Stage Rooms for Their Intended Purpose When Selling a House

Home Stager with Home Sweet Home Staging

Reblogged from my page on and



When potential buyers view a house for sale, they need to see rooms presented as they were intended.  The master bedroom shouldn’t be an exercise room, the bathroom shouldn’t be a pet station, the garage shouldn’t be a storage unit, and unless you have more than 3 bedrooms, resist the urge to make one an office.

This is especially important when it comes to dining areas.  People want to see where they will gather for meals and entertain their loved ones.

I recently staged a 900 sq. ft. house for a client who was using her dining room as office space.  As you can see (amongst the considerable clutter), a desk definitely does not belong there.  Aside from being the wrong use of the space, it was also the first thing visitors saw when they came in the front door … NOT a good first impression. 

Dining Room Before

After completely clearing out the area , I moved the table and chairs that were overwhelming the small kitchen and created a proper dining room.

Dining Room After

Visitors can now see that there is room for a full size table and 4 chairs at the very least.  Showing a dedicated dining room, the intended purpose for this space, adds value to this petite house and answers an important question for the buyer.

Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce are luck she didn't stay in denial about what the home COULD become...good job !

Sep 10, 2009 12:06 AM
Melissa Polce
ERA, Wilkinson Real Estate Charlotte - Huntersville, NC
Lake to Land, I've Got It Covered!

Thanks so much for the information, I will say on the smallest of homes, most homebuyers I have helped have been using that 3rd bedroom as an office as of late-but I agree.

Sep 10, 2009 12:07 AM
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging,

This is so important for sellers to realize Marianne.  And for some reason it seems dining rooms are being used more for other purposes than dining. I know we don't use ours but for special occassions opting to dine in our eat in kitchen and I've read that some home builders are actually phasing out the formal dining room however if a home is being sold with a "formal dining room" then it must show as that because buyers are expecting to see it.  Always show what you're selling for it's intended purpose.  The only exception I make is for offices, if the house has more than 3 bedrooms, I'm fine with showing one as an office.

Sep 10, 2009 12:08 AM
Kathy Nielsen - Marietta, GA
Atlanta Georgia Home Stager

Excellent point, Marianne.  While I do NOT use my dining room as it was intended, I do know for certain that if I were to put it on the market, I would need to convert it back. Right now, it serves a very useful purpose as a cozy little den.


Sep 10, 2009 12:18 AM
Kym Hough
www.Staged-to-Sell - Danville, CA
Staged to Sell East Bay - Danville, CA

Agree except we always put a desk in at least one of the bedrooms. We stock small sleek ones that work well. Everyone today is looking for at least three areas of the home to set up computer stations and home office areas

Sep 10, 2009 02:00 AM
Michele Hess
Simply Staged Inc. - Rockford, IL
Home Stager Rockford - Simply Staged Inc

Excellent home seller advice Marianne.  We just went through the same scenario last week.

Sep 10, 2009 02:44 AM
Michael Fontana
Round Rock Home Stager Austin Home Staging - Round Rock, TX
@ The Stage Coach

Could not agree more!  Three bedroom homes should have three bedrooms... Five bedrooms?  Maybe four and an office would not be so bad.  Great post! Good luck with the listing.
The Stage Coach - Austin Home Stager

Sep 10, 2009 01:26 PM
Karen Dembsky
Peachtree Home Staging LLC, Home Staging in Atlanta, GA - Peachtree City, GA
Atlanta Home Staging

I couldn't agree more.  Unfortunately I just saw a vacant home that was staged by a stager where she had flipped the dining room with the living room.  I was told the reason was that the intended dining room was to small.  The flow of the home was compromised with this decision, as you can imagine.  

Sep 11, 2009 01:32 AM
Kate Talarico
Kates Home Staging and Interior Design - Goshen, NY
RESA, Top Orange County Home Decorator & Stager

Wow, what a huge difference between the "before" and "after" picture.  You are absolutely right, a room should be setup for its intended purpose.  It looked like a storage room in the "before" picture and could scare off most potential buyers.   

Sep 11, 2009 04:05 AM
Virginia Tatseos
Stage-Show-Sell - Bloomfield Township, MI

Congrats on the gold star.

The first photo was so bad I could see the walls of the room.

Good clean out and great staging.

Sep 11, 2009 03:00 PM
Michelle Finnamore
Toronto GTA, Alliston, Newmarket - Vaughan, ON
Preparing your property for sale

Excellent advice to agents and sellers. Give buyers what they are expecting to see and they will see the value in a home. No matter how simple you stage or how meager the budget may be, this is always the true course to take in staging. Clients can borrow furniture if there is no budget, but do make the space look like its intended purpose.

Sep 12, 2009 08:56 PM
Marianne Sweet
Home Sweet Home Staging - Rochester Hills, MI
Home Sweet Home Staging, LLC Rochester Hills, MI

Sally and David.......the photos of the other rooms in this incredibly cluttered house will soon become another blog post.  Stay tuned!  And thanks for stopping by!

Melissa.......I know that alot of people are using their 3rd bedrooms as offices, but in this market, a 3-bedroom house should be shown as a 3-bedroom house.  Especially in this age of Wi-Fi. doesn't surprise me that some builders are phasing out the formal dining room.  It really is an underutilized room for most people.  But when it's there, ya gotta show it!'re probably in the majority.  Matter of fact, my dining room is furnished as a dining room, but the family seems to think it's a storage closet!! "unstaged"! in Michigan with our depressed market, bedrooms are gold.  It makes the most sense to show all bedrooms here, but I like the idea of a small desk in one of the bedrooms in addition to a bed.'s pretty common, isn't it?  Ok for living, but not for selling.

Michael.......I'm all for an office in a larger house with more bedrooms.  Thanks for the kind words!

Karen.......seriously?  Oh no.  They're giving us a bad rep again, I fear:( should have seen the rest of the house.  Yikes.  It looked like they ran off in the middle of the night.  Disorganized clutter everywhere, including food crumbs on the kitchen table and counters. got to see the mid-point, and it was still pretty bad!  Thanks my friend!

Michelle..........and that was truly the simplest of staging and the meagerest of budgets.  I had very little to work with, and am not thrilled with the final product, but it's a thousand times better than when I started!  Thanks for taking time to comment!

Sep 13, 2009 12:05 AM
Kate Talarico
Kates Home Staging and Interior Design - Goshen, NY
RESA, Top Orange County Home Decorator & Stager

Wow, your description alone of the kitchen scares me.  I cannot image actually seeing it.  I am sure you earned every dime on this project.  This is an excellent example of what a great stager can do for a home!

Sep 13, 2009 09:08 AM
Michele Rose
Rose-Colored Staging - Mount Holly Township, NJ
Burlington County Home Staging & Redesign

Lately, I've had more buyers asking for formal dining rooms-- you never know!  I totally agree-- if the buyer wants to see a house with a dining room, show them a dining room! 

My other pet peeve-- the parents' spa bath becoming a kids' bath-- overrun with toys, etc., even when they have their own bath.  The parents told me, "They like the big garden tub."  Well, who wouldn't?  ;-)) 

Sep 13, 2009 11:15 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Marianne- very good advice!! In one of my houses I Staged the study/den had been turned into a nursery.  Especially awkward since it was just off the grand foyer.  Good point for all of us to remember.

Sep 13, 2009 12:07 PM
1~Judi Barrett
Integrity Real Estate Services 116 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745 - Idabel, OK
BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK

This is a wonderful post that should speak to every seller.

Nov 15, 2009 12:28 PM