"Putting champagne glasses and wine out with fake fruit in the bar area or lit candles by the bathtub is really going overboard," Bell said. "It just screams 'fake' and you want buyers to focus on the features of the home."
She adds that sellers don't need to put out their best china or buy candleholders for the dining room table. Rather, "less is best and a beautiful flower arrangement or a bowl with fresh fruit or decorative balls centered on the table is just enough."
Staging experts also warn sellers to limit seasonal decorations.
"You don't want buyers to be overwhelmed by holiday décor or leave it in the house too long, which may indicate the home has been on the market for a long time," she said. "It is always best to keep it simple when staging a home. A colorful wreath on the front door or a grouping of pumpkins on your front steps is just enough to give buyers a warm and inviting welcome into your home, and don't forget to remove them when the holidays are over."
A new matching bathroom set is also too much, according to Bell.
"A seller does not need to buy the blue shower curtain with the blue matching rug, blue towels and the toothbrush and soap holder set. (It's) too matchy, matchy."
Bartelme also warns against spending money staging rooms outside the "zones of influence." Secondary bedrooms and other spaces should be clean, but don't need to be staged. Her only exceptions are for very small bedrooms or other unusual spaces. Add a bed or desk to "allow buyers to see what they could do with the space."
The key to appropriate staging is allowing buyers to picture themselves in a home rather than impressing them with your style and taste. Keep staging simple for maximum effect.