Category Archives for "Home Staging Before & After Photos that ROCK!"

Home Staging Before and After Photos, Stories and News

3 Ways to Start a Bidding War Through Home Staging

3 Ways to Start a Bidding War Through Home Staging

2014 was a good year for the real estate and home staging industry!  On average, homes that were professionally staged by an HSR Certified Professional Home Stager made over 10% more than homes that were not staged*.  As we get ready to gear up for an even hotter Spring 2015 home selling market, I wrote down 3 ways to get a bidding war on a home for sale.  Within my tips for getting a bidding war, I feature an amazing home transformation that you will not believe!  This article is featured in the National Association of Realtors, Styled, Staged and Sold Blog which you can view by clicking on the link below:

Read my 3 Ways to Start a Bidding War Through Home Staging Article!


The Business of Home Staging

Knowing the Business of Home Staging


I love to share stories of personal growth and business success because I know it touches on our basic, core needs: to learn, be needed and to do something important and of value.

Before -

Before –


Nancy’s story touched me because she was not only surprised by her growth, she was able to truly help a house flipper turn a property that was sitting on the market for 5 weeks into something that sold immediately after she staged it.  According to the recent 2014 home staging statistics, this is no surprise!  Here’s her before-and-after photos and her story:


After -

After –

Hi Audra,
I wanted to take some time and really digest this journey. When I finally decided to bite the bullet and take the plunge and sign up with Home Staging Resource I had no idea of the personal growth that I would experience. I was always confident in my ability to stage a property. However it was the business side of home staging that really held me back...


Before -

Before –


Thank you for all you taught me. The major surprise for me was how much my confidence grows every day!

After -

After –

As you know I did my first job and got hired by the same client to do another house before I finished the first job. When I did finish and the house was listed in sold in 6 days.  They have already hired me to stage the next property they are flipping before it goes on the market.


Before -

Before –

This industry has changed me in many ways, but the one that is most obvious is that I finally believe that I can do anything that I set my mind to.  I really love the whole process, I love looking at a space and seeing in my mind what needs to be done. I love the shopping and putting everything together, but most of all I love getting the call telling me a property has been sold. That is very satisfying to my soul.


After -

After –


Thank you again for all you do for the staging industry and more importantly all of us who had a dream and you helped us achieve it!

Thank you Nancy, for your story!  To see more photos by Nancy, go to her website at:

Our Premise

Bring HSR your natural decorating talent and we’ll show you how to make a successful business out of doing what you love AND are good at!

What will your story be?

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


5 Tips for Staging a Colorado Cabin

5 Tips for Staging a Colorado Cabin

Who doesn’t dream of owning a cabin in the woods?  This little 698 square foot, 100 year old cabin  in Colorado was so sad until Kimberly Stark of KS Creative Staging in the Colorado foothills got a hold of it.  “It is still Incredible to me that I get paid for having this much FUN!!!” says Kimberly who has staged 6 properties since starting her business in July.   Here’s what the cabin looked like before Kimberly got a hold of it:

Before dark and dreary

Before Staging…so dark and dreary


This sweet cabin went on the market on a Thursday, got into a bidding war and sold within 72 hours for OVER asking price!  I’m seeing these kinds of home staging statistics all the time in the 2014 staged housing market.

You can learn a lot from looking at Kimberly’s before-and-after photos, so here is my five tips for staging a Colorado cabin in the woods.


After photo - KS Creative Staging

After photo – KS Creative Staging

1.  Stage for Cabin Style

Staging is an art form and the first thing every professional stager does is get a read on the “home’s integrity” or style.  As you can see from the photo above, this is a classic cabin and has to be staged in that manner.  Staging for the style of the home may seem like common sense but so many times I see the opposite done ie. cottage home staged as a contemporary.  The home will give the stager clues as to how we should merchandise the space and a cabin needs to be staged as such.


KS Creative Staging

KS Creative Staging

2. Use Organic Materials Like Leather, Cowhides, Cottons, Plants and Wood

I can’t think of very many situations where I would recommend staging with a leather sofa BUT in a cabin…it absolutely works!  Here is another view of the leather sofa with cowhide pillow and textured throw which really works in the space.  You can also see how tiny the cabin is, so using a couple pieces and not crowding the space is essential.


After - KS Creative Staging

After – KS Creative Staging

3. Use Lot of Soft Furnishings to Break Up the Wood

You can see from all the photos that Kimberly placed pillows, rugs, place mats, runners and other soft furnishings wherever possible throughout the space.  This helps to break up all the wood or hardness that you see from the before photo.  She also cleverly uses wild flowers from the yard as a prominent display in the room and a reminder to the buyer about what cabin living is all about.

Before Staging

Before Staging

4.  Multipurpose Furnishings to Maximize Space

As you can see, this cabin is TINY, so it’s critical to show buyers that while it’s small, it’s still very livable.   Above is the before photo of the bedroom half of the cabin which you can see would be very hard for the buyer to imagine both a living and bedroom in this space.  Using a futon couch one can see that there is room for a fold out bed and TV watching.

2014-10-29 - cabinb

5. Bring the Outside In and Create Imagination Zones

In the photo above you can see that Kimberly put up all the blinds and really let the light in, as well as displayed the views and greenery from outside.  With a remote cabin in the woods, do you really need privacy blinds throughout?  In the photos below, you can see how she even staged the outdoor area by adding a hammock by the running creek.  What buyer wouldn’t want to take an afternoon nap in that hammock and just “get away from it all”?

2014-10-29 - cabing

Creating harmonious and beautiful spaces is the fun part of being a home stager and redesigner!  Seeing your work get multiple offers and the huge smiles on the agent and seller’s faces is worth the effort.  Here’s what Kimberly had to say about becoming a stager and going through the HSR training:


Audra – I am thrilled you think my story is worth sharing!!! But looking back just a few short months ago, when my Broker told me “I know you can do this, but the only person in the room today that doubted your talent was You!”;  I am certain there are others who also struggle with self-confidence and doubt; if I could offer even the smallest amount of encouragement to take that First step, it would bring me joy! Right before I enrolled in HSR, a close friend, with whom I had talked to about becoming a Stager, sent me an email that said “Live in Love; Delay no Joy”…..I decided I had delayed my Joy for too long and immediately enrolled…….and as over-used and perhaps corny as it may sound, it has truly been life changing!  When I got my first “paycheck”, after the Client handed it to me….do you know what I said???  “Oh!!!  This is too much!!!”  and he smiled and said, “No! it isn’t!”  Seriously, what is the matter with me?

And just to let you know, the Broker with whom I work, she is the one who encouraged me to get my Certification,  said the difference in my Staging Presentation from when we first started working together (before HSR)  to last week’s was an Amazing transformation; she said I was Awesome and the confidence I now had was evident!! She also told me she “loved” everything I did and the Sellers felt the money they spent was “well worth it”!!!!!  Additionally, her Buyers for another house I staged, have asked her to contact me so that I may assist them in decorating their new home!!!!  They are from Texas and want a “true Colorado Mountain retreat”!!!! I just cannot put into words how grateful I am to you for starting HSR and making it available to so many of us!  Talk about Living The Dream!!!!

With kindest regards – Kim Stark

Thank you Kimberly for another home with a happy ending!

Starting a Home Staging Business


Starting a Home Staging Business…

I get this question a lot, “how can I start a home staging business working full time?”  I understand the fear and anxiety that those folks feel because they want to be their own boss, follow their passions and their true talents BUT they need an income…I get it.  Starting a home staging business is not easy!

Here’s a story of someone who was able to go from a full-time management position with guaranteed income to a successful home staging entrepreneur along with her amazing before and after photos…


Hi Audra, Sorry for the delayed response…The good news is that I was super busy working on a couple large staging projects when I received your email.  I struggled with the decision to make my career change for years and I am so happy that I did!
Susan Batka, Professional Home Stager and Redesigner for Aerie Interiors based out of Alpharetta, GA



What was your background before starting a home staging business and how did it serve you well in this new endeavor?

Educational background: Bachelor of Science in Psychology
Career: 17 years in the Medical distribution field.  Most of my time was spent in Management of the Customer Service Team and later the Sales Team, during the interim of those positions, I ran a successful Sales territory.  I was working full time when I started the HSR Certification Program.

Before Staging

Before Staging

How long did it take you to go through the training/business set-up?  Did you feel well prepared after finishing the HSR program?

I completed my training while still working with my former employer.  I took my time going through the materials and refer back to them often.  I felt that HSR prepared me very well to start up and run my own staging company…In fact, I believe that my sales background paired with my HSR training helped me confidently go in and secure my first staging job.

After Staging

After Staging

It is critical that you go in fearless and confident even if you are shaking in your boots!  My first appointment was with a Real Estate Agent who was looking to sell his 7000 square foot home that he had designed and built!  No pressure there!  He still does not know that he was my first client and that is the way it should be!

Before Staging

Before Staging

How did you begin marketing yourself, what marketing efforts did you find most valuable in your area and why?

I am now just starting to Market my company.  My current clients have found me through my website or from word of mouth.

After Home Staging

After Home Staging

How “busy” are you today?

I have had a very busy Spring so far and anticipate it to get busier because my clients have been so excited with the results and have asked me to redesign their new homes!


What (if anything) would you have done differently looking back?

Nothing, I am the happiest and more fulfilled than I could have dreamed of!


Are you glad you decided to go into the staging field?

Yes, very much. I would not change a thing!

Before Staging

Before Staging

Any words of wisdom for those just entering into the field?

Believe in yourself, be confident, let your passions be your lauchpad!

After Staging

After Staging


 That is the beauty of online training versus traditional classroom style learning.  It allows you to “hit the rewind button” and refer back to the online classroom throughout the course of your business!

After Office Redesign

After Office Redesign

There could be a good month or two between your training and the moment you get your first staging consultation, so being able to go into the online training area and watch the consultation videos again is critical to confidence building!


After Office Redesign

After Office Redesign


Thanks Susan for sharing!  If you’re thinking of taking the plunge into becoming a home stager, there’s never been a better time to do it!  Here’s a quick video on becoming a stager if you’re interested…


Seriously Flawed Study

This is not true staging by any means…


There was a study published by the Wall Street Journal* claiming that “staging” has no effect on the home’s sale price based on the photo above…seriously?!  The study had a group of people view virtually staged before-and-after photos and asked them whether they would pay more for the beige room (above) over the purple room (below).  Each of the respondents said they would not pay more money for the beige virtually staged room over the purple room.

How can anyone take this study even remotely serious is a minor miracle.  Here are the huge problems with this study:

  • The rooms were “virtually staged” (not real, in person staging which is what “staging” is truly is)
  • They were “virtually staged” by a someone who doesn’t appear to know much about staging from the looks of the “after” photos
  • The “before” photos of a purple room (see below) and colorful furniture look so cartoon like, it’s almost laughable!
  • Ironically, the respondents believed that “other” buyers would pay 3.7% to 4.0% less than value of the home if it’s not painted and fixed up.
  • Virtual stagers are insulted by these photos since they don’t come close to the quality work that a true, virtual stager can do.


This isn't even good virtual work!

This isn’t even good virtual work…is this Mickey Mouse’s home?

I wasn’t going to even respond to this study since I didn’t want to bring attention to something so absurd but since there has been some chatter about it, let’s put this matter to rest once and for all.


Anyone with half a brain would look at that “after” photo and never in a million years call this a “staged” room!

In case you were one of those silly people who actually wanted to give this study credence and thought that room was “staged”…here is what “staged” really looks like of a home that sold for $100,000 over asking price in October, 2013 within 8 days of staging:

(This home was staged by Donna Dazzo of  Designed to Appeal in New York City)

Living Room Before


Living Room After

Living Room Before

Living Room After 

       Master Bedroom Before

Master Bedroom After
Boy’s Room Before

Boy’s Room After


Girl’s Room Before

    Girl’s Room After

Terrace Before
Terrace After


I guess it’s a good thing this home seller didn’t listen to “other” agents who think staging doesn’t work and cite this study…


By the way, I could have produced tons of other similar success stories and photos by the many amazingly talented home stagers across the country who have been maligned by this study.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that when you improve upon a product, you get a better price.


XOXO – Happy Staging!

Audra Slinkey

Hope to hear from you!

[email protected]

*By the way, the study was called: “The Impact of Staging Conditions on Residential Real Estate Demand” and the Wall Street Journal article was called: “Home Staging Effect? Not Much.

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