• Debbie DeMarais

The Money-Making Magic of Professionally Staging Your Home

What if I told you a little money and a few hours of effort could net you a huge return? No, this isn’t a pitch for one of those multi-level marketing schemes. This is something I’ve seen first hand over many years in my profession. If you’re selling your home, having it professionally staged is the best way to add value. In fact, staging can bring in thousands, even tens of thousands additional dollars on the sale price.

Home staging isn’t just for empty, unoccupied homes, either. If you’ll still be living in your home when it’s on the market, a professional stager will make sure every detail is arranged to attract the most interest—so you can pull in the best offers, fast.

Can’t I just stage my home myself?

Of course you can. Your furniture is already there. There’s art on the walls. You could give everything a good cleaning and call it a day. But if you consider the improved—and faster—offers you’ll get with a professional staging, the financial benefits are just too good to skip.

Most occupied home stagings can be completed with a few hours of consultation, in which you’ll learn exactly what should go where, what should be removed, and what repairs or updates you should make. You can save money by following the recommendations yourself, or you can leave the transformation to your home stager’s team.

What DIY staging can’t do

A home stager will offer two things that most people are unable to bring to a home staging project on their own:

  • Objectivity

  • Insider knowledge

Today I’ll show you two projects that highlight those two pro-stager advantages.

Objectivity: Seeing with a buyer’s eye

You’ve a long time to discover and acquire items—art you love, furnishings you need, mementos you treasure. It can be difficult to look dispassionately at your belongings to determine what should remain for buyers to see, and what should be packed away.

A stager on the other hand, will know exactly which pieces of art will have the most positive effect on a buyer. They’ll know which of your furniture, in what arrangements will give your home an open and inviting feel.


Living room seating area with many momentos decorating the room
BEFORE: Living room is oriented for passage into hall, but doing so hides a key feature: the fireplace.
Tidy living room seating area facing toward the lit fireplace
AFTER: Removing decor, swapping furniture, and orienting the room toward the hearth creates a cozy space.

The owners of this classic Southwestern home had a large collection of art and accumulated mementos. Their furniture was arranged in a way that worked best for how the family lived in the home. Unfortunately the overall effect—to a buyer—was overly cluttered and the layout was confusing.


View across dining room into living room in Santa Fe home
BEFORE: This layout may confuse potential buyers, and it makes the space look smaller.
Southwest style dining and living rooms with wooden viga ceiling and open concept floor plan.
AFTER: Rearranging furniture between seating areas, and removing many items, helps open up the space.

I recommended paring down around 60 percent of the art and décor in the home, and I selected a few pieces that would appeal to the broadest range of buyers. I then rearranged and swapped furnishings between rooms to create quiet and calm seating areas. As you can see from the photos, the living room feels more open, uncluttered, and inviting.

Insider Knowledge: Hands-on experience


If you buy and sell a home five times in your life, you’re above average—but well below the number of real estate transactions a home stager has experienced. A home stager can tell you what buyers respond to and what décor choices best fit your style of home. Hands-on experience informs what works and what doesn’t, from front door appeal to landscaping, rug choice to paint color.


Built-in bookcases in a library alcove at a Santa Fe home
BEFORE: A library nook looks darker packed with furniture and collectibles.

The original homeowner of this pueblo style home in Santa Fe had an extremely valuable accumulation of artwork and objects. But I knew from experience the art was too dramatic and the tone too heavy to work in a home staging. If it were used, buyers would simply be distracted by the art, instead of focusing on the home itself.

You can see from the library pics, the owner had an extensive collection of rare books and collectible silver. Though everything was quite valuable and impressive, it made the room feel overwhelming and tight. I thinned out the books, removed the silver collection and took away the dark rug. Suddenly the area became light and bright, and allowed the buyer to envision their own collections on the shelves.


And where did the two padded chairs that had been in the library area end up? They were put to good use as part of an intimate little seating space in the reorganized master bedroom...


Southwest-style master bedroom with corner kiva fireplace

Do it yourself—with expert advice


I’ll leave you with one more set of before and after pics. (Because who doesn’t love a good before/after?) This entire project was completed over the phone and through video chat. The seller wanted to make the best of what they had in their home and was willing to put in the sweat equity to make it happen.


Cozy southwest bungalow living room with lots of collectibles and furnishings
Light and bright cozy southwest bungalow living room with only a few decorative touches to help the space feel larger

You can see the difference. Removing certain décor and repositioning furniture helped to open the space and make the cozy living room feel larger. The home had offers over asking within days of listing.

The fact is, the return on investment for staging your home—especially if you decide to save money by doing the rearrangements yourself—is simply too large to pass up.

Whether you want to do the heavy lifting yourself with a home staging consultation, have my team complete the whole thing, or something in between, get in touch today and let’s start talking about staging your home for a bigger return on your biggest investment.

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