What I love most about the staging and property styling industry is that there isn’t one way to style a house. All stylists have different ways of working and think different things look good.
However, the ugly truth about being a stylist (and I hope not just my ugly truth) is that sometimes I’ll find myself looking at a property listing and think “what were they thinking?” By ‘they’, I’m not talking about the home owners, I’m talking about their stylists! Allow me to be ‘Judgemental Judy’ for a few moments and share my property styling pet peeves:
1. Throws that are ‘strewn’. Diagonally over the corner of a bed, diagonally over a sofa. I can spot a ‘I’ve been styled’ diagonal throw from 10 paces.
2. Tray on the bed. Set for breakfast, or just randomly styled with a picture frame and few other choice pieces. Also, a single red rose on the bed (yes, you guessed it, strewn diagonally)
3. Champagne and champagne glasses. On the outdoor setting or, a crime far worse, on the corner of a spa bath
4. Vases on the floor. I don’t understand this one at all. A Vase filled with fake flowers or sticky things, just sitting in an empty corner. Like a naughty vase. Too low, too distracting.
5. Tables set for dinner. Best china, cut glass. My table’s always set for dinner – isn’t yours?
6. Dolls House furniture in large rooms, especially tiny sofas, chairs and coffee tables. The scale needs to fit the size of the rooms.
7. Furniture that doesn’t fit the style of the house. For example a Scandi look in a heritage house. One staging style does NOT fit all.
8. I haven’t seen this one in a while but it used to be popular – furniture, especially beds and sofas that are placed on the diagonal – Why? To be different? To look ‘staged’? Stop with the diagonal people!
9. A heavy handed accent colour. It’s like the stylist has walked round the furniture warehouse thinking “turquoise, I’m accenting in turquoise” and consequently picks up every cushion, piece of art or accessory that contains turquoise. The effect is, well, way too turquoise.
10. Cushions on the floor. In my house the cushions are often on the floor but not because I think they look good there. I’m not actually sure this is a stylist thing. I’ve seen photos from houses I’ve staged with cushions placed on the floor so maybe it’s the photographer or agent. I’ve also had a cleaning company go through and put the cushions on their pointed edges like a row of diamonds. Not my best friend.
I’m very aware these are just my pet peeves – for example there isn’t a stylist I know who agrees with me about the diagonal throws! I’m also very aware that, as stylists we are all just doing our best. We’re all at different stages and have access to an ebb and flow of inventory.
I suppose what the above comes down to is ‘try hard’ staging and styling. It’s all a bit contrived, not real. It becomes a cliche. My aim always is to make the styling invisible. For buyers to just see a happy, comfortable and above all real house that they can see their future in.
Are you a stylist, agent or home owner? I’d love you to share your pet peeves or just to disagree with any of mine!
I’m Imogen Brown, a home stager based in the Western suburbs of Brisbane. If you would like me to stage your house to sell in a ‘non cliche’ way then I’d love to help. Contact me through my website or call me on 0432994056