A picture of an empty room with hardwood floors and white walls, and bright daylight coming in from the windows.

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‘White Boxing’ May Encourage Sales

April 11, 2022

Home staging is all about arranging furniture and enhancing the setup of decor to help present a home in its best light. But some real estate pros are turning to “white boxing” for certain properties—the complete opposite of home staging. White boxing is about removing everything from a property and showing an empty space of just bare floors and white walls.

For homes that are not in the best shape—whether damaged, neglected, or aged—white boxing can be a good strategy, Kimberly Jay, a broker with Compass in New York, told Apartment Therapy.

After all, “staging these kinds of homes is like putting lipstick on a pig,” Jay said. “Buyers know the home needs a gut renovation, so price accordingly.”

Jay has used white boxing for some high-end homes as well, even for units in brand-new luxury buildings. Sometimes a completely blank canvas allows buyers to better visualize designing the space to their preferences.

But some buyers may need help imagining where everything would go. Also, sometimes an empty room can look smaller than if it were finished. It also can feel less welcoming.

“Furnishing a home typically gives the eye perspective and helps a prospective buyer see how a room can be laid out,” Steven Gottlieb, an agent with Coldwell Banker Warburg in New York, told Apartment Therapy. But “if the seller’s stuff is an eyesore or creates too much clutter, it can hurt the sale, as the buyer might be distracted and can’t imagine their own things in the space.”