There are many hapless stagers out there making a common home staging mistake, not even realizing they are putting the emphasis on the WRONG THING.
Confusing decorating and real estate staging is why many people think they don’t need to hire a professional home stager if their home is already decorated. Contrary to popular belief, home staging isn’t about making rooms pretty. Let’s see if you’ve made an all-too-common home staging mistake that could cost you time and money:
In the Expert Psychological Stager® training course, I teach my students how to use the concepts of visual perception, architectural harmony, and memory points to put the focus where it belongs – on the architectural selling points of the home, NOT on the furnishings. We applied these concepts in this historic Nashville property that had been on the market for six months.
Take a look at the first impression view of this occupied home. Don’t think about it or analyze it – just focus on your emotional response. How does the room make you feel? What are the first things you notice? What will you remember?
Viewing those two photos, you may have felt cramped and tight. Perhaps you felt put off by the gold walls. Maybe you noticed the piano, the scrolly sconces above the fireplace, the Tuscan boob lights.
Ok, now let’s look at the space after Psychological Staging® and ask yourself the same questions. How does the room make you feel? What are the first things you notice? What will you remember about it later?
Do you feel the difference? In the first set of photos, you may have focused on the furnishings, on the dark wall color, on the dated light fixtures. In the second set of photos, you likely noticed the architecture: the sense of space, the hardwood floors, the fireplace, the millwork and transoms, the staircase newel post. A big home staging mistake is unwittingly putting the focus on the furniture rather than the architecture.
Here’s a “before” shot of the room’s focal point:
You definitely notice the fireplace, right? But there may be questions or objections that arise as you look at that photo, like:
“How do I navigate through this space?”
“Will my furniture fit in this room?”
“Do I like the style/vibe of this space?
“Could I feel at home here?”
“What color should I paint this room?”
This is how the same vantage point appeared after we psychologically staged the room:
Now there’s a sense of architectural balance and ease. There’s a natural focus on the architecture – which is what we are actually trying to sell. The room feels more expansive, the eye is drawn to the views outside, and it’s easy to see all the positive features of this space.
I know what you’re thinking – the furnishings are different, and that’s the trick! Well, look again. All of the furnishings you see were existing to the homeowners. Some items were moved from other rooms in the home, while others were removed and stored away. The only “new” items are the paint color in the living and dining room (which makes a huge difference, amiright?), the less obtrusive light fixtures, and a few pillows and florals. Here’s a before/after from a different angle:
You tell me – how much LARGER does this room appear? Both of the images above were taken from the same vantage point by a professional real estate photographer with a wide angle lens.
Here is a pair of before/after photos from another angle, photographed by yours truly:
Maybe you thought only vacant homes need to be staged. Maybe you thought home staging always requires bringing in new furnishings. Hopefully you can see from this example that the goal of successful staging is to market a property by highlighting its best selling points. Because we’re trying to sell the architecture, NOT the furnishings! Have you made that home staging mistake?
And hey, if you are interested in pursuing a career in professional home staging, I can teach you all you need to know in my RESA-accredited online certification course! There are so many specific techniques and staging secrets (including the best paint colors for staging and where to use them) that I can’t wait to share with you. Find out more about how to become an Expert Psychological Stager™ here.