9 Top Home Staging Errors to Avoid

The market is hot, and it’s the best time, once again, to sell homes. And when it comes to prepping your home for potential buyers, you probably already know the basics– declutter, depersonalize, and deep clean. Add that to sound advice from your agent, plus a load of home staging tips from social media, and you may feel like you’re already a PRO at getting your home ready to hit the market!

That said, there are still some common missteps that REAL staging professionals see from well-meaning homeowners that keep listings from selling quickly and for top dollar. So, if you’re thinking of selling your home before the season ends, it’s important that you avoid these pitfalls to have buyers vying to make your home their own.

Here are the top nine home staging errors to avoid.


Picking furniture that doesn’t fit the space

Are you thinking of going all out with large sectional couches and gigantic coffee tables? Hold your horses! Sure, this furniture may add some pizzazz to your home (and are ideal lounging items), but if you’re staging a home to sell, they can take up A LOT of space– especially if you go with dark colors!

Consider small furniture with clean lines to open up your room and give your home a sense of spaciousness. Heed this advice, and your space will turn out better!

Angling furniture

Whatever you do, resist the urge to arrange your sofa or desk diagonally when prepping your home for sale. Doing so will skew the perspective of space. The only exception is if the room features odd angles, leaving you no choice but to position your furniture accordingly.

Not considering area rugs in open concept layouts

If you’ve got an open floor plan, you’ll know it’s often tricky to decorate, especially with a bare expanse of the floor with nothing to warm it up or delineate specific spaces.

Consider adding area rugs or swapping out your current rugs if you’ve lived with them for a while. Area rugs—particularly those in high-traffic locations—take a lot of abuse, especially if kids and pets are part of your household. Choose super affordable rugs and replace them every couple of years for an easy way to get an update.

Outdated window treatments

Nothing can kill a room’s vibe faster than outdated window treatments! The good news is they’re easy and affordable to update, and you only need a few styles to match any decor. Avoid patterns, though, as a poorly designed pattern can easily be picked out and screams cheap!

An out-of-scale art display

Choosing a piece of art in the right proportion makes a stylish statement and helps a buyer connect with your home. However, if you go for out-of-scale art, even the prettiest piece can make everything go out of whack.

Aim for artwork — either a single piece or a grouping — that takes up two-thirds to three-quarters of the wall space. In a living room, a 50-by-40-inch rectangular canvas is a great way to ground a sofa. Be sure to hang it four to six inches from the top of the couch.

Too much small stuff

Using too many little things, like large sofas with too-petite throw pillows, bookshelves, built-ins with a bunch of frames, and coffee tables crowded with small-scale objects, makes your home look cluttered instead of made up. Remember that it always looks better to use fewer big things than a bunch of small ones. On your coffee table, for example, two large vases and some greenery create a more sophisticated look than an array of small items.

Skimping on lighting

The “bright and airy” approach is sure to attract buyers, so thinking about lighting is essential, especially in older homes that don’t have canned lighting.

Maximize a room’s natural light with window treatments that let in plenty of it. A simple way to boost brightness is to pay attention to curtain placement. Hanging them two inches from the ceiling will make your window seem more extensive and the room taller– both big positives when selling a home.

Staging without your audience in mind

Which buyer group are you aiming for? Young families? Single professionals? Empty nesters? Sellers will want their buyers to see their place as somewhere that fits their lifestyle, so it’s essential to give some thought to who might be most interested in your location and type of dwelling. Also, resist the urge to go overboard with super-specific decor. You want your home to appeal to as many people as possible.

Too bland, too boring

Sometimes, while trying to appeal to a wide array of tastes, some homeowners go too far and end up with a boring, too neutral space. Remember that the goal is to keep things neutral BUT with personality. One example is to go for low-key couches and wall color but add interest through art and textiles like colorful throw pillows.

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