Guest Blog: 6 Stupid Apartment Staging Ideas

Are you guilty of any of these staging don’ts?

By Fay Wein, Communications Specialist, Glass Tile Oasis

faySome property managers are clueless about staging. When you’re staging an apartment, you don’t want to make it obvious. Some renters will immediately see this as a red flag—are you trying to rip them off? Is your goal to draw their attention away from the apartment’s obvious flaws? Simplicity and creativity are the essence of great apartment staging. On the other hand, if you want to set things up so that your potential renter won’t be able to get out of the apartment fast enough, here are some ideas you can try. Are you guilty of any of these staging don’ts?

Stupid staging tip: Be cheap. Put motel-style art on the walls: something generic that you could find anywhere, but that has no real heart or feeling. Leave plastic covers on the rental beds beneath the coverlets that crackle if anyone sits down on them or touches them. Don’t forget to add a few monkey candle holders on the nightstands to really show off your unique sense of “style.”

Advice: Try some expensive-looking items to create an upscale look for your apartment.

Stupid staging tip: Be fake. Potential renters are coming to your apartment because they want to imagine themselves living there. The best way to shake them out of that is to be as unrealistic as possible. Bake cookies immediately before a showing so that the smell fills the air, even though the apartment is uninhabited. Put fake food on the table: what could a buyer want more than seeing a pretend feast laid out in front of them? Be sure to place empty cans in the cupboards, leave blue-dyed water sitting in the bathtub, and put up frames that will hold multiple photos, but leave the manufacturer’s fake pictures inside. Set the dining room table with full formal place settings. Don’t forget to add a tray at the end of the bed with wine glasses to let people know how “romantic” the bedroom can be!

Advice: Try adding authentic items like a vintage fixture or unique art for visual and cultural appeal.

Stupid staging tip: Be weird. Pipe music through the sound system—preferably music that’s not really to anyone’s taste. Make potential residents take off their shoes at the door—after all, you don’t want to risk having to clean again after they leave! You should use truly awful vignettes and tablescapes, as well as try a quick bathroom facelift with an improvised combination of weird patterns and tile colors. Don’t forget those specialized apartment makeovers that will only appeal to a very specific type of buyer. After all, you want your apartment to go to the right person—someone who is just like you!

Advice: A few tasteful accents can create an inviting setting. (See some examples here.) How about some artwork or even simply painting your walls? Remember, your staging should give off an inviting vibe while still maintaining a neutral feel.

Stupid staging tip: Bring on the clutter. More is better. Keep fabric and accessories everywhere. Closets and cabinets should be stuffed to overflowing, but that shouldn’t stop you from leaving plenty of things scattered around the rest of the apartment. Don’t forget to cover every available surface with knickknacks and be sure you display overstuffed dining room tables that don’t leave room for anyone to move.

Advice: Simply declutter. It is important to declutter your rental so it appears to have lots of storage space. Make sure all areas in and around your apartment are free of clutter, debris, toys, etc.

Stupid staging tip: Overdo the staging. Hang tassels around hand towels. Use ribbons, bows, and raffia everywhere: tied to curtains, on bath towels, on shower curtains and above doorframes. Don’t forget to add plenty of distracting photos: the more the merrier! If your potential renter’s attention is on the pictures and décor instead of on the room as a whole, they’ll never get a good, solid look at the apartment.

Advice: Don’t over-accessorize. Hang only one statement piece of artwork over a fireplace or bed, add one houseplant to a side table, and display only a few of books on a shelf. Do not overdo it.

Stupid staging tip: Underdo the staging. Don’t put any personality into the apartment at all. Make it look like a hotel room: a place no one really lives in. You don’t want it to conflict with your renter’s personality, after all! The more generic your apartment is; the more people will see themselves in it…right?

Advice: Show some personality, but not necessarily with personal items. Use tasteful pieces of art and photos to add a sense of place, or paint the front door an unexpected color.

When staging, be authentic, but creative. Show off what makes your apartment unique, but do it in a way that is smooth, seamless and appropriate. Your goal is for potential renters to be able to picture themselves living comfortably in the apartment. Staging properly helps you to create exactly the illusion they need.

Fay Wein is a writer, nature lover, mother and wife (not in that order!). She is a communication specialist and blogger for Glass Tile Oasis, an online shop with an extensive selection of some of the most unique and inspired  kitchen and bath tiles.