By Claudia Tergis

Home staging, i.e. preparing your home for sale with a home staging expert, has become very popular. And that very popularity has led to it becoming a necessity to compete in the marketplace.

Home staging is like a carefully balanced scale. You have to know the exact midpoint that balances the artistic execution of the design concept against showcasing the property.

A little too much weight on one or the other side, and it can all go dreadfully wrong –too much glam or a lack thereof can lead to it all undermining the sale of the property.

Here are a few examples of home staging gone wrong:

1. Totally Over the Top 

This is the property where the stylist clearly forgot that the staging should play second fiddle. While the approach of the design is glamorous, it is so over styled that the consumer does not see the house underneath all of the decor. Since most of us do not live in a glamour shot home but in a space surrounded by the things that make us happy and comfortable, this design concept clearly misses the mark–it makes the buyer feel disconnected. While they may be awed by the design, they do not get the all-important “welcome home” message.

Another approach is the complete opposite of the over styled property. 

2. Tag Sale Staging

While you can certainly find treasures at tag sales, in your grandmother’s dusty attic or even consignment shops, a design concept that is solely based on this kind of furnishings can go terribly awry.

Placing the wrong pieces of furniture in a house does not do the property any justice.

And believe me, in my 15 years of real-estate I have seen it all: patio furniture set up in the formal living room, antiquated furniture way past its expiration date, pillows on sofas to hide stains and torn fabric, mattresses on the floor, furniture that is either way too big or small for the space, etc.

These are all simple mistakes that can easily be avoided by hiring a more knowledgeable and experienced stager.

3. Matchy-Matchy Staging

This is, undoubtedly, a very uninspiring design concept.

Clearly here the designer just bought room packages and placed the furnishings in a room without any thought or love. This staging ignores the fact that a little bit of eclecticism is great, and that uniqueness ultimately brings a near palpable sense of excitement into the design. A few touches of color, some unique decor items, and hand-selected pieces create the appropriate palette for a stylish, memorable home.

4. Pre Boxed Staging

Not unlike department store displays that showcase a product uniformly from store to store, these are staging’s where the stylist moves his/her inventory from house A to house B without freshening up the pieces. Instead, after each staging the pieces are re-boxed, labeled as bedroom, kitchen, etc, and brought back to the warehouse until needed at the next property.

The Solutions

So what should you do as the consumer?

First, I always recommend checking out your home stager’s web site.

Ask yourself: do the pictures of the homes look strikingly similar? If so, your house is not going to stand out from the competition, leaving potential buyers without any visual clues to support purchasing your home.

Secondly, I recommend you find out what other realtors or clients have to say about them.

Thirdly, ask yourself: do they showcase the architectural features of the home, or do you feel like you’re looking at the luxury pages of a home magazine and the property took the backseat?

Fourth, did the stager treat the property as an individual case? Are the furniture and accessories fresh and not carried over from photo to photo on their web site?

It is completely understandable that a home stager will want to use their inventory, as they have all sorts of carrying costs. However, their inventory, warehouse, insurance bills, and other expenses should not reflect on the design you pay for.

Thus, ask them about their resources.

If you are looking for more home staging solutions email me at