Common Staging Mistakes and How to Fix Them

DeLeon Insight – January 1, 2016

Margie Fontanilla, DeLeon Design Coordinator 


A well-staged home shows better and has a better chance of selling faster than an unstaged home. Many buyers have difficulty seeing beyond the room in front of them, so you cannot rely on their imaginations to help them grasp the best features of your home. To successfully stage your home, here are four common staging mistakes, plus a few remedies that will enhance your home.

Mistake #1: Furniture pushed against the walls. Pushing all furniture against the walls of a room is a common staging mistake. In a large room, the space actually looks smaller when pieces are pushed away from the middle. The room will not feel cozy since the main conversation area has been spread apart. Of course, some rooms are so small that there is no other option for the furniture placement except against the walls. However, more often than not, I will see a large room with a sofa stuck against a wall and chairs shoved away from it.

Fixes: Form a floating arrangement with your furniture, or choose a layout that emphasizes the function and natural flow of the room. Anchor the layout with an area rug, side tables, and/or a coffee table. If you are using two chairs to balance the sofa, pull them away from the walls to create a comfortable conversation area.

Mistake #2: Not enough lamps. If you only have one overhead light fixture in a room, then you don’t have enough light. Ceiling lights do not replace the need for lamps. Every room should have both ambient and accent (or task) lighting. Ambient lighting is lighting for the overall room, while accent lighting is designed for highlighting a space for a specific task, like working at a countertop or reading in a sofa. Both ambient and accent lighting add to the overall feeling of the house.

Fixes: Lamps are needed to bring more light into a room, light up a dark corner, or make a room cozier. Using lamps will also make a room appear larger. Add table lamps, reading lamps, and accent lighting, and even consider putting overhead lights on a dimmer. You will be amazed at how quickly lighting can transform a room.

Mistake #3: Decorating with too many or too few accent pieces. Too few accent pieces will make a room look small, uninviting, and emotionless, which is not the feeling you want buyers to have when walking through your home. Conversely, decorating with a lot of small objects will make a room feel cluttered and unorganized.

Fixes: Purchase one large object to decorate a room. Large objects have a better design impact and will keep a room feeling clean. If you have a collection of items, then showcase up to three of them and put the rest away. You may even switch out the displayed objects each month; just avoid putting them all out at once.

Mistake #4: Using dark paint. Paint can enhance a home. However, the wrong paint can become a home a buyer’s worst nightmare. Dark colors will absorb light, making a room seem smaller. For example, if your kitchen has dark cabinets and doesn’t have any windows, using a dark wall paint will make your kitchen unwelcoming and cold.

Fixes: Using neutral or pastel colors will help buyers to mentally move in, while also giving the feeling of space and airiness. By avoiding these common errors while staging your home, you can maximize the use of each room in your home while forming attractive spaces that will be sure to appeal to prospective buyers.