What Should You Not Do When Staging a House?
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What Should You Not Do When Staging a House?

Published on 22 April 2024
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Staging a house for sale is much like setting the stage for a play: every detail contributes to the overall impression, compelling potential buyers to envision themselves living there. 

However, even small mistakes in staging can disrupt this illusion, potentially deterring buyers and affecting offers. From lingering odors to poor lighting and excessive clutter, some common pitfalls can easily undermine the appeal of a home. 

Read on to explore these staging errors in depth, starting with how to identify them and offering practical solutions to ensure your home presents its best face to potential buyers.

10 Common Staging Mistakes to Avoid

1. Unpleasant Odors

First impressions are crucial, and unpleasant odors are one of the quickest ways to sour a potential buyer’s initial reaction. 

Common culprits include pet smells, cigarette smoke, and lingering odors from cooking. To combat these, it’s essential to deep clean carpets and fabrics, use air purifiers, and perhaps most effectively, introduce fresh air by opening windows. 

In cases of persistent odors, professional cleaning services might be necessary to restore the freshness of the home’s interior.

2. Lack of Light

Adequate lighting transforms spaces—making them appear larger, welcoming, and more open. A common mistake in staging is not maximizing the light in the home. This can make rooms look dreary and small. 

To avoid this, pull back curtains, clean windows, and add supplementary lighting where necessary. Consider replacing outdated light fixtures and using higher wattage bulbs to brighten up the space, ensuring that every room feels airy and inviting.

3. Too Much Furniture and Décor

While it might be tempting to showcase all the possibilities a space can offer, overcrowding rooms with too much furniture and décor can make them feel cramped and smaller than they are. 

Streamlining the space is key: Remove bulky and unnecessary items and organize the remaining pieces in a clutter-free way that optimizes the flow and functionality of each room. This minimalist approach helps highlight the space’s potential and allows buyers to imagine their own belongings in the home.

4. Poor Furniture Layout

An optimal furniture arrangement enhances the flow and functionality of a space, making rooms appear larger and more inviting. A common staging mistake is placing furniture in ways that block natural pathways or obscure windows. This not only disrupts the natural flow but can also obscure desirable features like natural light or views. 

To avoid this, arrange furniture to accentuate the space’s best attributes. Ensure there is a clear path through each room and use appropriately sized furniture to demonstrate the room’s potential without overwhelming it.

5. Paint Colors That Are Too Light or Dark

Designer family home casual living room in neutral tones and textures

Choosing the right paint color is more than just a matter of taste; it’s a strategic decision that can significantly impact a room’s ambiance. Colors that are too dark can make a room feel small and gloomy, while overly light colors might feel stark or cold. 

The key is to choose neutral shades that can appeal to a wide variety of potential buyers. Opt for soft grays, warm beiges, or off-whites that provide a fresh, clean backdrop but still offer warmth and character.

6. Focusing Too Much on Design Trends

While it might be tempting to stage a home with the latest design trends, this can detract from its appeal. Trendy designs can quickly become dated, and what’s popular now might not appeal to all buyers. 

Additionally, overly personalized or niche trends can make it hard for buyers to envision themselves in the space. 

Instead, aim for a timeless look that complements the home’s features, using trends subtly through accents and decor that can be easily changed, thereby broadening the home’s appeal to a wider audience.

7. Forgetting to Stage the Front and Backyard

Curb appeal is crucial in creating a strong first impression. Neglecting to stage the front and backyard can be a significant oversight. Simple changes such as mowing the lawn, trimming hedges, and adding a few flowering plants can make a huge difference. 

Ensure the entryway is welcoming by adding a new doormat and perhaps a potted plant. In the backyard, arrange outdoor furniture in a way that highlights usability and comfort, and consider adding outdoor lighting to enhance the ambiance for evening viewings.

8. Not Considering Cleaning

Cleanliness is a cornerstone of home staging but often underestimated. A sparkling clean home suggests to buyers that the property has been well-maintained. 

Beyond the basics of dusting furniture and decorations and vacuuming area rugs, focus on deep cleaning areas like bathrooms and kitchens where grime can accumulate. Ensure windows are spotless to allow maximum light and consider steam cleaning carpets and polishing hardwood floors. Addressing these details can significantly elevate the overall appeal of the home.

9. Ignoring Minor Repairs

Minor repairs might seem inconsequential, but they can send the wrong message to potential buyers about the general upkeep of the home. 

Small issues like a leaky faucet, a crack in the baseboard, or a door that doesn’t close properly can be quick fixes but, if left unaddressed, they can lead to concerns about what other maintenance has been neglected. 

Tackling these repairs before putting the house on the market can create an impression of a well-cared-for home, thereby boosting its attractiveness to buyers.

10. Not Adjusting for the Season

Seasonal staging helps potential buyers envision living in the home throughout the year. In winter, for example, ensure the home is warm and welcoming with thick throws, warm lighting, and perhaps a lit fireplace. During summer, emphasize open, airy spaces with light fabrics and fresh flowers. 

Ensure your garden or outdoor areas are season-appropriate, too, with blooming plants in spring and neat leaf-free lawns in fall. Seasonal touches can make the home feel more relevant and attractive at the time of viewing.

Sell Simply Without Staging

Close up view home keys in the agent hand giving to new owner.

While staging your home can significantly enhance its appeal and market value, it involves considerable effort and attention to detail. If you’re looking for a simpler solution, 800CashToday offers an easy and efficient alternative. 

Our cash home buyers purchase houses in almost any condition, meaning you don’t have to worry about staging, showings, or making any repairs. With no fees involved, it’s a straightforward process that can save you time and reduce stress. 

If you’re ready to sell your home without the hassle, contact 800CashToday and see how we can help you move forward quickly and with ease.