10 Things Stagers DO NOT Learn From TV

by Shauna Lynn Simon, CEO SLS Academy

We get it, you’ve watched all of the home renovation and home sale shows, read all of the online articles and tips regarding setting up your home to sell, and you have found every home selling checklist available online, so why would you need to take a home staging course? I have often heard future home stagers say that they shop for home decor all the time, they have decorated and redecorated their home a gazillion times, and my favourite, “I don’t need to take a course, I watch HGTV all the time, and I know that home staging is all about removing clutter and personal items.”

These reality shows have really put the home staging industry in the spotlight over the last few years, and have helped homeowners to better understand the importance of preparing their home prior to listing it for sale. But, while these shows provide the basics of what this preparation involves, they don’t provide the full picture of what it really takes to properly style and STAGE your home in order to evoke the emotional connection that your prospective buyers are looking for.

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Every home is one of a kind, and it should be treated as such! You as a home stager are providing a value to your clients, so you need to show them that you are a trained expert, qualified to assist them with their home. Each home deserves the right attention with specific recommendations, geared towards their home, from an expert that specializes in doing just that, in order to highlight the home’s greatest features.

So what are these articles and lists NOT telling you? The following are just a few of the things that a trained home stager will learn, through our professional home stager training program, and many years of experience:

1.      Where to place YOUR furniture so that the room remains open and inviting, while maintaining function and flow

This does not mean simply moving all of furniture to the edges of the room. This means understanding proper traffic flow, as well as the latest furniture styling trends. We help you to evaluate what should stay, what should be removed, and where to properly position furniture to optimize flow, eliminate awkward spaces, and highlight the best features of the room.

2.      Shelf Styling

By far one of the trickiest decorating techniques to master, this is the art of filling the shelves to catch your eye, without diverting attention from the room. This means selecting the right size and style of pieces to compliment the space and the shelving unit, and understanding the balance between too little and too much.

3.     Paint Colour selection

Just because a colour is popular or trendy, does not mean that it’s the best one to use when selling a home. Colours should be selected based on lighting, home style, and the colour of the finishes of the home. Sure, we all have our favourites, but each colour is selected to best suit the home.

4.     How to find the best local trades to provide your clients with the best services, at the best value prices

A successful home stager will spend time forging valued relationships with highly skilled trades to ensure that all clients receive quality work, every time. Working with professionals will also allow you to build a reputation within the industry for your designs.

5.     Where to shop for the final touches and accessories that your home needs

Home Stagers spend more time than anyone shopping for home décor items and finding the best deals. This is valuable information for your clients, regardless of whether or not they’re selling their home. Of course, the easiest solution for your clients would be to simply hire you to provide them with the accessories and accent pieces that their home needs. We’ll show you how to build and maintain your inventory so that it continues to bring in profits.

6.     Which updates/upgrades will most benefit YOUR house in YOUR market, neighbourhood, and price range

Home Stagers not only evaluate what upgrades and repairs would add to the value of your home, but we look at what will help to increase it’s overall sell-ability – upgrades are not worth much if they’re not the right ones to entice the specific buyers of the home you’re working in. I once consulted on a home that spent a great deal of money replacing their kitchen, but for their target market, their funds would have been better spent doing other repairs to the home and minor updates to the kitchen. Understanding the value of each of these recommendations for every type of home, and the return on the investment into these, is critical to the success of any home stager.

7.     How to make a bed

Forget what your mother taught you – making your bed before work, and styling a bed to sell a home are completely different! I can’t tell you how often we see this common mistake in listing photos.

8.     How to utilize a piece of furniture for an alternate purpose

This does not mean putting an end table in an office and calling it a desk. It’s about thinking outside of the box when it comes to finding the right piece, often within your home already, to fulfill a purpose for a room and help to clearly define the space. A quality home stager provides solutions to their clients, especially when replacing all furniture with rental items is not an option.

9.     How to enhance curb appeal

Yes, cut the grass, trim the trees, and mulch the gardens, we know that you have that covered. But there is so much more to exterior styling. If buyers are not engaged with the home before they get to the front door, your sellers could potentially lose out on that sale. We are property stylists, and we want to be sure to create an inviting space, inside and out.

10.    How to maintain function and daily life, while living in a staged home

We understand that it’s not easy to maintain a show-ready home! Experienced stagers have seen it all and are prepared to provide clients with easily implementable solutions to help them to get through the day-to-day. Of course the best part is, in a professionally staged home, your clients won’t have to maintain it for long before it’s SOLD!

A Professional Home Stager provides the specific recommendations that will help to bring in the buyers and sell their clients home. Learn everything you need to know to be successful in a home staging career. You won’t just learn WHAT you need to be successful, but you’ll learn how to build on your experience, your knowledge, and provide quality service every time.


Have questions about becoming a Home Stager, or just starting out and need an extra boost in your business? Join our Facebook group, To Be a Home Stager – our very own Shauna Lynn Simon is live online every Thursday afternoon, answering your most pressing questions!

To learn more about our home stager certification training program, click here.

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