Home Staging 101

It seems like just the other day that I posted a little rant about the real estate market in our part of the world. I was quite frustrated, just like a lot of other people. We live in Southern Ontario Canada, where property values are booming.

We Listed our House for Sale

Recently, we had the idea that it was time to put our home up for sale. Staying home for the last year and a half during this pandemic gave us lots of time to finish up most of our projects, and our University kids were once again heading back out into the world. We were empty nesters again, suddenly – so it seemed like the right thing to do. After a week, we decided not to sell and took our home off of the market.

We did receive some offers, but when we were looking at what to buy next, we realized that the market was CRAZY and we weren’t inspired to trade in our house for something that wasn’t as nice, and we like our neighbourhood.

In the meantime we had our house staged. I found this to be an enlightening experience. It’s not that I agree with everything that a homestager does, but seeing our home and possessions through someone else’s eyes can really help.

The Evolution of Home Staging

28 years ago when we sold our home, we painted the walls off-white, stuffed some things in the closets and under the beds, and the real estate agent put some tulip pots on a few counters. That was it. Our enormous Bouvier even sat on the couch through each of the showings.

Our bouvier

Home Staging 2018

3 years ago, when we listed our country home, we again painted the walls off-white, packed some things into boxes downstairs, and the real estate agent brought throw pillows, fake tiny plants, and a few doodads. This time around, our boys took the dog to the dog park for each house showing appointment. We were evolving.

Three plants
These look like the Real Estate stager’s tiny fake plants – Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

Home Staging Early 2021

When we listed my late mother’s home for sale in February of this year, the real estate agent asked us to almost completely empty the house out. Many pieces of art and furniture ended up at my house, some went to a consignment store, and sadly many things were disposed of.

The home stager decided to use what she called the latest style – “Granny Chic”. She kept a few pieces and brought in some MDF style furniture from Pottery Barn. My mom would have found it funny to see her collection of Canadian art replaced by teal and white paintings, and her solid furniture replaced by disposable pieces.

A quick google reveals that Granny Chic looks a bit like “Shabby Chic”. I feel a bit encouraged, as I have loved Shabby Chic since the ’80s. Granny Chic is meant to capture the younger buyer’s imagination.

Teal art and new upholstered chairs in a home staged dining room
Teal art and new upholstered chairs

The main thing that I noticed for the homes that were staged in my mother’s neighbourhood is that they all had the same upholstered dining room chairs, and tiny white sofas. I wondered how long the same pieces got to stay in each house before they moved to another.

Home Staging August 2021

Finally, in our home we packed up ALOT of things and rented a storage unit for a month or so. This was a really good thing to do, as we began enjoying areas of our house that were too cluttered. Now that our house is not for sale, I am gradually bringing things back home, but trying not to bring back the clutter. Perhaps it’s time for a yard sale.

Home staging - use a storage unit
The storage unit

With the staging, we got the same tiny plants, lots of white flower arrangements and fluffy white pillows and rugs. Our dog really loved the rugs and throw pillows.

Goldendoodle on a sofa
Not part of the staging

This time he just went for a car ride with us during the showings.

Home staging supplies
My favorite pillows

I asked the homestager which sizes of beds to keep in each room – I have extra beds because my four kids keep moving in and out of the house from University. She felt that some bedrooms suited twin beds better and some double. I used one Futon frame as a “fake” double bed frame for staging, and bought some Walmart single bed frames to re-arrange some twin mattresses as well.

We made sure that all of the beds had bedskirts properly pleated, headboards – evenly arranged, and white bolster pillows, and white matelasse bed throws over all of the bedding that was already there. I couldn’t figure out why I loved a pair of floral pillows so much, until I realized that I had a sweater in the same fabric.

My sofas are already white, but larger in scale, so there was no need to remove them.

Home staging plants
The collection of little fake plants

I can’t say that I liked the little fake plants, but I see that they are uniform in size and have little white pots. I now have my herbs inside in little pots, but no artificial plants.

Home staging flowers
White artificial flowers

I didn’t enjoy the white silk flowers, but I do see how they provide a light “focus” for a room. I miss those tulips from way back when.

Our house stager liked my mom’s furniture and art, and let me keep my antique dining room chairs, but maybe she was just flattering me.

Dining room with antique chairs
Dining room with antique chairs

A good house stager knows when to do a bit of give and take, and our stager was a great one. I have definitely learned a lot from our various house staging experiences, and will definitely try to keep clutter at bay. I also know that I have to be me, and stage the house for me and my family to enjoy.

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4 thoughts on “Home Staging 101

  1. It’s amazing what you think you really can’t live without until you pack it away and never miss it again. That I understand only too well. What I don’t understand is the fascination with white because it has no personality, which, I suppose, is what a real estate agent aims for — to allow prospective buyers the opportunity to imagine the house as theirs, not as yours. BUT, look at all the interior design magazines — white everywhere! How boring is that! Give me a riot of colour any day. And mismatched furniture. And art, real art, on the walls. (P.s. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to rant) (p.p.s. Glad to hear you decided not to move, you’ve done so much work on your house.)

    1. Hi Margaret. We have brought the boxes back from storage now and I’ve set a goal of dealing with one box of treasures per day. (I’m already falling behind – and I think I like keeping it all packed up! – you are right about not missing things!!)

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