STAGING KID’S BEDROOMS: Fake Children Approach
Written By: Becky McGrath
I recently listed a house and the sellers were empty nesters. We got lots of positive feedback
about the house but buyers kept talking about the lack of bedroom space. We had 4 of them!
Fed up with the feedback, the seller and I set to staging the upstairs bedrooms. We turned one
of the bedrooms into a kid room with blue gingham twin beds and cute lamps. While hanging
framed child art we laughed about my seller’s new fake children…twin girls who we “named”
Chloe and Isabella. Here is the best thing about fake kids…the rooms were always neat, they
did not complain about not having a boy band poster up and Chloe and Isabella had no toys!
I was shocked during my realtor luncheon when agents asked me about the kids. Even they
did not notice that our children were created through the magic of decorating. The home
was soon sold to a young couple. Perhaps they saw that room and thought of their own
perfect future kids. The ones that never misbehaved, always made good grades and were
so bright they did not even require traditional toys.
The staging got me to thinking…creating fake children in an empty room is much easier
than the opposite. You see it all the time in builder model homes…children’s rooms perfectly
designed to portray adorable little kids with perfectly themed rooms that look like fishing cabins
or a ballerina studio. Here is the problem… real kids don’t want a room that looks like a Yacht Club
in the Hamptons. They are more likely to convince their parents to paint their room
Pepto-Bismal pink with a large mural of a prancing purple unicorn. Real kids have lots of
plastic crap, an abundance of stuffed animals, half made lego creations that they are convinced
they will someday finish, and hundreds of participation trophies. Real kids have unframed
posters and Fat Heads of their favorite sports figure that they, of course, hung
themselves…lopsided. So, what is a parental seller to do when a parade of potential buyers
is about to embark in a minefield of Legos and Lincoln Logs?
I take a balanced approach. I recently listed a house with real kids. The bedrooms were
dark navy blue and bright yellow. We took out about half the stuff. Lego creations that
were complete were displayed. Some posters were removed while others remained
with the help of parents hanging straight and in the right places. Paint colors stayed but
we used things that played off the bright colors. Star Wars bedding was replaced with
white spreads and shams that were put on before buyers arrived. Potential buyers
understand that a kid room won’t necessarily be that perfect shade of popular “greige”.
But the truth is that when people are looking at houses, they prefer not to be confronted
with too much reality. After all, when they move…suddenly their perfect kids will
want meticulously cleaned, designer themed rooms with no toys in sight, but
miraculously will never complain about being bored. When you are selling your
house, you are selling the dream of what could be…what we all hope it to be.
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