Staging a home for photos/showings- Set the table or not?

witmomMarch 4, 2010

The subject line pretty much says it all. We are getting ready to list our home in the next week or so, and are wondering if we should set the table as part of the photos for the listing and for any showings after that. Part of me thinks yes. Our kitchen is okay, but not terribly interesting, and that might provide a little more visual interest in a picture. Part of me thinks no, it looks to contrived and just...odd. Your thoughts?

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terriks

I think that setting the table looks too stagey. A nice centerpiece and maybe a table runner should suffice. You want just enought to make it interesting but not cluttered. A few large pieces are much better than numerous small items.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 1:10PM
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jrdown

I wouldn't bother. Just make sure that the table is clean and, if you do put a centerpiece or something, that it isn't too large and hinders the view. I have seen some tables with a runner down the center but that is about it.

I don't go into a home and look at the furnishings or decor because I am not buying that. I know it may help some folks to visualize their furniture placement but I prefer empty homes, myself. The last home we bought we got a good price on it. The home hadn't sold in over a year and I am convinced because the inside was like a cave painted maroon and hunter green. So very dark and the strongest colors in all of the rooms. Other people's problem was our advantage.

Be sure that your wording in the ad is comprehensive enough and point out an advantage or something that your home has that others don't. Please don't include fuzzy pictures or closeups of something that isn't staying. I don't care about a closeup of your bed.

Just a few thoughts.

Robyn

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 1:13PM
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adellabedella_usa

I had a simple tablecloth and a potted plant on mine. That's how I normally kept my table. I don't like to see place settings with plates, cups, silverware, etc., that's too staged for my taste.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 2:51PM
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sweeby

For showings, nothing says "staged" like a set table, unless it's wine glasses by the tub...
That said, a nice centerpiece and either placemats or a runner woudn't be out of place.

For listing photos, I'd try it with and without and see which looks better. It's perfectly plausible that your listing photos were taken right before dinner...

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 4:51PM
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witmom

LOL about the wine glasses by the bathtub! I think I'll go with a centerpiece and a runner, or maybe placemats. I'll have to play around and see what I can come up with without spending any extra money.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 9:52PM
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booboo60

I don't know why you would have to 'hide' the fact that you are staging? When we put our house up for sale last year I did EVERYTHING I could to make the house look "spiffy" :) I cleaned and cleaned, put new towels in all the bathrooms, took everything off the countertops except for a couple things, and I set my dining room table with placemats and my Fiestaware dishes! I also had a small flower arrangement on the table. It was fun for awhile; this was at the height of the economic downturn so it took us 4 months to sell. Stage away :)

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 11:47PM
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mary_md7

Some things I note when looking at photos on realtor.com -- they should focus on the rooms and not the owners furnishings; and I'd rather see the tub & surround than peoples closed shower curtains.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 7:09AM
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sweeby

"I don't know why you would have to 'hide' the fact that you are staging?"

To me, obvious 'staging' implies a bit of trickery -- not simply trying to look your best. So rooms that are sparkling clean, de-cluttered and appealing -- even though specifically spiffed for showings -- don't 'look staged'. But bathrooms with wine glasses and champagne buckets look contrived. It's like the stagers are trying too hard to distract the buyers' eyes from whatever the 'natural reality' is.

It's the difference between Cameron Diaz and Pamela Anderson. One looks natural and artless; the other looks contrived and over-done.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 11:35AM
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terriks

It's the difference between Cameron Diaz and Pamela Anderson. One looks natural and artless; the other looks contrived and over-done

Love the analogy!
Don't forget, staging is NOT decorating. The purpose of staging is to show off the HOUSE, not the decor or the china.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 12:15PM
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bmrbabe

The wine glasses by the tub are there to sell you the illusion that if you purchase the house that you will have time to lounge in the tub with a glass of wine. (Maybe you do; I don't.)

Staging should be done subtly so that the buyer can picture him/herself in the home, and that furniture placement, etc., shows off the house to its best. You don't want buyers to be distracted by all the neat stuff you have out.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 10:59PM
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calliope

Just smiling. I agree with the rest, and got a chuckle over comparing Diaz with Anderson. That sums it up well. Avoid looking like you are trying too hard. It might be OK for a model for a tract home but it loses something in the translation when applied to an actual home where people live.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 10:45AM
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okhouse

When we had our house staged, the stager completely set our round oak table, with very complete place settings, big napkins, big wine glasses, etc. When I saw it, I took it all away, stuck it in the cupboard, because it made the table look so crowded that it reminded you that it wasn't really a very big table. That in turn reminded you that it wasn't really a very big dining room!

So we did better letting the table look "big," whlch helped the dining room look "big."

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 3:06PM
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booboo60

When I said "staging" I didn't realize there were so many different meanings for the word! I guess what I would say is I tried to make my house look inviting, I didn't "pile" my dining room table with wine glasses and cloth napkins I just added color with my dishes plus the flowers! I think that is what "witmom" was getting at; she thought by setting her table it would add "visual interest".

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 12:49AM
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talley_sue_nyc

I think it would be TOO busy to set the table for the photos. They'll be seen small anyway--don't add too much.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 7:05PM
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sheilajoyce_gw

Hate to say it, but don't put out good silver, etc. And hide any prescriptions that might be tempting to visitors. I have been told medicine cabinets get pilfered a lot with open houses especially.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 10:39PM
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mauirealtor

I would definitely recommend to NOT set the table. Keep it clean and uncluttered, allow the buyers to picture how their furniture would fit in your home (not on how delicious the turkey looks). Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 4:29AM
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xine

The most "staging" we did was taking out about half the furniture in each room (storage unit at $56/month for 3 months was a great investment!), paying $150 for a team of three professional cleaners to come in and do a "spring clean" kind of cleaning on my house (baseboards, ceiling fans, cupboards, etc.) and decluttering everything. I never did put anything else on the table except for the placemats (which I normally had on the table everyday) and a small potted plant on a glass tray in the center.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 11:01PM
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loves2read

I would say that making the table show the max number of chairs it can seat comfortably--
if that means adding the leaf you normally store until Xmas dinner--then take it out and add the chairs

having a table with just 4 chairs often sends a negative message if it is a DINING room...vs breakfast area...
at least to me
and I agree that having a full table setting is often "showy" and not positive

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 11:20AM
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herus

Contrived! I think it's better to under-equip the table. We had settings at first but never liked the vibe it gave off. We then settled on a couple of nice candle-holders (the large, hurricane-lamp kind and proportionate to the table's size). Removed the settings and we both agree it looks much cleaner and not fakey any more.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 6:05PM
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