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4th September 2013

One of the most nerve-wracking parts of the home buying process, at least for home sellers and realtors, is the process of staging and bringing prospective buyers through a home on the market.

Have you staged the home in a way that most prospective buyers will find appealing? Did you fix any imperfections such as carpet spots or dings in the wall? Did you fix that leaky faucet or complete a full drain inspection to ensure that the en suite bathroom was in order? Is this really the best the room can look like?

These and other little questions full of doubt can creep into the mind while showing a home. One of the biggest questions or debates that can arise is whether to stage the home with a contemporary theme or an eclectic theme. Different staging will appeal to different homeowners, and there is almost no way of knowing, in many cases, which will appeal more to the buyers you’re showing the home to.

There are many lovely ways to stage a home according to either theme, it’s almost nearly impossible to go wrong. But every home is different, so here are the pros and cons of each of these types of staging explored so you can choose the best way to stage your home for your next showing.


Contemporarily staged homes rely on fairly modern trends in interior decoration and design. For example, right now this could include chevron patterns, potted succulents, large mirrors with distressed frames, and black paired with a sunny or mustard yellow. These gorgeous rooms with these gorgeous things can be found all over the internet, especially the Temple of Décor. Whoops, I mean Pinterest.

Contemporary homes feel very exclusive, chic, and up-to-the-minute and will give prospective homeowners a feeling of buying a luxurious home for less. They can be adapted to suit older or more modern homes. Most contemporary decoration and staging schemes have a broad appeal and therefore increase the overall marketability of the home. Many elements of contemporary design also have practical elements, such as garbage chutes in the kitchen or chalkboard paint on almost anything.

However, when giving a for-sale home a contemporary staging treatment, use caution. If a home is re-decorated and staged in too contemporary a fashion, they can easily become dated when the next hot new trend pops up on home décor and Mommy Blogs. While nearly any home décor or staging choice can be changed, some take more time to change than others; e.g., a silver chevron is hard to paint over.


Eclectic décor and home staging relies on harmoniously combining diverse elements that the current owners find appealing without necessarily venturing into the realm of kitsch. Eclectic staging may include contemporary elements, such as chalkboard paint or white figurines, but that white figurine may be a ceramic mounted Stag’s head in an otherwise neon room with white glossed baroque picture frames or chalkboard-painted trays. Maybe it’s a lot of animal print (but in a tasteful way) or glitter wallpaper. Eclectic all depends on what you personally find appealing.

The long-term appeal of eclectic is that even if elements of an individual eclectic room or home are contemporary or “in”, as Esme Squalor once put it, the room will always be eclectic no matter what is considered contemporary. Eclectic is by definition a tasteful hodgepodge and will always be that way. An eclectic staging is also a great way to lend personality to an otherwise blank canvass of a home and help potential homeowners to see the possibilities.

Of course, not everyone’s style is the same and some people just don’t like eclecticism as a style choice. Therefore eclectic homes should be staged tastefully and with caution.


One way to help streamline this decision is to vary staging on your homes to be sold—don’t stage all the homes in the same way—keep it creative. Remember not to make any huge modifications to the rooms that will be hard for the eventual owners to change.

When you interview clients, ask them questions about their personal style; you could even have them fill out a survey and tell them it will help you to streamline their home buying process. Then when you take them through the houses, have décor suggestions that relate to their personal style; this will enable you to either work off or rise above the way the home has been staged, effectively helping potential home buyers stage their dream home in their minds.

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