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New Stages

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Trends and Fads vs Traditional and Timeless

Posted on 26 August, 2015 at 19:05

One of the things that makes staging fun is the use of current color schemes and trendy furnishings. When I am decorating my home, I am drawn to fun colors and crazy cool furniture. But, when I make an actual purchase, I go with time honored pieces that will withstand the test of time and not be out of style, before I even get them out of the backseat and into the house! I don't want to replace my sofa every other year, because lime green was popular but is now so dated that I can't find any new accessories to go with it. Wealthy stars and celebrities can afford a new dining room set and bedroom furniture whenever the mood strikes them. But most of us need our furniture and decor to last more than a few months or even a couple of years.

Staging is a different type of decorating. Staging is an art that speaks to what people like, today. It is a use of furniture, color and textures that intensionally draws the attention of the buyer toward features of the home that make it special. It can also be used to distract buyers from things that make it dull or boring. It can be (though I think it is unethical) used to prevent buyers from noticing certain problems. Humans are very predictable creatures, and staging uses some of the most basic principles of psychology to please the senses and create a positive emotional response to a space.

Investors purchase property based on numbers. But the general public is purchasing a home, and the investment benefits are secondary priorities to them. People want to feel good in the space they live in, every day. Staging a home for the majority of buyers is about creating a positive mood that triggers a buyer's "purchase" response. Popular colors and styles make even an older home feel like it has new energy and potential.

Staged homes tend to sell much more quickly than empty homes. It is hard to achieve that same look when the owner is still living in the space, because fun and fresh is not always functional. And, many of the colors that are popular and trendy are also highly stimulating, emotionally. People like that, when they are visiting a space. However, living in a fun, vibrant room can be exhausting. Color stimulates energy within us, and most people want to come home to a calm, warm color on the walls, settle down in a nice brown recliner under a tan blanket and relax. 

And that brings us full circle to the reason staging is so much fun. It is an opportunity to make every home look like it belongs in a magazine spread. It isn't about function, it is about presentation. It can look pretty, even if no one would actually live the way the room is staged. For example, I tend to bring furniture into a tight conversational vinette. It looks great! It also allows buyers to walk around the outer edges of the room and see it from all angles. It allows them to peer out the windows or appreciate the full size of the room. But if I were living in that space, where would I plug in the lamp? The side tables are typically three feet away from the walls. In real life, that would simply be impractical. But for staging, I don't have to worry about any of that. It doesn't matter that the coffee table is too close to the one is going to sit there. It doesn't matter that I don't have silverware with the table settings. No one is actually going to eat a meal. It doesn't matter that the chair next to the door is going to make it hard to bring in groceries or that a tall vase is going to block everyone's view of the TV. 

Designing a home, furnishing it and decorating every room to fit the needs of an actual family...that is hard work. Staging is to decorating as container gardening is to being a landscaper. It is an artistic expression without the constraints of functional needs. And I love every minute of it.

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