Home Staging Conundrum

Home Staging in ChicagolandWe know this story well in the home staging world. We hear it time and again. An affluent couple buys a house. They make it their own, with their favorite antiques, lighting fixtures and colors. They love it.  Then they have to move.  They take their furniture and the house looks odd empty, no sense of scale, so a home stager is brought in to make the rooms work for the requisite target buyer.  Beautiful photographs are taken and wham! the house sells and everyone lives happily ever after.

Not this time.  This time, the owners recognized that their home had been customized for their taste, so they insist that the photos of their furniture in each space be those seen on all listing sites.  The listing is languishing on the market, and a steep price reduction has been taken.  It’s a conundrum.

Here are a few Before and Afters, from empty to staged:-

However, these are those same rooms, as they appear on the MLS:-


Country French Empire.  Mostly.  Beautiful, yet very specific. Taste for one or two.  The whole point of home staging is to expand the home’s appeal from the original occupant to multiple potential buyers.

In this case, we assume that the realtor has been asked, in firm tone, to use the photos of how it all looked when they lived there – when the elaborate crystal chandeliers fit, the columns evoked elegance and the sunken family room exuded the feeling of a salon, wherein to sit of an evening, listening to gentle playing while enjoying a roaring fire.  What to do?  The first hair cut was $51,000. It’s a lot.  So wouldn’t it make sense to look for anyone who “likes hay” as opposed to the elusive needle in the stack?