St Augustine, St Johns County Real Estate & Home Staging


What's right and wrong - REVEALED!

I've been very interested in every comment made ... watching the pros and cons... now let me tell you the answer.... *drum roll please*


Another view.... (I probably should have added more to the top of the armoire, but wanted to keep the clean lines I had already established.)

The adjacent eat in kitchen - Does this help with the rug issues?  We used them throughout so they don't seem out of place and it adds a sense of more casual living. 

I've used this layout before.....  This was a downtown home.  Buyers had a hard time imagining how to utilize the fireplace because it was so off center.  It was listed for over 8 months prior to staging, less than a month after...

So why did I disagree with the re-stage by the agents? This layout would not appeal to most men.  Men who live in a high end home have high end TVs.  Don't think they don't think about them when they shop.  When you look at the fireplace - tell me how you would hang a larger flat screen TV?  The molding precludes this.  What may be difficult to tell from this shot is that the sofa and chair closest to the fireplace are nearly on the hearth...


This means that even if you got a smaller TV and mounted it, or removed the molding then the only two seats in the house that could actually view it would be the far chair and the end of the sofa.... This becons another problem.  If let's say the husband were watching Sunday football and the kids were playing in the backyard, or the wife were reading on the back porch, they would have to walk in front of the far chair to go in or out.

There is also only about 3ft between the wall and end of couch, while acceptable, not particularly desirable.  You also cannot see the approximate 4ft of dead space behind the couch and where the entertainment center was.  Because of it proximity to the seating arrangment, there really isn't anything that can now be done with those areas.  They are simply wasted space. 

I did come back and remove the armoire & add a sofa table.  The plant behind the chair was moved to the corner behind the couch.  After nearly 2 months of staging this home is still on the market and in my opinion will continue this way.  This set up, while a comfortable seating arrangement and more traditional in feel actually makes the room feel crowded and smaller than the other layout.  This home looks OK, but doesn't address function in real life. 

When we stage we must take that into account.  While we use the rule of thumb, 'if it's not there they won't notice it's not there' we must also pay attention to the demographics, lifestyle and desires of these clients.  If this is the only family TV watching space and if a man can't watch football on his big screen TV then they won't buy the house... that's my 2 cents anyway... lay it on me if you disagree...


 Author Bio: Melissa Marro, Home Staging Industry leader, Realtor, and entrepreneur offers a unique perspective on New Home Construction, Resale Residential Real Estate, and Home Staging

For more information on buying or selling in the Fleming Island, Orange Park, or Jacksonville, area, visit or call Melissa Marro (marro.melissa at, Keller Williams First Coast Realty, for more information (904-466-2093).


Comment balloon 27 commentsMelissa Marro • December 16 2007 12:52PM


Totally agree!  Men and their tv's are impt as the woman and the kitchen!  Thanks Melissa for this blog and all of the contributions.  Very interesting indeed!
Posted by Ginger Foust, Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging (Certified Staging Professional) almost 11 years ago

Melissa -

Great job. I agree with you. I'm curious who paid for the staging (homeowner or Realtor) and how they were able to move the furniture without getting your input first, after all, you are the professional! You just explained why it works to us, did they not hear you?

Posted by Kelly Townsend, CDPE, Realtor (Coldwell Banker) almost 11 years ago

Ginger - I do feel that visually attractive is only part of the equation.... you must remember lifestyle and demographics!

Kelly - I tried to explain it to them.  The agent hired me, the home is now owned by a corporation not an individual and they are going with whatever the agent recommends.  The agent worried that the previous layout did not suit the agents at their caravan and the agents walk through the homes with the clients so they need to have what the agents can sell....

Ultimately it is the client's money.  I won't use this for stats because it isn't my work any longer.  What gets on my nerves when things like this happen is that they will say the staging didn't work AND I wonder why they bothered hiring a professional if they were going to second guess me... this is only what I do for a living!

Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) almost 11 years ago


This was a very interesting blog and I loved reading everyone's opinions.  As the stager whose project this was, you are the expert since you're aware of all the other factors that go into deciding furniture placement. One thing I wondered about it, did you consider writing into your contract "client agrees not to move the furnishings in the property without agreement from (your company name)?"  This works well for me as it prevents any surprises, and allows for discussion between the client and stager before anything is changed. If my name is on the project, I want to make sure I'm proud of it.

Posted by Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging, "Staging that Sells Portland Homes" (Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR) almost 11 years ago

Wow, Maureen, that is a very good idea, to write that phrasing into the contract - it really is not the stager's work if the sellers rearrange what has been done.  Thanks, Melissa, I really enjoyed this exercise.

Posted by Susan Walters (Keller Williams Realty, Ann Arbor, MI) almost 11 years ago

I am also a stager in the same area as Melissa and have to say I disagree with her in regards to the rugs.  Our town is NOT all sisal casual and Daniel Island is mostly known as an upscale, large development encompassing several different sections and 2 high end golf courses.  I think I would have used an oriental or different style rug as the price point and interior design elements warrant.  I.e.  trim detail and so forth. 

Posted by Anonymous almost 11 years ago

Maureen - I don't have that in my contract.  It is something to think about...

Susan - you are welcome...

Anon - Well, we are all welcome to our differing opinions.. that's the beauty of this exercise.  In the future it would be great if you signed your name... no one will know who you are otherwise.  Differing opinions are always accepted, agreeing to disagree is a valuable tool & exercise in itself....

Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) almost 11 years ago
I am sorry....I signed my name but it did not appear when I submited my  comment. My name is Tracy Moses and my company is the Charleston Division of Renewed Rooms and my partner and I are the Redefining Luxe Team and we are very excited about staging in Charleston.
Posted by Tracy Moses~Redefining LUXE~Staging ~ Decorati (Redefining LUXE) almost 11 years ago
Melissa ~  Good points!  I'm glad you explained your thought process for this particular home.  This was a fun exercise!
Posted by Kathy Passarette, L.I. Staging/Decorating (Creative Home Expressions) almost 11 years ago
You did a wonderful job and I enjoyed he challenge. great...can'y wait for the next pop quiz !!!
Posted by Fernando Rosado, 561-906-0050 or 561-840-8950 almost 11 years ago
What a great point!  I was going to choose these two because my thoughts were that you had something to teach us, by going outside the box, and you did!!  Thanks Melissa :)
Posted by Teresa J. Ramey (ReDecorating with Style) almost 11 years ago

The placement around the fireplace looks far too busy especially with the foot stools.  I don't like blocking doors but the outside 2 seem to be fixed. I get a little annoyed ( no more than a little ) when my placement gets changed. I am a stager who also rents furniture as part of the staging service, not a rental company.



Posted by Kathleen Lordbock, Keller Williams Realty Professionals (Keller Williams Realty Professionals) almost 11 years ago

Hey Melissa -

I know you probably are done with this one, but I was wondering how it would look if the sofa faced the fireplace and you put one of the chairs over where the armoire was to create a little reading area. At least that way you wouldn't have dead space. You also would not have the sofa blocking the windows. Just a thought. Still can't believe they MOVED YOUR STUFF!

Posted by Kelly Townsend, CDPE, Realtor (Coldwell Banker) almost 11 years ago

Kathy - Thanks!  I had a lot of fun watching the answers.... it is tricky when you can't actually see the entire house, only the little photos - it can make a difference!

Fernando - I hope I don't have this same situation happen again to have a pop quiz!  Thanks for playing though... I did notice that you got the answer right!

Kathleen - I couldn't agree more - why hire the professional if you aren't going to listen to what they have to say...

Kelly - We actually tried that arrangement.  You couldn't walk through to the eat-in kitchen if the sofa was placed there... pushing it more forward only made it look silly.  This is why the home needed to be staged.  I think the way the agents did it still creates issues, but ultimately it is the client's money and they are in charge of it.  It is similiar to staging an ownwer occupied when the don't want to get rid of something, strip wallpaper, etc. It is ultimately their home. I just don't claim the work - since it isn't mine!

Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) almost 11 years ago
Teresa - whoops!  Sorry I missed commenting back, I scrolled too fast!  I'm glad you think you learned something..... that was the whole point of the exercise! 
Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) almost 11 years ago
I've been looking at the pics and reading the comments for a while now and you know who's really wrong?  The architect. What a dumb layout.  I hate when you have a great new home and they make a really awkward design choice like no walls in the family room or no place for the TV or useless little niches. I think they should figure out how people use a home then design accordingly.  Here's what I think:   Boo Hisss  to the architect. 
Posted by Maureen Maureen almost 11 years ago

Melissa, I love the lay out the way you originally had it.  There seemed to be more of a flow and openess with out it looking empty.  Has the realtor gotten any feedback on the layout?

Posted by Tanya Venable, SEO, Mobile SEO, and Internet Marketing Consultant almost 11 years ago
I agree about the tv..... a space for a tv is really important. My husband and I just made a really great discovery. We have our family room which is also the main living room of the house. I don't want to look at a big tv in that room. Sometimes I just don't want to see it - but we also can't live without a tv. So we found this cabinet - It's AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!! Did I mention how much we LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!! And everyone who comes over LOVES IT!!!!!!!! I'm just a little partial to it :) We get to have a big tv when we watch tv and then no tv the rest of the time.
Posted by Angie Vandenbergh, A Crye-Leike Blogger (Crye-Leike, Realtors) almost 11 years ago
I agree with Maureen--the architect really botched it!  You did a great job showing how the room could be used, but I wouldn't buy this house because the floor plan isn't functional.
Posted by Michelle Ewing, Riverside, CA (Trademark Realtors) almost 11 years ago

I agree that we need to show the purpose of the room...TV  included.  I have to admit that I am GUILTY of not showing off TV niches.  I hate them.  I usually fill the space with trees or chairs.   I know this is not the way the potential buyer will use the space.  Ugh. 

I have yet to buy TV props but I go back and forth about adding them to my inventory.  Your post makes me question my staging.  Thank you.

Posted by Janice Sutton, Home Stager - Temecula Murrieta (1st Stage Property Transformations ) almost 11 years ago

Hi Melissa, I thought those were yours but I kept second guessing myself! Those silly Realtors, take a course and *poof* they are stagers!

Tracy (anon.) I don't know where you get the idea that sisal is not appropriate due to price point. Sisal was not popular until designers and decorators started using in multi-million dollar properties for their clients. What you call 'trim detail and so forth' the dado and and door casings. The house has a distinct Craftsman feel from the 'trim detail' to the paint colors...classic Craftsman the open concept (which screams CASUAL). All that to say an 'oriental' rug would not be appropriate, nor would 'some other type of rug' an aubusson. Even with the Craftsman feel a Craftsman style rug would be too much. Remember with staging we are not going to go full tilt Craftsman style or it will be a turn off to more buyers than it would be a turn on.

Sybil...odd graphic ;)


Posted by Toronto's 2 Hounds Design: Decorating + Staging (2 Hounds Design + Home Staging) almost 11 years ago


I totally disagree with you and that is why this is such a wonderful site!  Different ideas and opinions we can all learn from.  My husband is a custom builder and builds in the million plus range in our area and I help with all the interior design from trim, floors, hardware, paint, fixtures and so forth.  I also am continuing my classes/education in interior design and am well versed in styles in each period.  Thank you for sharing your education.

Posted by Tracy Moses~Redefining LUXE~Staging ~ Decorati (Redefining LUXE) almost 11 years ago

Hi Tracy,

Yes, it is great we can disagree but it's hard to disagree with practical theory and history...good luck with your continuing ed!

Posted by Toronto's 2 Hounds Design: Decorating + Staging (2 Hounds Design + Home Staging) almost 11 years ago

Dane - Wow!  You are really good with the details.. yes, clean lines of craftsman style... right down to the stunning doors and framework, windows & shutters.... really good eye!

BTW... Here are 2 other homes within 2 blocks of this home I staged - both are over $1M.  I didn't stage either of these, but they are both listed on MLS.  Terry Haas - RE Expert from Designed to Sell also staged another one within the block, list price $1,198,000 - seagrass & sisal were used in all the rooms - photos haven't been updated yet or I would have posted them also....

I think it is important for newbies to understand that while Sisal/Seagrass may not be for every home, it is an option that is appealing to MOST buyers... it works with MOST neutral furniture pieces, which makes it a good choice when investing in furniture, art & accessories.  (note how it even works with a more modern space in earlier posted photos - that home was under contract in less than 45 days after being on the market for over a year prior to staging...)

It is also important to note that when there is ONLY ONE FAMILY ROOM that rooms needs to be comfortable to MOST buyers... FORMAL is only comfortable to a specific group of people... rooms with a more casual flare can be 'formalized' by adding symmetry ... which in this case was done by adding dual ottomans, matching twin chairs in front of the fireplace and matching artwork in the entry way... it was also created in eat-in space by using chairs side by side rather than one on each side of the table.... It is this balance that creates a room enjoyed by the MAJORITY of buyers...

Wow, who knew the lesson would end up being about rugs.... I thought it was going to be about remembering lifesyle... I guess you just never know .....


Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) almost 11 years ago

Maureen & Michelle - sorry I missed commenting earlier... You are definately correct.  The real problem here is the builder/architect.  It's always sad when I see this type of bowling alley space.  I've seen them a lot lately in million dollar plus homes.... open 'L' shape rooms that leave you scratching your head....the questions are, why did the architect think this was a good use of space & why did the builder agree?  It is no wonder they are hard to sell ....

Angie - great TV unit... I had actually purchased this beautiful armoire specifically for staging this house... it was a real shame to bring it back to storage.  If I didn't have the TV over my fireplace I would be likely to keep it myself....

Janice - I often leave these niches open... adding nothing at all to them.  I feel they are typically self explanatory.  I do have plans on investing in the fake TVs, laptops, etc but it isn't something I've done yet... Since we've picked up so many new home builders in just the past week I'm sure it is something we'll choose to do soon. 

Tanya - I don't think they are quick to ask me to come back and change things. I already advised them that we recommended against the current layout (the way they changed it).  I don't know if you remember my blog about meeting Terry Haas or not but I actually had her meet me at this home when we were staging it (she was getting ready to stage the one 2 blocks over and wanted to know if I would be interested in helping... Her inventory is in VA and didn't particularly want to invest in new inventory in Charleston - that's probably changed since then) I asked her to critique the home.  I mean how often do you get to have a TV personality rate your work?  She was great & told me that in her opinion it was the only way to stage that home.  I'll take that as my knowledge that it was done the right way the first time....

Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) almost 11 years ago

Thank you again for this learning opportunity.  I think the additional photos helped support your original placement.  Like the idea for the group too!

Kim Dillon, Creative Eye Home Staging

Posted by Kim Dillon (Creative Eye Home Staging) almost 11 years ago
Kim - YES! Additional photos definately would have helped make the answer easier, but I didn't want to give it away too early on... I wanted everyone to THINK about the answer...
Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) almost 11 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments