Staging vs. No Staging

Staging vs. Empty House Photos: How to Pick Your Approach.



Staging is the art of arranging furniture in an empty house to better present the space. It can be used to enhance home listing photos and show off how a space might be used, but it’s also rarely considered a necessary step to sell or rent out a home. Most buyers and renters expect empty house photos, which means the choice to stage is entirely up to the seller and their marketing strategy.

If you are about to put a home on the market to sell or rent, should you stage it before taking photographs? This article will explore your staging options including how to evaluate when staging is or is not worth the cost.


Why Staging is Used in Listing Photos

Staging a house is a way to turn an empty house into a model home. Staging relies on small, symbolic arrangements of furniture that make each room look spacious, yet also help give reference to the dimensions and purpose of each room.

Staging can help buyers better visualize their future life in a house, and can be more inspiring than empty walls and expanses of floor. It can help them more easily see how large each room is with a few chairs for reference. Staging can also help to define the purpose of rooms and make subtle suggestions for how buyers might decorate the space for themselves.


Most Marketed Homes are Not Staged

When asking yourself whether to stage a home before advertising, remember that most homes in today’s market are not staged. Whether for sale or rent, buyers don’t expect staging and most are reasonably capable of seeing the potential of a home through well-lit and angled photos of the empty home. A professional photographer can provide an immersive walkthrough, and empty rooms become the blank canvas on which future buyers or tenants can imagine their lives in the space.


Luxury Homes are More Likely to be Staged

In contrast, staging is more common in the luxury housing market for a variety of reasons. First, luxury homes often have more rooms – and rooms without a distinct purpose. Staging can help buyers see “this is the dining room” or “this room would make a gorgeous home office” instead of endlessly vast spaces. Second, the cost of hiring a professional stager is easily offset by the profits when selling or renting a luxury home.


DIY vs Professional Staging

Most staging is done by professionals who bring in their own rented furniture and decor pieces to help show off the potential of fine homes on the market. However, there are also real estate agents who specialize in helping homeowners DIY staging using their own or rented furniture. DIY staging requires selecting your lightest and most attractive furniture and decoration pieces to “set the stage” in each room while leaving psychological space for buyers to write in their own lifestyles and personalities in the scenes you create.

Both professional and DIY staging also involves setup and teardown – as your staging pieces will not be needed once the buyer is ready to move in.


Virtual Staging: A New Frontier

AR or Augmented Reality technology has now made it possible to virtually stage your homes, as well. Using photographs of the empty space, you can generate images of how your home would look if each room contained furniture and decorations. Virtual staging makes it possible to offer both empty-room and staged images with each home listing that will appeal to different types of buyers and tenants.

Virtual staging tools are often paid, but can be more affordable than a professional stager – especially if you will use the software for multiple properties within your real estate portfolio.


To Stage or Not to Stage, That is the Question

If you are preparing to list a home for sale or rent, consider whether staging is the right move. For luxury properties, staging is often worth both the time and expense if it can better enchant and inspire future buyers. For most homes, the choice of staging is up to you. Staging can provide useful insights and help buyers see the potential of a home, but it is also not considered a necessary step if you have high-quality photos of the empty house instead.

To hone your property marketing strategy, contact us today.