Backstage With Your Home Stagers

Click for the “before” photo

An insightful look at what goes on behind the scenes to produce the highly effective home staging that gets the results we are so well known for.

Good home stagers makes their job look easy.  Our clients, realtors, and the general public see only the fruits of our labor when our work is done – an empty property is transformed into a beautifully styled home, viola!  Its understandable that they have no idea how hard we work behind the scenes planning, preparing, and executing the stage, and what is involved, to make it all happen. Even the regular clients, realtors, home builders etc with whom we regularly work have no idea that, as home staging industry statistics show, the average stage requires a whopping 24 individual hours of labor to fully execute. Though we are only on the actual site for several hours, often stretched over 2 – 3 days (depending on the scope, size, and location of the staging) there is much work we are busily doing behind the scenes in planning, coordinating, administrating, designing, prepping, picking, packing, loading, moving, traveling, unloading, unpacking, setting up furniture, hanging art, making beds, arranging accessories, as well managing logistics and coordinating resources.

Before we can begin staging a property, we need to make a site visit to assess the space and its requirements, take photos and measurements. Back at the office, we pour over photos of the home and map out the floor plan to work up a design plan.

Once the design plan is in place, we allocate inventory, one piece at a time – every item that will end up in that home is planned. Because great design doesn’t just happen – it takes planning.  From there we need to pull all the items we’ll use in your home from our 2000 sq ft warehouse, one by one, track them through our inventory management system, then pick, wrap, pack, and load each piece, right down to the smallest items.

Then there is the entire moving process. Most people hate moving. Its stressful, its hard and heavy work, and there is a lot to coordinate. In the staging business EVERY day is moving day.  There are often factors beyond one’s control that throw curve balls and surprises, regardless of how meticulously orchestrated.

Once the trailer arrives at the client site, its time to unload, move in, unpack, set up, and tend to each and every last detail of the design and styling – make beds, hang art, arrange toss cushions, hang towels, arrange accessories, tweak placements, etc. Often the simple art of hanging towels needs to be done several times to ensure they hang exactly perfectly -its not OCD; as stagers, we are in the business of creating perfection. Its that perfect image that helps to sell the home.

Once the property is staged and styled we do a walk-though to view the property through the buyer’s eyes. At that point we will often make last minute tweaks, revisions, and changes to ensure perfection. While some stagers follow the philosophy that ‘done is better than perfect’, our approach is that it isn’t done until its perfect. This attention to detail is what has earned us a reputation for achieving powerfully effective results for our clients and a high return on their staging investment.

And while we are working on any individual stage there are always also obligations to other clients which must be managed in parallel, because we are typically managing different phases of multiple stages at one time. We have come to accept that we need to expect surprises. For instance,  inventory must sometimes quickly be moved from homes that have just sold due to fast possession dates. Clients with impending staging dates are running late in getting homes reading for staging, so they need our attention in reworking scheduling. Questions and snaffus, and client emergencies are a part of our every day behind the scenes responsibilities. There is always a lot going on in the background that you never get to see.

In the home staging business, every day brings new surprises. There are many moving parts, many logistics, many details and resources to coordinate, and along the way there are many different people involved to keep those stages happening. In a given day we are dealing with movers, staff, suppliers, shipping companies, property managers, marketing directors, realtors, home owners, as well as our own staff and team members – and the list goes on.  There are traffic jams that causes itineraries to go awry and we occasionally encounter emergencies with inventory (something arrives broken in transit, or something we need for the next stage just came out of the last house damaged and we must scramble to find an equally amazing replacement in record time, etc, etc.) An agent has left the wrong key for us in the lock-box, and he’s out of the city and unable to get us into the home. We arrive at a home to stage and it hasn’t yet been cleaned….  Meanwhile the clock is ticking, there is always an impending deadline we are racing to meet. Ah, a day in the life of a home stager 🙂

Then there is also the task of curation. Acquiring all of that amazing inventory (furniture, decor, accessories, art, area rugs, lamps, etc) that fill a property with wow factor is a highly time consuming  and demanding job in and of itself. We are always replenishing, expanding and updating our inventory, very selectively in search of the right items. When we need to add a table to our fleet, its not a simple as heading out to a store and buying a table that afternoon.  To get the results we achieve for our clients, inventory must be curated. We don’t purchase anything unless it has a particular level of visual impact, is reflective of our signature style, and will work cohesively with other pieces in our inventory. “Curated” inventory means sometimes having to hunt for an extended period of time, and wait it out if necessary, until the right items can be found – those truly exceptional pieces that enable us to achieve exactly the right look. We never just buy whatever we happen to find in the stores that day – its a constant process of searching and curating until the right pieces show up and we say, Yes, that’s it. We know it when we see it.

In addition to that, we are always studying the latest design trends to ensure we keep our fingers on the pulse of the design and staging industry,  and investing in the ongoing professional development to be continually taking our skill set to the next level, so that our clients can always count on the fact that they are getting nothing but the very best when they entrust us with staging and styling their properties.  We are watching the real estate market and staying on top of changes and trends there as well.

And then there’s a warehouse to manage, inventory constantly coming in and going out that requires tracking; incoming inventory must go through a process of cleaning (and now due to covid everything must also be sanitized as it comes back in), and we also have workers and assistants to oversee.

Like we said, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes each and every day that no one gets to see. And that’s the short version!  But if you’ve worked with us in the past, you probably had no idea of all that we juggle in a typical day, because we never let our clients see us sweat! We’re fine if you think that we just show up and sprinkle our pixie dust, and just like that, a beautifully staged home materializes rather effortlessly 🙂