Cindy Lin, Founder, Staged4more

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Staging Your Home to Appeal to Specific Demographics for Best Results

Staging Your Home to Appeal to Specific Demographics for Best Results

We are going to talk about appealing to specific demographics today. I run across this a lot, especially living in San Francisco Bay area, where it is a very diverse population. I get requests all the time to stage the house to target Chinese buyers, or younger buyers, etc. So I’m going to address that on the show today and show you some tips to approach this.

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Hi, this is Cindy, and you are listening to the 30 Day Home Staging Challenge podcast! This is my weekly podcast where I talk about home staging, home improvement, DIY, styling and decorating your home, and occasionally running a creative small business, using my 11 years’ experience in real estate and styling. You can find out more about me and the show at

Today’s show is sponsored by EcoJoe, the original eco-friendly St Joseph Statue Home Selling Kit. EcoJoe is our in-house product. In real estate, there is a common practice where home sellers would bury St Joseph statues for good luck. However, all the statues were made with plastic until EcoJoe came along. After learning there is so much waste in the real estate industry, we developed EcoJoe in hope to create conversations about environmental issues in real estate. You can find out more about EcoJoe at

Hi guys, welcome back to the show! I hope you had enjoyed our last episode with Realtor and landscaper Patty Hume. That was a fantastic show; I loved having Patty on the show. She was so passionate about landscaping and real estate, and it was such a treat to learn from her.

We are going to talk about appealing to specific demographics today. I run across this a lot, especially living in San Francisco Bay area, where it is a very diverse population. I get requests all the time to stage the house to target Chinese buyers, or younger buyers, etc. So I’m going to address that on the show today and show you some tips to approach this.

Before I get started on the show today, I want to acknowledge you, our listeners! I was really excited this week when I saw two new reviews on iTunes and more ratings. A lot of times, doing these shows feel like talking into the thin air into this unknown world. It’s like I’m talking to myself alone in a dark room, so it’s great to know that you guys are listening and enjoying the show. So thank you BrassyBroadJen for commenting and I’m happy to hear that you have learned something new every time you listen to a new episode. And, fun2learn1, I’m SO glad that you have found my show. Yes, I think this show is the only one that’s about home staging right now. And I loved that you love episode 6. I’ll definitely keep that in mind when we plan out the show content in the upcoming months. Styling is definitely a very big topic, and I’ll elaborate more on those topics down the line. I am also contemplating coming out with a home styling class later on this year, so if you guys are interested in specific topics about styling, please definitely leave a note on the show notes. To find the show notes, just go to for the latest episodes.

I’m very passionate about my work. This show definitely takes a lot of energy to prepare and do, especially now I’ve brought on a producer. So it is really important for me to do a good job and deliver value to you.  My main goal here is to provide value and actionable knowledge to you so you can make your home a more beautiful space for you to live in or to sell. If you have any feedback, please definitely let me know. It’s really important to know these things so I can improve and make the content even better.

If you do like what you’ve heard so far, please write us a review or leave a rating on iTunesStitcher, and Soundcloud, this will help others to find this show. And if you are interested in joining us for the 30-day home staging challenge online course, find out more information here.

Ok, enough introduction, let’s get started with today’s show!

For today’s show, I’ll be trying something new. I’ll be posting the transcript of this show in the show notes. Let me know how you like it by leaving a comment in the post.

We are going to talk about appealing to specific demographics today. And when I say specific demographics, I mean different ethnic groups or different target demographics like young professionals, baby boomers, single women, etc. I run across this a lot, especially living in San Francisco Bay area. We have a very diverse population here, in every different demographic possible, age, sex, income level, sexual orientations and more. I get requests all the time to stage the house to target Chinese buyers. And I would get instructions like I want you to decorate the house with Buddha statues, or certain patterns that people think may appeal to Chinese buyers. Which can be borderline stereotypical and offensive to those who are sensitive to this type of issue. So I’m going to address that on the show today and show you some tips to approach this.

Let’s talk about specific ethnic groups first, because that’s usually more of a glaring issue. I remember watching Million Dollar Listings New York this season where Fredrick wore this silk shirt ensemble but approached the buyer the wrong way. He said Konijiwa, which is Japanese to a Chinese buyer. The buyer corrected him immediately. This is awkward. And you don’t want to do that. If you offend someone who could potentially put an offer in for your listing, you can pretty much kiss that deal goodbye. I have a screen shot from the blog Curbed NY that I will link to in the show notes.

If you know that you are in the market where there will be a predominant ethnic population, there are ways to stage your house to appeal to that population that is still tasteful and subtle without coming off as stereotypical and borderline offensive to the people who are coming through for the open house. And remember, selling is about appealing to a broad range of people. You never know who the potential buyer is, so instead of appealing to a certain population, you want to be across the board. I staged a home once where the builder felt that someone from the middle east would buy that home, so he added these architecture details, like he had these 3 arched niches and painted them gold because he thought that would appeal to the middle eastern buyers. It’s the first thing buyers see when they walk into the home. The area actually had a large Indian and Chinese population in additions to Middle Eastern population, the agent felt it could be difficult to show empty. So our job with staging was to minimize this since the client wanted this on the market as soon as possible.

There are a lot of stuff you can do, like using patterns or color schemes to style the home, instead of doing a very literal interpretation like putting things you think that are this population everywhere. I mean, my family is from Taiwan, while we do have Ming-style chairs, we also have plenty western furniture. My mom has these Louise 16th styles chairs in her house. She also had these French styled dressers that she had found in an antique store. Like I have said before on the blog and on this show, styling is highly personal but staging is not. Staging is about appealing to a broad range of buyers. My point is that you never know what type of buyers will come through the house, coming back to this example, maybe the buyer is going to be a Chinese family, or someone who is middle eastern but was born here and have no cultural connections to that background and will not appreciate these details the builders have put in.

In this case, we had to stick with what we can work with. The archways are already done, and the builder was not going to rebuild it. The display niches were also already done; he was not going to do anything about that. What we ended up doing was putting in furnishing that was a little bit more traditional to go with the finishes and style of the home. I also used palms as a motif where it is in the artwork and decorative accessories. When you use the theme throughout, it becomes a styling theme, and less about a statement of wanting to appeal to a certain type of demographics.

I am going to put a photo in the show notes, so you can see what I mean. But these custom gold niches turned out to be the trickiest to deal with because I didn’t have artwork in that specific size, and I needed three of them. If the niches were smaller, I might have left them be to make themselves a statement, instead of a focal point. But because that wall was the first thing the buyers see. They were so sizable, especially since the builder had painted them gold, instead of keeping them the same as the wall colors. It was important we have artwork there to neutralize it.

Here is a quick tip for you about creating your own custom and affordable artwork. When you are out of the artwork, you have to be creative. I bought three canvas from my local art store that would fit perfect in the niches and then I went to Joann’s and picked fabrics that would go with my design plan. Because the home have these details that were more intricate and had this middle eastern flair, I picked a fabric that would go with the home. And then I used my fabric stable gun and basically stretched them over the canvas. This is a super easy way to make affordable artwork. If I couldn’t find the right size canvas that I wanted, I would make my own. You can probably find a lot of online tutorials on this, but what I do is I get 1x1s from Home Depot, which is pretty inexpensive. Cut them to the size I want and use screws to assemble them. After that is done, you can stretch any fabric over it.

So back to styling the space to appeal to different demographics, use colors and patterns to suggest the appeal, instead of doing a literal translation. In the 30-day home staging challenge course, I talk about the power of storytelling. I truly believe the power of visuals and how good visual will sell any products. So what are you saying to the potential viewers? The best storytellers tell, not spell it all out. The other advantage of using colors and patterns to appeal to a specific demographic is that you are not excluding anyone. It is still appealing to a broad range of buyers; it’s just that you are leveraging the color preferences of a certain demographic to make the interiors more attractive to them.

I use this same approach with other demographics as well. If the agent wants us to appeal to the Chinese populations, I will incorporate red as an accent color, which is an auspicious color in the culture. This way, you are paying attention to the demographic, but you are not splashing red everywhere or doing a straight interpretation like putting Buddha heads everywhere.

Color schemes and patterns are great ways to style your interiors to target a specific demographic. So say you are targeting young professionals or Millennials who are technology driven and prefer the more pop-py types of colors. But, in general, I’d say do pattern sparingly. Just because chevrons are in right now, that doesn’t mean you want to plaster that everywhere. It’s also why when I incorporate red, it is always an accent color. Because it adds richness visually, but it is not overpowering as an accent. This is something you want to keep in mind when you are introducing patterns. If you are decorating to live, I’d say go for it. Because it is all about you at that point, and you can introduce as many patterns as you want into the space as long as you and your roommates or family can tolerate it. I also want to say that there is a fine line when it can cross over from being fun and chic over to junky and crazy looking. When you are styling your home, I’d still say to learn how to edit. This will help you to look more polished. I recently published two blog posts, one on finding your personal style, and the other one on building it. I’ll link to that in the show notes. But basically the gist of these two posts are about defining your personal brand. When you see people who are very stylish and pull together, generally their homes are too. What they wear will translate to their homes and work as well. That’s what I love about styling, it can translates from fashion to home decor and personality.

This is especially obvious with creative professionals. You may look at famous bloggers Instagram and blogs or video blogs and see that they have a very consistent style throughout. This is why, because they are very clear with their personal brand. So experiment and find out what that brand is for you, and then you can build your style accordingly.

So that’s it for today’s show! I hope you had enjoyed it. If you have any questions or comments, leave them in the show notes by going to

Thank you so much for listening to the 30 Day Home Staging Challenge podcast. Visit to check out the show notes for each episode and find links to resources mentioned during the podcast. You can also sign up for our FREE 30 day home staging challenge and webinars by visiting our website.

And I want to hear from you! You can leave a comment on the show notes, or connect with me on Instagram and Pinterest using the handle @cindylinsf or @staged4more. Subscribe to this podcast on iTunesStitcher, and Soundcloud so you never miss an episode, and if you’re finding value from the show, please tell a friend, and leave a rating and review on iTunesStitcher, and Soundcloud. It will help people find the show, and I can invite more guests. Until next time, Happy Staging!

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