Selling By Design-Staging Fresno CA Asks, " How Much Is Too Much."

Home Stager with Selling By Design-Staging

The ultimate goal of Selling BY Design-Staging in Fresno is to create an atmosphere in a home that is warm, inviting and appealing to the largest number of potential buyers in a given market. As most do staging professionals, we strive for a look that is neutral, but not overtly "staged." Choosing the right accessories, those items that add style and splashes of color, without having the look of a furniture store display, is key to achieving  the WOW effect.

With this in mind the question arises, how much is too much?

While watching a home staging show the other night I was stunned to see a staged home in which it seemed that in the case of fake food, enough was never enough.

As the homeowners toured their staged home the wife remarked, "There is so much fake stuff. It looks too staged."

Ahhhhh! This is the very thing most staging professionals go to great lengths to avoid. To have this broadcast to potential clients around the country is a nightmare. It is exactly what most of us deplore. There were fake food vignetts in at least three places in the kitchen. One of them was a cake with fruit on the top. The homeowner touched it to see if it was real and said, "Ooh, it's fake." How appealing is that especially after a few weeks on the market when dust settles on the plastic?

My personal pet peeve is the tray placed diagonally in the bed with, you guessed it, fake coffee in a cup and fake pastries. Are we selling a home here or a playhouse?

I won't bore you with any more phony props (oh yes, there was a fake computer). I just hope that viewers didn't come away with the idea that all home stagers rely on cheap props.

Most of us, including Selling By Design-Staging pride ourselves in using tasteful, real accessories (an occasional realistic looking bowl of faux fruit, ie. the pears on my website and AR profile, is acceptable.) Plastic pastry, not so much. That is too much!














Posted by

Linda Thompson

Fresno, CA- home staging and redesign services

                  Selling By Design-Staging

Selling By Design-Staging specializes in giving homes an edge on the competition by creating atmospheres that are appealing, inviting and that say to potential buyers "Welcome home." For more information we invite you to visit our web site at

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Connie Tebyani
Platinum Home Staging, Inc. : RESA-Pro - Calabasas, CA
Platinum Home Staging, Los Angeles and Ventura County

OK, wait: I use fake foods such as fruits and veggies (although sparingly and VERY high quality) and laptops (although real, just not working) and I will admit to doing the tray on the bed with a coffee cup (although it has been a while) I really don't mind it.  When they start putting wine bottles and rose petals in the bath tubs (which I personally saw recently) - that's where I draw the line.

Jun 29, 2010 05:00 PM #1
Linda Thompson
Selling By Design-Staging - Fresno, CA

I just finished reading you post on excuses. It is great. I can't believe what the homeowners did. Fantastic.

I've seen the wine bottle and rose petals also. Gross. I know a lot of stagers do the tray on the bed, but not with fake coffee and food.

I've used fruit sparingly also. My pears are beautiful as I am sure your produce is.

Jun 29, 2010 05:21 PM #2
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

I also saw that episode of "My First Sale" with all that fakey looking plastic food -- it was gross!  WAY overdone staging, IMO.  I agree with you completely that quality "fakes" are OK in moderation -- but they do not include fake pastries, cakes on cake platters, and the like.  The old "tray on the bed" with wine glasses and fake chocolate-dipped strawberries has become a tired cliche, at least in my area.

Jun 29, 2010 06:19 PM #3
Julia Maher
Nestings: Connecticut Home Staging and Model Homes - Fairfield, CT
Connecticut Home Stager

Ha ha - I thought I was the only one who hated bed trays!  I stick with faux lemons, limes, apples, pears, artichokes...but in a realistic way.  That TV show sounds like the stager went so over the top, the staging is actually distracting people from seeing the HOUSE.   I'll have to check out HGTV OD.  Julie

Jun 30, 2010 02:06 AM #4
Sally Weatherley
Vancouver Home Staging, Home Stager Vancouver, B.C

Linda - Ehwww - a fake pastry on the bed tray?  Yuk!  Hope some child doesn't try to take a bite out of it!  I agree 100%.  Our goal is to make a home lived in and comfortable, but not "staged". 

Jun 30, 2010 03:45 AM #5
Kelly Townsend
Coldwell Banker - Santa Rosa, CA
CDPE, Realtor

When I first started staging I though the fake food was cool but over time have cut back to only realistic looking fruit. I have also managed to not use the fake computers or TVs. Another thing that gives away a staged home is too much greenery, according to a Realtor that I work with. Sometimes we get lazy and just place a green plant here or there to fill in those spaces. On all of her jobs she tells me no plants or very few. I have another Realtor who won't let me use ivy because it reminds her of her granmother's house.

Jun 30, 2010 04:42 AM #6
Linda Thompson
Selling By Design-Staging - Fresno, CA

Maureen- I agree the tray has had it's day. Thanks for your comment.

Julia, I think we have a majority on the "tray haters." I always try to picture real life happening in a staged home and in real life someone would sit on the bed and spill the contents of the tray. Of course if it was fake food and drink it would be easier to clean up. Ah, so that's why they use it. Hard on the digestion however.

Sally, Glad to know that we are in agreement. Hopefully the homeselling public will realize that most of us aren't into plastic.

Kelly, I also agree about the plastic plants. Dust collectors. One or two realistic ones, or silk plants can add to a space if placed right, but not randomly to take up space.

Jun 30, 2010 07:17 AM #7
Shar Sitter
Rooms With Style - Minneapolis, MN
Home Staging and Redesign Minneapolis/ St. Paul, M

High quality fakes in one area of a home are okay. It can be a tree (mine are made with real wood trunks and limbs), or fruit. Some fruit now looks so real you can't tell the difference.

Candice Olson (who I love) many times places a small mirror on a bed with a flower in a tiny vase on it. It is just to showcase her reveal and it looks kind of cool if done correctly. I haven't used the tray on the bed for awhile but I'm not removing my older pictures of them from my website. :)

Jun 30, 2010 09:17 AM #8
Linda Thompson
Selling By Design-Staging - Fresno, CA

Hi Shar,

I agree, good fakes are fine. Your tree sounds pretty. I liked my fake pears so much in the home I staged that I got some for my own kitchen. The problem was that they did look so REAL that I wanted  to eat them so I bought some real ones with which to replace them. They weren't as pretty, but didn't last long. So yes, if they are good fakes OK. I also love  faux green apples.

Jun 30, 2010 12:24 PM #9
Cathy Lee
CL Design Services Home Staging - Danville, CA

I have never used a tray on a bed-ever, it is a pet peeve of mine!! I do use faux food in vacant homes. I like to use pies, pears, lemon and apples. I have nice quality ones. Never too much-I agree that a home should never llok too staged-we are selling the home not the staging.

Jun 30, 2010 05:24 PM #10
Michelle Finnamore
Toronto GTA, Alliston, Newmarket - Vaughan, ON
Preparing your property for sale

Oh my gosh.... rose petals and wine by the tub!  This brings back memories of staging when I first started my business. I apprenticed with a stager who did it all the time. Finally, working with her one day, the agent asked me why it was there. I let her know that it was the stagers signature look in a master bath. Needles to say, it was removed by the agent.

I use artificial, high quality fruit.I know it looks real as more than once, there have been bite marks in them when I destage with mothers apologizing for the marks. They said no matter how many times they told their children it wasn't real, they kept forgetting.  I buy the green apples from Pier 1 in bulk as my clients typically want to buy them after the staging.

Don't use fake trees. As someone mentioned here, reminds me too much of dusty trees in offices and aunties homes.

High quality silk florals are another item that I use. Have never had an agent or a homeowner ask for them to be removed.

When doing model homes, I do use artificial food of the highest quality. A company in my area supplies for the film and magazine industry so they are really outstanding. Check out their website as they ship.

Jul 01, 2010 08:12 AM #11
Tessa Skeens
Hampton ReDesign, Home Staging and Redesign - Grand Junction, CO
Staging For Realtors, Builders & Investors

I saw this show Linda and thought the staging did not really represent our industry very well. I couldn't understand why they did nothing for the curb appeal which to me was very dated! The wagon wheel stayed outside the whole time!!

I also use fake fruit but of high quality, usually limes, lemons, apples and pears. It's tempting to try some of the other fruit but have resisted! As to fake plants. those are toughl A large tree really helps to fill in space and take the empty out of a vacant home. I try to find the most realistic and most tasteful containers possible.

Jul 01, 2010 09:19 AM #12
Kate Talarico
Kates Home Staging and Interior Design - Goshen, NY
RESA, Top Orange County Home Decorator & Stager

Great post!  I am a firm believer in NOT over staging a home.  I would only use artificial fruit in one location in a vacant home.  If the home is occupied, there is no reason to use it (in my opinion).  I definitely like my silk florals, but always in moderation.

Jul 01, 2010 10:20 AM #13
Linda Thompson
Selling By Design-Staging - Fresno, CA

Hi Kathy, Michelle, Tessa and Kate. It sounds like we are all on the same page regarding artificial food and plants. It was really good to hear from all since I am relatively new to staging. I loved the comment from Kathy that "we are in the business of selling the home not the staging." And the bite marks in the fruit, Michelle, priceless! I was so worked up about the fake food when I saw the show that I didn't even notice the wagon wheel. And yes, overstaging is as bad as no staging.

One question, who is Padilla and is this a correct use of a home staging blog? Have any of you gotten this on one of your posts?

Jul 02, 2010 09:30 AM #14
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