The 4 Biggest Pet Peeves Home Stagers Have About Your Living Room

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You may love your living room’s deep purple walls and knickknack collection, but when you’re preparing to put your home on the market, it’ll serve you well to make a few changes to appeal to the homebuying masses. That’s where a professional home stager comes in: They’ll scope out your house (or FaceTime with you) and take note of any furniture, artwork, or wall colors that’ll need to be changed in order to make your place more marketable.

While people may have been subtly telling you what to change for years, a professional home stager has the know-how to back it up — and proven methods for successful sales. According to real estate experts, a staged home sells 88 percent faster and for 20 percent more than one that isn’t staged. 

Living rooms in particular can be where a home stager’s advice shines, because buyers want to visualize themselves watching Netflix in their pjs on their own couch. Here, professional home stagers share what we’re all doing wrong in our living rooms before we sell — and how to remedy it. 

The furniture is too big — and you have too much of it.

Because you want your home — and especially your living room — to look as spacious as possible, it’s crucial to make sure the furniture is proportionally sized for space. You also don’t want to have too many pieces to prevent good flow in the room’s layout, says Sharon Schaffer of Revive Home Remakes in Toledo, Ohio. 

“Reducing the pieces of furniture and then accessorizing the pieces with lighter pillows and artwork helps to scale down,” she says. 

Credit: Liz Calka

Your art is displayed too high.

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but when you’re hanging it on the wall, there’s an optimum display height. It turns out we’re all doing this wrong, says Aimey Hanners of Austin Premier Home Staging

“You want to see [art] at eye level. There is a go-to measure of how many inches off the ground it should be, but it really varies on the size of art and what you’re hanging it over,” she says. “The best way is to hang it at eye level for someone of average height—around 5’8’’ or 5’9 [for men, average height for women is around 5’3″ or 5’4″].’’

You have outdated lighting — or worse, no light at all.

In an age where photos are worth their weight in real estate gold, it’s important that the lighting is flattering in your living area. With that in mind, light fixtures shouldn’t make your home appear to be stuck in a time warp.

“Make sure all your lighting is as bright as possible, because nobody wants to buy a dark home. The goal is to make it light, bright, and open,” Hanners says. “Update those light fixtures from the old gold. Change the outdated lighting in the main areas.”

Credit: Chloe Berk

The paint color is too bold.

While bold is beautiful when it comes to paint choices these days, when you’re selling, it’s a completely different story. If you have a penchant for dramatic shades, you’ll want to tamp it down and paint your living room something more buyer-friendly, says Schaffer. 

“Paint color is a huge thing and it’s one of the most cost-effective things someone can do to update. Up here in the north, we have very gray winters, so you want your room and especially with online photos, to make a good first impression,” she says. “You want those online photos to be light, bright, airy, and have someone say, ‘Wow, let’s go there.’”