Traditional home staging is usually utilized in a classic-style or older-style house. This look is also popular in more rural real estate markets, especially when marketing the property to an older buyer. Traditional staging is one of the lesser used styles of home décor, since most home stagers lean towards the universal appeal of more contemporary staging designs. However, when used correctly, a traditional staging scheme can do much to increase the marketability of a particular property.
Traditional home staging is defined as using décor items and furniture which appeal to a historic sensibility and preference. Traditional décor can be further broken up into regional specific categories, but for the sake of this article, we will discuss the version of traditional embraced in Western culture, although it is easy to substitute Eastern traditional or any location-specific traditional by making a few adjustments.
What is Traditional Home Staging?
Traditional look and feel is characterized by classic patterns, materials and design. This type of home décor conjures up visions of the old world, where furniture was made of heavy wood with bold lines and age-old prints on the fabrics. Traditional is the diametric opposite of modern home décor, with contemporary falling in the middle between the two.
Traditional style is known for comfort and large proportions. This look is best left for spacious areas, since real traditional furnishings require lots of room to breathe. Traditional can be a liability in small spaces, spaces with low ceilings or spaces with a dark color scheme. Finally, traditional can be just as taste-specific as modern, so stagers should be careful when using it to prepare all but the most appropriate properties for sale.
In essence traditional design consists of using elements which have been used for many years, decades or even centuries and have a “timeless appeal”. Traditional in America usually can take the form of colonial, or European influences, but if not specified, colonial is usually the classification most embraced by US home owners who favor a traditional décor. The materials used are always those which have been in existence for many years and have a historic significance to the particular item in question.
Traditional Property Staging Preferences
Many families already have a traditional décor, so this style lends itself well to DIY staging. This way, the home owner can utilize the furnishings they already have, instead of having to buy or rent furniture to complete every room.
Traditional staging can add period authenticity and old world charm when performed correctly, but can also make a space look stuffy, crowded, too heavy or too outdated in many applications.
Traditional design may be more comfortable and aesthetic to older buyers, making it a natural fit for houses being marketed to empty-nesters or retirees. Traditional design is statistically favored by buyers with conservative political, religious and cultural views in rural markets.
Traditional staging is certainly not my recommendation for most markets, but is effective at courting buyers in some areas of the world and in certain demographics. Traditional design is almost always used in single family homes and is not recommended for condos or coops, unless they are part of a retirement community, and even then should be used only when the area and sensibilities of residents lean towards an older look.
While traditional will never go out of style, it is certainly not known as the best way to market a home, except in particular circumstances where an older and more historically-dated look is actually preferred, such as in a Southern plantation home, a historic building in Manhattan, a Western ranch or a farm house in the Midwest.
Traditional Home Staging Guidance
Personally I do not like traditional staging or interior design. At one point in my career, I really embraced the antique look and feel, featuring gothic-style woodwork and rich fabrics. My very first apartment was decorated in a fantastic array of restored furnishings, each painstakingly brought back to life by my own hands: from furniture to reupholstery, I restored all of it. However, my tastes have changed much and now I lean towards the industry standard contemporary staging for my customers, as well as for my own interior décor.
I am thrilled with my home now, which features updated, lighter furnishings which reflect my staging style, as well as my tastes. I always get comments that my home looks like a showroom in a fine store. It is a nice compliment to be sure.
I usually recommend that stagers follow the contemporary design format as a means of appealing to the most buyers. Young and old alike usually gravitate towards a newer and fresher look in the large real estate markets, but some traditionalists still prefer an older style in some rural locations and places where a very conservative society exists.
If you are staging for one of these niche markets, the by all means, consider traditional design as the way to go. However, if not, then I would bypass traditional for a more updated look and feel which is virtually guaranteed to be what property buyers are looking for now.
As a final word of advice with traditional staging, I would say to consider updating it with a classic-contemporary edge. This hybrid style has more universal appeal to a wider variety of prospective buyers than pure traditional will ever enjoy.