Can Stagers work with Occupied Homes?

Home Stager with Staged to Sell Design Services


Most often when we work with the public, they think Home Staging is only for vacant homes; we help them understand that Staging is equally as important when the seller is still living there.  The most effective way to win over potential buyers is to present your home with an appealing, neutral, ‘unpersonalized’ decor.


There are so many things a seller can do to present their home to the market and help it sell quickly.  Preparing your house for sale is a wonderful opportunity to pack items you plan to take with you and get rid of old, unwanted belongings.  Let’s face it, you will be moving so let’s get a head start on that and also increase the value of your home in the process!

Here are some of the most important techniques we share with our clients who are living in their homes to help them prepare for its sale.


We begin every occupied Staging consultation with a critical eye of your furnishings and we look at your home through the buyer’s eyes.  It’s normal to become used to our own ‘stuff’ and be oblivious to outdated and over-worn furnishings, thereby not seeing the clutter in the over furnished spaces in which we live. Clearing the space creates a feeling of openness, light and airiness which is a very big selling factor to potential buyers.

Additionally you want to keep your overall décor as neutral as possible so potential buyers don’t feel like they are displacing you, the current owners, if they purchase the property.   Buyers must be able to see themselves living in and enjoying the house you are selling.

Painting inside and out is one of the best preparations for sale.  Light, neutral tones which are inviting and not stark or harsh are the best choices. As professional Home Stagers we help our clients choose exactly the right colors to use to obtain the desired effect. 

Sheers and other lightweight window treatments create more light and prevent a room from looking ‘heavy’..and if it’s possible to leave windows uncovered then by all means do so: as long as you aren’t compromising needed privacy.  This allows potential buyers to enjoy the outside view and floods the room with natural light.

We almost never place furniture against walls, we move furnishings away from the walls to create a feeling of space.  This makes rooms more inviting and facilitates a flow of traffic in the rooms.

When it comes to artwork and accessories, a splash of color strategically placed here and there, instead of many strong colors mixed together, goes a long way toward creating interest without being overwhelming.  Vasily Kandinsky was a master of bold color but few homebuyers want to feel like they will be living inside of one of his paintings!  Also, artwork should never be controversial or inappropriate, only calming and complimentary to the room.

Stagers excel in creating interesting vignettes which help buyers connect and feel comfortable in a home being offered for sale.  A cozy reading corner with a soft chair, side table and book; or a playroom with a craft table, great natural light and an easel help to stimulate the buyer’s imagination and encourage them to mentally ‘move in’ to the home.

Kitchens, bathrooms, and utility rooms must be especially clean and clutter free as they are the most prone to constant use and are exposed to the most dirt, germs and debris.  Neatly store Items which are regularly used out of sight and in organized containers and on shelves.  Items which aren’t in constant use should be packed up or moved to the garage and stored away behind closed doors. In the kitchen and baths especially, keep counters clear of all appliances, toiletries, and miscellaneous tools like knife blocks (kitchen) and hairdryers and shavers (bathrooms).   

A good daily airing of the house is an excellent idea.  If you have pets it is best to conceal the evidence of their presence as much as possible by cleaning up after them often and minimizing their odors, beds and toys.  Note: most pets are distressed by strangers in and out of the home so removing them entirely during showings is advisable.

These are just a few techniques Professional Home Stagers employ when helping clients prepare for sale.  When you have done your preparations, the Stager will come in and review your work....and offer additional suggestions for anything you might have missed.  The Stager helps you put the finishing touches in place to make sure your home is presented in it’s best possible light.

For more information on our services please visit our website at 


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Robin Leigh

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