The HGTV "Dream House" and Home Staging

Home Stager with Staged 2 Sell New York & Long Island


For those of you who are avid HGTV watchers, you recognize that this is the time of year when the "Dream Home" Sweepstakes begin.  Each year, since 1997, HGTV has built and decorated a house with a value of $1,000,000+ in different areas of the country.  In turn, each house has been raffled off and one lucky winner walks away with the house, a new SUV and usually a cash prize in the vicinity of $250,000.  Viewers are allowed to enter the contest once each day via an online ‘application', so between now and February 14th, more than 40 million entries will be submitted.

This year's "Dream Home" is located in Winter Park, CO.  The house is a custom built mountain home patterned after a Ski Lodge. 


If you look at the pictures above from the Kitchen and Media Room, you will notice that the rooms are designed to appeal to everyone.  The designers use warm colors and various textures to make each room cozy and inviting.  The props (accessories) could be utilized by just about anyone and they convey the feeling that if you were to move right in, you would not need to add a single thing!  Please DO notice that there are no personal photographs, no shelves and walls full of collectibles, no magnets on the refrigerator, no wall to wall carpeting hiding beautiful hardwood floors, and no dark window treatments to prevent natural light from entering. 

As I was looking through the online tour of the "Dream Home", I was reminded of how eager everyone is to win this house.  There are message boards on the HGTV website, and I remember reading them occasionally in years past and hearing how each person wanted to live in that house so badly, because they had already envisioned their family dwelling there.  And so I pondered, what is it about the "Dream Home" that excites everyone so, other than the obvious - that it's a FREE house with state of the art appliances and features?  And the answer that came to me was that each "Dream Home" draws you in emotionally; as you take the "virtual tour", you feel as if you are walking through a house that was made just for you...the house of your dreams!

Now, let's shift our focus to an ordinary house on the market -  doesn't it follow suit that the principles that are applied when creating a "Dream Home" would have a similar effect on prospective buyers who are viewing the listing?  When a house is Staged to Sell, the rooms should be painted with warm neutral colors and each room should hold just enough furniture and accessories to define the space, accentuate the positive features in the room, add some color and texture, and invite the buyers to envision themselves living a certain lifestyle within that house.  This is the key - the emotional appeal...that is what the "Dream Home" offers, and that is what every house on the market should convey in order to sell quickly and for the highest possible price.  Aside from location and proper pricing, the 'presentation' can make or break a sale!

Realtors and Sellers alike, should make sure that the house is styled to sell; that every room invites the buyer in.  This goes beyond decluttering and cleaning and entails purposeful design and placement.  There are professional Home Stagers located all across the U.S. and the cost is definitely affordable!  Most, if not all, Stagers offer different levels of service to fit every budget. The Active Rain website is an excellent source for locating both Realtors and Home Stagers in your area. 



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Cindy Lin
Staged4more Home Staging & Designs // EcoJoe - South San Francisco, CA


THANKS FOR SUBMITTING TO THE CARNIVAL! here is your *reciept* ;)



i love staging and all things staging!

i stage to sell, live & work in san francisco bay area 


Jan 05, 2007 11:56 AM #1
Leslie Bloss, Bellevue Real Estate Professional
Bellevue, WA

Hi Val,  I really want the house--it is done in my colors and style (casual).   I love the woods also.  Well I can dream!!


I bet you have a lot of fun staging in San Francisco. 

Jan 05, 2007 01:02 PM #2
Phyllis Pafumi
ReStyled to Sell Home Staging New Jersey - Old Bridge, NJ
ReStyled to Sell Staging Homes NJ

Hey Val I love the Dream Home and it was actually last years Dream Home that got me on my road to staging. Friends of mine from high school kept entering to win the home in NC in hopes that we could open a Bed and Breakfast (my lifelong dream), anyway we did not win, SURPRISED, I was not. But my friend from high school began to talk about staging homes and the rest is historyor should I say MY STORY

By the way, love how the blue countertops look, now what do you think of that? Blue Counters?? Yet it works, we need to work with what our clients have and make it look good Great blog as always

Phyllis Pafumi 

Jan 05, 2007 01:15 PM #3
John Occhi
Mason Real Estate - Temecula, CA
SRES,CPRES.ePRO - Temecula-Murrieta CA Real Estate

What an awsome property.

when I saw your first picture, with the house and vehicle I thought of the infomercials where the guy comes out and says you too can enjoy this lifestyle...

 Nice place

john Occhi, Hemet REALTOR


Jan 05, 2007 01:21 PM #4
Sheron Cardin
California Moods Inc - Selma, CA
ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend!
Hi Val, I must have missed THAT dream house but I did take a tour throught one of them and I am always looking for the gadgets. How about those onions? So anyway I guess you figured out how to CARNIVAL. Can you explain it to me? BTW I am one of those people who asks myself...Do I want to live in Texas? So I didn't enter the last contest but I have lived in Colorado so am in full speed on this one.
Jan 05, 2007 02:24 PM #5
Veronica Harbert
Select Home Staging - Denver, CO
Select Home Staging

You are so right! What a great way to impart the home staging message!

Winter Park isn't far from Denver. Maybe this will be my year? Ha ha ha ha 

Jan 05, 2007 02:25 PM #6
Gina Dougherty
Fusion Design Consulting - Redondo Beach, CA
Home Staging Redondo Beach, CA-

Val, GREAT post pointing out home staging at it's finest and how it can work for anyone.  Your guide through the Dream House points out the purpose and appeal of Home Staging.  Thank you for another great post- and a reminder that I need to go enter this contest!

Sheron, too funny because every year of this contest that I can remember (Florida, NC, Texas- where else am I missing?) I have asked myself that very question- could I live there?  The answer to all of them is probably not, I am waaay too set in my ways here in CA, but I could always handle a (free) vacation home!

Jan 05, 2007 05:28 PM #7
Marci Toliver
438-4642 - Mauldin, SC
Anderson SC, Spartanburg,Greenville SC, Home Staging

Val, you always amaze me!  Your writing is pure eloquence and always RIGHT!


Phyllis, I too have thought of opening a bed and breakfast, but then I think who is going to cook?  Surely not me. (lol)

Jan 05, 2007 08:48 PM #8
Val Allocco
Staged 2 Sell New York & Long Island - Northport, NY
HSE; ASHSR - Home Stager, for Manhattan, Brooklyn & Long Island

Leslie...Do you see how a house that is styled to appeal to the masses can create a desire to live there?  That, in a nutshell, is what "staging" is all about!

John...It could be yours!  You just need to to enter to win (if you go to HGTV's website and 'click' on "Dream Home", it prompts you can enter once each day between now and Feb. 14th). you see, I did not know that about you!  I knew the "Bed and Breakfast" part, just not that you were inspired by a "Dream House".  And yes, I really do like the blue countertops...they work!  Nice analogy about having to style around unconventional furnishings!

Sheron...Let's see if I can remember what I did...I went back to Cindy's blog and clicked on the link to the Blog Carnival.  Once there, it asks you for a URL address for the blog - which I copied and pasted from my blogsite.  I just followed the prompts, and it looks like I did it right! Let me know if you get hung up in trying to do that...e-mail me and give me your phone #, or I'll give you mine and we can 'walk' through it together.  Good luck with the contest (I meant the "Dream House", not the Carnival...don't think that there are any prizes for that other than the added exposure!) - I would just once like to see someone that I "know" win!

Veronica...Thanks - and hope you win!

Gina...I probably just 'shot myself in the foot' by hyping the own chances to win keep getting smaller and smaller!  All kidding aside, like yourself, I have the same thought every year when entering the contest...if I won, I would want to go stay in the house for a month or two and see if the area 'suited' me...if I didn't LOVE it, I would probably keep the house for vacations and rent it out the rest of the time (I mean WHO wouldn't want to rent an HGTV Dream House for a vacation?!).  I would just hope that the $250,000 cash that is part of the prize money would cover the taxes - otherwise I would have to try to get on a 'payment plan' with Uncle Sam!  Good Luck with the contest!

Marci...Thank you - you are always so supportive of me and say the nicest things!  But you cracked me up with your Bed & Breakfast idea...what, you can't "cook" Dunkin' Munchkins and Coffee?!!!! (Bed and BREAKFAST...get it?!!!)  Now go and enter the contest and remember to invite me for a stay when you win it! (But I'll be wanting Eggs Benedict!)

Jan 05, 2007 11:21 PM #9
Val Allocco
Staged 2 Sell New York & Long Island - Northport, NY
HSE; ASHSR - Home Stager, for Manhattan, Brooklyn & Long Island
Oh, and Phyllis - I just had another thought...and Judy Kincaid might appreciate this idea know how we have to sometimes improvise with furnishings because the 'inventory' that we have to work with is not so good?  Well check out those counter stools...who knew that all we had to do was go to the backyard and grab some tree stumps! lol
Jan 05, 2007 11:34 PM #10
Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Frisco TX Real Estate Co. - Frisco, TX
Real Estate Agents

For the past 10 years of Dream Home giveaways, only 1 family chose to stay in the house (Texas one). They very quickly had to move out because of insufficient funds.

I think this is a very well written piece. Home Staging is definitely going to be huge for sellers and soon the "expected". Houses that are not staged definitely dont get as much and sont sell as quick!

Jan 06, 2007 01:22 AM #11
Carol Rumak
Geneva, IL

Val, perfect post! Staging is all about having potential buyers remember something, everything, positive about the house after they leave. You want to make an impression. The idea is to create just enough theater for the buyers to see how they could live in in the house, whether or not the current owners have lived that way!!

Keep Staging it forward!!


Jan 06, 2007 06:04 AM #12
James Frazier
James Frazier Personal Development Coach - Rockford, IL
Thanks for reminding me to enter and for pointing out why these homes are sooooo desirable. If I win, I will invite everyone from Active Rain's Stage It Forward out for a weekend in Colorado. Promise.
Jan 08, 2007 10:56 AM #13
Val Allocco
Staged 2 Sell New York & Long Island - Northport, NY
HSE; ASHSR - Home Stager, for Manhattan, Brooklyn & Long Island

Loreena, Carol and James....thanks for reading my post and leaving a comment. 

James, I'm going to take you up on that offer if you win!!!

Jan 27, 2007 03:27 PM #14
Gina Dougherty
Fusion Design Consulting - Redondo Beach, CA
Home Staging Redondo Beach, CA-
Hey, I just realized that this contest is over now, did I win??
Mar 29, 2007 06:39 PM #15
tara felker
i need this house its everything ive always wanted o well im not that lucky to have an amazing house like this one i hope who ever wins it will have a great time with it :D
Jul 05, 2007 08:09 AM #16
Christine Bean

What beautiful work you have done!

Mar 18, 2008 09:58 AM #17

you make so many good points.

Feb 16, 2009 06:00 AM #18
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HSE; ASHSR - Home Stager, for Manhattan, Brooklyn & Long Island
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