Are you familiar with home staging? This time we’ll show you how to properly arrange an apartment you’re renting and prepare it for a photo shoot (or a potential tenant’s visit).
What is Home Staging?
Although the phrase has only been with us for a few years (well, maybe a decade), it appeared in the United States as early as the 1970s. Home Staging is the preparation of a home for sale or lease. The goal is to make the place appeal to the highest number of potential customers. And why? By staging you need to improve a property’s appeal by ensuring it’s a welcoming, attractive product that any buyer can see themself living in and, thus, desire to purchase or rent.
Not every potential customer has the same skills as an architect or interior designer to imagine an empty room as a cozy living room. Arranging such a space is like putting on a dress by a model – it’ll still be the same dress, but beautifully presented will encourage you to buy it much faster.
Is home staging worth the effort? If you’re not convinced, look at the numbers: research done in the American market shows that a home after staging sells 40% faster and the final price is 10% higher. If you plan on renting out or selling an apartment, you definitely should consider investing in home staging.
In the real estate market there are more and more home stagers that offer such service professionally. The range of their offer is also very different and it’s more than just simply setting a vase of fresh flowers on a table. A good Home Stager will even help you choose furniture, advise you on colors, and establish a budget. The goal is to arrange an interior that will be attractive and will match the character of the entire property. Home staging should be a subtle “extension” of the entire interior design, with moderation and consistency. And you can try to achieve this effect with our tips.
Home Staging For An Apartment Photo Shoot – This Is How We Do It
Home Staging has been an element of our marketing strategy from the very beginning of our lease business. When starting out in the market we were sure we wanted to make things different. We wanted to show the apartment in the best possible way, almost like interior magazines do. This is the key to giving a clear message: this is what a dream home looks like.
Our tenants usually check and book an apartment long before they can see in person, just based on the photos we provide. Hence, it’s even more difficult. On the one hand, we have to show the best of the property just with a few photos. We can’t count on things like a nice smell, natural sunlight that pours through the curtains, or a bird singing in a park close by. It’s just a photo. On the other hand, at the move-in the apartment has to fulfill all the tenant’s expectations. It has to be exactly the same as on our website. Fortunately, several years in the rental market and dozens of photo shoots have taught us how to do it right. If you feel you’d like to do it on your own, we’re here to share our experience with you.
5 Steps To A Good Home Staging
What do you have to know before you start preparing for a home staging? First of all, be aware that there’s much more to it than adding colorful cushions. When arranging an apartment, you need to answer the question of who you’re doing it for and what aspects of the property you want to emphasize the most. You also need to prepare yourself properly to avoid random and wholesale buying of accessories that will only bring chaos. We’ll give you some golden tips in a moment, but first let’s talk about a theory. Here’s what we do.
1. A Good Plan
At the beginning of the design stage, it’s good to have a general idea of the arrangement. We’re lucky to design and restore apartments ourselves so we can decide on how we want to finish the interior. When searching for furnishings, choosing the paneling or paint, we create a lot of mood boards and this is when the final touch is often set. Our designers’ Pinterest accounts are full of inspiration and different ideas that also change over time. It’s completely ok to change your ideas and replace them with others.
Will you arrange an interior that’s already furnished? So your goal is to declutter first. Make sure all unnecessary and personal things are out and keep just the basics. Take some photos of the decluttered space, look at them without any personal connotations. Remember, you’re not decorating the apartment for yourself.
2. Online And Offline Research
Even if you don’t plan to stage a home in the near future, prepare yourself well! Make a list of all the shops with home decor accessories (we give you a list of our favorite ones in the tips below). Check what they have on a regular basis, browse their websites. Don’t just stop at the “shop” section, but also get into inspirations and lookbooks, follow social media. These stores – just like you – also do a kind of home staging and show their products in carefully selected and arranged styles. When visiting a shopping center, always check out the home furnishing stores. Look at displays, take pictures. Big brands have dedicated people who take care of the decor and arrange display windows – nothing here is by chance.
3. Smart Shopping
Buying accessories for a photo shoot (or for Home Staging in general) seems like a lot of fun. Especially if you do it for your customer and have a budget to spend. A dream job! But… a professional home stager very often has to invest and build on their “base” first, and everything they buy is really well thought out. The trick is to buy very little for the home staging itself, while creating a cohesive arrangement. Everything in the apartment is meant to have a purpose.
Some of the pieces will stay in the apartment, but some will only be there for the photo shoot or showing. If you plan on doing home staging more than just once, it’s worth investing in versatile items and accessories that will work in most cases.
We’ve already built such a base and now use it for all our photoshoots. This includes: pillows, blankets, and bedspreads in neutral colors, simple photo frames, white towels, natural wood items, cutting boards, some ceramics pieces, clay pots, and glass vases. It’s also worth having lots of books and potted plants. These are reliable and universal elements of decor which build atmosphere, but don’t make the place look chaotic or overloaded.
For the day of the photo shoot we usually buy: pillow cases that suit the interior, graphic designs to put in the frames, cut flowers, fresh herbs, fruits, some bread or baked goods.
4. On Site Arrangement
Ok, the stuff is already selected, it’s time to arrange it! If you think it’s just about dressing up and putting some flowers in a vase… you might be very disappointed now. Put on the most comfortable shoes you have on as staging a place is about running, carrying, changing designs, and then rearranging again. There are boxes full of books, giant potted plants, and other pieces to carry upstairs (sometimes to the 4th floor with no elevator). It’s better than the gym actually!
Before you put out any accessories make sure everything is perfectly clean, there’s no dust on the countertops, the windows and that the glass surfaces are polished. Have a clean polishing cloth, ironing board, and iron (or preferably a handy steamer) on hand. Every little fold on a curtain or bed sheet will later be visible in the photos. Make sure to check all nooks and crannies. It just needs to be perfect!
Remember to arrange such spaces as: the kitchen countertop, dining table, coffee table by the sofa, windowsill (if it’s really big), desk, open shelf, and the bed. All these areas make for a consistent space.
5. Photo Shoot
Even if you use the services of a professional photographer, your role is not over yet. You’re the “conductor” of this orchestra and you know best what in the apartment needs to be highlighted.
Draw the photographer’s attention to all the aspects you want to show. Don’t stop at a wide angle, but also remember the details – a set table, a cozy arrangement of a book and a cup. Shelves by the mirrors are also very graceful. The decorative elements are reflected in them, which gives the photo an almost artistic effect.
Before the photo shoot remember to turn on all the lights – those over the countertop, by the bed or the couch. Spotlights build atmosphere and coziness, which you have to “fight” for in the photos.
How to show stuff such as pots and pans, cutlery, ironing board, and cleaning equipment? Keep them inside the cabinets and take a photo of an open closet or the inside of a kitchen drawer.
Oh, and don’t be afraid to look into the camera lens (or your phone). What looks good in person may seem empty (or overloaded) in the photo. If you’re in a dilemma, go minimalistic. It’s one of the most important lessons we’ve learned, to give less rather than more.
A Successful Home Staging -What Else Do You Have To Know?
Below you’ll find some of the most important tips that will help to stage a place:
- Cleaning and decluttering.
We’ve already said this, but let’s make it clear again: the apartment has to be perfectly clean. The camera lens (or your potential customer eye) will see literally everything.
- No personal belongings.
Kids paintings, postcards hung on the fridge, violet cushions you love so much… No! Such details won’t make the place look cozy but odd. We’ve already written about being neutral in this post. Check it out.
- Building a good base.
If you think you’ll be home staging for the long term, invest in basic pieces. Shops where you can get really good things at reasonable prices in Poland are: TkMaxx and HalfPrice. We also suggest to follow H&M Home and Zara Home. Nice interior pieces can also be found at DUKA and Jysk.
- Less is more.
Your goal is to attract a potential customer, no to provide a ready-make solution. Avoid staging an apartment with bigger pieces of furniture as the tenant may think they are part of the amenities. All the chairs, armchairs, lamps, or side tables we show in photos are always there.
Make friends with Pinterest. Create different mood boards and save all the ideas you like and find nice. Read interior design magazines and analyze the arrangements. Our favorite titles to get inspiration from are: Label magazine, Elle Decoration, Vogue. We’d also love it if you check out Wellcome Home for inspiration. We recommend our Instagram and interior blog section.
- Constant learning.
Start from your apartment. No matter how tiny it is, you can always change something. Try to rearrange one area, take photos of different arrangements, and compare the results. Browse different rental offers and analyze their photos. Think how you’d arrange those spaces. Propose to a friend you’ll rearrange their place. Get experience everywhere you can. We also recommend the free Canva app where you can create mood boards even without knowing any difficult graphic design tools. Experiment and have fun!
Do you have questions? Let us know so we can share our ideas with you. The excitement of your potential tenant or customer will be the biggest rewar