Staging a Table – Expert Home Staging Tips

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In the competitive real estate marketplace, a homeowner or agent needs to do more than just show off rooms if they want their house to stand out and say, “buy me!” The house needs to project just the right personality, ambiance, and lifestyle to potential buyers without being too bold or plain.

To help potential buyers feel that they’re touring their dream home, you should create scenes that showcase the house’s unique character and quality. Think beyond décor and furnishings and put together elegant, minimal looks that help buyers picture themselves and their families spending their lives there.

One of the most essential parts of this process is staging tables. From the coffee table to the kitchen and dining tables, these memorable centerpieces can be used to elevate the look of the rooms they’re in. Read on for some expert tips on staging each type of table.

Home Staging Institute student Debra used a small indoor plant to stage this coffee table

Staging a Coffee Table

Staging a coffee table provides the perfect opportunity to connect with buyers emotionally. When prospects tour a home, they will often sit around the table while waiting for other people in their party to show up or to talk about the house with the real estate professional. Don’t neglect this essential centerpiece – stage it simply and in sync with the style of the home. To get started, follow these expert tips for staging a coffee table:

Keep it Simple

Don’t add more than three to seven elements to a coffee tabletop. Use it to compliment the rest of the home’s staging theme with simple accessories that elements that tie the room together.

Add Some Soft Marketing

Avoid blatant marketing, as leaving a bunch of apparent marketing materials on display can cheapen the look of the space. However, as a coffee table is an ideal place to leave some marketing materials, you can do it in a soft and elegant manner. Place some nice-looking books or magazines in one area and top off the pile with a custom book wrap or your firm’s magazine. You can also place some tastefully branded coasters or a classy dish with branded candy on the tabletop.

Scale Down the Décor

While it can be tempting to add large pieces of décor to the coffee table, be sure you’re not blocking the view. If the accessories are too distracting, you can block the view outside or to a TV.

Liven Up the Space

Flowers or plants can liven up the space by adding a pop of color or adding to a serene ambiance. While fresh flowers and live plants are a nice touch for open houses, there are some high-quality faux florals and plants you can use for extended periods without looking cheesy.

Keep it Tidy

Don’t forget to tidy up the coffee table during a pre-show walk-through. If you had your home professionally staged but are now doing walk-throughs on your own, be sure to mimic exactly how the pros left it.

Staging a Dining Table

When it comes to staging a home, the dining room is one of the most important ones to focus on. This is the space where potential home buyers will envision spending holidays with their families or throwing dinner parties. Even when families don’t end up using the dining room for formal dinners, homes without one can take longer to sell than homes with one – which means that homes with a poorly staged dining room will take longer to sell than ones with a perfectly staged dining area.

The key to making the dining room appeal to a vast number of people is to show the room’s potential while leaving enough up to the imagination, allowing potential buyers the space they need to fill in their own blanks according to their tastes, desires, and needs.

As the dining table is the centerpiece of this all-important space, it’s essential to stage it well. Follow the expert tips below for advice to help you get started.

Consider the Number of Chairs

The standard number of chairs for staging most dining tables is four. Using four chairs will keep clutter to a minimum and put the space into perspective. However, adding six to eight chairs is perfectly acceptable if the table and dining room are very large.

Keep it Simple with a Centerpiece

If the dining table is in good shape, consider keeping it bare except for a simple centerpiece. A small succulent, a cactus plant, or a nice bouquet for a pop of color atop a runner is the most elegant display you can go for. Simple and chic.

To Rug or Not to Rug?

Some people like to have a rug surrounding the table. This element really depends on the rest of the space. If there’s a chandelier in the room, a rug can add depth as long as it’s centered directly below the chandelier with the table in the center of the rug.

Home Staging Institute student Lisa used a small indoor plant to stage this kitchen bench

Staging a Kitchen Table

The kitchen is one of the top three rooms to determine how quickly a home sells, so it’s absolutely essential to get the staging of this one right. Like the dining table, the kitchen table is the centerpiece of this all-important space. The kitchen table is where potential buyers will picture themselves spending mornings before work, having casual dinners at the end of the day, and sitting with family and friends to have everyday conversations.  

Simplify Accessories

Leaving the kitchen table bare can look cold or uninviting while setting it while cluttering it up with too much décor can overwhelm the space. When staging a kitchen table, choose a few place settings or accessories to create a warm and welcoming arrangement that ties the room together.

Focus on the Seating Arrangement  

Whether working with a small two-seater table, a bench table, or a large enough kitchen for a six-seater, it’s essential to focus on the seating and seating arrangement. The idea is to show that there’s enough space for people to sit comfortably and possibly add seating if needed. Don’t cram the space with chairs. Even if you can’t fit more than two comfortably, it’s better to keep the space looking open.

Set the Lighting

Lighting also plays a vital role in staging the kitchen table. It’s important to keep your kitchen dining area bright. Natural light will add warmth to the space, making it more welcoming. If you’re fortunate enough to have your table near a window, use sheer blinds or drapes instead of heavy window treatments.

Should You Set the Table When Staging a Home?

The question of whether or not to set the table when staging a home is really up to the homeowner or home stager, but it’s generally thought that people should avoid setting the table to ensure that potential buyers focus on the space, not your stuff. However, the table shouldn’t be completely bare either. A centerpiece or small cluster of two to three cohesive objects or accessories is often enough to keep things charming.

Consider how potential buyers take 15-20 minutes to walk through a home on average. If the table is set when prospects enter the dining room, their attention will be directed to the tabletop, and they may miss other enticing elements in the room, such as shiny hardwood floors or a beautiful outdoor view.

However, there is one exception to this unwritten rule: setting the table can be a good idea in a high-end home with a large dining room and table. In such a case, using fine China and glassware to showcase how elegant a dinner party would be can be a major selling point for buyers in that market.   

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