Staging Your Home: What Hurts and What Helps?

Staging Your Home: What Hurts and What Helps?

Staging is one of the many ways to increase the selling price of your home before you accept an offer. By skipping this crucial step, you may risk your home being on the market for longer than it needs to be, and you can potentially miss out on the added value staging brings to your home! Although important, this process doesn’t have to be expensive or stressful. We interviewed Abigail Halal from KLH Home Staging, and she explains everything you’ll need to know about DIY staging your home – or reaching out for professional help.

Edited by Emily McGovern & Jenna Gagnon, Written by Abigail Halal

DIY Staging – The Do’s and Don’ts

Question: How do you decorate a space to avoid clutter, but still give it character? Do you have any tips on this?

Answer: There’s a thin line between staging and interior design… When in doubt, less is more. And remember: You’re trying to appeal to the masses.


My two big tips would be to 1) depersonalize and 2) declutter.

Depersonalize… Remove all personal art, decor and family photos. When a potential buyer enters the property, the idea is for them to envision themselves living in the space. If they encounter the seller’s personal photos, they actually begin to feel as though they are intruding on someone else’s space… Not the goal!

Clear all surfaces… The floor is also a surface!

However, you don’t want to leave a space feeling completely bare. Leave behind a minimal amount of “neutral items” such as candles, books, plants.

Question: Are there certain colors or styles (modern, farmhouse, etc.) that are more inviting, or more successful when enticing buyers?

Answer: While farmhouse is trending (and perhaps has had its moment) thanks to Joanna Gaines, it’s best to stay true to the style of the property when staging. (I honestly get annoyed when I see sliding barn closet doors in Cambridge [MA]… WHAT!? Do you also have rooftop chickens!?) It’s also important to consider the area as well as how you want to market the home. Is it a modern, city condo or a traditional, family home? You have to look at the whole picture…you can’t just plug in the “farmhouse look” because it’s trending! That would be too easy!

However, I find most stagers, including myself, tend to use a lot of mid-century modern furniture pieces because they work well with many styles (traditional, modern, farmhouse, etc.). Mid-century pieces also have longer legs that allow you to see the floor, giving the illusion of more space.


Question: How do you avoid overcrowding a space when staging a home? How do you know what size furniture/carpets/artwork is suitable for the space?

Answer: We simply measure! Regarding artwork, we can eyeball it… A larger wall simply calls for a larger piece and vice versa. You’d never want to hang a small piece of art on a large wall unless it’s paired with others so it visually takes up space.



Question: Do you decorate surfaces (coffee tables, desks, countertops), and if so, what are the most important items to include/what needs to be avoided?

Answer: Yes, we style surfaces but minimally. For example, on a desk, you’ll typically find a lamp, perhaps a book or a prop laptop and greenery. We tend to pair items in groups of three and of varying heights. This goes for coffee tables and kitchen countertops, as well! I’d say personal items are to be avoided. Put away the “World’s Best Dad” mug!


Professional Help – How do I know if I need it?

Question: How does a seller know when they need staging? How do they find the right staging artist for them?

Answer: I’d like to think all seller’s need staging to some degree…

If the seller plans to occupy the home when it’s listed, it’s important to have a fresh set of eyes walk the entire property to give tips and suggestions on how to show each space in its best light.

If the seller plans to move out prior to listing the home, then I suggest staging the property. We typically suggest staging the main living spaces (kitchen, living, dining) and master bedroom and bath. Even if the property is move-in ready, potential buyers typically have a hard time envisioning how to use the space. (“Where will I put my T.V.?” “Will my bed fit in here?”) It’s best to answer these questions for the buyer before they’re even asked!

Question: How does staging affect selling price?

Answer: Statistics tell us: For less than 1% of your home’s value, you can see up to a 10% increase in your selling price! Who doesn’t like the sound of that? It’s just that simple! Many believe that a property will sell without staging… And it’s probably true! But you’re leaving money on the table and most sellers don’t want to do that!



Question: Can you stage a home if it’s being occupied?

Answer: Yes! Occupied home stages always begin with a consultation.

A consult is $250 and includes a walkthrough of your entire home with the seller and/or realtor. The seller will then receive a detailed home staging report with our recommendations, broken down by room.

Along with the report, we’ll also send a quote for staging services if we feel the seller will benefit from an accessory rental. Sometimes a property just needs some additional art or lighting, or just one room requires staging. For example, there could be a spare bedroom that’s been used as a storage or “catch-all” space… But it’s best if that room is shown as a bedroom. We can return and stage that space as bedroom.

Question: Your client is working on a limited budget, what spaces take priority when staging a home if they can’t afford the whole house? Are there any “make it or break it” spaces of a home?

Answer: We always recommend staging the main living areas (kitchen, living, dining) and the master bedroom and master bath (if applicable). Statistically, these spaces are the priority as reported by the buyer… where they spend the majority of their time and lay their head to rest! These are also the spaces we’d recommend updating and painting prior to staging if the budget allows!

We’d like to thank Abigail for sharing her best tips with us! If you’d like to check out her work or contact her for inquires, you can find her contact information below.


Abigail Halal
Project Manager, Home Stager
KLH Home Staging
Instagram: @stagedbyabigail 



What To Avoid When Designing Your Home

What To Avoid When Designing Your Home

Have you been stressed out with design choices in your home? In theory, interior design is one of the most exciting endeavors of renovations, but oftentimes, it becomes the most nerve-racking. We asked our highly-rated interior designer Melanie Murphy, who is sharing her top secrets about making your dream home a reality (stress-free…phew)!


Melanie shared her ideas of what to avoid and consider when redesigning a home while leaving creativity aspects up to the homeowner. Here’s what she has to say about the focal points of your home-

The Living Room

  • Avoid: Sterile looking decor comes off as uninviting. For example, although wood blinds are desirable in theory, they add a sense of institutionalism that takes away from the cozy feel of a living space.
  • Consider: Incorporate custom fabrics instead of filling your living space with trinkets or unnecessary decor. Custom fabrics give your home a sense of individuality without the clutter, and these fabrics could include rugs, pillows, or window treatments.

The Bedroom

  • Avoid: Stray away from placing accent walls on busy surfaces. Your accent wall should be on a solid surface, with minimal obstructions.
  • Consider: Create balance among your space by mirroring your decor elements. For example, lamps, night stands, and accent chairs should all be purchased in pairs. This suggests a sense of cohesiveness, and makes your room feel more complete. This same idea of balance can be used in other spaces in your home.

The Bathroom

  • Avoid: Don’t follow trends, as most can change within a few years. Instead, attempt to create a timeless design for the most longevity.
  • Consider: All white, tranquil bathrooms will give you a sense of longevity and peacefulness. Try to create a space that resembles a spa. If you would like to include color, try to incorporate colorful fabrics or decor. This could mean window treatments, shower curtains, or plants. Black framed photos with white backdrops are the most favorable decor for white bathrooms.

The Kitchen

  • Avoid: For functionality, avoid placing your dishwasher arbitrarily. Place your dishwasher next to your sink to avoid frustration in the future.
  • Consider: Be creative with your backsplash! Include some sense of individuality or personality into your design. For example, moroccan tiles or colorful and detailed designs create a captivating atmosphere without breaking the bank.


A Cohesive Space = Happy Homeowner

To create a cohesive space, buy furniture that is all within 5 inches of one another. For example, your couch shouldn’t be 15 inches taller than your accent chairs. Avoid gray walls as well! Once a popular color, greige has become another trend that adds a sterile feel to your home. If you’d like to incorporate gray, try neutral walls with small doses of gray in your decor items. In the kitchen, for example, white walls with gray countertops is a timeless look that is popular by demand.

According to Melanie, the most requested design is minimalism. To achieve this, keep your decor to a minimum, and embrace adding your creativity in artwork or fabrics. Artwork is one of the best ways to add individualism and color to a space, while keeping clutter to a minimum. For smaller rooms, add mirrors to give the illusion of bigger spaces. To create a statement, opt for black fixtures around your home. Items like door handles, faucets, and shower heads make for bold features that coordinate well with their surroundings.


If you’re still stressed about designing your home, consider hiring an interior designer. Prices can be very affordable, depending on what you ask of your designer. By choosing a professional for help, you may save yourself time and energy when designing your home. Professionals also have access to furniture and design stores not normally available to others, which allows you to further customize your space. To choose your interior designer, do your research! Check out portfolios and social media online, and consult with different designers to find how they can best help you.

Designing your home doesn’t have to be stressful or expensive. Find inspiration through websites like Pinterest, and make your home your own!

Contact Melanie through the domii app or take a look at


Blog Authors Emily McGovern, Jenna Gagnon, and Allyson Melo.