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  • Writer's pictureDebbie DeMarais

Step-by-Step Home Staging Example

Ever wonder what happens when you have a home staged? In this post I share all the details of a past project to reveal everything that can go into preparing a house for sale...

I worked on this beautiful pueblo contemporary style home in Santa Fe in winter of 2019 and kept track of all the steps so I could share them here. It’s important to note that this house had multiple offers, and was under contract within nine days of listing at a price well above the comps for that particular neighborhood to date—which is another way of saying all the preparation efforts paid off!

Read on to find out what happens when you have your home staged.

It all started back in 2016

Even though I staged the house in 2019, I first met with the homeowners nearly three years prior. They were already working with their broker, Dianne McKenzie from Kachina Mountain Realty and she brought me in to discuss the logistics of home staging.

Then something happened that often does in real estate, the buyers decided to put off selling their home. In this case, they wanted to wait until their daughters had both gone off to college. A fair enough consideration — and since the initial meeting went well, I knew I’d be hearing from them before long.

Initial meeting — take two

Then in December of 2018, the home owners were ready to sell. I met with them and the broker again, and explained what I do as a home stager.

I told them that in addition to staging the home, I could coordinate everything from:

  • Donation or disposal of unwanted items

  • Moving process

  • Assessing and coordinating repairs

  • Painting

  • Landscaping

  • Bringing in art, furniture, and decor for staging

  • Cleaning every inch for a show-ready home

I also introduced them to Michelle Moreland, professional organizer and owner of The Lone Arranger. Michelle would spearhead the organizing and decluttering — donating and consigning furniture, décor and artwork. (She would also act as my right-hand person, since the work was starting when I’d be out of town!)

For the second phase of the meeting we walked with the homeowners through the house. We took photos and noted all the items they wanted to keep and items they wanted to get rid of. We took measurements and talked about the repairs that would be needed.

Their living room was beautiful, but there was this huge bookcase separating it from the front room. I thought if we removed it, we could bring in more light and enlarge the space. The homeowner agreed with the idea.

Large wooden bookcase blocks view into another room.

I recommended removing the large bookcase in the living room to bring in more light and improve the flow of the floor plan.

We get the job

At the end of the meeting, the homeowners were convinced. They told us — the realtor, the organizer and me — to provide estimates. It looked like the project was getting a green light.

There was a lot of work to be done, but the sooner the house went on the market the better so we came up with a realistic timeline to make sure everything would be photo-ready by mid-February.

I presented a staging proposal, showing them the benefits of home staging — and how it’s infinitely better than trying to sell a vacant house. I explained my rental and services fees and worked out a date for the move-in of the staging materials.

We signed the staging agreement and then it was time to get to work.

Michelle (the organizer) started working with the client, orchestrating the pre-move work. I scheduled a handyman, giving him instructions on the removal of the bookcase, along with other small repairs the house needed. A landscaper showed up and began the process of getting the yard ready.

Out with the old, in with — the repairs

After the client hired movers, Michelle organized items into what would go to storage, what would go to the consignment shops and what would be thrown out. This was the time when I was out of town so Michelle was calling or texting me daily as we coordinated the process.

Contemporary pueblo-style living room with owner posessions prior to home staging services.

Living room looking into kitchen and dining before move-out.

Guest house space used as kids room prior to home staging services.

On site guest house (called a casita) being used as a kids room before move-out.

Once the furniture was out, we started on the repairs. Over the course of five weeks, we worked with local pros to make improvements like:

  • Repairing the Diamond plaster walls

  • Re-staining cabinets and doors

  • Replacing burned out light fixtures

  • Fixing cracks in the flooring

  • Resealing the flagstone and cement

  • Cleaning the yard

  • Laying gravel and landscaping cover

  • Rescreening the windows

  • Cleaning each room from top to bottom

Vacant open concept living room space looking into dining room.

Living room after move-out and during repairs.

Removing a large wooden bookcase allowed for more light to enter open concept floor plan.

Another view of living room, showing area where bookcase was removed to open up space.

Empty casita space prior to deep cleaning.

Casita space after move-out during repairs and deep cleaning.

Staging transformation

So much work had been done, and we hadn’t staged a thing! This is partly why I put this post together — staging is so much more than just putting some art on the wall and bringing in a sofa or two.

For this three bedroom, three bath house I headed into my warehouse to select the right inventory. I picked a color palette for the house of soft blues, cream and grey. I chose coordinating artwork, accessories, floral and décor to set the stage in the now vacant — and fully repaired — home.

Modern decor in silvers and greys compliments warm diamond plaster walls in contemporary Santa Fe home.

It's important in staging to use decor which evokes a mood that is both inspiring to buyers and complimentary of the architectural space.

You could eat off these windows

Just prior to bringing in all the furniture and decor for staging the whole house was subjected to a deep-clean. We made sure the windows, mirrors, and any other glass or shiny surface was spotless, and the whole house was free of fingerprints and debris. (Not easy considering the rainy, snowy and windy weather we’d been getting all that February.)

Move-in day & photography

It took my crew about six hours to load up, transport and set out all the needed inventory. For a 3,000 square foot house (with a small on-site guest house) that included:

  • Two dining room sets

  • Consoles

  • Cabinets

  • Two sofas

  • Several chairs

  • Coffee tables

  • Desks

  • Two bedroom sets

  • Patio furniture

  • And a whole lot of lighting, artwork and décor

For two days I worked with my crew to set up the house. We hung artwork, staged the interior AND exteriors. I made sure the flow of traffic felt right, the rooms felt comfortable, the arrangements were pleasing to the eye, and that there was enough negative space to rest the gaze. I made sure everything balanced and harmonized well and had the right contrast of texture. I also wanted people to notice the excellent architectural details and design of the house, so I placed décor to guide their attention.

Professional Santa Fe home stager Debbie DeMarais sets the dining room table in a luxury staged home.

Here I am contending with finishing touches in the dining room.

Then the photographer arrived to capture all the different views of the home and a beautiful house went on the market.

Open concept space after home staging looks inviting and stylish in time for open house.

The living room fully staged looking into the area that had been closed off by the bookcase.

Charming guest space in Santa Fe compound staged by DeMaraias Home Staging and Design.

The casita once again becomes a self-contained guest space in the staging design.

Closing the deal

The first open house was on February 24. Forty people showed up. Two firm offers went in — it would have been three but another potential buyer had an issue with the stairs. There was a broker and agent tour on February 27th with numerous agents walking through.

Just nine days after it went on the market the house was under contract, with many potential backup offers. The list price was $750,000 — and the client accepted a full price offer. Afterwards the client retained me to manage a few more details at the home until the sale closed.

Updated decor in pueblo-style master bedroom suite gives potential buyers appreciation of space.

The master bedroom retained the two red wall lamps because they added some drama to the grey and cream colors that were selected for the staging.

Every project is unique

In sharing the process for this home it is important to point out that every property has it’s unique needs and timing when preparing for a sale. Some homes require fewer logistics and some require so much more. It is impossible to determine the potential scope until I see the home in person or, as I’ve been doing more since the advent of COVID-19, arranging for a thorough digital walk-through. There’s no question though that investing a bit up front in the preparation and staging process can yield positive financial results for the seller, and an improved property for the buyers to enjoy.


Staged homes sell faster. If you’d like to know more about home staging, I’d love to hear from you. In addition to supporting homes in Santa Fe, New Mexico I also offer virtual consultation services for clients across the US. Get in touch today!


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