Stage This Room: Learn More

A staging Q&A

July 1, 2007

1. What’s the value of staging?

A well-staged room invites buyers in and helps them see past the sellers’ possessions to the layout and square footage. Staging also helps draw buyers’ eyes to the best feature of the room, such as French doors or a fireplace.

Staged homes sell faster and for more money, says professional stager Kala Callahan of Addressed to Sell in Wilmette, Ill. A 2003 HomeGain survey of 2,000 practitioners found that staging could increase the sales price by $2,275 to $2,841; cleaning and decluttering could add $2,093 to $2,378 to the final price. And a 2004–2005 survey of home owners by training company found that staged homes sold for 6.9 percent more than homes that were not staged.

2. What does it cost to stage a house?

Staging an average-sized home can be accomplished for about $500 to $1,000 or more, depending on the extent of the work (painting, carpeting, accessories, labor) involved, say staging pros and practitioners...Furniture rental could add more to the bottom line.

3. How do you approach a room you want to stage?

Stagers aim to clear clutter, arrange furniture to draws buyers into the room, and highlight the room’s best features.

Salesperson Bobbi Williams, of Keller Williams Lincoln Park Realty in Chicago, first draws a diagram of the room. Dede Banks of Renaissance Realty Partners in Lake Forest, Ill., also sketches out floor plans but first takes photos, which she uses to highlight problem areas for sellers. “I can show the photos and say, ‘I can’t see your front door from three different directions because of the pine trees. They need to be pruned.”

Mark Jak of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Chicago looks to create a general theme throughout the home in color and style. “The house should look neutral, clean, and fresh to appeal to the lion’s share of buyers, similar to what you see in a Pottery Barn catalog,” he says.

4. What tools do you need to stage a home?

A well-staged room invites buyers in and helps them see past the sellers’ possessions to the layout and square footage. Addressed to Sell’s Kala Callahan owns an inventory of furnishings that she deploys to vacant homes. Lori Matzke of Center Stage Home prefers to find hidden treasures home owners already have on hand, because that’s a lot less expensive for them. She typically brings throw pillows and greenery.

5. Should an entire house be staged?

Two stagers, two perspectives: Callahan prefers to do a whole house “because people are buying the whole house.” Matzke focuses on key areas: the entryway (and any room visible from it), the main living area, the kitchen, the master bedroom, and any bonus areas, such as a den or deck. “It’s that first impression that’s going to pull buyers in or turn them off,” she says.


The Art of Interior Placement
Geared to those who want to be interior designers, this source includes curriculum on staging for real estate. Tuition: $500–$2,950, depending on the program.

Center Stage Home
Offers directory of affiliated stagers, Home Staging Expert designation, a home study course, and workshops (limited locations). Cost: $299–$1,499, depending on training program.
Offers Accredited Staging Professional designation and several levels of training, directory of ASPs around the country, home staging tips, and statistics. Cost: $349–$3,450.
Search “Staging Field Guide” for a field guide to preparing and staging a house for sale.


Residential Styles & Structural Elements

Cyma Recta

Cyma recta has a concave curve over a convex curve. It is essentially a cavetto over an ovolo and was traditionally used in Classical...