Styled, Staged & Sold

Bringing you the latest home design and staging trends. From REALTOR® Magazine.

How to Accentuate the Home's Positive Features in Staging

The following section has been reprinted with permission from stager Tori Toth’s new book, “Feel at Home: Home Staging Secrets for a Quick and Easy Sell” (Morgan James Publishing, 2015). Toth is the owner of Stylish Stagers Inc. in New York.

Every room has positive and negative features; it’s what you do with those features that can make a buyer excited about your space. In any room of the house there should be a dramatic focal point that attracts your eye, but is that focal point pleasing to the eye? Does it have a positive connotation or a negative one?

Here’s a list of some positive features you may have in your home:

Positive Features

  • Large Front Yard
  • Landscaping/Sprinkler Systems
  • Two-Car Garage
  • Deck/Patio
  • Swimming Pool
  • Outdoor Living Area
  • Outdoor View
  • Energy-Efficient Windows/Insulation/Appliances
  • Picture Windows/Sliding or French Doors
  • Grand Foyer
  • Wood Floors
  • Built-in Shelving
  • Fireplace
  • Hi-Hat Lighting/Fans/Chandeliers
  • Lots of Storage Space/Closets
  • Kitchen with Island
  • Home Office
  • Master Suite with Spa-Like Bathroom
  • Large Rooms
  • Family Room or Additional Great Room
  • Open Layout
  • Finished Basement

These are just a few of the positive features buyers look for in a new home. If you have these types of features in your home, guess what? You’re one step closer to the closing table because you already own what buyers are looking for. Now you just have to make sure they notice those features.

Here’s a list of some negative features, or basically anything that is an eyesore, a needed repair, or an imperfection you can’t change.

Negative Features

  • Location of Home
  • Uninviting Curb Appeal
  • No Garage
  • Unappealing or No Landscape
  • Peeling Exterior Paint/Bad Paint Colors
  • Old Roof
  • Old Windows/Doors
  • Small or Awkward Layout
  • Carpeting
  • Outdated Kitchen and Bathrooms
  • Small Bedrooms
  • Limited Ceiling Lighting
  • Structural Problems
  • Electrical/Plumbing Problems

Some of these negative features can have a real impact on whether the buyer makes an offer or not, and if an offer is made how much will they take off the sales price to budget in improving these features? Some features are just out of your control; for instance, the location of your home is impossible to change.

So, in order to make sure these positive features get noticed, we have to downplay the negative aspects of the space. Stylish Stagers staged a co-op apartment in Kew Gardens that is a great example of this. The space was average; nothing really grabbed the buyer’s attention. And while the apartment was large, the seller’s belongings were scattered everywhere. This picture was their living room before we staged the space. What attracts your eye? Is it positive or negative?


The orange focal wall stands out and says, “look at me,” but there is nothing there to look at. While the window is large and bright, the curtains are less than attractive. The paint color also directs your eye to that door in the corner. This door had caused many headaches for the sellers because it’s a door to nowhere. They’d been on the market for a year before calling us, and the sellers said, “Every time a buyer comes in they question that door.” So we knew we’d need to come up with a solution. Take a look at what we did.


Our company painted the room a comfy beige, removed their window treatment, and added curtains from floor to ceiling, flanking the picture window. Then we extended the fabric to cover the doorway. Presto, the door to nowhere is now nowhere to be found. We also switched the furniture layout so that when you walked through the front door into the room you saw the couch rather than the entertainment center. As you can see, by painting, decluttering, rearranging, and adding some modern accessories by taking a cue from mother nature, we were able to update this two-bedroom, two-bath co-op and highlight many of the space’s positive areas, such as picture windows, spacious layout, and wood floors.

Feel at Home: Home Staging Secrets for a Quick and Easy Sell” (Morgan James Publishing, 2015) by Tori Toth


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