Don't Make These Bedroom Staging Mistakes

Home staging is a strategy that many sellers use to show off their property’s potential, and it’s one of the most important tasks you can do before putting your house on the market.

Staging makes it easier for buyers to visualize the space as their future home, according to 82% of buyer’s agents surveyed for the National Association of Realtors® biennial Profile of Home Staging. And nearly a quarter of buyer’s agents said that staging a home increased the sale price by 1% to 5%.

The survey also points out that the primary bedroom is one of the three most important rooms to stage. But staging a boudoir involves more than making the bed and calling it a day.

If you’re determined to stage your home to the nines and fetch top dollar, avoid these common missteps.

1. Not purging bedroom closets

It might be tempting to tidy up before an open house by throwing clutter in the closet, but avoid this instinct.

“Sellers should expect that closets will be thoroughly analyzed by potential buyers for size and function as part of a showing,” says Sarah Goss, managing broker at Southwestern Real Estate in Sugar Grove, IL.

Days (or weeks) before an open house, take an hour or two to go through your bedroom closets to decide what you want to keep or donate. Be sure to organize the remaining items by color or function.

“This won’t cost you a dime as a seller, and it gives a buyer confidence that you’re organized with the more expensive home details,” says Goss.

2. Forgetting about lighting

Show off every bedroom in the best light possible. Lighting can completely transform a bedroom by making it more warm and welcoming.

A mixture of ambient, accent, and task lighting is best, says Fiona Dogan, a real estate agent and home stager at Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty in Rye, NY.

Ambient lighting provides the primary illumination for a room and includes overhead lights. The most common accent lights are table lamps and wall fixtures or sconces. And task lighting is directional and illuminates a particular area to make the completion of tasks easier; pendant lights, under-cabinet lights, and reading lights all fall under this category.

“Make sure you have the correct wattage in your lamps and fixtures,” says Dogan.

A 40- to 60-watt soft white or warm white bulb is most commonly recommended for bedrooms.

3. Neglecting artwork

Interior designer Robin DeCapua, of Madison Modern Home, advises against hanging small, highly personal family photos as art.

“Buyers want a magazine-worthy bedroom to gaze at while they imagine their perfect life there,” says DeCapua. “A picture of Uncle Charlie at your kid’s birthday party isn’t going to help them have a daydream that leads to strong offers.”

That’s not to say that your bedroom should be void of artwork. A bedroom will look more pulled together and thoughtfully staged with a large painting or framed print hung on the wall above the head of the bed.

DeCapua also points out that many sellers hang up artwork at the incorrect height.

“A good rule of thumb is to hang your art so that its center is eye level to an average-height person,” she says.

A single piece of art should be hung about 60 inches from the center of the piece to the floor.

4. Not staging beds

The bed is the bedroom’s main focal point, so it’s important you give it extra attention. Sellers should make the beds in a luxurious yet simple way, recommends Joe Human, a designer based in New York City and Florida.

“When you walk into a furniture store looking for a bed to purchase, and it has a poorly fitted sheet and a couple of pillows, our inclination is that it doesn’t look that inviting,” he says. “Same goes for the home.”

Sellers should also add extra pillows to give beds a “cozy” feel.

“Your bed should have at least four standard pillows and then two to four light-colored decorative pillows,” says Peri Lauren, an interior and bedding designer in New York.

5. Not removing pet items

We love our pets, but unfortunately, prospective buyers might not feel the same way. And pet crates, beds, and toys can possibly derail your home sale.

“If you have pets, be sure to remove any traces of them, especially before you take listing photos,” says Kasia McDaniel, home stager and owner of Blue Diamond Staging & Design in Moore County, NC. “You don’t want buyers to automatically assume your house smells of pets because they see traces of them in your home.”

It’s also a good idea to have a trusted friend or relative watch your pet during showings.

“Not removing pets from the home can be a real turnoff for buyers,” says Dogan.


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