Learn the rules like a pro. So you can break them like an artist

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I love this quote by Picasso. When I first saw it a couple of weeks ago it felt very relevant to how my staging has developed in the nearly 5 years I’ve been staging.

When I first started out I read everything I could get my hands on to learn how to stage a house like a professional. I learnt that walls all needed to be painted an off white, that ‘clutter’ needed to be packed away, all family photos down and that layouts needed to showcase the features of a room.  These things are still important but I suppose what I’ve learnt along the way is that once you know the rules you can break them when you need to.

Let me give you a couple of examples.

This unit in St Lucia had a blue bedroom. Staging 101 would suggest that this was painted out but the blue was such a beautiful soft blue and felt so restful for this bedroom. So I left it.

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Next, a heritage Queenslander in Sherwood. On my first walk through with my client during our consultation I told her the yellow walls would have to go. Then a strange thing happened. I started to fall in love with her house and her style and the amazing soul that her house had and I changed my mind (she was pretty relieved as she really didn’t want to get the paint brush out). The walls were kept yellow

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Finally a house in Corinda. The living area has a beautiful bay window – a real feature. Staging rules suggest that furniture is placed to showcase the windows. My client placed her large modular sofa straight across the windows to the left of the photo below almost covering them. However, the room was perfect, quirky, comfortable and hugely stylish. I left it ‘as is’.

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For years I’ve taken all the family photos down. The theory is that buyers want to see themselves in the house not your family staring down at them. But recently I’ve kept a few family photos on show. My new theory is that if we’re trying to present a comfortable and happy family house then a couple of photos help to show this. Same with a bit of clutter. As a client said to me the other day ” I don’t want this to feel like a serviced apartment, it needs to feel like a home”.

I think that all of the above ties back into my aim when styling of “staging that doesn’t feel staged”. I was lucky enough to hear Shaynna Blaze speak recently. She said that 10 years ago we all wanted our houses to look like display homes. Now we want them to look like real homes. Breaking the rules is part of this.


Are you a property stylist or home stager. Do you ever break ‘the rules’ and how?


I’m Imogen Brown a home stager based in the Western suburbs of Brisbane.  If you are looking for someone to help you prepare your house for sale, I’d love to help. Contact me through my website or call me on 0432994056 

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