The 5 Biggest Pet Peeves Home Stagers Have About Your Bedroom

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orange yellow bedroom

There’s no space in your home more personal than your bedroom—as you can attest from your days of watching MTV’s notorious “this is where the magic happens” episodes of “Cribs” (just me?). But the personal-ness of your bedroom can pose a problem when you’re trying to sell. 

As difficult as it may be, especially when you’re still actively living in your home, it’s crucial to make sure your bedroom is universally appealing to all sorts of buyers. To accomplish this, you’ll need to do a whole lot of decluttering, brightening things up, and cleaning out the closets, because, yes, buyers will be snooping around in there. 

To determine how to best show off the most intimate space in your home, I asked professional home stagers what the biggest bedroom staging pet peeves are—and how to correct them to reel in interested buyers. 

You have too many pieces of furniture

Unless you live in a brand new home, which has roughly 350 luxurious square feet in the master bedroom, you are probably dealing with a limited amount of space in your room. Although it’s nice to have an extra chair or multiple dresser for day-to-day living, this can make buyers feel claustrophobic. It’s best to eliminate some furniture before you open up your home for the real estate photographer or for an open house. 

“You want to present your room and have it laid out and spaced out appropriately so there’s plenty of room for traffic flow,” says home stager Sharon Schaffer of Revive Home Remakes in Toledo, Ohio. 

A good rule of thumb, she says, is to keep it minimalistic when staging—just the bed, one chest of drawers, and a couple of nightstands. 

You need to neutralize your artwork 

The artwork and photographs in the living room are naturally curated for guest viewing, but the bedroom is a different story since, presumably, only you will be looking at it on a routine basis. Artwork in the bedroom has a tendency to be more personal, spiritual, or quirky, which is just the opposite of what buyers want to see. The best thing to do is pare down the highly personal artwork and photographs as much as possible so that the buyer can visualize themselves in the room, says Alexandra Toubiana, CEO of Exclusive Staging & Design in New York City.

However, there is a trick to preventing your room from feeling too much like an impersonal hotel room while still appealing to buyers. 

“Regarding personal pictures, we recommend using black and white pictures if possible, to keep it neutral,” says Toubiana. 

There’s too much clutter 

One of the easiest ways to turn off a potential buyer is to have too much stuff lying around in your bedroom—or to have a closet that is stuffed to the gills with no organization in sight. 

“I was consulting with someone and they had a shoe rack outside of the closet. The room itself was a great space, but that screams you don’t have enough room in your closet. We talked through what they could do with their shoes and we decided to store them somewhere else,” says Schaffer. 

When you’re preparing to stage your home, it’s important to declutter as best as you can so that you can show the buyer there’s plenty of storage space (or at least hide the fact that there is a lack of it). 

As for making the closet itself appealing, only keep seasonal clothing out and use containers and boxes to organize the closet when preparing for buyers to pilfer through, says Toubiana. 

You’re not letting in enough light

There’s nothing like a cool, dark bedroom to soothe you to sleep at night, but this is the opposite of what you want when showing the room off. To avoid a dungeon-like room that can scare away a buyer, the answer is simple: Let in the light by any means necessary. 

“Make sure you have good lighting. Have all the drapes open. Have a lamp on each nightstand, especially in houses that don’t have canned lights,” says Schaffer. 

While you’re at it, make sure the windows themselves are clean—so wipe down the glass, the hardware, and the window sills so that when light comes in, it doesn’t look dusty. 

There’s, uh, an odor 

You may love to share a bed with your dog, but she may be adding an odor to your room with her precious (but stinky) fur.

Bad odors are obviously a big faux pas in a staged home, so do your best to eliminate them with a thorough carpet cleaning, laundering of all bedding and linens, and airing the room out by leaving the windows open. Still on the smelly side? A fresh coat of paint may do the trick—in nice, buyer-friendly neutrals of course.