Home Staging Tips for NYC as opposed to the rest of the World!

home staging tips for NYC

Yeah, we don’t have front doors like this in NYC.

The more I read home staging tips, the more I think: life is just different in New York City. There are things people recommend that we can’t do here. A gussied up front door, for example. That’s just an invitation to steal a bunch of stuff. We can clean the hardware, for sure, but to add planters, accent pieces, and something to draw the eye — all a very bad idea, and if your unit is 8H, for example, pretty pointless.

Here some other home staging tips I see that make me nuts. This is just not good staging. It may be an idea that works in your certification designator’s home town, but really, do not try it here in NYC.

  1. TOO MUCH – tables set for 10, entire recipe ingredients laid out on the cooktop, ALL of the 1,000 puzzle pieces, open scissors on a bit of tapestry/embroidery
  2. Hiding Major Defects – hanging a large painting over a crack or water damage section
  3. Fake Food, Fake flowers, everywhere… who eats a bagel in the bathroom, seriously? There’s morning kitchen and then there’s this apt’s too small for a morning kitchen, so let’s eat in the real one with the fridge in it.
  4. Bible on the bedside table.  No. Not a hotel, nor even a Motel 6. Not funny.
  5. And so many more “charming touches” that are just ridiculous! – a pile of boiled books, tied up with string is another favorite of my pet peeves.

But here are some good ideas we can utilize, from FrontDoor.com’s Room by Room Staging Strategies —

home staging tips 1

1.  Replacing the grody, disgusting vanity with a pedastal sink is an idea worth merit. It looks better, and is a cheap fix. BUT not in New York City.  storage is a huge issue for us here.  A new vanity from Home Depot, with perhaps glass sink perched on top – now that is money well spent. “But it’s half the price, the pedastal sink,” pleads my assistant with a keen eye to the budget.  “Vanity,” I insist. And that’s that.

home staging tips 2

2. Buyers love built-in bookshelves, but they need to accessorized to stand out. It’s not like you have to cover your books in wrapping paper and go crazy here, but a single, neutral palette will go a long way to making them look elegant and able to handle a lot of stuff. No one piece should stand out… and if you can get an electrician in to put a bit of lighting either under the shelves or on the outside like the sconces here, you will find the space looks bigger and almost designer-ish.

home staging tips 3

3. Always add a headboard. I can’t tell you the difference this makes. Even if all you add is an old door or piece of architectural detailing as a space marker. This finishes the room and elevates the room from college dorm room or squatter’s toss-spot to grownup space and with nice bedding, perhaps, serene retreat. At least, that’s what you should be aiming for.

Here are some other ideas from the Twitterverse —



Some more great staging tips for selling your home. 5 No-Cost Home Staging Tips   http://t.co/Km2wcEFWO7″   http://t.co/se4feALkYO #MD


Selling your home can be hard to deal with, here are some home staging tips, Stage my home for sale:


Home Staging Tips… pick your top 3-4 items to stay on your counter tops. My favorites to recommend http://t.co/vS8iPsiSoe


Surprisingly simple home staging tips for quick sale http://t.co/BgH6e67HgK #homestaging

Why Buy? And How Home Stagers Can Help Brokers Answer This Question.

Before & AfterThose of us in the business of selling properties need to consider the other side of the equation – why buy? The New York Times recently published a report on Home Ownership and Wealth Creation, concluding – “As a means to building wealth, however, there is no practical substitute for home-ownership.”  Kristal Kraft, a nationally known real estate Broker in Denver, CO authored the article The REAL Reasons Americans Buy a Home in which she lists the top 4 reasons to own a home, (other than financial benefits).  All of a sudden, my home staging wheels started spinning.  How can Home Staging illustrate these intangibles?

I thought I would take each “Real Reason”, compare the brokers’ point of view next, then offer my thoughts on how Stagers can assist our brokers in an imaginative and supportive way:


Buyer’s Real Reason

The Brokers’ POV, according to Denver Realtor, Kristal Kraft

How Home Stagers Can Help

1. It means having a good place to raise children & provide them with a good education. From the best neighborhoods to the best school districts, even those without children at the time of purchasing their home, may have this in the back of their mind as a major reason for choosing the location of the home that they purchase. We tell our buyers to remove anything specific to family in the house, but a train schedule on a bulletin board talks about commuting options, and a school report summary can be a subtle sign, especially since brokers’ aren’t allowed to mention school rankings.
2. You have a physical structure where you & your family feel safe It is no surprise that having a place to call home with all that means in comfort and security is the #2 reason. Safety is a tough one for us, but we can suggest “cozy nest” with soft furnishings in inviting groupings. 
3. It allows you to have more space for your family Whether your family is expanding, or an older family member is moving in, having a home that fits your needs is a close third on the list. Illustrating the potential lifestyle each home can support is our definition: in many cases we multi-purpose a room to keep options open and flexible. 
4. It gives you control over what you do with your living space, like renovations and updates Looking to actually try one of those complicated wall treatments that you saw on Pinterest? Want to finally adopt that puppy or kitten you’ve seen online 100 times? Who’s to say that you can’t in your own home? And here is the big contradiction: pets. When we stage a house for sale, we usually want signs of your pets removed. The smell, the toys, the food, the clutter — all of these could be a major turn-off for buyers.   And, sorry, but that wall treatment will probably have to go, too! Why? Because you want a buyer to see what THEY can do with the home as opposed to what you’ve already done to make it yours.


Sometimes, instead of just handing out home staging tips, we find that  by understanding everyone’s point of view, we can strategically position a home for sale in a more effective way.  Staging makes the process of selling their home easier and more remunerative for the seller, but it also works well for the buyer, too.  It shows how many options there are in the home, and very often, the stager has managed to get many of the smaller renovations and repairs out of the way.

Staging is most effective when we all work together for everyone’s best interests.  More than top dollar for the seller, we need to encourage potential buyers to feel good about their decision on “Why Buy?”


[Kristal credits the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, so I suppose we should too!]