Ms. Murphy says most people don’t really “see” a room unless there is something in it.
“They need something there to measure it for them,” she says, referring to the dining room set or reading lamp that can give that definition. “They just see a big, vacant room. Staging creates a welcome environment.”
Both Ms. Murphy and Ms. Carter say staging is not just for the glut of McMansions for sale. They have staged one-bedroom apartments as well as elegant estates.
In fact, staging sometimes makes the difference in the lower-priced properties, Ms. Murphy says. A prospective home buyer looking at 20 boxy and nearly identical condominiums may remember yours because of the retro drapes or the objets d’art the stager added.
Ms. Carter says she tries to envision who might be looking at the property before she makes a design plan. A two-bedroom condo in Clarendon could be on the list of 30-year-old newlyweds; they might see themselves with mod chairs and a glass-topped table.
Move-up buyers with children looking at a Colonial in Rockville might go for more traditional decor with an emphasis on family space - she even has children’s books to fill up the shelves in the fourth bedroom.
Sometimes projects call for way more than Ms. Carter’s library of 2,000 throw pillows can handle. Done in a Day was asked to stage a house in Northwest Washington where Richard and Pat Nixon lived before the White House. The eight-bedroom home, priced at $4.9 million, sat on the market for nine months last year before it was staged.
“The owners had kept Pat Nixon’s original cabinets and pink bathrooms,” Ms. Carter says.
After $41,000 worth of staging (and nearly as much spent on renovations), the Tudor-style home - with decor that looked toward the future for a young family rather than back to the Eisenhower era - was under contract within a month.
Karen Goldberg Goff has been a reporter at The Washington Times since 1992. She currently writes feature-length stories on a variety of topics, including family issues, pop culture, health, food and technology. Follow Karen on Twitter.
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