Something about sending my kids back to school this week really makes me feel sentimental as another year clicks by and I now have a 7th grader and 5th grader.  I’ve been feeling sad about having a child in Jr. High but was gratified when my youngest son still ran out of his class the first morning to kiss me good bye…how long will that happen I wonder?  I know many of you are sending kids back to school currently or are maybe a bit wistful about the days past that you did, so I thought a post about going back to school for us adult home stagers and designers would be helpful along with lots of link resources and fantastic “after” photos of course…

Staging by www.contempostagingandredesign.com

Staging by www.contempostagingandredesign.com

There is a lot to know when you enter into the home staging industry and I find that many times people have no idea until they step into the Certification training.  Not only do you need to learn how to be an entrepreneur (accounting, client maintenance, inventory control, licenses, insurance, contracts, website, social media, marketing, etc…), you have to know staging, design, shopping and the real estate market and process!

Staging by http://www.envuestaging.com

Staging by http://www.envuestaging.com


So how do home stagers stay on top of all of these industries?  Here are 5 ways to go back to school and 48 link resources:

1.   Join Staging Social Networking Groups – There are many Facebook, Google and LinkedIn staging groups available to join and take part in.  You can view my LinkedIn Profile to see all the home staging groups I subscribe to.  At HSR, we have our own private social networking group called Stagers Connect where we have over 300 ongoing discussions from model home staging to photograph to window coverings.  Here’s a sneak peek into what’s inside Stagers Connect:

2.  Network through Staging and Design Association Chapters Locally – The Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) which is the trade association for the staging industry and the American Society of Home Stagers and Redesigners (ASHSR) has chapters all over North America for stagers to network, volunteer and learn.


Staging by www.DefinedSpacesStudio.com

Staging by www.DefinedSpacesStudio.com


3.  Subscribe to Design Magazine Blogs – I learn a lot about design by looking at the work of others, as well as reading blogs from experts in the industry.  Some of my favorite design magazine blog sources for design are www.houzz.com, http://freshome.com, http://hgtv.com, http://www.domainehome.com, http://www.lonny.com/apartmenttherapy.com (for small spaces) and http://www.housebeautiful.com/.



4.  Subscribe to Real Estate News and Blog Sites – Advanced knowledge on “buyer demographic” and which staging advice will provide the best return on investment within a market comes from having your finger on the pulse of the real estate markets you serve.  In our training we go over advanced Internet search techniques to identify a home’s “staging potential” but it also helps to subscribe to your local Realtor Associations FB page and website.  I also like to subscribe to these national Real Estate News sources:    http://www.inman.com/, http://realtormag.realtor.org/, http://rismedia.com/, http://money.cnn.com/real_estate/ and http://www.zillow.com/blog/.


Staging by www.Turningleafhome.com

Staging by www.Turningleafhome.com


5.  Grow Your Product Knowledge – As stagers and designers we are continually shopping and sourcing for our clients (and sometimes ourselves for vacant homes), so it’s critical to know where to go to find that perfect piece!  We haunt our local home furnishing stores but personally, I love to look through catalogues both online and offline.  Catalogue stores that provide trade discount and consistent pricing and products are more beneficial to me because I can source items quicker while providing the value of my trade association.  My favorite catalogue/company is Ballard Designs where I can order items that ship usually within a week, have great customer service and return policy as well as inexpensive, versatile pieces that show well for staging.  Click here for a linked list of 35 home furnishing catalog stores you can sign up for with Ballard Designs at the top!

Staged by www.happy-home-interiors.com

Staged by www.happy-home-interiors.com


Home stagers by nature are the types of people who hunger for knowledge and never stop learning about their craft and the markets they work in.  It’s an industry of amazing entrepreneurs who hunger for information in order to perfect the “art” of what they do….happy staging!

Feel free to comment if I missed a great resource that you like to use…


Pillow Talk – 6 Tips for Home Staging and Styling

I just wrote a blog guest post about how to successfully use pillows when staging a home.  The photos provided by Gregg Churchill  an Australian home stager are amazing and my tips are essentials in staging and design.  I also list my favorite pillow resource locations, so click here to see the post, thanks!




Why Home Staging Certification Matters – 5 HUGE Reasons

Why go through a home staging certification program?  Specifically, why go through our HSR Certification program instead of going it alone or with another company?


Here are 5 HUGE reasons why the HSR Certification matters along with some incredible before and after photos of a luxury home amazingly staged by JoMcLaughlin Designs…


Before Photo - JoMcLaughlin Designs

Before Photo – JoMcLaughlin Designs

1.  We are the only Home Staging Certification program who is constantly adding, evolving and continuing to educate our members WITHOUT charging extra for it.



After Photo - Staged by JoMcLaughlin Designs

After Photo – Staged by JoMcLaughlin Designs

I just finished posting another hour long video of a home and I thought to myself, “why am I always adding this kind of stuff to the training for free while other trainers would surely charge extra for it?


If I’m going to represent and deliver a home staging certification program then it has to be on-trend, evolving and growing, so that my HSR certified members are always on-trend, evolving and growing their businesses.



Another After Photo – Look how you can now see the view!

Simply put, Home Staging Certification matters when it grows alongside your business NOT simply something you “completed” years ago.



Kitchen Before - www.JoMcLaughlinDesigns.com

Kitchen Before – www.JoMcLaughlinDesigns.com


2.  We are the only Home Staging Certification Program that teaches home staging alongside design and home styling


Kitchen After - www.JoMcLaughlinDesigns.com

Kitchen After – www.JoMcLaughlinDesigns.com


We are in the design field which is a changing industry especially when coupled with the real estate industry, so it’s critical for home stagers to always be learning about both design, staging and real estate!   Which Home Staging Certification program you choose to go with will define you and your business for years to come.



Dining Room Before - www.JoMcLaughlinDesigns.com

Dining Room Before – www.JoMcLaughlinDesigns.com

3.  We don’t take you into 1 home, we take you into over 30 homes!

The HSR Certification program is online, so it doesn’t take you into a home for practice with 20 other trainees BUT instead I take you into over 30 homes and over 30 hours of video in the training because I know that homes are all very different and you need to see it all!  We also have a hands-on, job shadow day where you get personalized training in a real life setting.

Dining Room After - www.JoMcLaughlinDesigns.com

Dining Room After – www.JoMcLaughlinDesigns.com

4.  You Need to Know A Lot in this Industry, so 10 hours of video or classroom time is NOT going to cut it



Outside Deck Before - www.JoMcLaughlinDesigns.com

Outside Deck Before – www.JoMcLaughlinDesigns.com

Other trainers offer “10 hours of video training” while our training has well over 65 hours of step-by-step videos on staging, styling, branding, marketing, website marketing, realtor partnerships, social media, services, pricing, vacant staging, luxury staging, organization, shopping, window coverings…basically you name it!  We also have over 48 hours of live webinar training available to members throughout the year.



Outside Deck After - www.JoMcLaughlinDesigns.com

Outside Deck After – www.JoMcLaughlinDesigns.com

5. HSR Home staging certification matters because your clients know that you have the confidence, education and experience to tackle any project or home!


In the photos above, Jo McLaughlin fearlessly transforms this luxury, waterfront home only months after becoming HSR Certified.  Her story is a common one because once you go through our program, you will be changed.


Before you jump into a career in staging, take our free video and email series by click on image below!



How To Get Organized Before Staging Your Home

I just added an entire section in the HSR Certification training on adding Organization services to your staging business.  We had so much fun doing an advanced webinar on the subject or organizing, I thought I would share the hot tips that I learned.  Jennifer Lake a Kansas City home stager and designer who has years in the organization business before joining HSR generously shared:

  • The single best way to market your organization business
  • The best way to price for volume business
  • The first rooms/spaces you should focus on for the client for maximum transformation
  • Key phrases to use while organizing with clients
  • How to incorporate organizing into your staging business

When it comes to selling a home, organization is key since it’s the first step to decluttering and starting the packing process.  In fact, many home sellers will have professional organizers come into their homes before the home stager.

Here are My 5 Tips to Getting Organized Before Staging

1.  Have a Plan – Organizing is very “intentional” and purposeful…it doesn’t just  happen on it’s own and in fact, will turn into a huge nightmare if it’s not addressed throughout the home on a yearly basis.  Start with three bins labeled:  1. Keep  2. Goodwill and 3. Craigslist/Consignment.  You will also need two trash bags, one for trash and another for recycling (for magazines, plastic toys, etc…).

2.  Take the Time and Be Honest With Yourself – I always say that successful staging takes a lot of time and energy, and organizing is no different.  Jennifer says that each room/space takes about 4 hours to tackle, so plan ahead and carve out the 4 hours of time to organize each space of your home.  While organizing it’s time to be brutally honest with yourself and ask whether each item is essential.  Particularly when moving, it takes three times longer to unpack and find a home for a non-essential item, so removing unused clutter from your life and home is a gift to yourself.

3.  Label Everything – What’s the point of planning and taking the time to box up those winter sweaters if you don’t label the box and end up forgetting that it’s there?   There is an easy way to create labels, so you always know where everything is and it can be purchased at Amazon:

Epson LabelWorks LW-300 Label Maker (C51CB69010)

4.  Like With Like – The key to successful organizing is putting things that are like one another…together.  Think like a Target store and how they group like items in the same department.  Don’t have your light bulbs across the house from your dimmers and extension chords.  When you’re packing things up, think in terms of rooms and spaces.  A mudroom/laundry room is a great place to put all of your utility items.  Think in terms of “stations” throughout the home.

5.  High Rent vs Low Rent Space – I liked learning about this concept because I teach it in the staging realm in terms of what buyers want to see the most.  In the organizing realm it means that you keep regularly used items in the easiest places to get to them (middle shelves).  Items that are rarely used can go in low rent spaces like the top shelves are very bottom.  If you have too much “stuff” in the low rent space, it may be time to say good bye to it.

The goal of getting organized before staging is to have a home with only essential and beautiful items within it.

It’s important that a home stager knows quite a bit about organizing, so I’m so happy to have this new section within our HSR Certification program and am grateful to the many members who generously share their knowledge daily in Stagers Connect!

XOXO – Happy Staging!

Audra Slinkey

Hope to hear from you!



I’m so excited to be a guest blogger at the National Association of Realtors, Staged, Styled and Sold Blog!  My goal is to feature the gorgeous work of home stagers, staging and styling tips, as well as educate the public on the necessity of staging.

My first post is focused on featuring some excellent before-and-after work of some stagers while debunking some long time myths agents have had about staging.  Click on the image below to see the post and share/comment since I’d love to get your thoughts…

3 Myths About Staging

1 2 3 8

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Latest Raves…

I just wanted to send you an e-mail to let you know how impressed I am with all the work you've put into the HSR. As a previous business owner I know how extremely time consuming and frustrating starting a new business can be. That's an understatement! It is SUCH a relief as I start this new venture to have HSR's support. You truly have done the majority of the leg work. Speaking from previous experience it probably would have taken me twice as long to get this business up and running. The money I've invested is well worth it and I have all the confidence in the world that my business will succeed.  Thanks again!

Donna Coe
Fusion Home Staging
Rancho Cordova, CA

I have been exploring the Home Staging industry classes for sometime now. I decided on the HSR without regrets. The program is both informative and well structured. It also has been a great time-saver for me. HSR has been consistent with regards to communication, in a timely manner.

HSR is highly recommended by me.

Abbie Stokes
ReSell Mavens
Lincroft, NJ

Wow! What a phenomenal program HSR has to offer!  All of the learning materials and everything set up step-by-step to follow at your convenience. I truly feel that taking the HSR program has given me the best foundation possible to be a successful business women. With all of the support of HSR, on going partnerships being built and gorgeous marketing materials it now is easy for me to just start putting my name out there and making contacts. With in two weeks of finishing the program I have already staged my first vacant property and will be attending the Realtor luncheon scheduled for next week. Having the opportunity to meet other Realtors and showcase my work couldn't be better and I am so proud to be able to give them my business cards and handouts that are beautiful thanks to HSR.


Nicole Utz

HSR was a wonderful home staging and redesign training program that I am so glad I completed!! The training covers everything you could possibly need to know to start and run a successful home staging and redesign business. It is the most thorough training I could find in my research covering not only home staging and redesign but marketing in great detail which is so important to make a business successful. I would highly recommend Home Staging Resource to anyone who is thinking about starting a home staging/redesign business.


Katie Newman of Lake Houston Home Staging and

Thanks so much Audra! The training I received from HSR was so complete that I now feel ready to take on the challenges of my new career!

I had researched other companies and thought I knew the scope of education I was looking for, but with Home Staging Resource I learned valuable things that I couldn't have imagined I needed for my business. I believe if I had chosen a different training program I would have really missed out on the extensive information and company wide support that HSR offers. You have promoted a welcoming, friendly environment of sharing and I couldn't be happier with my decision to join the Home Staging Resource!


Kelly Kaufman
Elements Home Staging
Attica, Michigan

Your training program is awesome. As a mother of 4 & 3, we needed a program that would allow us to go at our own pace. We ordered our material right after the holidays and completed the training by the end of January. Our business is building and to date we have staged two homes and two redesigns. Currently we are in the planning process of two redesigns. All of your marketing information has been very instrumental in getting our name out in the DFW area. It is comforting to know that we have Home Staging Resources behind us to guide us through our business. Thanks for continually keeping us up to date on the new home staging trends.

Erika Grizzaffi and Rhonda
Dowling, Denton Texas

If you are considering a career in staging, taking Audra's certification course is a must! In addition to creating a professional website, this course will make sure you dont miss any important steps needed to market yourself and set your business up correctly. It is a small investment for getting your business up and going and for establishing the confidence you need to have to sell yourself. Thank you Audra!

Kelley Gibbons
Love It and Leave It

After extensive research, I have joined the HSR Family. The personal contact with the leadership staff and business support teams are unbelievable. Business Building is a tough job from the start but HSR takes the Tough right out of the equation.

Kathy Holbrook
Ct Realty Staging
Windsor, CT

My experience with HSR has been awesome!  I can truly say that training with HSR was one of the best choices I have ever made.  Not only have you provided me with the tools, guidance and support needed to become a successful business woman, but you have helped me to start living my dream and passion!  I would highly recommend Home Staging Resource to anyone who has interest in Home Staging.  Keep up the great work HSR and thank you!

Teresa Mills
Looking Fine by Redesign LLC
North Olmsted, Ohio

I just wanted to say Thank you for offering such a wonderful program. I have learned so much and the live training sessions are so wonderful. I am so excited about my business and this course have given me the tools to get it up and going in an organized manner. Without this program, I honestly don't know if I would have followed my dream. I have read many books and taken other courses and they all left me with so many unanswered questions. Your training has put me on the right path and I honestly cannot thank you enough. I HIGHLY recommend this to anyone who is considering starting their own staging business. It is worth every penny. You are awesome!!!!

Thanks sooooo much!


Chrissie Sutherland - Ready Set Stage

Joining Home Staging Resource was a tough decision - but it turned out to be a brilliant one!  I had gone to the website many times trying to decide and, on a whim, decided to take the plunge.  My business was up and going within a month because of what I learned, not to mention the materials HSR provided. I received a call/lead from the HSR directory the very first week. I put a deposit down on office space, not because the money is rolling in, but because of the confidence and knowledge that HSR gave me.

Thank you!


Angela Mager
Provident Home Staging
Fishers, Indiana

Your training was fabulous. I have sales experience (18 years) but needed the start-up structure to start a home staging business. You go into great detail. The calendar was very helpful for this. Also, all the forms are excellent!!!! I needed some guidelines for the staging and you have also made me very confident to go to a house and go over --the plan, the forms, the feel home formula, and a quick transformation.  The printed materials are so professional and beautiful. I have had people look at the business card--it is so much fun to watch their face. Their eyes get big, say "WOW", and feel the surface. What a great reaction. I can't believe the website. It is gorgeous. Your staff is great. Also, I am impressed with your timing on everything--when you say that you will do something at a certain time, it is done!!  I can't think of one thing at this time that you could do better in the training. The videos, and the live training were very helpful. I would recommend your company to anyone!!

Audra, you should be very proud of yourself to know that you can help so many people with so many subjects. What a great company you have!


Diane Lunceford, TX

I was completely impressed by the professionalism and the intensity of the program. You didn't miss a thing. I'm almost ready to submit my information for the web-site and am ready to go and am more confident than if I hadn't take the course! Thanks again for a great program.

Marlene Rusnak
Delaware Home Staging

When I started the process of choosing a Home Staging Certification program I researched everything! After narrowing it down to two programs, I sent emails to some of the members. Within 24 hours I knew I had made my decision and I have not been disappointed since. Your training provides REAL tools to be successful in this business. The materials are clear and easy to understand, your conference sessions are great and your enthusiasm is catching. I received my marketing materials in the mail last week and they are beautiful. I am so excited to be starting this new venture in my life, THANK YOU.


Lisa Ryan
Smart Move Design

"I am SO excited.  I can not tell you how impressed I am with your company!  I have been an entrepreneur for 17 years and have never come across anything like Home Staging Resource.  I will definitely be your BIGGEST fan."

Elayne Forgie, Forgie Home Staging, FL

I must tell you that the business forms in Week 2 are amazing!  I know that to create all of these forms from scratch would have taken me months to prepare.  Your training has enabled me to download all of the forms needed in just one day!  Thank you so much for providing such valuable tools and resources needed to get my new business up and running.  I feel more confident going in to my first client consultation after reading the "Guide to a Successful Consultation".  I feel prepared and well informed about the market, the benefits of home staging and what specific service models I will be selling. This has freed up my time to work on the part I really love, designing the look and feel of my business, creating beautiful home interiors and "shopping"!

Jennifer Opie, PA

This is an Amazing Program! I got my Realtor License years ago and I wish they had had such a comprehensive and informative guide in the start up of being a new business owner! As a stager I knew what I wanted to do I just didn't have the tools or the knowledge to get there. HSR gave me the plan-a detailed list- to get it done so I could focus on doing the job I love... The Action Plans and form information is priceless! It put everything I thought I wanted to say to my customers in a form for me so I didn't have to spend days forming it. It was already done!


Heidi Bollum
Tomlinson Real Estate Group
Realtor and Certified Home Stager

When I am looking for a business opportunity I want to go with the best. I did a lot of research on the web about Home Staging and Home Staging Resource had the most comprehensive program.  HSR stood out among what other sites had to offer.  Most sites offered a 1 or 2 day program, if you compare that to HSR's 21 day program there is no contest!  I also liked the professional attitude and desire by HSR to bring professional credibility to the Home Staging profession.


Sarah Hart, CA

I am so impressed by the HSR training process.  It turned my business around. Literally, a week before signing up for the package, I was ready to let the business go due to the fact that I really felt lost in many areas.  I have in the past month learned and applied the information I got towards my business and it has paid off.  I have been able to have an exact plan for the consultations and appt. with realtors and I have received many e-mails responding to the e-mails that I have sent out.  I have had several comments from Realtors who are now using me as a part of their service that my website and letterhead and cards look very professional.  They were impressed to say the least.  The tips and tricks that you have given are all ways that my business has improved.  Thank you for all of the effort you have put in for me and everyone out there.  I will forever be appreciative of all of your help in making Stage It Today successful!


Letitia Granum, MN
Stage It Today

After doing some research in Home Staging courses, I found the HSR training program and I cannot be more happy. This training program provided me with all the support, training and communication that I was looking for in a program. It turned out to be one of the most complete and informative online training programs I have come across. It has not only provided me with an in depth knowledge on home staging but has also expedited the start of my business with the pre-made forms, marketing tools and strategies. I am now ready to start my own business (which I didn't believe was possible at first) in just 1 month. I cannot thank you, Audra, enough on this awesome training program with the marketing solutions. I can honestly say, "I got what I paid for" and I am very excited to finally do what I passionately love and enjoy. Thank you again Audra, it was well worth it for me and I'm sure it will be for anyone else who decides to choose HSR as their training program.

Mamta Kamboh
Interiors By Mamta LLC
Frisco, TX

Your HSR Training is perfect for an artist such as I who has always felt inadequate with the business side of work. I've known that those skills with a creative talent could open jobs that paid better, but I did not even know where to begin to learn or apply them. I have seen this dilemma with a lot of artists over the years.  The HSR program truly speaks to people who think like myself. I have learn so much with your easy, step by step manual and website tools.  My gained knowledge will be life changing! Thanks so much!

Debbie Klahn
Dayton, Ohio

As with any new business the initial start-up period can be somewhat daunting. However, through HSR training we were given numerous resources including on demand videos, conference calls, and published materials which provided us with an extensive background of what this business entails.


Candace Bouley
Kathy Abrams

I can't believe how much your home staging course has changed my life! I have worked full time as a hairdresser for 25 years and really needed a change. I have always loved Real Estate and decorating and I have wanted to change careers for a few years now but I had no idea what I would do. After doing some research online I realized I could make a living doing what I'm good at and I'm so glad I chose your program! You really have thought of everything, this training program is amazing! I really loved the recent changes you've made and I just want to thank you for giving me a reason to get up every morning excited about what the day will bring!


Luci Terhune N.J
Bungalow Home Staging & Redesign

WOW! I have just been blown away by all of the support, information, personal training, and abundance of pre-made forms that the HSR training comes with.  It is literally a complete business that is so simple to establish.  Having owned a business before I know first hand how long it took just to create all the forms I needed to get my business up and running and you have really taken that task and removed it so that I could concentrate on the training and marketing (which you have also made simple). I haven't even finished my training yet, and I am already working!  I can't wait to see my website. I would recommend this training to anyone who wants to get into the home staging business- well unless they would be my competition... : )   THANK YOU HSR!

Tracy Laasch
Touch of Design Interiors
Lake Conroe, Texas

I can't say enough about the HSR training program.  I like it that you can take as long a you would like to finish the program (within the year.)   I love the business part of it because it's not just about home staging and resigning a room.  It's your business cards, website and lots of forms you provide us with and so much more. Audra helps us with it ALL:).  Signing up with HSR was one of the first things I did and it was well worth it!
 Thank you Audra!


Staging and Design by Lisa Marie, LLC
Omaha NE