The Big Mistake You Should Avoid Making When Staging Your Home

The key to staging a home for sale is to make it look sincerely lived-in. Potential buyers want to be able to envision themselves living in the home, and it can be difficult when the house is stark empty or when the furniture is so ornate and over-the-top that it's difficult to imagine a real family living their lives there — eating, talking, watching movies, sleeping, and celebrating. This is what the entire business of staging is for. But people can sometimes go too far in making the home look like someone lives there. 

We spoke with Peter Schravemade, manager at virtual staging company BoxBrownie, about the worst staging mistakes he sees, and there is one that tops his list: "I find it almost an instant turn-off when I see a messed-up bed. Particularly, when the room is immaculate in its presentation," he tells us. Folks sometimes leave a bit of a crease in the bedding to make it appear more "real" and less hotel-like, but lately people have been going way too far, Schravemade says.

How to make your house look lived-in but not messy

"They say 'presentation is everything,' and so full disclosure, we ( were doing this [leaving a crease in the bedding] when virtual staging was young," Schravemade tells The List. "The trend at the time was to leave a bed slightly creased, it actually gave the virtual staging we were doing legitimacy because it looked as though it was not 'hotel quality' in its appearance. The look and feel appeared more authentic."

However, people have gone off the deep end with it, he says. "After a time, it appeared nearly every house had a disfigured bed ... The trend worsened, as I began to see the state of the disheveled bed ... it actually appeared as though there was someone still asleep in the bed." He has some suggestions for how to make a place look "lived in" without turning off your viewers.

"The whole issue centers around showing someone that the space is lived in," Schravemade tells us. "There are so many better ways of doing this than an unkept bed. Contemporary books or magazines are a great way of demonstrating the space is home to someone. Floral arrangements, freshly baked goods and anything that can be labelled as time-sensitive tells someone the house is actually a home to someone. These are powerful emotive triggers."

So skip the messed up sheets and buy some flowers instead? We can get on board with that!