At the risk of the search engines putting my article in some crazy adult places I do not want to be I think we need to examine the benefits, and what I see as draw backs, of the “strip and go naked home staging” style.
Imagine a room that contains 1 couch, 1 chair, 1 painting, 1 coffee table and 1 lamp, and nothing else. You have seen that room. Now imagine a kitchen; with nothing on the counters or walls. This is what some agents and even some home stagers think staging should look like. This is what I call “strip and go naked staging”.
When you tell a client to remove all the clutter this is sometimes what you get. It is true that less is more when staging….to a point. We do want to remove distractions and help buyers imagine their own things in a room. It is important to declutter. This kind of staging does address the “clean” look a staged home should enjoy. I know some very busy stagers that create this kind of look. In my opinion though this is like only getting half way there…
This look is not hard to achieve. Simply tell your clients to pack everything but the furniture and you are here. No stager needed really. But there is a problem; a big glaring problem from my perspective with this style of staging.
Staging is about creating uncomplicated clean lines. But it also has an obligation to spark imaginations, drawing the eye to places in the room on purpose and dare I say…drawing the eye away from some places in the room, on purpose. This is done with careful furniture placement, with accessories and with art. Good staging has levels. There are some very simple restful spaces and other places where whimsy and drama should occur.
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There is so much more going on with good staging than is obvious. Good stagers research who the likely buyer is and what they are about. They build in a “look” that those buyers can aspire to and identify with. Good staging employs some subtle psychological messages that can be very powerful. For example, I almost always create a child’s bedroom when there isn’t one already. The emotional appeal of children is very powerful for most so creating this room when one doesn’t already exist is important in the homes I stage.
I want buyers to easily imagine entertaining in a home I stage; to imagine being in love in a home I stage; to imagine relaxing in a home I stage; to imagine fun family times in a house I stage. When I can get them to imagine these things the house will sell so much faster than the blah one down the street (even though it was staged… by a naked stager (or Realtor).
So ask yourself if the stager you use might fall into the “naked stager” category or if they are a true artist of sorts. Perhaps you tried staging and didn’t really think it made much of a difference…did you hire a “naked staging” professional? It is likely that both kinds of stagers charge similar prices but one is worth so much more. Make the money you spend on staging matter…. Choose artful, thoughtful, imaginative staging. (Choose me.)
Staging is both science and art. The “naked” stagers have the science part down but in my opinion they are missing the “art” part. The “art” part is where the magic happens and results get exciting. All stagers are not the same. If you want to sell fast and sell high, if you want people to love your properties, if you want a stellar reputation then I suggest you find a truly artistic stager and keep her busy. Her work just might help keep you busy too!
(Disclaimer – Staging is always done by people wearing clothes. Do not try to find one that will be naked! And…Can you imagine my dilema when it came time to add pictures to this article?)