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The 11 Home Staging Mistakes to Avoid

Home Staging Design can make or break a potential sale.

Whether you’re using what you have or starting from scratch, there are some common design mistakes you’ll want to avoid when Staging your Home to Sell.  Here are 11 Home Staging Mistakes to Avoid, these will help you make your home look great for the marketing photos and your potential buyers say WOW!

1) A Stuffed Living Room –  

Mistakes #1 Too Much Furniture

8 Tables and two area rugs, a LOT of stuff and no clear pathway that leads you through the room. Less is more when you’re Staging your Home to Sell.  Visual breathing room is an important element in art and design, including our homes especially when we want to attract the highest possible price from a home buyer.


2) Wall Hugger –

Mistakes #2 Lining Furniture up Against the Wall








#2 of the 11 Home Staging Mistakes to Avoid, Don’t Hug the Wall!  It may seem the logical and maybe even the only way to arrange furniture in the room, (especially if you’re working in a small room), but the opposite is actually true, when Staging, you can harness the flow of a room by centering your pieces, pull them closer to each other instead of crowding your furniture against a wall. You will be amazed how the room takes on a different feel.


3) Collection Spread –

Mistake #3 Too Much Stuff

We’ve heard it before – when Staging your Home to Sell you must declutter, and yes that is true. BUT, the truth is we all collect; whether it’s frogs, figurines or forks from the 4th Century AD, and you likely want to have them on display. There is a right way and wrong way to display your collections. First, if you have a lot of items in your collection, trim it down to just a few of your favorites and pack the rest, (you are moving right?). Next, instead of spreading the pieces throughout the room or worse the house, bring them together – the key is small groupings. Arrangements look deliberate and let your pieces speak for themselves. Well laid out arrangements can enhance the staging of your home if you do it right, and let you enjoy your favorite collections while avoiding that cluttered look.


4) The Fickle Eye –

11 Mistakes when Staging your Home to Sell











#4 of the 11 Home Staging Mistakes to Avoid, Use your Buyer Eyes.  You’ve lived in your home for years, over those years you’ve probably bought or inherited furniture and incorporated it into your home. Maybe it doesn’t quite match or it’s a little too big for the room or worse, you didn’t have room but still used it since it only partially blocks the walkway. Now, years later you don’t notice it any more, you walk around it every day without a thought. Our eyes can be fickle, they have a way of tricking us. Now that you’re Staging Your Home to Sell, it’s time to see your house through “Buyer Eyes” take a good hard look around, are there extra or oversized pieces of furniture that force someone to alter the natural path as they walk through the house? The old saying, “less is more” is absolutely true when Staging Your Home to Sell. Don’t set up an obstacle course with furniture and don’t cram the room full of small décor objects. Make the decisions now whether to store, sell, donate or pitch.

5) Dark Makes Small feel Smaller –

Dark walls make a room feel smaller

Yes dark furniture can make a room feel warm, but it can also make a small room feel smaller. When you’re Staging Your Home to Sell, If you have a small living room, opt for a lighter color palette blending in contrasting pieces for interest.


6) Rug Rules –

11 Mistakes when Staging Your Home to Sell










Area rugs are the best way to anchor a room or a setting and they can tie a room together. But used incorrectly, it can also leave your space looking disjointed and cluttered. When you’re Staging Your Home to Sell, this is especially true and true in the living room, your rug should ground all of the seating elements around it. Make sure when looking for the perfect rug, you buy one that is big enough to achieve this affect. If possible, have all legs of the furniture on the rug with a little rug showing behind the pieces of furniture, creating a frame around the setting. If your living room furniture setting is 6’ x 8’ you should be looking at an 8’ x 10’ rug. Plopping a 5 x 7 in the middle will make the room feel disconnected. Not sure? Get my Rules of the Rug ebook to help bring your rooms together with area rugs. Send your request to


7) Scale –

11 Mistakes when Staging Your Home to Sell

Even designers can get it wrong sometimes; scale is one of the most important, (and sometimes the most difficult) elements of a well put together room. If you have a massive 10’ sectional in the room and put a small 5’ x 7’ area rug in the center or use a small coffee table, it just feels wrong. Maybe you have a large Dining Room space and put a small table in the room, or vice versa you’ve got a small breakfast nook and put a large heavy wood table in the space. Scale is important, think about it when you’re Staging Your Home to Sell and placing furniture or accessorizing a room.

8) Balance –
Mistake #8 The room Looks Off Balance









Without balance in a room, it can make you feel uncomfortable and even anxious. Balance is as much about emotion as it is about good design and balance gives us a feeling of stability and wellness. Creating a harmonious space depends on a few things; the furniture and the décor placement. Color and texture and the scale of the furnishings and décor. Think about a seesaw, if one side of the room is heavy and weighed down, the room will feel off balance. Example, when you’re Staging Your Home to Sell, if one wall has a tall wall unit and wall décor, make sure you balance that wall with something bold on the opposite side of the room. If you have a heavy sofa on one side, balance it with a pair of chairs opposite the sofa or other foundational piece of furniture.

9) Matchy –
11 Mistakes when Staging Your Home to Sell

#9 of the 11 Home Staging Mistakes to Avoid, Everyhing Matches?  A sure sign of an amateur decorator is where everything including the art matches perfectly. It’s not about perfection, it’s about ambiance. Example, balance a bold color with a large pattern that blends but doesn’t match exactly. Or balance a bright warm color with a textured cool color. Or choose colors that are the same hue but varies in intensity. Professionals Staging a Home to Sell  showcase rooms that are well put together with new elements mixed with old; smooth is contrasted with rough, polished is contrasted with nubby.

10) Boring –

11 Mistakes when Staging Your Home to Sell







If you have a boring “beige” room, when you’re Staging your Home to Sell, pick a great color and think about threading a needle, you’ll want to run that thread throughout the room and the house in a variety of different ways with pieces that pick up on that color or color palette.


11) Level –

11 Mistakes when Staging Your Home to Sell

Rule #11 of the 11 Home Staging Mistakes to Avoid, Don’t be Boring!  Rooms with furniture all the same height are boring. Create interest with changes in elevations through the room as you think about Staging your Home to Sell. Put tall pieces next to short pieces. If you have a low back sofa, add something like a tall armoire or bookshelf. The reverse is also true with small décor, use the 3:1 ratio. Example, if you have 3 vases of varying heights grouped together, balance them with a single larger décor object on the opposite side of the shelf or mantel. It will make an eye-catching design statement.

We see these mistakes often, that’s why they’re called common mistakes. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with all the details. You may not know where to start or which is the most important detail to focus on. If you’re thinking about selling your Desert Home would like more information about how we Style a Home to Sell, give us a call, we’re here to help.

Here are just a few of the homes we styled recently

75642 Painted Desert, Indian Wells 

45475 Painted Desert, Indian Wells

45745 Manitou, Indian Wells

73325 Riata Trail, Palm Desert


Cathi Walter Desert Lifestyle Homes Palm Desert