23 Common Staging Mistakes Sellers Make


Staging a home isn’t an exact science — it’s more of an art, one that covers several rooms and flows throughout a home. The goal is to create a warm, welcoming space that will resonate with buyers. Here are the biggest mistakes you can make when staging your house for sale.


  • An unstaged room: Unless you’re in a very strong seller’s market, you should consider light staging.

    • Wall-to-wall furniture: Most of our homes contain too many items for staging to work well.

    • Closets stuffed full of items: Hiding stuff instead of eliminating it won’t work when buyers peek inside closets.

    • Cluttered surfaces: Give your home the best chance of hooking a buyer by clearing surfaces of clutter.

    • Closed doors: Closed doors can give buyers a sense that you’re hiding something (and they’re just going to open them, anyway).

    • Shabby carpet: Tired carpeting and peeling linoleum aren’t a good look in any home.

    • Toys and books in the corner: How many is “too many” books or toys? You need to eliminate as much as you can.


  • An (almost empty) staged room: Too little furniture is almost as bad as too much; a nearly empty room will look strange.

    • Water stains on a wall corner: Ignoring critical improvements is just as bad as not staging at all.

    • Patchy paint: Sprucing up your paint is easy and makes the room look pulled together; failing to do that is a mistake.

    • Furniture too small for the room: You don’t have to fit your home’s scale exactly, but too-big or too-small items will make your rooms look off.

    • Minimal/modernist décor: Clean, minimalist lines are all the rage, but these styles aren’t the most homelike.

    • One aesthetic everywhere: Buyers who walk through might think this looks lovely, but they won’t see themselves living in it.

    • Narrow, neutral color palettes: In rooms where everything is one color, nothing really stands out.


  • A staged room

    • Fake flowers: They’re easier to keep “alive,” but fake flowers and plants can make a house feel, well, fake.

    • Family pictures on the wall: Buyers won’t be able to see themselves in a house full of your personal items.

    • Collectible artwork: Museum showpieces can alienate buyers; best leave the collectible artwork stored away.

    • Bare floors: Carpets or rugs can help provide structure and flow to rooms; forgetting them can make rooms feel adrift in a sea of house.

    • Trying too hard: Over-staging makes sellers feel like they’re in a movie, not a real house.


  • A staged room

    • Cat litter box in the corner: Focusing only on sight means you’ll miss other ways that buyers are put off your house.

    • Gorgeous picture window — with bookshelf in front of it: Don’t block views or architectural features with your furniture.


  • Home exterior

    • Patchy lawn: Don’t ignore curb appeal — your buyers sure won’t.

    • Empty flower pots: When you miss an opportunity to add plants or flowers, you’re missing out on the chance for your house to feel vibrant and alive.