Home Staging Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Sale

January 30, 2018

Toronto Home Staging

Home staging is a valuable marketing tool for Toronto home sellers and real estate professionals in today’s challenging market.  With the right furniture, accessories, and the right feel home stagers create, it allows buyers to mentally move into a home and offer them a better lifestyle they deserve through staging – and it works!

However, home staging can also go terribly wrong which can end up sabotaging your sale. Here’s my list of common mistakes in home staging that can cost you a lot.

1. Designing instead of staging

This is not the time to practice or experiment with your design abilities. An effective staging is about showcasing the space and NOT the pieces that you have or the DIY projects you’ve done (like your decoupage wall). There is a reason why most furniture pieces used by staging professionals are always neutral and subtle. The reason behind is because staging pieces are supposed to take a back seat and take a supporting role in showcasing your home. Your living space is really the star of the show.

Keep it simple with furnishings, some decor, and textile enough to make the room shine. You don’t need to decorate every nook and cranny, even if you think it’ll look amazing.

2. No clear intention

Staging your home with no clear intention is like driving a car with no clear destination. You will get lost.  For your staging to be successful, your knowledge of your target buyers, your location, and knowledge of current design trends are critical.  Here’s a question, will your buyers be first time home buyers working downtown? Or are they a growing family with kids looking for a bigger place in the burbs? If you can’t answer this basic questions, then you haven’t done your assignment.

Having a clear understanding of how your buyers will use every space of your home is like having a map that leads to a successful sale.

3. Disregarding Scale

As sellers, your top of mind should be to show as much space as you can. Buyers are mostly upgrading and always looking for a bigger kitchen, more storage, and bigger living space. And to achieve that, our thinking is to always use smaller, and lighter pieces. Wrong.

Any pieces that are too big or too small can throw off the feel of the room. In fact, using smaller furniture pieces in a big space can make the room look smaller. The secret is to scale your furniture based on the size of the room and to edit your furniture pieces to the minimum (or less than the minimum). The same goes for your chachskis, anything too small or too tall can be a visual clutter and can cramp a room.

 4. Atrocious Artwork

Your art can set the overall tone of your home, so please make sure to hang it properly. No one wants to crank their necks to see your lovelies. Art that’s too high or low is a dead giveaway of a staging/ decorating rookie. Eye-level is the goal so, unless you hang out with a lot of giants, aim for the middle of your piece (not the hook, that will be higher) to be about 57” high. Here’s a handy guide.

5. Everything is gray and beige

A  pop of color can create just the right amount of personality and styleIt is one of the most important tools in home staging. Every color can bring in a certain feeling;  it can bring in calmness, relaxation, the right energy or cheer needed to connect with buyers when showcasing your home.

The secret is to pick an accent color in the same family (in different intensities and shades) paired with a couple more colors and then carry it all throughout the house. It makes the house look more cohesive and it gives the illusion of one big open space which is ideal when buyers are browsing the house. Oh, and it looks great on your listing photos too!

6. Displaying fake everywhere

Showcasing a beautiful home that looks lived in is the objective of staging. Filling your home with fake palm trees, fruits, food, satin flowers, furniture, fake beds and everything fake is the opposite and just won’t make it.  Nothing is worse than being in a staged house that looks “staged”.  Your home should look stunning and functional; it should evoke a warm and inviting feeling to encourage buyers and shouldn’t end up looking like a “showroom” filled with fake things.

7. Stuffing clutter into closets

If you’re scrambling to clean up when a real estate agent schedules a last-minute showing, don’t stuff your closets full of laundry, toys, odds, and ends. Potential buyers will definitely want to know how much storage space your home has, so no closet will be safe for concealing messes. If you’re in a pinch, a last-ditch effort to hide a mess is under a bed.”

8. You can’t let go

To detach from your home, remember that you are not your stuff; you are more than your possessions. Your memories are within you, not within your things. Holding onto things can imprison you. Letting go of stuff can be freeing.

Consider all of the new opportunities you’ll have in your new location. You could start researching online what that area has to offer in the way of schools, churches, restaurants, cultural centers, shopping, medical centers, jobs, clubs, and civic and volunteer organizations. Develop the mindset that change can be a good thing and it will help you detach from your home when it’s time to sell.


Toronto-based, award-winning Interior Stylist, Red Barrinuevo is an Interior Decorator and Principal Designer of Redesign4more Inc., servicing clients in Toronto and the GTA. The firm’s known for enhancing and creating stylish yet functional spaces through their creative home staging, interior styling, and design services. To know more about Red and Redesign4more, visit www.redesign4more.com.



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