Home Staging -- A Living Room

There is a big difference between preparing a home to live in and 
preparing a home to be SOLD.
As I share with you these rooms and homes I have staged,
I hope I am clear about the differences.

Home Staging is different from Interior Design.
Design brings out the personality of the homeowner and makes their home more attractive
and functional for the occupants in the home.
The goal of Home Staging is to feature the home/house/property, not the occupants.

If you are staging your home, you never want potential buyers 
to be so enamored and curious about your life, that they forget why they came in the house.

Potential buyers need solely concentrate on imagining themselves in the home for sale.

By eliminating all excess furnishings and accessories that do not reinforce this goal,
the home will seem larger and presents the home in its' best possible light.


This living room, inside this home (had 3 showings, with these buyers engaged in a 
bidding war, and it sold in one weekend) was cozy and warm and even tidy.

This was the first room seen when entering the home. However, many small furnishings 
prevent the buyers from walking around and imagining their life here.

By removing a desk/chair/ piano bench coffee table, a rocking chair, speakers, ottoman, 
and a screen, the room opens up and invites buyers to enter and sit and dream.

The family or living room, over all other rooms, usually requires the most attention
to the placement of the furnishings, since the seating area is most important 
to the perception of relaxation or the promise of conversation.

The sofa is now facing the foyer to bid the visitors a warm welcome.
The armoire is opposite the window for balance and scale.
Candles, greenery, pillows, a throw, and a few magazines all say, 
"Come in. Sit down. Relax."

The room was neutralized by removing the touches of red,
and personal items like books (with titles that left clues to the homeowners' preferences).
Window treatments were removed and the blinds raised to let in light or allow perspective buyer to peek in the windows (so they want to call the Realtor to let them come inside and see the rest of the house).

Simple stacked baskets wait patiently in the corner, not more seating.

Notice there is only one piece of "art" in this room, the scrolly iron demilune piece.
A room need not have something on every wall: seating or art.
Simple is best so the eye can rest.

The goal is to balance the room.


Place the furniture first, then the lighting, accessories, and art.
Have a good distribution of the larger pieces (here: the sofa, chair and armoire) throughout the room. The heights of furniture should more up and down gradually with no cliff-like drop-offs between items.

If you are planning on staging your home to be sold, here's how you can capture buyer's interest and keep it, after they've walked in the front door:
  • Remain detached emotionally from your house. See your house through buyers' eyes. It is no longer your home. It is a building, a commodity that you want to sell for the highest amount possible!
  • Clean and polish everything
  • Remove extra furniture, personal items (pictures/books/art), unhealthy or excess plants, heavy window treatments (or at least pull them to the sides of the windows), from the room.
  • Clean windows inside and out. (As a stager, I typically have the homeowner remove the screens from the front windows of the house- it make the windows sparkle and shine and it's more appealing than the dullness of gray screening).
  • Dark paint or busy wallpapering like in my foyer, must go.
  • Store all video tapes, CDs, gaming equipment, small TVs, small stereos, photo albums TV guides and remotes.
  • Paint molding, or fireplace mantel, if needed, to match rest of molding and doors in the house- white is best for unifying.
  • Clean carpeting or polish floors.
  • If carpeting needs to be replaced, do it.
  • If wood flooring needs to be refinished, do it.
  • Hide, as best you can, all cords and outlets in the room.
  • All toys should be kept in a container, out of sight.
  • Keep entertainment center doors closed. Consider covering the inside of glass doors with fabric to hide distracting and unsightly equipment.
  • Clean the fireplace and put fresh logs inside it.
  • Three lamps, minimum, help light the room. Realtors will turn these on before showings, typically to welcome buyers. Overhead lighting kills coziness.
  • Keep TV and electronics off during showings.

Have you any thoughts or questions for me?

If you'd like to read about our process of staging our own home this year,
go HERE.



  1. Thank you for all the wonderful information! Your before and after pictures are amazing!

  2. This is such a great post and your transformation is amazing. Homes are so hard to sell right now, so this is very valuable information. Hugs, Marty

  3. Your home transformation is beautiful!! You will sell your home soon!! Our other house sold within 90 days.
    The key is the staging, making it look bigger than what it really is. Also having a good real estate agent who works hard for you counts for a lot!

  4. Lots of good tips, Leslie. Oh, I love that armoire that holds the tv. I'd love one exactly like that. Forget the house, I just want the armoire. ha! Seriously, the house looks great. Susan

  5. Oh, Yes, GREAT info, Leslie! I actually love the calmness of the room after you've staged it. I need to calm my house down.....not that I don't want it to be personal, but the older I get, the more calm and serene I want my home to be!!

  6. A great post, Leslie. You touched on a lot of things that the broker I once worked for would communicate to her clients. Some people are just too attached to really listen, but it pays off for the ones who do. ;)

  7. Hi Leslie,
    Wow, such a difference in that room. What you said makes perfect sense - about the new buyer needing to imagine THEIR life there. (Not experiencing your life as they walk through the rooms.

    when I look at homes online, I think, "How wonderful would it be to walk in and plop my purse there, then head, here, and do this..." Imagining myself living there already.

    Thank you so much for this.
    (And, I love your wallpaper. Such a strong statement. Not something I would be drawn to choose. Not because I wouldn't enjoy it - just because it's such a bold move...and I'm still such a...passive decorator.

    I would love to see more before and afters.
    Not only bumping the personality down - for showing. But, maybe...if you ever have the chance, bumping UP the rooms.

    Thanks to much for doing this.
    (Oh, and we're offering another giveaway this week, if you are interested.)

  8. Man, re-reading my comment...I really like opening parens, but not closing them, eh?

    I'll be gentle on myself for the Caps - considering it's 3am and I'm recuperating from a migraine - lol.

  9. So, so true! All of your tips are spot on and you did wonders with that room. Really making it so that anyone could walk in and imagine themselves there rather than imagining the current owners there, you know? Such an important difference and you definitely have the knack for this! :-)

  10. You always have a ton of great advice Leslie. I just wish more people would follow it. I remember looking at houses and some would have music playing. Just wondered how you felt on that. It was nice when it was around the holdays and they'd play some holiday music.

  11. Love the difference you made, what a beautiful room! Good job, once again, Ms. Leslie!

  12. You did a wonderful job!! I just staged our home that we sold in February to the 3rd couple that came to see it. I am looking into becoming a stager myself. Any advice for me?? I will be visiting again & signed up for your newsletter & became a follower. You are an inspiration!! What is your training??

  13. Very interesting. A friend will soon sell her house and she has been struggling to make it more marketable. I will recommend this page to her and make sure she follows all tips. Thanks a lot for this information.


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