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    Setting the Stage for Success with Staging

    guy_designWhile some people may say that buying a home is the most nerve-wracking experience possible, I would venture to say that being on the other side of that transaction trumps it. Expectations are running high, and buyers are looking with an eagle eye for ways to lower record high selling prices. This is why staging is a critical aspect of the selling process. Here are a few simple rules I give clients to help guide their staging process:

    Stage with purpose. In the Bay Area real estate market, you can’t afford to have buyers guessing about a room’s purpose. Give rooms a clear and concise look that demonstrates function and style.

    Clean your light fixtures. This sounds simple but, countless times, I have looked up to admire a beautiful chandelier and noticed cobwebs, grime and even worse—dead bugs. Aside from being gross, buyers may think that the fixtures are hard to maintain, driving down the value, which means less cash in your pocket.

    courtneyGo big or stay home. It may sound counter-intuitive, but stage with the biggest and least amount of furniture possible. A room filled with a lot of small pieces will feel cluttered and smaller.

    Color can be your friend. For the love of design, don’t paint your whole home beige when you sell it. A well-placed accent wall can go a long way as a dynamic focal point in a space by creating a backdrop for furniture and accessories.

    Invest in art. Inexpensive and cheap-looking art is one of the largest distractions in a staged home. A bad piece of art can distract from architectural details, a great view, or downplay a room’s great potential. If your budget doesn’t allow you to invest in art, then use a great mirror. It will reflect light, giving the appearance of a room being bigger.

    Organize your closets. Sadly, when selling your home, buyers will be combing through every inch of your home, including your closets. A jam-packed closet suggests that your home has insufficient storage. Pack unnecessary items, and purchase matching hangers and a few decorative baskets to hide loose items to create a spacious, cohesive look in your closet.

    A well-staged home tells a story with visual cues. It leads a prospective buyer
    through the process of envisioning himself or herself in your home. So don’t skip it because you think the market is hot, or otherwise you might get burned when the offers come in.

    Courtney Lake is the interior designer and lifestyle expert behind Monogram Décor ( and his celebrated blog, Courtney Out Loud. He and his work have been featured both in print and on television, including coverage by “The Wall Street Journal,” “The Nate Berkus Show,” the “San Francisco Chronicle,” “Life & Style Magazine,” “RUE Magazine” and “7×7 Magazine.”