What should you not do when staging a house?

The Top Mistakes New Home Stagers Make

Take Our Home Staging Course Quiz:

Our course quiz will help you discover which home staging course is right for you...

The home staging industry has become increasingly attractive in the past few years, and while there is a lot of material found online about what to do when staging a house, there is little about what should you not do when staging a house.

Bad home staging can be spotted a mile away by experts. It’s bad for your reputation, and not ideal for your clients.

It’s your responsibility as a home stager to ensure the house is presented in its best possible light, so let’s take a look at what should you not do when staging a house.

Mistake #1 – Not Having Certification

In many professions, you’ll need a certain amount of certification and training before you can establish a business.

This is even truer if you’re looking to scale up the business and want it to succeed as much as possible. As such, it’s a good idea to get a home staging certification when you first launch your business.

There are a variety of ways that you can get this, with some being more effective than others. One of the recommended routes is to get your home staging certification from Home Staging Institute. This is available online and should be much more affordable than you might think.

Mistake #2 – Using Poor Inventory

When many people first start a home staging business, they often try to be as frugal as possible while they’re growing.

However, this could be quite a mistake, as many of the items that you buy might be of relatively poor quality, especially if they’re marked down in price.

The majority of clients will expect a certain quality, as well as your expertise. While you might be able to get high-quality items on a tight budget, it can often be recommended that you spend a little bit extra, as this could pay dividends.

Another option is to rent furniture for your first year or two in business. This gives you access to a wide range of aesthetics, and better quality furniture than you could afford yourself on a tight budget.

Companies such as Cort, Express Furniture Rental, and Brook Furniture Rental all offer rental services to home stagers.

Mistake #3 – Not Treating It As A Business

The number of people who treat their home staging business as if it wasn’t a business can be surprising.

Much of this can be seen in people giving away favors and helping friends and family for free. However, you should refrain from this, as it could result in a significant amount of lost revenue. (Unless you are using such favors in the very very early days of your business to build your portfolio).

It’s one thing to be fair to friends and family, but it’s another thing entirely to give services and goods away. This should be avoided.

Mistake #4 – Letting Clients Run The Show

The majority of homeowners might have a certain vision for their home when they want to have it staged.

However, this can often be tinted by the memories and emotions that are often associated with the house. As such, they might not always know what the best way to stage their home will be.

It’s vital that you choose furniture and items that match the home itself. This might not always match with your client’s personal preference. You’re there to do your job to the best of your ability, which means that you may sometimes need to overrule your client’s requests.

While this may be tough, it’s for the greater good, as it will make the home look better once it’s staged.

Mistake #5 – Under-Valuing Expertise

When many of us first start a business, we often may not know how to value our services.

As a result, under-valuing or over-valuing them can often be one of the more common mistakes to make. This should be avoided wherever possible, with there being a few ways of doing so.

From the beginning, you’ll need to stand firm at what you’re worth and charge accordingly. To do so, you’ll need to review industry standards and calculate your expenses.

You have a variety of costs that are associated with your home staging business, so you’ll need to make sure that these are covered.

Alongside this, you need to make enough to earn a living. While this may take some time to calculate, it’s well worth the effort.

Mistake #6 – Not Understanding The Industry

Quite a large number of people get into the home staging industry because they have a love of décor. However, this isn’t all that’s needed when you’re entering the area, as there’s much more that you will need to know.

A significant amount of this will be focused on the real estate industry and its related terminology. If you go the route of getting a certification, the majority of this should be handled in your training, which should make it worth the investment.

Mistake #7 – Marketing To The Masses

The majority of people will know that marketing can be vital to growing their home staging business. As a result, they can often spend a significant amount of time and money marketing to the masses.

However, they’ll often see that they’re getting much less of a return on their investment than they would have wanted.

This is because they may not understand their niche and where they fit into it. By doing so, you should be able to more effectively identify who your target audience is. As a result, you should be able to refine your marketing efforts and see a boost in your ROI.

Mistake #8 – Decorating Instead Of Merchandising

The majority of newcomers to home staging believe that the profession is focused solely on decorating a home to make it sellable. While this may play a certain role in the process, there are many other factors at play, each of which can be vital.

Instead of decorating a home, you’re designing it to sell. As such, you should see the process as merchandising so that you can sell a particular lifestyle. This will draw in much more interest than you might have thought, which makes it the better-recommended option.

Mistake #9 – Improperly Scaled Furniture

Home staging is used to showcase a house. Part of this involves highlighting how large a room or house may be, which means that you’ll need to spend a significant amount of time focusing on this. While photos will play a role in this, there are a few other important aspects to look at.

One of the most notable of these is having the right size furniture. If it’s too small, then the room will look too big, with the reverse also being true.

Mistake #10 – Over- Or Under-Decorating

Naturally, you’ll need to spend a significant amount of time decorating a room and home to make sure that it attracts buyers. However, there is quite a fine line when it comes to how much furniture you should use.

If you use too much furniture and decorations, then the room could look quite cramped. Using too little could mean that it looks bare. As such, you’ll need to make sure that you use the right amount of decorations and furniture when staging the home.

Mistake #11 – No Insurance

Many people might forget that their home staging business is, in fact, a business. While this means that it’s good to get home staging certification, there are a few other things that you’ll also need to get.

One of the more important aspects of this is home staging insurance.

Your business will take place in another person’s home, which means that you’ll need to protect yourself from any liabilities that may come about. While there shouldn’t be any large accidents involved in the business, this doesn’t negate the need for insurance.

The main reason for this is that it can be relatively easy to cause a small amount of damage while staging a home. To protect yourself against having to pay a significant amount for this damage, you’ll need to take out insurance, which should be quite affordable.


Each of the above is a relatively common mistake made in the home staging industry. While some of them might seem obvious, they can happen much more than you might think.

To ensure you don’t make any of these mistakes, or other common mistakes when you are new to the industry, take a look at our home staging certification courses. The cost of taking such a course is well worth it, especially when you consider the amount you could lose by making a single costly mistake.

Get Your Home Staging resource pack now

Checklists, guides, forms, sales contracts, and more!

Let’s supercharge your career!

We have exclusive content from Erin at Revisions Mentor! Sign up for our online Home Staging Course to get full access.

Already have an account? Log in here

Let’s supercharge your career!

Get access to the fastest-growing library of home staging videos with any of our staging courses. Arriving in your student dashboard Q3 2023!

See all subscription plans
Already have an account? Log in here