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Top Seven Home Staging Mistakes

Updated on May 18, 2009

Stage Every Room to Sell

This lens will focus on common house staging mistakes--places in our house that we forget to stage, or items in our house that we just don't think about when it comes to staging.

The more I staged the living areas in the house, the more I realized that it was just as important for me to stage the non-living areas. The contrast between show-room living room and wreck-room laundry room was too great to ignore!

Stage every space. I will say it again: Stage. Every. Space.

Including the bathrooms!

Home Staging Call to Action

If it's unnecessary, get rid of it.

If it's lying out, put it away.

If it's messy, straighten it.

If it's dirty, clean it.

If it tells about you, pack it away.

If it smells funny, spray it.

The Top Seven Home Staging Mistakes - In no particular order

Here they are: the Big Seven Home Staging Mistakes.

  • 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 shotglasses 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 Fantastic Home Staging Lenses

There is a wealth of information out there. I've corralled some of it here for you.

Beautifully Staged Bathroom (Just Lose that Photo)

Beautifully Staged Bathroom (Just Lose that Photo)
Beautifully Staged Bathroom (Just Lose that Photo)

The Home Staging Primary Directive

Just like Mother Superior told Maria to Climb Every Mountain, you must Stage Every Space. I can't emphasize this enough, friends: every closet, every odd nook in your house, the mud room. Stage Every Space.

I CAN Sell This House

While I am not a Realtor, I am an expert in what I did to sell our house. It worked so well for us that I want to share my action plan with you.

I have compiled everything I did to sell our house, from preparing to sell through staging, pricing and marketing, negotiations and a successful closing.

For more information on this and other topics vital to selling your house, please visit I CAN Sell This House

More Home Staging Resources on the Web

There are a wealth of sites out there in cyberspace with helpful information on how to stage your house. Here's a list to get you started.

What You Should Know About Staging a House

Home staging is very different than home decorating. You decorate a house to live in and reflect your taste and personality. You stage a house to sell. Period.

Notice How Neatly the Pet Stuff is Placed in the Corner.

Notice How Neatly the Pet Stuff is Placed in the Corner.
Notice How Neatly the Pet Stuff is Placed in the Corner.

Home Staging Video

For those of you who'd rather see it than read about it, this one's for you!

In Home Staging, Organization is Key

When it comes time to stage your house, it can be a little overwhelming. We all have stuff, and the longer we stay in one place, the more stuff we gather. This stuff falls into two broad categories: Stuff That Needs To Go and Stuff That Needs To Stay. How do you depersonalize your space when you've got a bunch of stuff that you need to live lying around? Hide it. I don't mean shove it under the bed or in the hall closet. I mean organize it and hide it all in storage bins. So, what are you waiting for? Get to it!

Stanley 014725 25-Removable Compartment Professional Organizer
Stanley 014725 25-Removable Compartment Professional Organizer

For storing the little stuff that usually ends up in the junk drawer.

Deluxe Wood Bill Organizer with Drawer in Oak
Deluxe Wood Bill Organizer with Drawer in Oak

As much as we wish we could hide the bills, out of sight = out of mind = bill collectors calling you, so, use a nifty bill organizer to keep all your bills at hand and ready.

Ideaworks JB6032 Slide Out Storage Tower
Ideaworks JB6032 Slide Out Storage Tower

A sneaky little item that can live between your fridge and your cabinets, or between the washer and dryer--anywhere that you have 6 spare inches of space!

Rubbermaid Configurations Closet Kits, 3-6 ft., Titanium (FG3H1102TITNM)
Rubbermaid Configurations Closet Kits, 3-6 ft., Titanium (FG3H1102TITNM)

A sleek closet system to bring order to your closet chaos.


Stylish Storage Solutions - To Hide That Last Little Bit of Clutter

There are some items that you need to keep in the house, even though they might not be suitable for staging purposes. Think important papers and files, kids' toys, etc. Consider these stylish storage options.

Note to Self

Get shoes off floor.

Put dishes away.

Polish the counter tops.

Use air freshener.


Sweep the driveway.

Psst! I CAN Sell My House is my other lens

There's lots of good home selling advice there, too!

Helping you sell your house quickly and efficiently is what I CAN Sell This House is all about. I built this lens to promote my ebook, but I am also adding helpful information about staging, pricing and marketing all the time. If you are trying to sell, or know someone who is trying to sell their house, please stop by I CAN Sell This House and take a look.

I'm adding keen and helpful stuff to my lenses all the time, trying to give you all the help you need to sell your house as quickly as possible with for as much as possible. Please keep checking back!

A Must Have For Do-It-Yourself Home Staging

Home Staging For Dummies
Home Staging For Dummies

The For Dummies series is characterized by plain language and straightforward explanations of how to get something done. Home Staging for Dummies is no exception. If you're planning on staging your house to sell, by all means, get this book.


Unify the Look of a Room with Pillows - Coordinating Pillows to Pull the Look Together

One of the best ways to bring a room together with a unifying theme is through the use of coordinating pillows. Two pillows on a love seat and a coordinating pillow on a chair can unify the space, making it feel finished.

These Thai Silk Throw Pillows can be mixed and matched in any number of ways and to suit almost any color palette. At $24.99 per pillow, you can afford to get several, enough to give several rooms that finishing touch.

Are your rooms show

rooms or wreck rooms?

Home Staging Books - If you answered "Wreck Room," this module is for you!

Whichever home staging book you buy, remember to try to get the maximum return for the minimum outlay of cash.

Soften the Look With a Well-Placed Throw - Complement Your Staging with a Soft and Inviting Throw

Nothing says "relaxing and comfortable" than a lovely Chenille Sofa Decorative Throw. Your prospective buyers will be able to picture themselves curled up in that sunny corner with a book and a cup of tea. When a prospective buyer feels immediately at home, the $32.99 price tag is more than worth it.

Welcome? You can do better than that!

Welcome? You can do better than that!
Welcome? You can do better than that!

Need Help Staging and Selling Your House?

Keep a positive attitude, make a plan, and work towards your goal every single day. I CAN Sell This House can help. Follow the link to request FREE sample chapters of the ebook I CAN Sell This House: Secrets to Selling Quickly in a Buyers' Market.

Did You Stage Your House to Sell?

I think staging is extremely important to selling a house, especially in this market. Statistics show that furnished houses sell more quickly and for more money than unfurnished houses. So, how about it?

Did you stage your house to sell?

Should I Hire a Professional Stager?

To DIY or Not to DIY. That is the question.

Home staging isn't particularly difficult, but you really need to take an honest look at your personality traits before you decide whether to stage the house yourself or hire a pro.

Ask yourself: Am I too emotionally attached to the items in my house? Am I a pack rat? Do I think my house looks good just as it is? Could someone tell tons about me just by looking at how I've decorated the house?

If you answered "yes" to even one of those questions, I think that you should probably hire a professional. If you're too emotionally attached, you won't be able to edit to the degree necessary to successfully stage the house.

If you're a pack rat, it will be very difficult for you to declutter, store, throw away, give away or sell your stuff. If you think your house looks great the way it is, you won't be a very good stager. There are always things that can and should be done to stage a house.

The fourth item sort of goes along with the others--if so much of your personality is splashed all over the house, it will be hard to take it all down and depersonalize the space.

If you are a person who can disengage emotionally from your house and all that's in it, if you are highly motivated to sell, if you think you have stuff that you really need to get rid of and if you have creative eye and the ability to suggest purpose for spaces through limited placement of set pieces and décor, then staging might be for you. You might even go into it as a profession after you sell your house!

Add your best Staging DO or Staging DON'T, and we can all learn from and help each other.

Seen Any Great, or Not So Great Room Staging?

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    • Propowerrooter profile image

      Mark Clark 

      6 years ago from Colorado springs, CO

      I really like your lens. Hiring a skilled professional to fix and repair your home's plumbing problems can prevent bigger problems down the road. Finding good Colorado springs Plumbers and Drain Cleaning companies can be very helpful to someone in need!

      Pro Power Rooter has the lowest prices guaranteed!

    • jfield profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      @KateHonebrink: Ew, gross!! That's a great tip, though! Thanks for commenting:)

    • KateHonebrink profile image


      7 years ago

      DON'T forget to clean out bathtub and shower shampoos, shower gels, bath toys, etc. I will NEVER forget going to an open house and finding wet bath towels on the master bath floor. What were they thinking!?! Great lens!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      great lens on staging tips. I work with Maryland Mortgage home sellers and I'm always looking for content and links to send them to for help. I also would like to link to this for my site for fsbos.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I love this lens. Yah true you need to have skilled professional when it comes to fixing and repairing your homeâs plumbing and applying measures that can prevent further problems that may occur in the future. Miami Plumber is truly a help!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Seems it you need to read this fix leaky faucet

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      really interesting and relevant lens, even if you're not selling your house

    • sushilkin lm profile image

      sushilkin lm 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for sharingb

    • sushilkin lm profile image

      sushilkin lm 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for sharingb

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      People must have to consider all these home staging mistakes. These are often go unnoticed. A job well done with this lens.

      tankless hot water heater

    • malen75 profile image


      8 years ago

      great lens, really well thought of, lots of informative and helpful information...

      Malen of curtains and windows treatments

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Basically I agree to the poster. But, a swimming pool heat pump is the best choice for heating a pool. It's inexpensive, high-efficient, safe. I would like to recommend a brand "wave", just google it.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great lens! Full of extremelly good information! Keep up the good work

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      This is a beautiful lens, great information. I will pass it on to friends trying to sell their houses! 5 stars!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great ideas for staging.

      Never did it myself before but will

      have to try it next time I sell my home.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great ideas for everyone who is looking to sell their home!

    • jfield profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      [in reply to chefkeem] Thank you for the blessing, chefkeem :) I found the staging information that I learned to sell our old house made for much more livable space, selling or not!

    • chefkeem profile image

      Achim Thiemermann 

      10 years ago from Austin, Texas

      I rent. Bummer. Can't use this fantastic information. However, 5*s and a Squid Angel Blessing are definitely in order! :-)

    • jfield profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      [in reply to Milagrosa] I'm so glad you found it helpful. The main thing to keep in mind is that staging is almost the exact opposite of decorating. You're trying to take the residents "out" of the picture, rather than making the space to suit a particular person. Thanks for the kind comment, and good luck with your business!

    • jfield profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      [in reply to CherylK] Thanks! I'd like to get the word out to everyone: you gotta stage if you wanna sell in this market!

    • CherylK profile image

      Cheryl Kohan 

      10 years ago from Arizona

      Great lens! All your suggestions are wonderful. Am lensrolling it and making it a favorite, too!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Hi Jenni,

      Awesome lens packed full of useful information for home sellers! You may wish to add "Home Staging for Dummies" to your list of books.


      Jackson West

      Reveal Estate Home Staging

    • jfield profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      [in reply to eccles1] I'm glad you got some good ideas. I'll be adding more!

    • eccles1 profile image


      10 years ago

      what a great lens full of ideas !! thank you

    • LisaDH profile image


      10 years ago

      Very good advice. In this market, people need all the help they can get. 5*

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      It is amazing how much stuff you realize you can live without once you start staging. It is almost worht doing every five years just to clear out the house! Then when you REALLY have to move, the junk factor is already under control.

    • The Homeopath profile image

      The Homeopath 

      10 years ago

      So true! I was very lucky when we sold our house back in 2000 to have a freat realtor who helped me with it.


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