Highlights from a Home Stager: Occupied Home Staging 101

6 Mar



Rittenhouse Square Home Staging


Hi Everyone!  In our last feature, we talked about why we recommend staging vacant real estate listings.  Now, we want to switch gears a little bit and talk about occupied home staging.  We’ll cover why it is important, how you can do it on your own, and also how we can help you take it to the next level.

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Sooo…  Why is it important to stage an occupied home? (And what does that even mean?)

Well, we’ve said this before, and we’ll say it again- you get a split second to make a first impression.  An agent will send their prospective buyer client (PB) some listings—> PB is going to look at a 1 inch thumbnail caption of your living room and decide if they even want to look at the rest of the photos, let alone come see the house in person.  Make the most of your inch!  The most enticing photos will present clean lines, clear functionality (“Oh, that’s a nice TV room”, or Ah, this one has a breakfast nook”), and simplicity in décor.  Make the space easy for PB to understand  so he/she doesn’t have to think too hard.

Now, think like a buyer.  Assuming you get PB to your door, there are going to be a few things he/she will be considering.  Obviously, overall condition (roof, mechanicals, structure) are ultimately very important.  But, what comes before that is the questions of Do we want to live our lives here?  Does this feel like it could be home?  Staging plays a big role in helping PB envision their idealized life in this home.  And without that vision, your never gonna get to the home inspection.  Here’s some pointers to get you moving in the right direction:


  1.  Take down your family photos- It’s very difficult to envision a home as your own with someone else’s pictures all over the place.  A good replacement would be non-specific nature photos, landscape shots or a mirror.mercer
  2. Neutralize- This doesn’t mean that everything has to be beige, although we do recommend painting walls in neutral colors when possible.  The idea is just to create a presentation that will not be unappealing to any prospective buyer.  For example, you collect clown dolls- some people are very uncomfortable around clowns (and dolls, for that matter), so pack those away.  Or, you have a lot of religious artwork- your PB may not share the same beliefs, so they could definitely have a difficult time feeling at home with those items- we’d recommend packing those types of items.moore2
  3. Restore each room to it’s intended purpose-  I eat at my dining table 3 times a year.  The rest of the time, it is a workspace, a laundry folding space, a dumping ground for keys, bags, and mail.  But, in my next house, I’m going to eat a well-balanced home-cooked meal off of fine china every evening in my dining room.  Probably not, but ham it up a little…  Show a dining room as an actual dining room.  Show bedrooms as actual bedrooms when possible.  PB’s often have a difficult time visualizing bedrooms without beds.  Many times a smaller room will feel bigger with a full bed in it because PB’s would otherwise assume that only a twin bed would fit the space.  This could be a game changer right here.  And, if you have children at home, relegate toys to kids’ rooms or to the playroom.  If toys are everywhere, it sends the impression that the home isn’t big enough (which may very well be why you are moving, but shhhh….)mercer2
  4. While we are on the subject of “big enough”- Declutter, Declutter, Declutter- you have to pack it eventually anyway!  Packing it up before showings begin is a great move.  Less clutter will make your space feel larger and more open.  It will also help you depersonalize because most of the personality in your home is probably coming from those little knick-knack items that you don’t really need, per sePack up out-of-season clothes, small kitchen appliances that only get used once a year, etc.  If you can get a temporary storage unit, do it.  If that is not an option, designate one area (basement or garage?) to neatly stack boxes.  Organize closets and cabinets, and aim for 25% empty.  If PB opens your closet and sees that it is 25% empty, it immediately feels like a big closet because it isn’t stuffed to capacity.ISuk7gf5l6583h1000000000
  5. Have an escape plan- You’ve made your house picture perfect, had photos taken, and are ready for showings.  But, now you have to live here- Yikes!!  Have a closed storage solution in each room.  A storage ottoman in the living room is a great place to toss all the toys when a showing comes up quick…  A little basket for papers and mail is easy to stash inside the dining room china closet.  Grab a few plastic bins from the dollar store to stow toiletries neatly and easily under the sink.  And, I’ll say it…  put a bed skirt on your bed so you can hide the  dirty socks and undies in a hurry.  (Note:  you do not actually need to be selling your home to use these tricks)IS2nmvlt3abb1x1000000000

So, these tips should help you get a great start!  But, if you feel like you could use a hand, don’t hesitate to call us in.  Here’s a list of ways that we can assist you with occupied home staging and selling:

Renovation Consultation–  Planning to paint, tile, refinish, update or upgrade?  Need help making the right choices?  We see a lot of homes so we can help you make the selections that sell.

Occupied Staging Consultation–  We’ll walk your home with a buyer’s perspective.  We’ll go room-by-room and throw out as many suggestions as you’re willing to hear in order to help you get the most out of your home sale.

Supplementary Rental–  Need a staging bed for that empty bedroom, or a more contemporary sofa in the living room?  Did you give away your dining table when you turned the dining room into an office?  Not sure what you need?  We can help cross your T’s and dot your I’s.

Quick Detail–  Do you have your photo shoot lined up, but you are a pillow-fluffing disaster?  Call us in for a little primp-session.  We’ll come in and detail each room (like only a stager can do) to help it show it’s best.

Well, thanks for reading all that!  Feel free to share with your seller clients,  friends and family.  And tune in next time to hear some tips from the photo pros!

Contact Ali at akutner@sunflowercreationsonline.com or 267.207.9898 to get that ball rolling. Or visit us at Sunflower Creations Home.

In general, for vacant home staging, a consult 2-3 week’s prior to intended completion date is ideal. And in the case of occupied home staging, the more time we have prior to listing, the more we can help you perfect your product.

…Home Staging in 19128, 19127, 19119, 19118, 19130, 19121, 19123, 19125, 19134, 19103, 19102, 19104, 19106, 19107, 19146, 19147, 19139, 19143, 19145, 19148, 19004, 19003, 19035, and all Philadelphia and Surrounding Suburbs.



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