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5 Things to Learn From a Professional Stager

We recently sold our home!  The Seattle area housing market is very HOT right now.  Homes are selling fast, fast, fast!  Our home sold in one week-end with multiple offers above the asking price!
We're still in shock.

I'd like to tell you it was easy, but actually it was a lot of hard work.
We were able to move out all of our stuff, first.  Yes, I realize that not everyone has the luxury of moving out of a house before selling, but if it's possible-- do it!

Next came the cleaning, painting, yard work, blinds cleaning, window washing, outside painting, carpet cleaning and some rooms even required new carpet.  Finally, we were ready for a professional stager to come in and make our home look beautiful...and beautiful it became!

I loved watching the stager work.  I took some notes and some pictures and I'm ready to share what I learned.

5 Tips to Learn From a Professional Stager


This is was our eating area and family room.  Doesn't it look spacious?  Just look at all the 'breathing' room!  Yes, it might not be the most functional setup for the furniture, but it sure looks lovely and airy...and somehow all the space makes the room look bigger than it actually is.

The tables in the room allow your eyes to see right through them.  Other than the couch and one chair, there is no heavy, bulky furniture to stop the flow and no table coverings to distract.

When staging the bookcases, notice that some are left empty.  That empty space allows your eyes to continue to move around the room. Apparently, that's what you want buyers to do.  They should be looking around the room visualizing themselves in the space, not distracted by heavy furniture pieces and overcrowded shelves.

The shelves are very, very simply decorated with lots of breathing space.  The books are all turned so the pages face out, the colors are all neutral, there is nothing to catch your eye, so it keeps moving.

And look at all this breathing room in the master bedroom!  It looks so big and inviting, I don't even recognize it!  Notice the chair is light and airy in this small space, instead of a big and bulky furniture piece that would have look squeezed in.

As you have probably noticed, little 'pops' of color have been splashed throughout this neutral colored home.  This was our formal dining room.  A simple table setting with a splash of turquoise napkins= instant color.


This was our formal living room.  I love the turquoise chair, art work, decorative bowl and pillows.  Not just one 'pop' of the turquoise color in the room, but many.

And again, I have to mentioned the continued 'breathing space' throughout the house.


More pops of color were added in the kitchen...

with yellow and white accessories.


So this tip really tripped me up!
This is my son's room.  We had it decorated in a baseball theme.  Baseball ceiling fan, baseball knobs, baseball shelf were all left in the room after we moved out.  I assumed the stager would continue on with that theme...or at least with the baseball color theme...I was wrong.

The room was staged with skateboards and monkeys and various artwork that didn't really go with any of those things.  I didn't get it and it still messes with my mind a bit, but apparently, themes don't go well with buyers. 
If the room was all decked out in baseball, the buyer would have a harder time visualizing themselves in the space.  With no theme whatsoever, the buyer is free to imagine the space as their own. They aren't 'locked' into a set theme that may or may not work for them.
Makes sense, but boy I wanted to re-stage this room myself!  I was so ready to bring in all the baseball things and make this room look 'pulled together' in my eyes.  Thankfully, our realtor talked me out of it.
The same thing happened to my husband's baseball themed media room.  (Yes, baseball is a big deal in our house.)  We had a baseball wallpaper border all around the room.  We had filled every shelf with baseball memorabilia and baseball books and of course, baseball bobble heads.  Many baseball art pieces and pictures filled the walls.  I just assumed the stager would keep the baseball theme going.........uh, nope.

Our baseball media room was turned into a beautiful 'theme-less' space...WITH a baseball wallpaper border.

So, guess what I had to do... oh, lucky me! 
Down came the wallpaper border. 
That of course meant repainting.

I repainted almost every single room in our house and this was the final, it felt good when I finally finished...just seconds before the photographer arrived, I might add!  Whew! 

Yes, it was a pain to take down the border, but it made a huge difference.  The buyers had no idea that this was once a total baseball-themed man cave of a room!
And one more on this 'theme'-- had to say it.
This was our daughter's room.  (If you follow my blog, you'll remember this room looking very different. Click here for a trip down memory lane. And yes, I had to use 2 coats of primer and two coats of paint to get the red off the walls! Not to mention new closet doors and new carpet!) 
Anyways... there is no rhyme or reason in this other words, no theme.
Frog, flowers, polka dots and feathers.  I get it, but I still don't care for it.  (I mean, really...who would ever put that combination together...frogs, flowers AND feathers?)

The stager was quite purposeful in bringing in furniture and accessories that would define each space.  One key of staging is to show the buyers how to use each space of the house so there is no guess work involved.  Although this is an obvious thing to do, I loved seeing the little touches that added so much life and purpose into this home.
Outside deck furniture with plants made this space so inviting.
In the craft workspace, small desk accessories were arranged on the counter. 
In the adjoining playspace off our family room,
a game area was created.
Complete with colorful beanbags and board games.
And even though our guest room is very small, the stager still brought in a full size bed to show how this room could be used.  Buyers then saw a usable guest room, instead of a tiny room that looked like only a twin bed would fit in.
I was a bit surprised by all the artwork the stager brought into our home.  I was even more surprised that I liked it.  Inexpensive art work actually looked good...I couldn't believe it!   I loved the colors and sophistication each piece brought to the rooms.  It actually got me thinking about adding more inexpensive art to our new home...what's my hang up...I'm not sure?
Most of the stager's artwork was large, lightweight, wrapped canvas prints.  Easy to store, easy to hang, and it photographs well because there is no glass. 

I loved the art in the master bedroom!

Here's some more.

and don't forget about that colorful frog art!

Ok.  I have to admit.  This picture is growing on me.  I sure love the colors and it has great texture!

Hope these tips have you thinking a bit differently about your space.  **If you live in the Seattle area and are looking for a professional stager, check out Stephanie Walsh Design. 

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The Idea Room

1 comment :

  1. beautiful staging job! I'd love to know the names of the colors in your rooms if you can remember. The blue and the beige are great and I'm looking to repaint soon. Thanks