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Learn Insider Secrets of Successful Home Staging

professional home staging
You want your home to stand out and sell as quickly as possible. From zero budget to professional staging, this Seattle interior designer shares simple steps you can take to make your home visually appealing. Learn how you can stage your home yourself, how much home staging will cost, which rooms to focus on first, how to stage a home that’s occupied and how to stage your home even with if you don’t have a budget.

Most home buyers start their search online. Your real estate listing photos should enhance your home’s best features. In addition, when potential buyers visit your home, it should convey a feeling of home that’s easy for the buyer to see themselves living in. With a few insider tips to home staging, you can get your house ready to sell quickly.

We interviewed Seattle interior designer, Lake Alan Webb, to bring you the secrets of home staging.

What’s your experience in interior design and staging?
I have gained more than 30 years (time flies!) of practical skill and professional experience turning houses into homes. But it goes deeper than that…

Growing up, my family moved frequently. I got a lot of practice packing and unpacking a household. This encouraged the development of a keen spatial awareness and integrated a talent to influence mood by manipulating environments.

In your opinion, what exactly is staging?
Staging is the act of grooming and dressing a home. Good staging highlights the attractive qualities of a home, great staging minimizes disadvantages, exceptional staging transforms disadvantages into featured attractions.

What are the advantages of staging a home for sale?
Staging guides our imagination, enabling us to see the intangible components of a space and directly to our physical senses with the niceties of accessory nestled in place among the tangible furnishings of necessity, to cause the powerful drive of our “nesting” instinct in the emotional decision making process.

What if it’s occupied? (someone is still living there)
When the occupant is willing, this is a great opportunity to save money by using the occupant’s furnishings. In the before and after experience of a home staging makeover, the occupant can benefit in the fresh perspective of their belongings gaining value, given new life from the creative skill of a design professional. Staging also offers an occupant the advantage of preparing for their move by pre-packing the items not being used for staging.

What if the home is empty?
First you’ll need to decide whether to stage the entire home or just highlight a few spaces. Budget and available furnishings become a factor.

What general staging tips do you have?
Clean. Then clean again, then clean some more. Did I mention the importance of cleanliness? A fresh coat of paint, clean surfaces, and a groomed yard will have a huge impact Minimal furnishings should fit comfortably. Never squeeze furniture into a space. Consider how living with the furniture in place would be; can the bed be made easily when it’s cramped against a wall? Is every chair accessible at the dining table? Is the view out the window an important consideration? Is the fireplace a focal point. Don’t forget outdoor living spaces

How much does staging cost?
Time and effort will be the most costly portion of staging a home, depending on how much of both the owner is willing to invest. Consultation can be purchased by the hour with cost ranging from $50/hr – $250+/hr. Good hired labor to accomplish the work will cost a minimum of $25.00 per hour, but expect to pay at least $50.00 per hour, per laborer when hiring a staging company. Some Seattle staging companies have flat fees that typically begin at $1000.00.

Which rooms are the most important to focus on?


  • Living room
  • Family room
  • Master bedroom
  • Home office
  • Dining room
  • Outdoor living areas

Zero Budget Staging

Are there things I can do to stage a home without spending any money?

If I can only do one or two things, what should I do?
CLEAN AND DECLUTTER. Rearrange your existing furniture in a visually appealing way. Let’s face it, you are used to the way your home looks, but it doesn’t take much to freshen it up. Below is an example of what I call a 3 hour make over. With a creative eye, you can accomplish a lot without spending a dime.

Zero Budget Home Staging

Home Staging Zero Budget

Small Budget Staging

What are the simple things I can do to stage my home with a small budget?
Minor repairs and paint

Where should I focus my energy to get the best value?

Professional Budget

What are the advantages of hiring a professional stager?
When you hire a professional stager, you are paying for their time, effort, experience, and resources.

Where should I look for professional stager in the Seattle area?
Ask your real estate broker. Your broker will likely have professionals they’ve already worked with and trust. You can also search the internet for local real estate staging professionals. Make sure you check out any available online reviews to have confidence in the stager you hire.

professional home staging

How much should I expect to spend on a stager in the Seattle area in 2018?
There are a lot of variables when it comes to cost of home staging. A few things that will impact your cost include if the home is occupied or not, if you’ll be staging specific rooms or the whole home, if furniture and accessories need to be rented or existing furniture will be used. At a minimum you should expect to pay a consultation fee of $150 to $600 and a one time fee of $1,000 and up. This doesn’t include the cost of renting furnishings if needed.

It’s important to weigh the cost of a professional stager against the higher sale price and faster sale most staged homes will benefit from. It might seem like an expense, but is actually an investment that will likely yield a higher return on your home sale. Afterall, that’s why professional stagers are in business. If it wasn’t profitable for the homeowner, there wouldn’t be a demand for the service.

What qualifications or experience should I look for in a professional home stager?
The REAL ESTATE STAGING ASSOCIATION is one of a number of associations that seek to ensure accredited standards for the staging profession.

What questions should I ask?

  • How many homes do you currently have staged?
  • Can I visit them?
  • What services do you perform?
  • Do you require a contract?
  • What if my home doesn’t sell?
  • How much input will I have in the process?
  • Do you have a maintenance schedule?
  • What is my liability for loss or damage to your property used for staging, and your liability for mine?
  • Will you use my furnishings if desired?
  • What if the home sells before the contract ends?
  • What if a buyer wants to buy furnishings?
  • How are you paid?
  • Why should you be chosen to stage your home.
  • What, in your opinion, is my home’s best and worst feature?

If I hire a pro, what are the things I should ask them to focus on first?
They are the professionals, let them work, but definitely have a conversation if you feel something is being overlooked.

VerraTerra provides fixed fee real estate services in the greater Seattle area. This means we charge a fair, fixed fee regardless of the sale price of your home. This, in addition to home staging, can increase your profit on your next home sale. Contact us today to learn more.

Lake Webb is an interior designer and experienced home stager in the Seattle area. Contact him for a consultation.