The Art of Home Staging (for selling, or living)


Home Staging is the process by which a home is transformed from being simply a functional place for people to live, into a product for the vast real estate marketplace.

The idea is to initially grab a buyer’s attention with photos and/or videos that show the home in its best light and draw them in. If you do a good job there, you will get a showing, which allows the buyer a more in-depth look at the structure.

The principles of good home staging focus on allowing the buyer to see the finer details of the home and picture themselves in it. In order to create that type of environment, a stager’s goal is to eliminate those things that might distract a buyer from seeing the home’s best qualities (like poor furniture placement, clutter, dirt, too many personal items, or God forbid, an unpleasant smell or strange doll collection!)

The process a buyer goes through when selecting which homes to view can be likened to choosing a cereal box from the grocery aisle or a bottle of wine. It’s true that before you actually taste these things, you are making a decision to buy largely based on the packaging or the label. Once you get the item home and taste it, you decide whether it’s a keeper on not.

Likewise, the snapshots of a home are what draw the buyer in. They will then decide based on just those few images if they want to get a real taste of what it would be like to live there and see the home in person. If those images aren’t appealing, your buyer pool just got smaller.

A self-audit of your home

Homeowners can determine whether staging their homes might be needed by asking themselves some simple questions, such as:

• Am I maximizing the natural light in the home?  

• Can I easily walk through doorways and flow from room to room flawlessly?  

• Will someone viewing my home be distracted by my personal items, such as photos, paperwork, artwork on the fridge, piles of laundry, etc.?  

• Does everything in my home have a designated place to “live,” or do the shoes really live in a pile at the front door!

• If I have pets, would a buyer know it when they come into my home?  

• Are the paint colors, decor and furnishings from this decade?

• Does my home have curb appeal when driving up to it?

• When was the last time my home had a thorough deep cleaning, including the windows?

If you aren’t sure of the answers to the questions or know the answers and they aren’t favorable, you want to enlist the help of a professional stager. Staging most often is very simple and reasonably priced. Stagers can either bring in furnishings or work with what a homeowner already has on hand.

Staging is very likely the most cost effective way to get the biggest return on your investment when selling a home. It can be really amazing to see what a stager can do in just a few hours with what you already have, but in the case of an empty home or a home whose furnishings just aren’t up to par, a stager can furnish your home with pieces that are appropriate to your home’s architecture and style as well.

A stager can also guide you with larger undertakings, such as how and where to spend your home improvement dollars, selecting materials, paint colors or fabrics and assisting you with managing a clean-out.

And did you know ...

The principles of good staging can also be applied to homeowners who simply want their homes to look better, feel better, and be more functional for their own enjoyment? You don’t have to be selling your home to enjoy the benefits of good staging. Many clients report wishing they had made these simple changes long ago so they could have enjoyed the home more themselves or they employ the services of a stager after they move to their new home. 

Whatever your situation may be, for a little effort and a small investment, you can gain great rewards.

Kerri Payne is a Realtor and staging specialist at Residential Properties in Barrington and in 2018 launched Resourceful Staging & Decor in order to serve the non-home selling community as well.

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