There it was  —  among the stacks of new fiction books on the table.  I was immediately drawn to it by its cover.  I could tell that it might just be my kind of book.  So I picked it up and started reading the jacket.

A recent segment on CBS’s Sunday Morning Show got me thinking about how staging a home for sale is like the careful thought and preparation publishers go into when designing a book cover.

In the segment, “Judging Books by Their Covers”, publisher Jamie Raab said:

Book covers are important. You go into a bookstore and what do you see? You see covers. The bookstore experience is about the design, the color, the shape, the feel.  I mean when you walk into a bookstore, sometimes you’re overwhelmed. But aren’t you stimulated by the art? And it is art. “

I have always said that staging is the art and science of successfully selling a home.


Staging a home for sale with the right furniture, decorative accessories and artwork is also about creating an experience for the buyer.  The goal is to connect to the buyer emotionally.  You want the home to portray a lifestyle that the buyer is aspiring to.

Just as publishers invest a great deal of time and money in developing the right book cover, home staging is an investment of the home seller’s time and money to properly position the property to the market in which it is selling.

“A good cover tells you what kind of book it is…but ultimately”, says Raab, “it comes down to what sort of statement the book makes.”

And that is the goal of staging a home – to make a statement or statements to the potential buyer:

  • You too can live like this if you bought me
  • I can fulfill your dream
  • The homeowner takes such good care of me
  • I may not have everything on your list, but does it really matter when it feels so good just being here?


In the Sunday Morning segment, Peter Mendelsund who designs book jackets for the publisher Knopf, refers to a book jacket as a billboard.

“They’re like carnival barkers,” Mendelsund said. “Someone comes into a bookstore and all the books are shouting, you know, ‘READ ME!’ ‘READ ME!’  And you hope that yours either shouts the loudest or entices in the most intriguing way!”

It’s the same with homes that are for sale.  They are all shouting “BUY ME! BUY ME!” when a buyer looks online, but the home that looks the best is the one that is going to be seen. Staging a home will make it stand out from all of the others that are on the market in the same  price range and neighborhood.

“You’re designing covers so that someone is drawn to it will pick it up,” said Mendelsund, “read it and then maybe buy it.”

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