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Cool Resources for Home Staging Companies

Cool Resources for Home Staging Companies

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?  Since home staging companies are always “in school”, I thought a post about ongoing learning for home staging companies 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 staging companies stay on top of all of these industries? 

Here are 5 ways for home staging companies 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…

Why Home Staging Certification Matters

Why Home Staging Certification Matters – 5 HUGE Reasons

Why go through a home staging certification program to become a home stager?  Specifically, why go through our HSR Certification program instead of going it alone or with another company?  I know it’s tough to decide which home staging certification course to invest in when just starting out, so I thought I’d list some of our huge differences in this post along with some fantastic before and after photos of a luxury home amazingly staged by JoMcLaughlin Designs…


Here are 5 HUGE reasons why the HSR Certification matters…


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!


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…


Home Staging Zillow Statistic

2014 staging statistics

Latest Home Staging Zillow Statistic

As the market heats up, we are seeing more real estate agents and sellers recognizing the huge benefits that come with hiring a professional home stager!  Here is the latest in home staging statistics according to a new Zillow Digs survey of Real Estate Agents and Interior Designers:

Hiring a professional home stager was listed as one of the top two critical improvements a seller should invest in when selling their home in 2014.



“In a market where home prices are rising, it becomes even more essential to get every dollar you can from the sale of your most expensive asset…professional home staging does this for sellers.” – Audra Slinkey

I’m seeing bidding wars all over the place for the right home that is staged beautifully in this 2014 spring housing market.  The savvy agent who wants to have the reputation for getting sellers “top dollar” understand the necessity of staged and merchandised rooms, as well as professional photos to post online.


Curb Appeal was listed as the number one home improvement item while using a professional home stager was listed as number two according to the survey.

A home stager can skillfully identify ways to highlight your home’s best features and compensate for its shortcomings. The goal is to make “your home appeal to the broadest audience and number of buyers possible,” says Zillow Digs Board of Designers member Mara Miller of Carrier and Company in New York City.


Warning…not all home stagers are the same!  It takes extreme design expertise, a strong knowledge of the real estate market and buyer demographic, as well as special training in phraseology, staging psychology and vendor partnerships (flooring, window coverings, furnishings, etc..) to really maximize the value of the transformation.

Ready to Become a Successful Home Stager and Redesigner?

XOXO – Happy Staging!

Audra Slinkey

Hope to hear from you!



Top Ten Staging Trends for 2014

Top Ten Staging Trends

I love design and probably own every staging and design book and magazine available.  I’m really loving the design trends that are driving the staging trends of 2014 because they reflect the brighter economic outlook of sellers and buyers.  When people feel good about their home equity, job stability and market conditions…great things happen in design!  It’s no wonder that in a recent Houzz Survey all of the tradespeople (especially designers) were feeling wonderfully, optimistic about their revenue growth in 2014!  There’s never been a better time to become a stager and designer!

2014-4-23- stagingmagic2

 1. Staged Outdoor Spaces – Can you imagine what this space would look like without the staging? Yes, it would be cold and dreary. Karen Hunter of http://www.staging-magic.com/, transforms this yard into an entertainers dream come true! Staging is about creating the vision of what life in the home would look like and including the outdoor living areas is critical! This staging trend is probably one of the most essential and I see so many sellers not have their outdoor areas staged. Remember a photo is worth a thousand words, so have the stager stage the outdoor space, take your gorgeous photos and that is what will sell the buyer online. 95% of buyers are online first trying to find the home of the dreams…what do you think this photo would say to the buyer?

2014-4-23- stagingmagic1

Don’t forget to stage all of the outdoor space and especially the BBQ/bar area. The husband weighs in on the home decision and I imagine this staged outdoor area would speak louder than the table area.



 2. White Kitchens – Huge trend now for home owners is light, white, bright kitchens! In a recent Houzz survey an overwelming amount of respondents desired a white kitchen in their home. A professional stager can easily offer this solution at a low cost since the right painter, accessories and accents are what is needed. When the kitchen comprises almost 30% of the buyer’s decision (according to NAR) a little more expense in this main area makes a world of difference in price! Elayne Forgie of http://forgiehomestaging.com/, works wonders in this space.


 3. Birds On Display – The bird in the pillow is just a taste of what we will see more of in the future. Whereas last year’s trend was the white porcelain deer head on the wall and horses, this year’s trend is sweet, little birds. I also love how Monica of http://www.definedspacesstudio.com/, used a palette of wheat yellow and variations of blues to create this dreamy bedroom. Okay, I know the chevron pattern is a bit over-used but in this instance it anchors the palette of yellow and blue nicely.

 4. White Slipper Chairs and Bright Pops of Color on a White Canvas – White slipper chairs have always been popular but now we’ll see more of them in these whimsical settings where pops of bright hues help to modernize the space. This staging and design technique by Jo McLaughlin of http://jomclaughlindesigns.com/, looks great throughout the home as the overall sunny economic outlook reflects the bolder color palettes people desire. I also love the metallic framed art which is also very popular right now whether silver (as in this photo) or gold.


 5. Speaking of gold….the next big trend is warm gold/brass accents – Framed mirrors, art or brass bar carts add warmth and sophistication in any room. Carmen Cuesta of C.C. Loeb Interiors beautifully displays an old wooden table with a touch of vintage and greenery.  Certified Home Stagers and Home Stylists have many inexpensive tricks they use to add glamor to a space using what home owners already have.


 6. Purple Accents in Small Doses – We all know that the Pantone color of the year dictates future color trends (that’s why we’re seeing so much yellow and turquoise now manifested in design (Pantone’s past colors) but this year’s Radiant Orchid I believe will be best seen in small doses in living areas (as in this staged living area by Lisa DeFrancesco of South Shore Staging and Photography, http://www.ssstagingandphotography.com/.

And while you won’t see Radiant Orchid on the walls in the living areas of truly staged homes, you will see it in beautifully redesigned/styled homes. Susan Batka of Aerie Interiors, http://aerieinteriors.com/ creates a sensual and inviting space for the bolder client. The zebra print rug really helps to anchor the space and look.


7. Dual Coffee Tables – placing two coffee tables next to each other to scale a larger space is a much better staging solution than just one.

8. Clear Tables, Chairs, Lamps and More – Glass has always been an excellent staging tool because of it’s reflective nature and ability to create more light in what would probably be a dark space. Elayne uses glass tables, glass hurricanes and glass lamps to move the minimal light throughout.
White is Right in Big Doses – While white kitchens is the hottest kitchen trend, white also sells when it’s in an 80% dose as in this living room.

9. The Navy Comeback – Navy blue is making a come back in a huge way!  Navy just stole our hearts originally via patterns like chevron, ikat and floral (as in this chair) but now it’s really making it’s presence known as a “new neutral” that pairs well with yellow (as shown), turquoise, coral, chartreuse, wheat …basically all of the bright 2014  on-trend colors that add pop to a space. Navy is one of those versatile colors that can work with bright or earth tone accents (just open your latest Pottery Barn catalog to see it with earth tones).

2014-4-23- Elitestaginganddesign1

 10. The Statement Piece Over-sized Chair – There are so many things I love about this staged space but the dramatic, over-sized, wing-back chairs are my favorite. Every space needs that one thing that makes the buyer go “wow”! Kristine Ginsberg of http://www.elitestagingandredesignmorriscountynewjersey.com/, the USA Top Professional Stager of the Year invests in luxury accessories that create harmony and sophistication in her spaces.  Plush elements like the platinum garden stools, mirrored console and geometric lamp shades serve to pull together this space.

In a new Houzz Survey all of the tradespeople (especially designers) were feeling wonderfully, optimistic about their revenue growth in 2014!  There’s never been a better time to become a home stager and designer!

Look for non-matching chairs around the dining table for interest.

11. Non-Matching Chairs Around the Dining Table to Create Interest and Memorability – Those of you who are familiar with my staging and design training know that I never stop at 10, so here’s another trend I think will play strong in the staging world.  You can remove the end chairs in a formal dining space to create space and to also take a great, real estate photo head-on OR add unique, statement piece end chairs to take an interesting side photo of the space.  Remember, staging is always about the best photo since 95% of buyers are online first, so pick the shot, then stage it.


Here are my Top Ten Staging Trends for 2014 in Slide Show Format

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I’m really loving the design trends that are driving the staging trends of 2014 because they reflect the brighter economic outlook of sellers and buyers.

What are some other trends that you are seeing?