When Staging is Overdone

We’ve said it a lot – home staging is important! Studies have shown that it affects a buyer’s decision to make an offer, as well as the amount of the offer price. Good home staging will make a buyer imagine themselves living in the home and that can make a huge difference when trying to decide between properties. However, as good as staging is at highlighting the positive characteristics of a home, it is possible to over-stage a home and create the opposite effect.

To understand this, you need to know the fundamental parts of staging:

  • Decluttering
  • Depersonalizing
  • Painting (as needed)
  • Arranging furniture for the best flow
  • Placing accessories to accent the home’s best features
  • Choosing the best lamps, bulbs, and fixtures to light each room

Depending on the home, there may also be a need to make more complex updates, but that’s rarely the case.

Each area of staging opens up the possibility for mistakes. I’ll share what those may be, but remember that a professional stager can make a world of a difference. They know how to quickly identify problem areas and the best tricks for an effective solution. So, don’t under estimate their value.


While the purpose of decluttering is to make rooms look larger, some home owners think the best approach is to remove everything, but the bare essentials. This can lead to a pretty barren looking house and does little good in showing how the home can be lived in. Remove surplus furniture, collections, piles of books, extra countertop appliances, etc. but don’t leave empty shelves and large blank spaces. Moderation is key.


Removing your personality from the home is a key component of home staging; however, it can have the same effect as too much decluttering. The aim of depersonalizing is to tone it down to the point that the buyer can overlook it, but removing bold furniture, wall art,

and accessories while leaving large blank spaces or worse, holes and fade lines, in their place can leave an ugly impression. When you remove items, make sure there’s no evidence there was something there. If there is, correct it or replace it.


Most people have heard that it’s a good idea to paint your home with neutral colors when you’re getting ready to list, but some home owners think the easy way to do this is to paint every room white. This ends up making the house feel more like a hospital than a home. Instead, try to stick with warm, light, earthy tones when possible. They will make the rooms look larger and inviting.

Arranging Furniture

If a home owner is going to get something wrong when it comes to staging, it’s going to be furniture arrangement. From too large pieces to incorrect orientation, there’s just too much that can go wrong. The growing trend of open floor plans make this especially difficult. It’s not always clear how a room should be setup and an incorrect approach can give
the impression that a room is lacking usable space. This is when getting a professional’s opinion can prove invaluable.

Placing Accessories

Well-utilized accessories (wall art, vases, plants, etc.) will make your ceilings look higher and rooms appear larger, as well as show buyers how the home can be lived in. Poorly utilized accessories can create clutter, break the flow of the home, and hide good characteristics. Like furniture, they need to be well thought-out. Not sure if your accessories are creating the effect you want, ask a friend to walk through the home and share their immediate impressions, like what their eyes are drawn to upon entry.


Lighting is considered so permanent that it’s often overlooked, but you want the house to appear light and airy, and it’s not as hard to achieve as you may think. You don’t need an electrician to improve your lighting. A simple change in wattage can have a positive impact on a room and, if your light fixtures have shades, changing out the shades for newer ones is an easy update that can increase the spread of light in the room. If needed, bring in floor lamps and tabletop lamps to increase lighting, but don’t overdo it. If you feel like you’ve just walked into a stadium when you step into a room, you need to scale it back a little.

If you aren’t sure you’re overdoing your home staging, we suggest trying out a professional. Many stagers have different levels of services that they offer from consultations to handling all aspects of the job themselves, including furniture rental. If you’re looking for a stager in the Wilmington area, we recommend the professional interior decorators and home stagers at Carolina Sold by Design. If you list your home with us, we provide a complimentary 3-hour staging consultation with them. Call us for the details – (910) 202-2546!


About the Author
Meghan Henderson
Meghan is the Marketing Specialist for The Cameron Team and a published author of two young adult books. She also creates digital and printable planners and trackers, as well as coloring pages for Larkspur & Tea.