The Most Important Rooms to Stage in Your Listings

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

If you’re prepping a home for sale, what are the main areas of a home you should target with your staging – especially if you can’t stage every square inch? The National Association of REALTORS®’ 2015 Profile of Home Staging ranks the most important rooms to be staged, based on a survey of real estate buyer agents. Here’s how a home’s spaces stacked up:

1. Living room

2. Kitchen

3. Master bedroom

4. Dining room

5. Bathroom

6. Children’s bedroom

7. Guest bedroom

Overall, the survey found that staging can influence buyers’ perceptions of a home and even the home’s perceived value. Indeed, 32 percent of buyer agent’s say that their clients tend to be more willing to increase their offer by 1 percent to 5 percent of the dollar value; 16 percent say they believe a staged home could potentially raise their buyers’ offer by 6 percent to 10 percent.

The following chart shows just how staging can influence buyers’ perceptions of a home.


impact of staging

Source: National Association of REALTORS, 2015 Profile of Home Staging,

Yet, not every seller opts to stage, nor do the listing agents always recommend it. Forty-four percent of listing agents surveyed said they do not recommend staging but instead suggest that the seller declutters and fixes any property flaws; 13 percent say they only recommend staging for “difficult” homes to sell; and 4 percent say they only reserve staging for their high-price bracket listings. On the other hand, 34 percent of listing agents surveyed say they recommend staging for all the homes they list.

For those who do stage, the median dollar value spent on home staging per home was $675.

But who pays that amount varies. Sixty-two percent of REALTORS® surveyed say that the seller’s agent offers the home staging service to sellers and pays for it; 39 percent say the sellers pay for staging prior to listing the home; 10 percent say the seller pays for the staging after the home is sold; and only 3 percent say the agent’s firm pays for a home staging service.

Access more of the results from the 2015 Profile of Home Staging at

Melissa Tracey

Melissa Dittmann Tracey is a contributing editor for REALTOR® Magazine, writing about home & design trends, technology, and sales and marketing. She manages the magazine's award-winning Styled, Staged & Sold blog.

More Posts - Website

  1. Great article Melissa! I’m so glad to see NAR do surveys like this which serves to educate the sellers on the impact and importance of product marketing!

  2. Interesting stats…but I have never seen a realtor ever pay for staging. Maybe a consultation, but not the staging. Almost every staging I have is from a realtor who suggested staging, or a seller who got fed up with no results, after the realtor told them not to stage the house. Some of the properties I have had in the last year were on the market for a year! After I staged them, they were getting offers within a week. The investment will pay off, ..and it has to be realistic. This “average of $675” is not real when it comes to a vacant property. The occupied homes rarely want to put any more money into their place. BIG mistake.

  3. Sue Aitken

    I am a realtor in Hamilton Ontario, and I have paid for full staging on some of my listings. I offer full services and this is one of the many services that I offer. This has had a huge impact on the sale price of my listings.

  4. Daniela

    I cannot imagine it being feasible for a agent to pay for this (well at least an agent with not a lot of volume or for a house that is in a lower price range). Great tips here though -definitely can use!

  5. Steve Lecco

    Great Post. Always keep it in mind if you are selling that the biggest impact can be made by just removing the 30 years of clutter that you don’t want to keep anyway. Put away the 30 pairs of shoes and keep 5 pair or 15 for some of the folks, best looking only please…Decide what you are going to need for the next two or three months as a household and remove the rest of the items in the house. Pack up the 50 stuffed animals and the deer head on the wall, the 500 kids toys too. We are getting it sold. Garage it in boxes neatly. Storage unit rental may be needed for a real staging though. Get some Good karma and Donate the 20 old coats in the hall closet the kids grew out of 5 years ago. Most staging is free of cost. Just a few hours of hustling each weekend prior to selling can get you an extra $5,000 to $50,000 depending on what price range you are selling in. It will look totally different to a Buyer if Staged Well. Here is the routine: Clean, Really get it Clean. Remove all clutter and only put back the pieces of furniture that make it look better. If it doesn’t improve the look, it doesn’t stay. You will be much happier with your results and hopefully make some extra money if you do it correctly. Think High End Hotel Look. Neutral and anyone will feel at home. Get rid of the wall photos. Your moving. Pack them up, especially if your friends and family look like they might scare someone off , I jest but photos are too personal. They only distract your buyer from the home and they make it feel like your home, not their new one. Remember that buying is what you do when it “Feels right”, then you check the details after. Make it Feel Right to Them

  6. Lisa Boz

    How about keeping your home neat, clean and tastefully decorated. No staging necessary. I was able to sell my home within 12 hours of listing to the first couple that happened by. No staging. Nothing done out of the ordinary.

  7. Cullen D Simpson

    Staging when required in order to make the property more saleable is a decision made by the seller. If the sellers representative feels that there will be a higher price offered if the property is shown at its best then the seller and the representative will decide together who will invest in the staging.

  8. I do at least minimal staging at the homes I sell and it definitely makes a huge difference. People are deciding whether or not they will come to the home based on their first impressions online.

  9. We have several realtor clients that have us come in and take items to storage and or re-arrange certain pieces of furniture before listing the home. Coincidentally these realtors are the highly productive, get them sold agents. Staging, decluttering and making a home feel roomy with plenty of storage is key to showing a home.


  10. Steve Allen

    While home staging can make it easier to visualize for the prospective home buyer, sellers must be mindful of the size of furniture compared to the size of the room. At times an empty room painted a bright white color could be the best thing to display. I like to limit home staging to the dining, and family room.

  11. It’s nice you have provided “room priority” since the cost of staging is most often the drawback for most sellers. To stage or not, and the extent to which a declutter will occur, are based upon the motivation of the seller – working through the process or kicking and screaming the whole way.