Real Estate

Everything I Know About Home Staging, I Learned from My Mother


It all began in 1964 when my parents take a drive in the “country” and see a model home they fall in love with and decide to buy.

As they consider the move north from Yonkers to Katonah, they discuss plans to put their home on the market with a neighbor. That neighbor tells a friend, Mrs. Brooks, who comes by to see our house. Later the same evening, the Brookses return and agree to pay the full asking price.

Without knowing it, my mother staged her home to sell, and since then, she has steadfastly held the belief that the home sold quickly because of the way it was decorated. I think she may be on to something.

Sign Up for E-News

If your mom is like mine, she takes great pride in decorating and showcasing her home. I remember our formal living room. There are no electronic devices—phones, stereos, or TVs—and it is set up purely with friends and family in mind. A cozy conversation area is established, highlighting the room’s two main features—a fireplace and large picture window. And as with any home staged for sale, these spaces are always ready for company.

Even today, my mother’s home is a reflection of how she wants guests to feel when they visit—welcomed and relaxed. From the minute you drive up, until you enter the living area, you are greeted by warm, inviting, and distraction-free spaces.

My mother understands the emotional response to home decorating and I learned, through my parents’ quick sale, that this emotional response is even more powerful when decorating a home to sell.

Both home staging—and my mother’s decorating style—are based on emotion, because few people buy a home based on logic alone. Think back to when you purchased your home. Most likely, you bought the home you fell in love with, not necessarily the home with the most items checked off on your wish list.

There are many factors that can impact a home’s marketability, but even if you don’t experience the kind of rapid sale that my parents enjoyed, there are simple and inexpensive ways to make your home more attractive to potential buyers. And it is generally the case that the faster a home sells, the higher the sale price.

As you prepare your home for sale, step into your buyer’s shoes and consider the questions that guide my mother, and perhaps yours as well, in decorating her home:

  • Are the rooms inviting?
  • How do they make you feel?
  • Are the spaces clean and neat?
  • Do they encourage conversation and/or relaxation?
  • Does the furniture layout draw you into each space?
  • Is your home designed to appeal to a wide variety of friends, family, and potential buyers?
  • Will your “guests” feel like staying—lingering—perhaps long enough to make an offer?

By the way, these are the same questions home stagers ask themselves as they walk through the homes that they stage.

Having trouble stepping into your buyer’s shoes? Consider the help of an objective friend, family member, your real estate agent, or a professional home stager.

Susan Atwell, home staging expert and president of AtWell Staged Home in Somers, is passionate about staging homes to sell quickly and for top dollar. To contact Susan, email her at, call 914-525-0454 or visit her website at

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


The Feline Night Stalker

Shades of the late Darren McGavin! If you liked the ‘70s horror shows on TV, you knew him as Kolchak, crime reporter, in the series “The Night Stalker.”

It seems that I have a night stalker living with me. My kitty, Bonnie, had her 18th birthday in April and I’ve noticed some subtle changes in her behavior. Up until that time, Bonnie would sleep on my bed at night. She ...

Hitting the road, Part II

Welcome back to our little trip across these great United States. We left off somewhere on Route 90, heading out of Cleveland.

So glad to have you following along, and frankly, if you’re following I’m just glad you’re not the cops. On the way to Chicago I found myself driving 70 miles an hour, which made the police quite angry, since the speed limit was 75. 

When ...

Sabotaged by the DMV

After living in Manhattan for the last few years, my grandson, Chris, and my wonderful grand-daughter-in-law, Silvia, have decided to move back to his hometown of Westfield, N.J. Silvia has just returned from a four-day visit with her parents in Hong Kong and they are bunking with my daughter, Lisa, while preparing their new home. Because they now have a daily commute to the city, I decided to ...

Do it badly!

Anything worth doing is worth doing badly, at least to start. 

As a recovering perfectionist, I have learned to get started on a project even if I don’t have all the pieces together. Sometimes just puttering, tinkering or moving the parts around will help me sort out my brain enough to give me an idea of how to tackle a project.  

I can’t tell you how many times ...

Competing—Against Yourself

This is the time of year when students are recognized at public ceremonies for notable achievements in their studies, their sports and in their extracurricular pursuits.

Where we live, there are awards in various sports that are named for our son, who also is memorialized by town ballfield Harrison Apar Field of Dreams and a charitable foundation of the same name.

Due to a rare dwarfism, ...

I Come from the Land Down Under

I know this is a family column, so I’m going to put this in as delicate terms as possible.

This morning I woke up and I knew, as sure as the sun shines over Bora Bora, that something was very, very wrong in that place in my body where the Bora Bora sun doesn’t shine.

It’s that place I used to refer to my daughter as her hoo-hoo. But it certainly wasn’t a happy ...

Upcoming Events


Thu, June 21, 6:00 PM

Yorktown Heights

2018 Kickball Registration is Open! Meet, Greet ...


Sun, June 24, 1:00 PM

Yorktown Heights




Tue, June 26, 1:00 PM

Yorktown Heights



Excited for Somers Block Party June 30

June 20, 2018

Hello Somers:

The Town is excited this year to partner with the Somers Lions Club, Somers Chamber of Commerce and Sebastian Capital to offer a new kind of Independence Day celebration, at a new location, starting a new tradition with the 2018 Somers Block Party on June 30.

The Block Party will take place at Sebastian Capital’s 1 Pepsi Way property (across from King Kone) with gates ...