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Staging to sell

Here's what good staging is not: ripping every last bit of personality out of a home before showing it to buyers.

The devotion to sparse decor and neutral color palettes—once iron-clad truisms of “proper” staging—is giving way to a livelier vision encompassing more trendy, inviting interiors and exteriors that are intended to make a listing more marketable.

As stagers reject stripped-down, beige-heavy stylings that are as boring as they are forgettable, they’re replacing them with designs that complement a home’s architecture and price point and present a lifestyle that buyers will want to buy into.

That means bolder color pops—yes, even this year’s Pantone color of the year, the purplish-pink radiant orchid; trendy mismatched furnishings; and striking fabric designs. Some stagers are even commissioning specific artwork to suit a home, mixing in repurposed furnishings and nature-inspired accents as a nod toward the green movement.

“It’s important to keep up-to-date on the new colors, materials, lighting, furniture, and accessories so that we can create spaces that buyers can imagine moving into,” says Sandra Holmes, president of Home Staging Concepts in Weston, Fla., and president-elect of the International Association of Home Staging Professionals. Still, when prepping a home for sale, you have to distinguish between decorating and staging, notes real estate pro Barb Schwarz, founder of Schwarz, founder of the IAHSP, says decorating is about adhering to a home owner’s tastes; staging is focused on appealing to the widest buyer pool. Here are eight trends stagers are embracing to give homes a modern edge.

1. Outdoor retreats

Stagers are devoting more attention to the great outdoors. Why? Because buyers are paying more attention to exteriors, says staging pioneer Barb Schwarz. Nearly 63 percent of residential architects say interest in outdoor living areas is increasing. Among the most desired features are seating and dining areas, fire pits, grills, and decorative water elements, according to a 2013 American Institute of Architects survey. Schwarz recommends carving out three unique outdoor spaces when staging a deck and yard. For example, create a dining area with a table, chairs, and colorful place settings; set up a cozy seating area with padded wicker chairs around a fire pit; and use stepping stones to lead to a peaceful retreat, such as a small bistro table or a bench overlooking plantings and a gurgling fountain.

2. Lifestyle appeal

Stagers are creating lifestyle vignettes. Donna M. Dazzo with Designed to Appeal went bold in staging a game room in a high-end loft in New York (right). She created a scene with games on a table, bright accents and furnishings, and vibrant artwork (which she commissions from art dealers) to add life to an otherwise sterile room. Knowing or researching an area could reveal distinctive interests that could be incorporated. Audra Slinkey of Home Staging Resource, a national staging and redesign training company, suggests a wine room or wine rack for a region brimming with wine lovers. In a commuter town, Slinkey says, carve out an inviting home office for telecommuters. “We have to look at trends and surveys and really research the buyer demographic for the home,” she says. “Each little pocket has its own cultural appeal.”


Dy Associates is an Oakland Real Estate company specializing in commercial, home and investment property in the Oakland and East Bay Area. We provide real estate services including buyer agent, seller agent, short sales, commercial and investment acquisitions, loan facilitation, hard money lending, financing assistance property management. Articles are provided as information only. We do not provide legal or general investment advice.

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