Slaying the Dragon: What's a Home Stager To Do?

As a home stager, you see things that need to be done to help sell a home, but sometimes the owner is resistant to change. What do you do? Well, you can suggest, but in the end, it's all about making your client happy. I ran into this problem this week. I was hired to stage a fantastic home that was built in the 1970's. The home has so much going for it – large rooms, hardwood floors, updated appliances – all on a huge lot. All the tile work needs to be updated but they are not willing to make the investment. OK, I get it, this happens all the time. People want to get their house on the market immediately or don't have the money to invest, even though that investment will more than pay for itself.

dragonBut what if the home has a dragon? That's right, a dragon. A 6 foot dragon. There is a 6 foot wide mirror with the huge gold and red dragon hanging on the wall over the bed in the master bedroom. Can we take it down? It's quite taste specific and could alienate buyers. It's not even glued. I can easily patch the holes left from the screws. It won't cost anything! I repeat, it will not cost anything to slay the dragon! This is the kind of distraction that puts buyers off.

Of course, I say this as gently as possible to the elderly owner and his family. They all agree the dragon should come down ... at first. The elderly widower's eyes start to tear up and he just shakes his head. I don't want to do anything that will make my client upset, and the realtor and I assure him of this. He relaxes and I ask if he's open to covering it with a wall hanging. He doesn't want to do that. He says buyers will peak under the wall hanging and see the dragon, so why cover it? It becomes obvious he is too emotionally attached to this dragon to do anything with it. As a home stager, I know it needs to come down or at the very least be hidden. This is the focal point of the room, and it's a little scary. Luckily, the room is huge, so I move the bed to the wall opposite the door and hang an oil painting from another room over the bed. The bed made more sense on this wall, and becomes the proper focal point.

But, what about the dragon? Well, it's still on the wall, but by sliding the dresser under it, it minimizes the impact. Because the bed has become the main focal point, the dragon has lost some of its power. It makes sense to have a mirror over a dresser, right? I know, it still has a dragon on it, but now it's a dresser with a dragon mirror. In my staging report, I suggested that if the home hasn't sold in an acceptable length of time, they remove the dragon mirror, and update the tile throughout the home. What's a stager to do? The answer is to keep your client happy.