Blurred Lines

Blurred Lines

Amanda Eufer-Lewis
Owner & Lead Stylist, The Den

Until recent years, the home staging landscape felt stagnant and stuck in time. Call it the HGTV effect, but there’s an influx of home stagers (interior stylists) who are beginning to blur the lines of good staging and good interior design. In the past, home staging was more “showy” with cookies baking in the oven, strict “matchy-matchy” color schemes, and disproportionate spheres or vases haphazardly placed on tables, and less design-driven. Given where we are on the rollercoaster of 2020, visuals and images are more crucial than ever. Buyers are at home, searching online and forming opinions about properties in a matter of seconds based on a few images. How do you deliver a “wow” factor with the first interior shot?

Staging is no longer about checking the boxes of what pieces of furniture need to be placed in a room. Many stagers are throwing the traditional rules out of the window and elevating their properties through design. If you aren’t following already, I recommend checking out Staged To Sell Home @stagedtosellhome based in New York City. Although their properties are technically staged, the listings pop and feel special. The décor is collected, not cookie-cutter with a touch of trend-driven pieces. Each space looks as though a designer spent months painstakingly curating the pieces and tailoring the look. One example is 34 Gramercy Park East, Apartment 3AF, New York. Jason Saft expertly plays into the original charm of the unit, yet it feels modern and fresh. Now, many local stylists are following suit and creating spaces beautiful enough to grace the pages of any design magazine.

A buyer who is currently looking in the $550k range, recently told their agent, “I think if it had better staging, maybe I would have been into it. But it’s decorated so badly I can’t even see it.” While some strategic staging distraction from a home’s flaws is key, overshadowing the home with bad décor can be detrimental to the sale. The upfront cost for show-stopping staging is less than a price reduction if the home is detracting buyers with the décor.

Quick tips to achieving a well-designed space


One of the most important elements to any space is paying close attention to the proportions of the furniture, lamps, and artwork. When you walk into a listing, consider the photographer’s angle. Find the angle and take a picture of the room. What is your eye drawn to? If it scans the whole composition vs fixates on one element (too large of a lamp, too small of artwork), your job is done. If something feels out of place, it’s time to revisit the rules of scale.


In my opinion, there should be a pop of color, but I tend to avoid only using one accent color. Sticking with a specific color scheme feels predictable and dated. I find it’s best to go with a neutral palette for the larger pieces and utilize pops of colors through the artwork and textiles.


Beautiful coffee table books are always great options and collected pieces from local antique shops. Also, a vacant property needs a touch of life. Adding a faux plant can provide warmth to a stale room (plus they’re zero maintenance).


Give them something to talk about. Put the black and white cow artwork to rest and aim to source pieces that could be conversation starters or leave a lasting impression. Try opting for framed fine art prints of interesting subject matter, vintage prints, and thrift store finds. You’d be surprised what gems lay in wait at your local Goodwill.