5 home-staging mistakes to avoid when selling a home that are putting off potential buyers

It can be a tricky market, so making your home as attractive as possible is important

The front of red brick house
(Image credit: Future PLC/Katie Lee)

Spring is often peak time to sell your home, but according to professional, you could be making some home staging mistakes that could be putting buyers off.

You might assume that it’s the very basics of a property that either entice or deter buyers from making an offer when you're selling a house.

But home staging ideas can actually have a much bigger impact on whether or not someone puts in an offer, according to an expert who regularly prepares homes ready for sale.

Home-staging mistakes 

Buying a home is as much about the ‘feeling’ as it is the practicalities, and according to award-winning home staging expert Jane Lee – who has teamed up with Tapi Carpets & Floors – staging your home just right is key to achieving a buyer for your property, as it can encourage potential new owners to picture themselves in the property.

But when it comes to the 'staging' of your home, there are a range of smaller mistakes you may not have realised you're making that could be putting buyers off. Luckily, most of them are easy fixes that can help to improve your home's initial impression; and none involve any pricey or time-consuming cosmetic or structural changes. 

1. Neglecting your hallway

Wide white painted hallway with black and natural wood console table furnished with home decor, hanging mirror, and hanging artwork

(Image credit: Future PLC/James French)

According to Jane, sprucing up your hallway ideas is crucial. 'Hallways are usually the first thing potential buyers will see, so it’s important to make the right first impression, or they may be put off immediately.'

This is where a couple of clever ‘home staging’ tricks come into play – you don’t need to extend much effort or time to make a lacklustre hallway an appealing space. 

'Open the blinds and curtains to allow as much natural light in as possible; if it’s still gloomy, add additional lighting such as lamps to brighten up the space,' Jane suggests. 'For a touch of colour, place fresh plants or a vase of flowers on one side of the hallway.'

'If your existing flooring is looking tired, look to invest in a new stair runner too; this will create a focal point and help you make a statement. And be sure to declutter the space by removing coats, shoes, scarves, and hats on display.'

2. Not tidying up your bathroom

Wallpaper in green bathroom with white sink

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Let's face it – no one likes a messy bathroom full of empty loo roll holders and bottles of shampoo, so it’s not a good idea to neglect to declutter your bathroom and tidy it before potential buyers' viewings.

'When presenting your bathroom, whether through photographs or viewings, ensure a fresh and clean appearance by keeping toilet lids closed, and removing items like toilet brushes and bins,' Jane advises. 

'Showcase cleanliness by decluttering your bathroom and storing personal items discreetly, using matching toiletries, clean mirrors, and white towels only. 

'Use plain shower curtains and toilet covers, and be sure to address grout and mould issues. For bathrooms lacking natural light, you can also brighten the space with realistic artificial plants.'

3. Ignoring repair jobs

It might feel like a small issue, but you should always be sure to complete small snagging issues in your home before putting your house on the market. 

'Ignoring repair jobs is another red flag for potential buyers,' Jane explains. 'Any form of repair job that looks neglected will indicate to buyers that the home has not been looked after.'

'This can impact sales, as most buyers purchasing a new property wish to avoid additional costs spent on making home repairs.' And it makes a lot of sense – most people want to walk into their new home ready to put their stamp on it, rather than fixing small issues that should have been dealt with by you (the previous owner).

4. Making your home overly personal

Corner of white bedroom with boucle armchair, side table and floating shelves

(Image credit: Future PLC/Katie Lee)

This may be surprising, but if you are preparing your home for sale , it can be worth scaling back on the more personal parts of your home – especially on the days when you have viewings.

Jane explains, 'over-personalising the home by leaving souvenirs, family photos and trophies makes it harder for the potential buyer to make a personal connection with the home.'

So in small instances, it may be worth putting these things into storage, to allow other people/couples/families to envisage themselves in the home, rather than seeing it solely as someone else's home.

5. Not giving a spare room a purpose

House Edwards guest room office

(Image credit: Future/House Edwards)

Though this may sound contradictory, leaving an empty spare room as just that (e.g. as a junk room, or a storage room), can be detrimental when it comes to buyers easily envisioning themselves in your home.

'If there is a spare room in the house that’s empty or used only for storage, stage it in a way that gives it purpose, whether you want to convert it into a small office room, toy storage, or a reading nook – this will allow buyers to see the extra space and potential usage of the room,' Jane says.

If you don’t, you risk buyers disregarding the room as an unusable space, or a room that wouldn’t work particularly well for any purpose. Instead, help them to see how your home could work for them, and their needs.

Like we said these are all easy fixes, so do a quick whizz around your house before the estate agent photographer turns up and the buyers drop in to help you secure the best deal quickly.


 Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist and editor, now working in a freelance capacity specialising in homes and interiors, wellness, travel and careers. She was previously Lifestyle Editor at woman&home, overseeing the homes, books and features sections of the website. Having worked in the industry for over eight years, she has contributed to a range of publications including Ideal Home, Livingetc, T3,Goodto, Woman, Woman’s Own, and Red magazine