Savvy Accessorizing - More is Not Always Better

By Pam Christensen

Have you ever gone into a model home that had so much stuff used in the staging that it almost made you claustrophobic? Adding accessories when staging is a little bit like the story of Goldilocks and the three bears. In some cases, there is just too much stuff. Too many things when staging can detract rather than enhance the space. In this style of staging, the buyer is more fascinated by the stuff and misses the selling points of the home.

Then there are the homes where the staging is very light. Rooms are staged with only vignettes or the accessories are so light that the staging doesn't achieve the warmth needed to help the buyer visualize themselves in the home. The staging that will sell is the design that is just right. Rooms staged with the right size and amount of furniture and accessories to compliment and highlight the selling points of each room. Countertops and other surfaces have one to three pieces of tastefully chosen pieces and the artwork is chosen to fit the space without overwhelming the walls.

When you tour some of our staged homes you'll notice for example that we don't put accessories on top of the toilet tank lid. I don't think that drawing attention to the toilet will help to sell the space, unless of course, it's a really cool self-cleaning toilet like I discussed in last month's article. We do many times, however, place art over the toilet to draw the buyer's eye up and away from the toilet. We also accessorize the countertops to highlight the new Quartz or Granite or to distract from dated finishes.

Built-in shelves are another area where it's tempting to get carried away when staging. Our rule of thumb is that it's not necessary to accessorize every shelf. We use fewer and larger pieces on every other shelf to leave open space. When selling less is more, lots of accessories, even very nice expensive ones become pretty clutter if overused.

When choosing art for staging, I suggest using one or two large pieces over a grouping of smaller pieces. A large piece highlights the wall with color and allows the buyer's eye to travel on to the next space. The exception to this is to use pieces that fit together to create a mural, or using two or more identical pieces to create the illusion of one large piece of art.

Staging styles like our homes are moving towards sleek and sophisticated over plush and overstuffed. The days of using a ton of throw pillows on a sofa are passing, and trends are moving to using one or two throw pillows to highlight the furniture and bring in color to tie the room together.

It's so tempting to put 2 or 3 things on the nightstands in the master bedroom, but a lamp with a book or a plant is all that is needed to show the room well.

Under staging can be a bigger turn off to a buyer than over staging. We were asked to look at one home that had been on the market for over 45 days without an offer. The seller did not want to invest in professional staging and had tried to add some accents in the home. In one of the small bedrooms, there was nothing in the room except a big teddy bear in the corner. I'm sure that the intent was to add something cute, to show that it was a great room for kids, but it felt more like the owners forgot the poor giant teddy bear. It was also the only thing that you really saw when you walked in the room. We staged the home and it was under contract within 10 days

If you have questions or would like help with staging ideas, do offer walk-through consultations. We can provide advice on de-cluttering, re-arranging and furniture placement to help your home outshine your competition. And of course, we love to help you by providing the just right staging that will help your home sell quickly and for more.

For more staging ideas, please visit my Facebook page at I'd love to hear your questions or challenges, if r don't know the answer I'll find an expert who does!

About the author ...

Pam Christensen is an Accredited Staging Professional Master, a Certified Real Estate Instructor and teaches an Advanced Home Staging Certification course. Her company, Staging for Charisma, is one of the leading home staging companies in the greater Seattle area, and one of the few that specializes in working with investors to help them maximize their return on investment by providing high-quality staging that gets results!

REAPS is the oldest – and largest - Professional Association for the real estate investor this side of the Mississippi. We provide education and networking resources for real estate investors, those who want to be investors and anyone who provides value to our members. Our goals are to motivate and support our members and guests through education, discussion, legislative action, and networking. We host over 40 live events a year around Puget Sound and they are all open to the public. If you've never attended one of our meetings, just email our office at [email protected] and be our guest for free!"

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