Styled, Staged & Sold

Bringing you the latest home design and staging trends. From REALTOR® Magazine.

Staging ‘Outside of the Box’: Is the Face of Home Staging Changing?

Fresh back from the  International Real Estate Staging Association Conference in Las Vegas, I’m ready to hit the ground running with the information I gained while there!

This year we saw an amazing lineup of speakers: Ashley Whittenberger, Jackson West, Sandy Dixon, Tammy O’Brien, Alice Chan, Audra Slinkey, Jana Uselton, Melissa Marro, Christine Rae, and Dan Eason. One that really stood out and resonated with me was keynote speaker Matthew Finlason. You may know him from the HGTV series “The Stagers” -- that’s right, the rambunctious, style icon that everyone loves.

In his address to the 360 professional home stagers in attendance, Finlason highlighted how staging has moved beyond sterile spaces and boring beige. In fact, he is leading the charge on staging "outside of the box" and is doing so with amazing results.

Before decisions are made on wall color, furniture, accessories, or artwork, Finlason researches the neighborhood to get a sense of who is living there. He gets a feel for the age group, such as whether the locals are single, young married couples starting families or retirees. He does this by visiting the local hangouts--the coffee shops, bookstores, and pubs to name a few.

Based on his findings, Finlason then pulls together a picture of whom he thinks the target audience will be for that specific property and presents it to the real estate professional. In fact, he says that some of real estate pros are shocked by the amount of research that goes into his presentation.

Photo Credit: Matthew Finlason

Once the real estate agent is on board with his vision, Finlason puts together his design plan and stages to the appeal of that particular segment of the buyer pool instead of staying so generic.

Finlason warns that care must be taken when using this approach and that it’s not a recommended staging method for inexperienced home stagers. It could backfire if done incorrectly.

Is there some risk to this? That’s up for discussion. Staging purists may feel that this type of targeted staging goes against the grain of what home staging is. However, I would have to say that if the neighborhood demographics are researched thoroughly and the staging is carried out according to the flavor of the area, Finlason is definitely onto something.

What are your thoughts?

*Note: The furniture in the photos were provided by and staged with Meridith Baer & Associates.


Charlene Storozuk is the owner of Dezigner Digz, a professional home staging and interior decorating company based in Burlington, Ontario. Her work is featured in the book FabJob Guide To Become A Home Stager, 2009 edition. She serves as regional vice-president, Canada for the Real Estate Staging Association and is a past recipient of the North American Leadership Award for her work as founder and president of the Halton & Hamilton-Wentworth RESA Chapter.


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