The Art & Value of Staging a Home


Before (Top) and After (Bottom). Photo credits – Top: The Corcoran Group. Bottom: Jennifer S. Altman for The New York Times.

A few weeks ago I read this very interesting article in the Times about home staging when selling a home. (“The Art of Home Staging” We hear so much about this in our business and we try to help customers, when asked, how to make their home more appealing.  Wanda and I did a whole show about this back in 2012 on our Robin Hood Radio show with Pat Best of Best & Cavallaro Realty.

This New York Times piece is a great article to read. Clearly, with the right professionals working with you, or by just doing your own homework, staging can help your house sell, and in many cases, bring prices thousands of dollars more than you might have expected.  Good staging, like good house design, brings a personality and soul to the home.  And, when it looks clean and comfortable, it doesn’t interfere with the buyer being able to imagining the home with their personal style in mind. The photo on the left is a great example.  The “before” room in the top photo has such a strong “decorated” and specific feel to it (and the yellow walls aren’t helping) it’s hard to imagine other possibilities. In contrast, the room in the bottom “after” photo feels cleaner (and more modern) and very livable.  I especially like the addition of the sisal rug which warms the room up and the round table (which replaces the ornate green sofa) with chairs around it which give it a more “lived in” feel.

I have sold two houses over the years, and both to couples who were the first and only ones to see the home. Of course, both houses were well-appointed and comfortable but most important, even though each home had a personality and soul, it didn’t overwhelm a buyers’ ability to picture themselves living them aspiration.

So, here are some of my tips to help sell your home.  It’s also good to keep in mind when you decorate your home, as good choices and knowing where to put your money, will have good rewards down the line.


main house bathroom

Bathroom in the Main House

1. Don’t over furnish.

2. Paint walls with warm light colors. Benjamin Moore and Farrow and Ball have amazing colors, warm neutral tones that give depth and interest to a room. I love Benjamin Moore’s Williamsburg Colors and Historical Colors.

3. Bathrooms and kitchen are important places in the home, and if done properly , are worth the investment. People are always amazed at the new bathroom renovations and kitchen in the main house at Hammertown…they were done tastefully, but nothing was over the top. We did our homework, and found fixtures and tiles that looked very expensive, but weren’t. And, we shopped locally, not at the big box stores.

kitchen dining area gatehouse

Kitchen dining area in the Gate House

4. Seek the best professional advice, look in books and magazines that offer inspiring ideas, bogs, Houzz, etc. Make files of things that you like. Time after time our customers thank us for our design services…it has helped them bring their home design to a better place.

5. Come to Hammertown…the Barn especially. The Main House is frequently open, or just ask if you can browse and see the way we have decorated and renovated inside. Saturday, February 27th, in the afternoon, we will have a book signing with Annie Novak and the house will be open to explore.

6. Develop your eye, your taste and save so you can BUY WHAT YOU LOVE!. If you are a savvy shopper, there are great deals to be found.

7. The Keyword; ASPIRATIONAL…Create a home you love and there is a good chance, if done thoughtfully and well, it will evoke emotion from others.

Keep these tips in mind whether decorating your home or getting ready to sell it. Trust me, it will pay off on so many levels.

And remember… NOW IS A GREAT TIME TO BUY for your home! All the stores are having sales and there are great buys on home furnishings at Hammertown!



  • Abby says:

    I agree with most of this, however making it neutral is not always your best option. For me staging my house is the most fun as you have all your clutter packed away and you are just dealing with the essence. I sold a house and am renting a house out, both of which have intense color in small rooms. My house in Adelaide South Australia, a place where neutral reigns supreme, had a hallway I dubbed, tequila sunrise orange, a kitchen, vibrant apple green with a hot pink wall. I could get away with this as the ceilings were 10 feet high with thick white art nouveau window mullions,14 inch base boards and ceiling/ picture rails. the library was mid yellow , white trim, and one wall of a built in black book case which enlarged an otherwise unimportant room. Many people saw the house, but the first people who did bought it because it was not bland. Luckily not everyone enjoys the same thing.

  • Nancy Einbinder says:

    Where can I find the black, glass front cabinet that is in the bathroom?

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