Seeing is Believing 5 Top Goals of Vacant Home Staging

The windows of this Marengo, Ohio home had the most beautiful views of the countryside.

I often share photos of homes I’ve staged and their MLS listings on social media.  I don’t share the before photos; it would be counterproductive to show the before photos while the home is for sale.  But seeing the difference between the staged rooms and vacant rooms is revealing. Here are some before and afters of homes I’ve staged over the past few months that demonstrate five of the top goals home staging accomplishes and how it helps sell your home.   

*All of these homes have closed

1.      Let There Be Light

Genius – the homeowner had the mirror above the fireplace custom made.  Behind it was a cut-out for the old tube t.v.s She put her flat screen in the cut out and had the mirror made out of two way glass so when it was on she could watch it, but when it was off, the t.v. (and the cut out) were out of sight.  This home in Westerville went into contract in one day and sold for $10,900 over list price!

Before Staging

People look at me like I have three heads when I tell them to remove all window treatments.  But the truth is, window treatments can be very taste specific. They can also date a home, (how often do you change your window treatments?), and they block precious light, a very important factor when selling your home.  Remember, people are buying the windows, not the curtains; show them off as well as the view outside. Seeing the outside makes the inside feel bigger. 

2.      The Magic of Paint

I love the openness of the great room in this Powell home.  It was on the market for three months before the homeowners contacted me.  After a consultation, they painted and made a few updates. The yellow paint was fresh – the husband thought yellow would be a welcoming color that buyers would like.  It wasn’t easy for me to tell him they should repaint. They also painted the kitchen cabinets which made a big impact on how much faster the home sold. Afterwards, it sold in just 33 days – a third of the time it spent on the market prior to staging.

3.      Furniture Placement

Smart move! The seller of this Upper Arlington home removed the carpet and restored the original charm by installing new hardwood floors throughout the home.

The third goal is making sure the traffic pattern throughout the home flows.  These photos are taken near the front entrance of the home. In the before photo, you can see that in order to get to the doorway to the next room, one must walk through and around the middle of the furnishings.  The window was large enough that putting the sofa in front of it didn’t block the natural light. But the staged furniture arrangement changed the flow into the next room so buyers could get to it easily. 

 This home was in contract in just 3 days, received multiple offers and sold for $15,100 over list price!

4.      Purpose of a Space

This is a “Keeping Room.”  What, you ask, is a keeping room?  You can find the full definition here: but when you’re viewing a home to buy, you want to see what each space is for.  Surveys show that when buyers have questions they can’t answer, they move onto the next home.  Staging helps buyers know the purpose of each space. Even when buyers know what the space is for, showing the space in the best possible light helps showcase its features.

I love this  four season room in this Johnstown, Ohio home; it boasted a wood burning stove – can you imagine the warmth of the fire while having casual conversation with friends or sitting alone reading a good book?  This home spent two years on and off the market before the sellers decided on having it staged. Once staged, it was in contract in seven days!

The wood in this four season room is beautiful.  But adding a cozy rug and giving buyers an idea of how to use the room makes the space feel less like a room and more like a home.  Which takes me to the last goal:

5.      Emotional Connection

Buying a home is one of the most expensive purchases we make, so we want to be sure we’re making a good purchase before signing on the dotted line. Ask someone how a vacant room feels, and the answer is often cold or empty.  When looking for a home, you want buyers to feel warm and fuzzy, you want them to walk into your home and not want to leave, you want them to feel at home, like they’re in their home.

Staged, this Lewis Center home went into contract is just 25 days; it had previously been on the market for three months vacant.  Adding symmetry in the great room gave the fireplace the attention it deserved as the focal point of the room!

Don’t forget, that people are shopping online before deciding if they want to see a home.  Which one would grab your attention?

This cozy Upper Arlington English cottage style home was in contract just 34 days after being staged.  Prior to staging, it spent four months on the market.

That ceiling!  Need I say more?


Before: what to do with the loft?


Before: empty








It’s important to remember that 90% of buyers can’t see beyond the present state of a vacant home.  That means that unless they see it for themselves, 90% of buyers can’t see the natural light a home has. Without a current neutral paint color, they don’t see the home as updated, they can’t see the natural flow of the home without the right furniture placement or the purpose of each space.  And most importantly, they can’t imagine the good times and memories that can be made in their new home.  Staging is critical when selling your home; after all, seeing is believing.