Whoa! What Happened Here?

Home Stager with Memorial Staged Homes

Whoa! What Happened Here?

(Perspectives on Real Estate and More from a Home Staging Pro)

        As you can imagine, every once in a while I walk into a house and think, “Whoa! What happened here?”  What may surprise you is that it is not the house that is full of clutter that surprises me as much as an occupied house that is practically empty.  Clearly there was a misunderstanding about what Home Staging is all about.  Yes de-cluttering or editing is an important part of Home Staging but it is possible to do too much of a good thing. 

        Below is a picture of one of my favorite rooms.  It was a room just off the patio that had a lot of sun.  I wanted to show it as a retreat of sorts and make it feel comfortable and inviting.   I did not pack it with furniture and there is not a tchotchke on every shelf, but the space is defined and according to the Agent and the Seller the room was very inviting.  I guess the Buyers liked this room, along with the rest of the house.  The house was under contract within two days of Staging.

Flex Room Staged


Home Staging is about a lot more than de-cluttering.  By Staging your house, you use a careful balance of furniture and accessories to draw attention to the best assets of the house and distract from the less than appealing features.  If you’re not sure how to use accessories along with pieces of furniture to make Buyers fall in love with it, talk to a Home Stager.  The Home Stager can either point you in the right direction or do the work for you.  It’s your call!  Whatever you choose, do not take de-cluttering to such an extreme that anyone thinks, “Whoa! What happened here?”


Wishing you a quick sale!


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 Kathy Strader, ASP




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Tatyana Makarov
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - South Windsor, CT
Your Greater Hartford Area Realtor

Hello Kathy,

I guess we all have a different meaning when we say: "less is more"...

Aug 22, 2012 09:41 AM #26
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Kathy- congrats on the feature.  I was actually moving back to FL when a neighbor asked me for a consultation (this was 2 days before my move).  I ran into a similar problem... all white walls, minimal furniture  and very little color.  Yikes!  

Aug 22, 2012 10:21 AM #27
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging that Sells Portland Homes"

Hi Kathy ~ The best staging shows the room's function but also allows the buyer to see the room's great features ... when it comes to furniture, less is more in my opinion too.  Great example, and  congrats on the Featured post!

Aug 22, 2012 10:26 AM #28
Kathy Strader
Memorial Staged Homes - Houston, TX

Tatyana, you are oh so right!


Maureen and Kathy, I know you feel my pain!

Aug 22, 2012 11:16 AM #29
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


I love a decluttered home.  I feel that each room needs some furniture in it that says I am a bedroom or I am an office.

Aug 22, 2012 11:27 AM #30
Pat & Steve Pribisko
Keller Williams Greater Cleveland West - Westlake, OH

I so agree with you.  I took the ASP course to gain some small basics.

Aug 22, 2012 11:49 AM #31
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Sometimes buyers just need a little help trying to figure out where the furniture should go. Staging can help them see things that otherwise they wouldn't.

Aug 22, 2012 02:12 PM #32
Amanda S. Davidson
Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group - Alexandria, VA
Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale

I agree, empty rooms just don't work. I could use your help on one of my listings right now, wish you were closers. Sellers don't seem to get that the right furniture in the right place is better than no furniture ;)

Aug 22, 2012 11:56 PM #33
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Kathy rules.....no clutter is safe or can live in her presence for long

Aug 22, 2012 11:59 PM #34
Mark Loewenberg
KW of the Palm Beaches - Palm Beach Gardens, FL
KW 561-214-0370

wow that is really the bare necessities! home run and congrats on the featured blog post too! well deserved for today in real estate!

Aug 23, 2012 12:11 AM #35
David Evans
HUD NLB Cumming GA

Kathy, well done! More open space aleaves buyers with a better feel for their plan and from there much is gained from offering standpoint. Great post and congrats on being featured. ;)

Aug 23, 2012 01:06 AM #36
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi Kathy, we had that happen on a listing the other day - you could not see an inch of the counter tops!

Aug 23, 2012 01:16 AM #37
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

I love your comment that staging draws attention to the best features of the house. So many have the incorrect belief that somehow a stager will "cover up" faults.

Aug 23, 2012 02:20 AM #38
Tamara Elliott-Deering
Central Metro Realty - Austin, TX

I always stage vacant homes they tend to be echoey and vast without a place for the eye to rest.  They also feel cold and for some reason people need a visual cue to identify what room is what.  I also have very contemporary taste and I lived in a home that was too big for me without a lot of clutter, my realtor told me I had to paint my white walls and add in some more stuff - probably the first time a client was told that :)

Aug 23, 2012 02:28 AM #39
Pam Smits
Staging Fox Valley, LLC - Oshkosh, WI
Home Staging, Appleton, WI, Oshkosh, WI; Green Bay, WI

I agree--less IS more!  I try to help buyers understand that they are selling their space, not their stuff.  I always give the HGTV show "House Hunters" as an example--people can get caught up in the stuff and not the space and a sale can be lost!

Aug 23, 2012 03:06 AM #40
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

I cannot imagine living in a house and trying to sell it at the same time.  Great post.

Aug 23, 2012 08:52 AM #41
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

I once had a client completely empty her kitchen cabinets because she thought it would look better.  All her food and dishes were in boxes in the garage.  The husband was so relieved when I told her the stuff should be brought back into the kitchen.

Aug 23, 2012 08:55 AM #42
Brad Baylor
ERA Coup Agency - Milton, PA

Proper staging is so important in today's market.  Thank's for the great post!


Aug 24, 2012 06:09 AM #43
Nan Jester
Exit Real Estate Gallery Jacksonville Beach, FL - Jacksonville Beach, FL
Realtor, Exit Real Estate Gallery

Staging is critical. I had rather have it almost empy than to cluttered, though.

Aug 27, 2012 02:12 AM #44
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

Good stagers are worth their weight in gold. It takes a special knack to do it right.

Nov 20, 2012 12:36 PM #45
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