It don't mean a thing if it aint got that bling!

Home Stager with Reveal Estate Home Staging - Vancouver
Many people think it is simple to stage a vacant property. We've all seen the television shows and all stagers do is bring in furniture to show the size and function of a room right? Perhaps after reading this you may re-evaluate what qualified home stagers do, for there is a definite "method to our madness".

Some time ago I viewed a small, vacant 1 bedroom condo and after submitting a proposal to merchandise the property for sale, the homeowners decided they could save money by doing it themselves. They were very nice people and when they called to let me know their plan I sincerely wished them a speedy, profitable sale. They purchased some furniture, set it in place, had it photographed and waited for the offers to start rolling in. It didn't take them long (only a couple of additional mortgage payments) to realize that their listing wasn't capturing the attention of potential buyers. Have a look... can you see why?

Staged by Owner

You will notice it is a small, fairly narrow living room (not uncommon for a 1 bedroom, downtown condo these days). To the right of the sofa is a door leading out to a patio.

From this home stager's point of view, what they did isn't all bad. They used an area rug to anchor the seating and they chose light, somewhat "airy" furniture. What they didn't realize is....
  • Heavily patterned rugs make small spaces seem even smaller and pull potential buyer's eyes down.
  • Positioning furniture right up against the walls does not make rooms feel more spacious.
Perhaps they also didn't know that...
  • Flow is as important as function.
  • Color is crucial for setting a mood and creating interest.
  • Greenery provides an element of "life".
  • Angled flooring and furniture can visually widen a room.
  • Artwork keeps buyers eyes up and moving throughout a room.
  • Accessories enhance and help soften furniture.
  • Good photos are crucial for generating buyer traffic.
Something tells me that they now have a better understanding of the points I mentioned above. As of today this is what the room looks like and they have renewed hope that a sale is indeed forthcoming!

Staged by Jackson West

Jackson West is the founder of Reveal Estate Home Staging and a Certified Staging Professional Instructor. His interior redesign work can be seen in the book "Home Staging For Dummies" as well as magazines including multiple editions of the "Staging Standard". He is also featured on a television series for the W Network. While his niche has long been downtown properties in a higher price range, the principles of design, functionality and flow he implements are equally effective in every home.

Jackson West on Twitter

Comments (33)

Teresa Meyer
Cincinnati Home Stager - Cincinnati, OH
Home Staging Cincinnati-OH.

Jackson!  GORGEOUS staging as always!  I am loving that art!   Great message to homeowners...there really is so much to consider.  Your example is perfect and I will be re-blogging this!  Loved your video as well!  You are so much fun to watch!!

Jul 24, 2009 07:00 AM
Kathy Nielsen - Marietta, GA
Atlanta Georgia Home Stager

Perfection!  There are no other words to describe your staging!

Congratulations.  Your post is being featured in the group Staging Before & After Pictures.


Jul 24, 2009 08:03 AM
Cathy Lee
CL Design Services Home Staging - Danville, CA

Hi Jackson! I am getting to my post now and now lost my nerve. You always have the most gorgeous rooms.  I never have anything like your homes to stage! You are my "Property Stylist Idol"!  Love the youtube!  Where do I see more of the W Network??  

Jul 24, 2009 10:02 AM
Charlene Storozuk
Dezigner Digz - Burlington, ON
Home Stager - Burlington Ontario

Amazing Jackson.  The room looked so sterile and unwelcoming before. As my Grandmother used to say "Bless their hearts for trying" but this is proof positive that staging should be left to the professionals.  This property will undoubtedly sell SO much faster now, great job!

Jul 24, 2009 11:59 AM
Durham, NC

Will people ever learn that just because it LOOKS easy...!  Goodness, they needed your help in a big way.  Beautiful work.

Jul 24, 2009 01:43 PM
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging,

Simple changes, maximum results - it takes a professional to see it - great job Jackson!

Jul 24, 2009 01:54 PM
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging,

 Just had to post this because believe it or not each time I use the 3 little cactus in white pots you come to mind Jackson - all the way in Texas!

Jul 24, 2009 01:58 PM
Peg Prather
Vancouver, WA
Vancouver, WA

You took it from looking like a furniture storage unit to a warm, inviting space. Such simple changes, yet they were all critical in making this space look like a home. Very nice!

Jul 24, 2009 02:10 PM
Isabel Gomes
Gomes Design - London, ON
Interior Decorator, Stager - London, Ont

Jackson, you have done a great job here.  It is simple and sophisticated. Very nice.

Jul 24, 2009 04:16 PM
Michele Hess
Simply Staged Inc. - Rockford, IL
Home Stager Rockford - Simply Staged Inc

Jackson, just saw Maureen's re-blog of this post.  One of the best examples I have seen of what a Professional Home Stager can accomplish vs. sellers doing it themselves.  Fabulous work!

Jul 24, 2009 11:52 PM
Virginia Tatseos
Stage-Show-Sell - Bloomfield Township, MI

Really good post.

I've had sellers comment that they will do it themselves because it appears all we do is make the bathrooms pretty.


They called back later for a full stage.


The extra months of mortgages make up for the costs of the staging.


Jul 25, 2009 02:11 AM
Karen Dembsky
Peachtree Home Staging LLC, Home Staging in Atlanta, GA - Peachtree City, GA
Atlanta Home Staging


My, my, my!!!! . . .  oh, and did I say, Whoo Hoo, HOO! 

what a difference you have made and I loved the story behind the photos!

Jul 25, 2009 03:16 AM
Beth Lester
Beth Lester Designs - Torrance, CA
Home Staging & Interior Decorating

I'll be the owners were doing a lot of mea culpa.  That was an expensive mistake!  You made it look terrific.

Jul 25, 2009 05:11 AM
Jim Allhiser
Perfection Inspection, Inc. - Salem, OR
Salem, Oregon Home Inspector

That was a gross looking room before you got there.  Thanks for that.  I love the before and afters!

Jul 26, 2009 02:23 AM
Kym Hough
www.Staged-to-Sell - Danville, CA
Staged to Sell East Bay - Danville, CA

Jackson - I need to use that line "just a couple of mortgage payments" that gives homeowners such a clear understanding! Love it. Kym

Jul 27, 2009 02:10 AM
Wanda Richards
Shows Great Home Staging and Web Solutions - Roanoke, VA
Shows Great Home Staging

Jackson -  I also love looking at your work.  You always inspire me. 

Jul 27, 2009 10:42 AM
Todd McAllister
On Stage home staging and redesign co. Portland, OR. - Portland, OR

Jackson:  Isn't it amazing how a Professional Stager can work magic.  People always assume that since they have seen it done on tv, and they make it look easy that they can do it themselves.  I am a HUGE believer in BLING! and these photos demonstrate just how important accessories and properly placed furniture can make the difference.  GREAT JOB!!

Jul 28, 2009 04:00 AM
Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A.

That is an amazing transformation--adding just the right bling makes all the difference.

Jan 20, 2010 04:26 PM
Jo Potvin
Design To Market LLC - Cincinnati, OH
Home Staging Cincinnati - Design To Market

Great post!  The transformation is are lucky they did such a good job with the furniture purchase.  It provided a nice backdrop for the bling...I totally agree about the area rug.

Nov 21, 2010 03:46 PM
Wendy Tomm
Beyond the Walls - East St Paul, MB
CCSP, RESA-PRO, BBB - Wpg Realtors

Hi Jackson.  Beautiful work.  I am now actively blogging on AR and really am enjoying it.  Thanks again for the great knowledge when you were in Winnipeg a few years ago.  My son has now moved to False Creek in the Olympic Village so am very much looking forward to spending time around Vancouver and seeing some great design stores and other wonderful places.

Sep 10, 2011 03:12 PM