When staging a property, is it best to evoke a lived-in feeling?



I recently read an interesting post about an agent’s thoughts on home staging and how to effectively tailor it to families. In it states that it’s best to stage the home in a way that evokes a “lived-in” feeling, rather than the clean, sterile, blank canvas approach.

Personally, both approaches have its merits, but it all depends on the type of client you have.

The agent promoting the “lived-in” approach told the tale of showing a home to a young couple with two children. And once they entered the home, they began to comment about how neat and perfect the home was, which ultimately led them to walk away. They even went so far as to question if the property was actually occupied by real home owners.

We understand where the blank canvas or too-clean-it-hurts approach missed the mark. Have you ever bought a toy or something so new that you don’t want to use it? Homes that appear newly-constructed or too polished give off the impression that it’s too much upkeep. Think about it: A shiny new toy is more often than not keep in its original packaging. Having kids is a guarantee that the home’s polished appeal will quickly wear off. And where’s the livability in that?

To be clear: The article doesn’t suggest that the home shouldn’t be neat and in good condition, rather the agent promotes it. However, the reader is left wondering what exactly evokes the so-called “lived-in” feeling. What I gather from this article is that one should leave personal items around the home, such as a few toys here and there or coats hung up on the coat hanger. This is where the lived-in approach misses the mark.

In our opinion, these potential home buyers ultimately left the property feeling that it lacked warmthnot livability. 

What the agent should have emphasized instead is the term “warmth” instead of “lived-in”.  The reason being is that not every family is drawn to that approach. Personally, I would be turned off if a home exhibited a strangers personal markings, it’s like sleeping on someone else’s pillow. The feeling is strange, uncomfortable, and way too intimate for my liking. One of the commenters of this article said it best:

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When selling a home, make sure to not leave personal belongings around. There are a ton of ways to stage an occupied home like a blank canvas while not forgoing the warmth. For instance, how about using warm colors throughout the house as an alternative? Or switching “cool” light bulbs to “warm” ones? Books are also a great way to add some cozy appeal, as it’s considered to be nostalgic and somewhat neutral (this doesn’t include family photo albums).

Trust us, it’s hard for clients to envision themselves living someplace with another family’s personal memories hung everywhere.