The Varying Levels of Staging

Clients often wonder how far they should go with their staging. Much of this depends upon the market, their equity, and ability to get a return on investment. A discussion that should be had with their Realtor. Consistently we have discovered that they more a client invests in their sale, the higher their return.

Our goal as designers is to bring the client the highest perceived value. This will vary based upon the level of staging. To best understand the varying levels of staging, we'll compare staging with and without furniture rental.

In this home, the client opted not to rent furniture. They had purchased the model penthouse with the furnishings included but over time, the home became lived in. They also had some great accessories to work with. The clients simply needed a few extra pieces of art to complete the look.

Staging Before:

The furniture is beautiful but the sofa was BADLY stained by a tenant. Despite efforts, there was no way to get it clean and the homeowner was going to throw it out. In an effort to avoid furniture rental and because the sofa was destined for the trash, we (by that I mean Jason, of course) painted the sofa. You would never know and the results were amazing. We do NOT suggest trying this at home. He is a skilled painter and it does harden the fabric. However, for a fake out, it was perfect.

The next task was dealing with the entertainment center. The scale is perfect but the books did nothing to increase the perceived value. We re-accessorized with accessories the homeowner had buried in the closet. While this may look easy, it actually typically takes us well over an hour to several hours to complete built-ins in order to get the perfect symmetry and scale. The results are below:

Staging After:

Now let's peek the other direction:

Note the mirror turned the wrong way and the accessories are simply wrong:

Just a few adjustments and the room becomes more balanced and sophisticated.

Often we have clients that place furnishings the wrong direction:

We simply turned the bed, eliminated a few furnishings, and updated the bedding. A trick that may seem simple but takes a trained eye.

This home was a great candidate to skip the rental. He only need design help.

Let's now look at a home with furniture rental:

This is a common scenario we have encountered a few time. This living Room was set up as a dining room because it best served how the clients lived in the home. How we stage a home is very different than how someone lives in a home. We want to highlight the way the home was designed, leaving little to the imagination of the buyer.


The client allowed us to remove the wallpaper and bring in rental furniture that appealed to the target market..


Note in the before photo the eye goes straight to the dark floral carpet, stealing the attention in the room. By lightening the fabrics and furnishings, the eye travels through the room noticing the architecture.

The dining room was set up as a living room:

Before Staging:

Where does your eye travel?

Again the client allowed us to remove the wallpaper and bring in rental furniture.

After Staging:

These are the different levels of staging. In the home without furniture rental, we were fortunate that we could salvage the sofa with paint and that the client had beautiful high end contemporary furnishings to begin with. The second home benefitted from furniture rental because the style was more heavily traditional and taste specific for the younger buyers and the florals were distracting from the architecture.

This is the difference between renting without furniture rental and renting with furniture rental. Making the right decision for your home is simply a case of determining if the furnishings are neutral enough for the millennial and generation X buyers and if they are increasing the perceived value of your home or holding it back.

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