If you want your home to appeal to the widest range of potential buyers, you’ll need to make home staging a priority. Buyers may not have the same home decor tastes as you do or their living situations may be different; staging your home well allows them to visualize their family in your home, despite any potential style differences you may have.

If you want to make your home shine while it’s on the market, avoid these common home staging mistakes.

  1. Too Much Furniture

Pay careful attention to the amount of furniture in each room of your home. Filling a house with excess furniture is a very common staging mistake — if the furniture barely fits, buyers will have a hard time imagining how they’ll make their everyday lives, and their own furniture, fit into the same space.

  1. Furniture that Doesn’t Fit the Room

Many sellers fill their rooms with furniture that is simply too large for the intended space. Your family might love that gigantic sectional couch in the living room, but does it fit the space well? Consider the size of your house and which furniture you should keep on display.

  1. Household Smells

We often become immune to all the smells in our homes, from pets to lingering kitchen odors. However, newcomers to the space – ie prospective buyers – will notice unpleasant or unusual smells instantly. Banish any unpleasant scents before your home goes on the market.

  1. Keeping Knick Knacks on Display

Some home sellers think that personalizing their home is a good thing because it shows that the space is livable. However, it’s important for buyers to focus on your home’s best features and how they can work for them, not on your family photos. Pack up excess knick knacks before opening your house to buyers.

  1. Excessive Dark Paint

Dark paint colors can work in certain rooms, but don’t overdo it. Dark hues can make a room feel small and uninviting. Neutral, light colors are best when selling your home.

  1. Drastically Different Paint Colors Throughout the Home

While you’re painting, be sure to keep the color scheme consistent. Painting each room a new, vibrant color takes away from the overall flow of your home.

  1. Pushing all Furniture Against the Walls

In a large room, the space actually looks smaller if every piece of furniture is up against a wall. Try placing furniture at different angles or moving it out and away from the wall.

  1. A Lack of Light

Dimly lit rooms are uninviting and dreary, so make lighting a priority. Natural light is the best option, but lamps and wall sconces are also good choices.

  1. Hanging Artwork too High

Artwork and other wall decorations should be hung at eye level. If you’re taller than average and have hung your artwork accordingly, you may need to move things down.

  1. Multiple Focal Points in a Room

Most rooms should have a focal point. In the living room this point is often the fireplace, television or a window. Pick one central point and decorate around it.

  1. Forgetting to Stage Storage Areas

Buyers will be opening your cupboards and closets to assess the storage situation. Clean and organize this important part of your home.

  1. Neglecting Exterior Areas

First impressions are important, so don’t skimp on staging your home’s exterior. Simple tasks like trimming the bushes and planting flowers can have a huge impact.

  1. Too Many Holiday Decorations

There’s no need to ignore the holidays if they fall while you are selling your home but keep your decorations tasteful. Excessive holiday decorations can mask some of your home’s best selling points.

  1. A Dark, Uninviting Entryway

After the exterior, your home’s entryway is the first thing buyers will see. Set the stage for a successful viewing by keeping this area bright, open and clutter-free.

  1. Keeping your Kid’s Clutter In View

There will be some potential buyers who don’t have kids, and it’s important for your home to appeal to them, too. Make sure to declutter your kid’s rooms and pick up toys before a showing.

  1. Leaving Rooms Empty

Some sellers leave rooms completely empty but this is a massive staging mistake. You don’t need to fill the room with expensive furniture, but you can use a few pieces to show buyers the room’s potential. Furniture and decor also have the added bonus of hiding imperfections.

  1. Over-Staging the Home

It is possible to have too much of a good thing, so don’t over-stage your home with decor that feels out of place. Instead, make sure your home feels comfortable and natural.

  1. Not Cleaning Thoroughly

Many of us think that our houses are cleaner than they actually are and buyers will pick up on dirt and grime. Do a deep clean, focusing on every small nook and cranny. If you don’t have the time or desire to complete a deep clean by yourself, consider hiring a professional cleaner

  1. Lack of Style

While you don’t want your home to overflow with treasured mementos, it should have some personality and style. Try to imagine that your house is an expensive hotel — neutral, yet appealing to a broad range of people.

  1. Misunderstanding what Staging can Realistically Do

Staging is a helpful tool, but it isn’t a magical cure-all. You won’t be able to cover up large flaws or hide glaring structural issues, so approach the staging process with a realistic mindset.

Sounds like a lot? It is. Yet staging your home can significantly decrease the time it spends on the market and help you get the asking price you want (or more) Calling in help in the form of a professional home stager is an excellent alternative to struggling to get your staging right yourself and the cost of doing so will be less than the price reduction you may have to offer if the space just does not appeal to buyers.