13 Shocking Home Staging Before and After Images: Plus Pro Tips!

what is home staging?
Plain, right?

Home staging: why?

An empty home for sale could scare away buyers. ESPECIALLY when selling a gorgeous waterfront estate like the one pictured . We’ve found that home staging is essential to keep buyers focused on the important aspects of a home for sale.

A strategically placed sitting area can lead a buyer to a stunning view, or a large piece of furniture can help them to see how big a room is. When a buyer is shown a well-staged “livable” space, it creates an emotional attachment. They can picture themselves cooking with friends here, relaxing with family there. The bonus? It also allows the seller to highlight the most important features, making sure the buyer doesn’t miss out on seeing – and appreciating – the most valuable aspects of the property!

What are buyers thinking when they see an empty space?

There’s a uniquely awful thing that happens when a buyer walks into a completely empty space…instead of seeing a home they would want to live in – could see themselves living in – instead of focusing on the aspects of the home that really sell it, they see the problems (they think) they need to solve. The newly painted walls become too plain. Every speck of dust is visible on the gorgeously redone floors. The windows aren’t frames for a view, they’re impediments to the buyers imagination. And, let’s face it, if a buyer has to “imagine” a space, there is almost no chance they are going to buy your property!

Our Staging Case study.

home staging: Cape Cod home for sale

The property shown in the above image is a stunning waterfront home that is currently for sale. It’s located on 2 acres on idyllic Cape Cod, a vacation destination just south of Boston. The owners of the home remodeled, refinished, repainted and generally updated the entire property. The house is over 8,000 square feet and had been on the market for a few months without any staging. Although the property is gorgeous and features incredible ocean views from almost every room, the lack of any furniture or decorative touches defined the space more than the natural beauty outside.

When I first went to the house, I quickly lost track of rooms and, even though the views were great, I found myself trying to figure out where I was and where I had been…”wait, is this the third bedroom or the fourth?” I immediately went negative even though I was surrounded by beautiful finishes and gorgeous views. The first thing I did was talk to the owners about staging. They were concerned about costs but recognized the importance of highlighting the things that made the house so special and agreed to let us stage some of the key rooms.

So, now I’m going to take you on a brief tour and show you images before and after staging. Ready? Ok, assume we just walked into the front door…



The image shown on the right is the area you first walk into when entering the home. I absolutely love the main staircase (this house has two to the 2nd floor) and the French doors that frame it. See those open doors to the right? We’re going there first!

*Please note: when viewing images beyond this point, please use the slider to see before and after images.


Dining Room

This dining room is located to the right of the entry and the main staircase. We placed decorative items on the shelves and on the fireplace mantle. We didn’t put any family photos or things that would cause the buyer to stop and look (keep them moving!) or worse, think of the home as somebody else’s! We always want our buyers to be able to envision themselves and their own family in the space. We put a few plants in a positive Feng Shui area to give the room some living, natural color AND some good vibes! We staged a nice semi-formal dining set up – including, yes, an empty bottle of wine. Did I drink it? Yes. it was delicious and I did it for good cause. This room went from empty and a little cold to interesting, cozy and – thanks to my recycled wine bottle – relatable. You’re welcome.

Shopping Tip:

If your dining room chairs are old, stained, tired or even if they’re just too busy or polarizing of a pattern and you’re looking for a more consistent, clean look, dining room chair covers are an inexpensive and easy solution. Decorative place settings like these silver charger plates add a simple element of sophistication to a staged dining room table at an attractive price point. Another inexpensive way to add simple sophistication to a dining room table is by rolling cloth napkins and holding them with napkin rings. Finally, why not splurge a little and enjoy a nice bottle of wine (it doesn’t have to be Opus One, but please do NOT stage with Two (or even Three!) Buck Chuck and then recycle the bottle on your staged table! Talk about a win-win!

Butler’s Pantry

The butler’s pantry is essentially a hallway between the kitchen and formal dining room that is used for food preparation, drinks or whatever the owner sees fit. Just adding a few cutting boards, serving trays, beverages and a never spoiling fruit bowl (ie plastic) made a huge difference in how this space is perceived. When a buyer walks through, they won’t question the point of this super-functional area…now they will wonder why they don’t have one of these in THEIR home!

Shopping Tip:

Bamboo Cutting Boards may be perfect for slicing, dicing and chopping, but they’re also nice looking an invoke a sense of utility and usefulness! Just like cutting boards or a simple paper towel holder, a nice set of cotton kitchen towels in a neutral palette goes a long way toward suggesting to a buyer that this is a “livable” space.


This kitchen is amazing. I LOVE the open floor plan, the wood beamed ceiling, the huge river rock fireplace and just all of the space. But, again, that much EMPTY space can turn into a negative (same thing if it’s overly cluttered – sometimes staging means eliminating!) To make the huge island and long counters seem user-friendly, we just added a few personal touches. My favorite is the cake tin that says “OMG CAKE” on the front! The tall plant and wooden bar stools bring some organic energy into the big space and the little touches – spices, a few specialty cooking oils, and some nicely displayed wooden spoons – help our buyers to imagine cooking a great family dinner in this space! Remember, there are always strategies to every room. Always think about the best parts and add, move or remove things to help make a certain area more desirable.

Shopping Tip:

In this case we took a very minimalist approach because this kitchen is filled with top of the line professional appliances and anchored by a huge center island. To humanize the space and engage our buyers, we strategically placed simple items such as spices, specialty cooking oils, and wooden spoons in a decorative glass jar on the kitchen counters. The best places to find great inexpensive home décor items are Marshalls, TJMaxx, and – my personal favorite – the always reliable Home Goods. You can’t really shop online because their inventory turns over – and every store may have different finds – so if you hate shopping, stick to our online links!

On the island, we featured a large plant and fun cake tin (OMG! CAKE!) – both picked up at Home Goods. We also put a few counter stools underneath – note: many people don’t realize that bar stools and counter stools are different heights, counter stools are shorter, usually around 24”, for counter height seating, while bar stools are taller, usually around 29”, for bar height seating. Make sure you know which one you need before you order

Breakfast Nook

The image without the furniture is brilliant in itself. I already love my morning coffee, but if I could wake up every morning and have a warm cup of joe right there, I’d be thrilled and hey, that’s the emotion I am trying to get prospective buyers to feel. We realized, however, that this was so much more than a breakfast area and we wanted our buyers to feel the spirit of being in a big rambling house by the ocean…so after we added a farm table with a bench on one side and mismatched Captain’s chairs around the rest of the table, we laid out a “real” New England lobster boil/clambake! On newspaper, we arranged plastic lobsters, wax corn on the cob, faux boiled potatoes, empty clam shells and rubber shrimp (no, not the overcooked ones that Uncle Bob grills!). It evokes the feelings of a long summer day on the Cape filled with fun, friends, family and great food! How could you not want to be a part of that? Extra butter please!

Shopping Tip:

Staging a real New England lobster boil and clam bake is a lot harder than you might think (and I’m guessing it’s something you’ve never thought of!). If you want to have fake food there are a number of resources online including, of course, Amazon!


This is one of my favorite transformations. We call this room the library, I’d like to call it MINE. This room is unlike the others as its walls are filled with built-in shelving, custom paneling and a cozy gas fireplace, all anchored by an amazing three panel window seat overlooking the pool and the ocean. When no furniture was in the room, it seemed dark and cold. Staging this room was the most fun, as the style was right up my alley! We didn’t want the shelves to look cluttered and we wanted to celebrate the nautical theme of the cape, so instead of just filling them with books we strategically arranged decorative items (lobster floats, sea glass, shells, a wooden shark, a treasure chest, a globe, etc) on the open shelves. We also put a big comfy leather club chair next to a library table staged with a decanter of scotch, an ice bucket, a couple of glasses, a tray of nuts, chocolates and caramels, a Cuban cigar, and a few books. It comes off as an elegant yet comfortable space to relax in.

Shopping Tip:

Because we wanted more of a “lived in” look, a lot of the items used in the library were found in online local marketplaces, like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or even local thrift stores, which can be a GREAT resource for staging décor!

Living Room

I love hanging out and I love spaces that allow me to do that. Right across the hall from the library is the smaller of 2 living rooms in the house. This would be considered a formal living or sitting room, while the other is more of a large “great room.” A fireplace with a brick surround and hearth anchors one side of the room but otherwise it almost seemed like a glorified hallway. Adding the furniture created a living space, one that you could imagine hanging out in with your family or friends. And ironically, once the space was furnished, the beautiful French doors became more of a focal point!

Shopping Tip:

A great resource for inexpensive furniture is IKEA. If you live near an IKEA, we highly recommend going in and first visiting their AS IS section – every IKEA has one and they vary in terms of the availability of good finds, but you can often pick up former display pieces for 30-50% off! In our living room, we used an Ektorp Vittaryd White slip-covered sofa with some throw pillows found at TJ Maxx. We matched our sofa with an Ektorp ottoman and a couple of Kvistbro wire storage tables that we accessorized with Skogsklocka Throws. I really think the best thing about IKEA may actually be the names of their products…anyone who doesn’t agree is just a dumskalle.

Master Bedroom

This is probably one of the most beautiful master bedrooms I’ve ever been in, seriously those views are just stunning! This is also an example of how adding furniture can make a space seem bigger. That never made any sense to me, but now I get it. We put in a big king-sized bed with sumptuous bedding and lots of pillows and added comfy chairs, a small table and a rug to define the sitting area in front of the fireplace. Before it was staged, I thought it was a neat room, but now I’d like to pack my bags and move here! I can picture myself waking up every morning to that amazing ocean view, can’t you?

Shopping Tip:

Once again, IKEA came to the rescue in the Master Bedroom. For our big king-sized bed, we went with a Brimnes bed frame, bedding was from Marshalls, and pillows were picked up from Ocean State Job Lots, a store that is a strange cross between Home Goods and a 99 Cent Store! The sitting area furniture came from Marshalls and the rug was a clearance item from Bed Bath & Beyond. Always make sure you check the sale or clearance areas first!

Small Loft

This nice little loft sits at the top of the main staircase. By adding “mini-moorings” on each side of the entry to literally and figuratively “anchor” the space and then strategically creating a sitting area to take advantage of the view, we’ve helped our buyers to focus on one of our key selling points (yes, that is the ocean right there!). Pretty sure it will cause them to stop and enjoy the view…it worked on me and I know all of the tricks. Hmmm, not bad.

Shopping Tip:

When you’re creating a seating area that is really designed to highlight a view, you either want to create an area so inviting that people will want to sit down or so neutral that they won’t be distracted. In the small loft we went for neutral and instead of using two easy chairs, we used an accent chair purchased on Facebook Marketplace and a pouf – typically an indoor/outdoor piece, this is almost like a stool but a little more fun! A simple woven area rug helped define the seating area. It’s always fun to incorporate pieces from local artisans if you can, and in the small loft we marked the entry way with two “mini-moorings” made by a local artist from real moorings and lobster rope.


Guest Room

This is one of four guest bedrooms in the house. It has an amazing view and it’s a very large room. By adding a queen size bed parallel to the windows, we not only highlight how big the room is, we also frame the view.


Shopping Tip:

In the guest room we used an upholstered bed frame from Overstock. (Be aware that if you buy just a headboard, you’ll need to purchase a metal Hollywood Bed Frame to attach it to.) We mixed the bed with concrete and wood side tables from Home Goods and Coastal Shutter table lamps. We also purchased an old (I wouldn’t say antique) wooden dresser on Facebook Marketplace and changed the handles to match the gray bedframe and lamps.

Guest Bathroom

Its subtle, but when dealing with bathrooms, it’s really important to put a human touch on the space. By adding some neatly folded towels, soaps or other (attractive and NEW) toiletries, it looks like an inviting bathroom as opposed to just a place to poop. HA – I thought that might make you laugh!

Shopping Tip:

It’s amazing what a few small things can do to humanize a bathroom. In this guest bath, we simply added a simple IKEA Balungen toilet roll holder, and a few neatly rolled towels and nice soap from Marshalls. Stage your bathrooms like you’re preparing for house guests that you want to feel comfortable and welcome!

Large Loft

There are two lovely lofts in this home. Despite it being the larger of the two, it’s location at the top of the back staircase and the fact that it leads directly into the game room relegates it almost to glorified hallway status. The secret weapon here is (once again) the view! By creating a simple sitting area, we’re encouraging the buyers to think of this as a great place to relax and watch the ocean waves. See what we did there? We highlighted a desired part of the home – the windows and views!

Shopping Tip:

As we talked about before, when you’re creating a seating area that is really designed to highlight a view, you either want to create an area so inviting that people will want to sit down or so neutral that they won’t be distracted. In the large loft we went for comfy and inviting. We purchased two oversized rattan chairs and a simple side table on Facebook Marketplace, then added some fun accessories like fluffy white footstools and fluffy white throw pillows. Sit down in these comfy chairs and enjoy the view! You won’t be disappointed!

Game Room

This is a large room over the 3-car garage. While it still has terrific views of the ocean, it’s location at the back of the house makes it a perfect place to send the kids – big and little – to have some fun! We wanted to highlight just how big this room is, so we put in a regulation size ping pong table, as well as a table and chairs for games, a cabinet for storing board games, electronic games, etc. and a big TV. We even added a junior air hockey game for the littler ones. This is a really fun area and, as busy as we were, we stopped for a few minutes to “test” the ping pong table.

Shopping Tip:

The game room was just a really fun space to stage – and, of course, we had to make sure everything “worked.” Ahem. The fantastic ping pong table is a big piece and really illustrates that this is a large space. The game table and four chairs are defined by the round rug they sit on. And a smaller air hockey game, purchased for just $10 on Facebook Marketplace, adds another element of space and fun. There is also an armoire to store games and accessories with a TV on top of it. Overall, it’s a big fun space and sure to capture the imagination of buyers young and old.


It’s a small addition, but some laundry detergent and supplies on the shelf, some clean folded towels – ready for the beach! – on the counter and a laundry basket of towels ready to be washed – we had so much fun in the pool! – all combine to make this utility room feel more like home.

Shopping Tip:

The laundry room was a simple exercise…bring an element of life to an otherwise dull utility room. We added some empty (recycled) Tide and Bounce boxes and a few beach towels – some folded and some in a laundry basket ready for washing. The overall effect is subtle and simple but it makes the space much more memorable and relatable.


I hope you like what you see.  I’d like to end this post with an image of the “great room” of this house.  We would like to know what YOU would do with this space!

Related Article: Hmmmm, waterfront homes, are they right for you?

















Read about Selling homes in Los Angeles Area

Read about selling homes in Palm Springs

Read about selling homes in Ventura County

Read about selling homes in Boston

Read about selling homes in Cape Cod

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    Hey, how’s it going?

    I want to pass along some very important news that everyone needs to hear!

    In December of 2017, Donald Trump made history by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Why is this big news? Because by this the Jewish people of Israel are now able to press forward in bringing about the Third Temple prophesied in the Bible.

    Jewish Rabbis have publicly announced that their Messiah will be revealed in the coming years who will be a leader and spiritual guide to all nations, gathering all religions under the worship of one God.

    Biblical prophecy tells us that this Jewish Messiah who will take the stage will be the antichrist “who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:4). For a time he will bring about a false peace, but “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (Matthew 24:15)…then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21).

    More importantly, the power that runs the world wants to put a RFID microchip in our body making us total slaves to them. This chip matches perfectly with the Mark of the Beast in the Bible, more specifically in Revelation 13:16-18:

    “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

    Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.”

    Referring to the last days, this could only be speaking of a cashless society, which we have yet to see, but are heading towards. Otherwise, we could still buy or sell without the mark amongst others if physical money was still currency. This Mark couldn’t be spiritual because the word references two different physical locations. If it was spiritual it would just say in the forehead. RFID microchip implant technology will be the future of a one world cashless society containing digital currency. It will be implanted in the right-hand or the forehead, and we cannot buy or sell without it. Revelation 13:11-18 tells us that a false prophet will arise on the world scene doing miracles before men, deceiving them to receive this Mark. Do not be deceived! We must grow strong in Jesus. AT ALL COSTS, DO NOT TAKE IT!

    “Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name” (Revelation 14:9-11).

    People have been saying the end is coming for many years, but we needed two key things. One, the Third Temple, and two, the technology for a cashless society to fulfill the prophecy of the Mark of the Beast.

    Visit http://WWW.BIBLEFREEDOM.COM to see proof for these things and why the Bible truly is the word of God!

    If you haven’t already, it is time to seek God with all your heart. Jesus loves you more than you could imagine. He wants to have a relationship with you and redeem you from your sins. Turn to Him and repent while there is still hope! This is forever…God bless!


    We all know God exists. Why? Because without Him, we couldn’t prove anything at all. Do we live our lives as if we cannot know anything? No. So why is God necessary? In order to know anything for certain, you would have to know everything, or have revelation from somebody who does. Who is capable of knowing everything? God. So to know anything, you would have to be God, or know God.

    A worldview without God cannot account for the uniformity and intelligibility of nature. And why is it that we can even reason that God is the best explanation for this if there is no God? We are given reason to know or reject God, but never to know that He does not exist.

    It has been calculated by Roger Penrose that the odds of the initial conditions for the big bang to produce the universe that we see to be a number so big, that we could put a zero on every particle in the universe, and even that would not be enough to use every zero. What are the odds that God created the universe? Odds are no such thing. Who of you would gamble your life on one coin flip?

    Is there evidence that the Bible is the truth? Yes. Did you know that the creation accounts listed in the book of Genesis are not only all correct, but are also in the correct chronological order? That the Bible doesn’t say the Earth was formed in six 24-hour days but rather six long but finite periods of time? That the Bible makes 10 times more creation claims than all major “holy” books combined with no contradictions, while these other books have errors in them? The Bible stood alone by concurring with the big bang saying, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1); and says our universe is expanding, thousands of years before scientists discovered these things. Watch a potential life-changing video on the website listed below with Astronomer(PhD) Hugh Ross explaining all these facts based on published scientific data. He has authored many books, backed even by atheist scientists.

    Jesus came to pay a debt that we could not; to be our legal justifier to reconcile us back to a Holy God; only if we are willing to receive Him: “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23).

    God so loved the world that He gave us His only begotten son, so that whoever believes in Him, through faith, shall not perish, but have everlasting life. Jesus says if we wish to enter into life to keep the commands! The two greatest commands are to love God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind; and your neighbor as yourself. All the law hang on these commands. We must be born of and lead by the Holy Spirit, to be called children of God, to inherit the kingdom. If we are willing to humble ourselves in prayer to Jesus, to confess and forsake our sins, He is willing to give the Holy Spirit to those who keep asking of Him; giving us a new heart, leading us into all truth!

    Jesus came to free us from the bondage of sin. The everlasting fire was prepared for the devil and his angels due to disobedience to God’s law. If we do the same, what makes us any different than the devil? Jesus says unless we repent, we shall perish. For sin is the transgression of the law. We must walk in the Spirit so we may not fulfill the lusts of the flesh, being hatred, fornication, drunkenness and the like. Whoever practices such things will not inherit the kingdom (Galatians 5:16-26). If we sin, we may come before Jesus to ask for forgiveness (1 John 2:1-2). Evil thoughts are not sins, but rather temptations. It is not until these thoughts conceive and give birth by our own desires that they become sin (James 1:12-15). When we sin, we become in the likeness of the devil’s image, for he who sins is of the devil (1 John 3:8); but if we obey Jesus, in the image of God. For without holiness, we shall not see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).

    The oldest religion in the world is holiness through faith (James 1:27). What religion did Adam and Eve follow before the fall? Jesus, Who became the last Adam, what religion does He follow? Is He not holy? He never told us to follow the rituals and traditions of man but to take up our cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23). There are many false doctrines being taught leading people astray. This is why we need the Holy Spirit for discernment. Unlike religion, holiness cannot be created. It is given to us from above by the baptism of the Spirit. Jesus is more than a religion; He is about having a personal relationship with the Father. Start by reading the Gospel of Matthew, to hear the words of God, to know His character and commandments. Follow and obey Jesus, for He is the way, the truth, and the life!

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