How home staging inspires emotions
It is not just price and location that play a crucial role when renting or buying a property. That gut feeling also matters, so a house or apartment must inspire the right emotional response. To make sure that potential buyers or tenants can envision themselves living in the property right away, US real estate agents have been using home staging for years to give empty rooms a professional interior design. The trend is now making inroads into the European market, too.
Photo: Paula Schmidt on Pexels
Home staging: What is behind the US trend
Emotions are one of the most important purchase arguments when buying a property. The effect that a house or apartment creates on the first viewing can be decisive. But many potential purchasers or tenants viewing a vacant property cannot imagine how the space could be turned into a welcoming home. US real estate agents therefore often show their properties fully furnished. Instead of dry theory and information on the available floor space, home staging simulates an emotional connection with the space – bringing a vision of a home to life.
The idea has clear benefits: Staged homes are sold or let considerably faster than unfurnished properties. The German trade association DGHR , the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Home Staging und Redesign e.V., estimates that furnished properties sell up to 50 per cent more quickly than vacant homes.
A further benefit is the impact on pricing: A professional interior design is a mark of high value and generally achieves higher prices on the market. The famous first impression is and will always be a feeling – and the right staging with high-quality furnishings appeals precisely to this emotional response.
Home stagers present the property professionally and make future purchasers feel as though they already live there. Photo: Sidekix Media on Unsplash
The five types of home staging
The expenditure and work invested in home staging depends on the property in question. The following five types are the most common approaches:
- Refurnishing an occupied property would be cost-intensive. However, the minimum standard is a thorough clean and professional decluttering. When prospective customers encounter open spaces and neutral walls instead of rooms crammed full with stuff, they can immediately start to mentally redesign the interiors. A well-tended garden and entrance area are also crucial to making a positive first impression.
- Vacant properties can be transformed into homes with faux furniture. “Fake” kitchens and built-in cupboards are especially popular, but even cardboard sofas or tables are more help to the imagination than a yardstick and a measuring tape. Faux items like these quickly reveal whether a bed will fit in the corner and how much space a large dining table will actually take up in a room. For estate agents, the costs of faux furniture are transparent, making this type of home staging a good fit even at the lower end of the price scale.
- By contrast, rental furniture is a must for high-end properties. Large property firms often find that having their own stock of furniture and decorative items can be useful for furnishing different properties. Professional home stagers find a happy medium between inspiring style and leaving scope for the individual’s imagination: On one hand, the furniture should convey a lifestyle that fits the property and the target group of customers. An exclusive new build calls for a different kind of interior decor to an industrial loft or an old country house. On the other hand, neutral colours and decorative objects leave enough leeway for potential customers’ preferences. If a property is too extravagantly furnished, it can have a negative effect and deter potential customers.
- Enquiries from international customers and interest in short-stay apartments are booming in these times of increased mobility. Some estate agents have fully furnished properties in their portfolios for this very reason. Often the interiors are carefully styled to suit the property in collaboration with furniture retailers and professional interior designers, and the property is leased or sold together with the furnishings. This saves customers time and makes the relocation process quicker.
- Digital staging creates home interiors in the virtual sphere. Photos or videos of vacant properties are furnished to scale with true-to-detail three-dimensional furniture. This allows customers to visualise the end result of renovation work even if the interiors have been badly neglected. It is also how architects fill a shell and core construction with life digitally – relatively cheaply and without the work involved in moving furniture. With growing numbers of providers offering this service, digital staging is becoming a customer-friendly alternative here in Europe as well.
Opportunities for the furniture industry in home staging
Home staging also opens up promising opportunities for the interior design industry. Cooperations between furniture retailers and home stagers are common practice in the US, either on a rental or a commission basis. In return, show homes and apartments serve as external showrooms for retailers and interior designers and as a place to showcase furniture away from the shop floor. From the colour of the walls and the lighting to the finished interior concept, an atmosphere that feels just like home can be created in these environments. The bridge between the furniture retail trade and home staging has exciting potential, not least for marketing and producing photos of a company’s interior design work.