3 Staging tips that help, even if your not selling…

What do professional designers know that we don’t?  We have great taste.  We know what we like.  But, do you know how to get that important “welcome to our home” message across?


“Caution this is a frank discussion from someone who has been through at least a thousand homes the last couple of years.  We have seen the best of the best and the worst of the worst.  We took mental notes of what made homes feel livable, what enveloped us with warmth and welcome and what made us feel like we just entered a museum celebrating the lifestyle of the Clampett’s.  Not that there was anything wrong with the Clampett’s.  We loved the series Beverly Hillbillies (does that show our age).  These tips work for all homes from $100,000 to $1 million.  You know it as soon as you walk through the front door.”

Scale does matter in everything.

sectional-furnitureWhat in the world made you buy that 10 piece sectional with  the 5 x 5 Ottoman?  Have you noticed you have to crawl over it to just enter the family room and your pet cats and Chihuahua love to explore there because they can find so many tidbits under everything?   Does that 8″ x 10″ portrait of your long departed pet seem lost hanging over the living room sofa?   Do you bump into that beautiful table in the hall every time you pass by?

Perhaps the most frightening confrontation me was entering a moderately sized master bedroom (12 x 16) not paying attention (I was adjusting my camera) and walking right into a King Sized 4 posted bed featuring columns so thick they might support the roof of a mid sized ancient Greek temple.  I told you this was to be a frank discussion.  Now please don’t be offended if you have and love one of those.  I’m speaking about curb appeal to the public.  Always keep in mind “It’s not your home anymore…”  you want to sell it.  Anything over sized in any room screams, “This room is too small…” it does not say “Look at the size of things you can easily fit in here…”

Your collections can be enjoyed, but maybe, just maybe, quality should override quantity.

I’ll state this again later, it’s a home not a museum.  For the most part, pack up all your collections and get ready to move.  Please please don’t store them in large plastic tubs and stuff those tubs in a corner.  It will look like you are collecting plastic tubs.



A few of your best pieces are displayed in a group.  Groups are 3 items, collections are 5 items and up.  Make sure they are displayed in an appropriate room.  Antique teapots never really go well in a powder room, an antique wash basin/pitcher might.  Even if your not selling rotate items, display the best of your collection, it will refresh the look of our your space.

Please remove anything that might fall over if a table is bumped or visiting children might grab.  I said “remove” not place out of reach.

I could go on about this but basically, stand in the middle of the room.  If you look around and say “What great collections I have and how nice they look here…”   your room is conveying the wrong impression.

Family photographs don’t have to be hidden.  Images can tell your story, make sure it’s the Cliff Notes not the Great Russian Novel?

This perhaps may be one of the most misunderstood statements made by stagers and agents alike, “Depersonalize and declutter”  It does not mean take every photo down and hide anything that indicates a family lives there.  Here are some rules and common sense reason:

  • If you stuck it there because it didn’t fit anywhere else, it’s a good indication there is a bigger problem with “everywhere else” than one photo or object.
  • Three makes a nice grouping, five makes a collection.  One collection in a home is enough, if there is space and it’s the appropriate room.  It’s suppose to be a home not a museum.
  • Regarding family photos… Thumbs down on almost any color photo.  Thumbs up on black and white. images  Two thumbs up on black and white images older than 50 years.  Three thumbs up if they are over 100 years old.  B&W images make visitors stop, look, linger and think about family.  Those thoughts are generally warm and bring back the best of the past.  Those are good things.  Three thumbs down on those 11×14 wedding photos of anyone and those rows of 11×14 photos hanging on the walls, of your children, their children and their children’s kindergarten graduation class of 10 years ago.  20 colored photos  scattered all over the place confuse the eye and the observer will lose the spirit of the room which includes the composition of properly scaled furniture, art work, lighting, area carpets, windows and window treatments.
  • Remember by combining photos, art, lighting, furniture and accessories your are creating a composition not making a scrap book collage.  Compose to convey the spirit of the home and the character of your family, not the craziness of your children.  People admire character and want to live in homes that appeal to people who have great taste.  Perhaps they think it will rub off.  In that case they don’t want the crazies to rub off.
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Frank Gutowski

Frank Gutowski is a professional Photographer and marketing consultant to the Real Estate industry. As an avid blogger, web designer, lifetime tech geek, and owner of five homes, Frank provides a unique insight into the Real Estate market.

Author: Frank Gutowski

Frank Gutowski is a professional Photographer and marketing consultant to the Real Estate industry. As an avid blogger, web designer, lifetime tech geek, and owner of five homes, Frank provides a unique insight into the Real Estate market.

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