through the door and the one who will most likely purchase your home.

Buyers are becoming savvy and are now used to and are actually expecting homes to be staged, so not staging puts you at a disadvantage since 4 of 5 homes they view will have some focused preparation.

Here are the Five Deadly Sins of Staging – things that won’t kill the sale but certainly won’t help you sell for the most money and quickly.

#1 Tasty-Kitchen-Blog-Lets-Talk-Table-Settings-06

Tasty Kitchen

#1- Setting the table for company!

This is a bad idea and not the best way to show your kitchen when your house is up for sale. First,  you’re not selling a model home you are selling a home a family lives in and I bet unless your having a party your table is not always set for company. What you want buyers to notice is your counter-tops and cabinets and if you set a beautiful table you are distracting away from that purpose. It doesn’t matter if you are talking about your seating at your counter-top or your table. Don’t do it!

Oh and the bed tray on the corner of the bed with the stack of books and the flower, don’t bother – way too contrived.

#3 photo 19


#2 Junk room or designated ironing room.

I can’t tell you how many times I have been in houses for sale where a spare bedroom is used to corral all the junk that doesn’t have a home or equally as bad, an ironing board set up at all times and a mile high pile of ironing.

If the room has a closet it is a bedroom, if you don’t have the appropriate furniture or there is no closet, stage it as an office because most people cannot envision it as usable space if you don’t show them that it is actually valuable square footage.




#3 Too many ~ too much.

When we think of staging we think of clearing clutter, but in many homes there just isn’t a lot of clutter in the form of books, magazines and junk laying around. You of little clutter are not off the hook because clutter can also be too many and too much.

Look around and see what you have multiples of or just don’t need and remove all of it. One example is a bunch of decorative pillows on your bed, did you know that all those decorative pillows make your bed appear a size smaller than it actually is and if your buyer has a queen but yours looks like a full they may pass on your home thinking that their bed won’t fit.

If the room is tight you can remove one of the end tables or in a family room with little walking space take out the footstools and magazine racks.

One house I worked on had lots of throws, about 6 of them in one room. Let’s go back to the buyer’s way of thinking – which is what I thought of immediately – this house must be cold or they wouldn’t need that many throws.

Another multiple is collections – teapots or salt and pepper shakers they are so fun and have lots of character, but abundance and multiples draws too much attention away from the product – your house.


Angie’s List

#4 Don’t draw attention to and reinforce negatives perceptions.

These can derail a sale. By leaving items with negative attachments lying about, things that don’t need to be seen you are risking people walking away.

Think like the buyer again ~ pet bowls laying out and the look-out begins for odors, stains on the carpets and flooring and scratches on doors and woodwork.

Ash trays begin a search for walls that will need repainting and carpet that will need cleaning and closets that trap the smoke smell.

Ant traps, fly paper and mouse traps may signal the worry that your home has an infestation. Even strong scented air freshener or potpourri can make people wonder what smell you are trying to covering up!




#5 Over the top DIY.

Friends,  I love DIY projects but buyers want to walk in  a house and feel at home, they want a home that feels valuable. That will never happen if you try to make your house look a Do-It-Yourselfer project gone wild with toilet roll wall hangings and curtains made from cd’s (yes I saw this done in a home for sale).

Many of us are creative people by nature and we love to make something out of nothing. Some of us don’t understand the use of restraint when being creative and should hold back from doing things that are over the top.

Some of the things that I have witnessed that should have been removed prior to putting the house up were …




Using sticks and branches from the backyard tree and placing them in a vase. I have seen this done tastefully and I have seen it done terribly. Walmart has live flowers for $4 splurge and buy some to add some color and avoid not only a bad impression but bad Feng Shui.


One homeowner did not have a headboard in his daughter’s room so they made one by gluing paper plates with pandas and teddy bears in the place the headboard would have been. If you don’t have a head board – you don’t have a headboard and you either need to purchase one, prop up some bed pillows against the wall or leave it alone and show the room without a headboard.


Our goal is always to try to get into the head of someone viewing your home. If you need some help, ask a neighbor or relative to come over and give their opinion on a walk-through of your home. If in doubt remove it.

You want to make your house look like a well-kept home, one that people want to live in and love, and is the very best home it can be.

If you want to learn more about staging and Feng Shui click here and check out my virtual classes ~ they are fun, cheap, available 24/7 for you to take at your leisure  and most of all very informative.








About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>