The rise of partial staging – what it means for stagers, agents, furniture hire companies and home owners.

Since I started staging over 6 years ago, I’ve noticed a growing trend; more and more of my staging jobs are for partial staging (where a percentage of my clients furniture is kept and hire furniture is added in).

There are 2 potential reasons for this:

  1. I have become known as the ‘Partial Queen’  and the ‘go to’ person for partial staging.
  2. The market for home staging is growing and changing and partials are a big component of this.

The first reason is said in jest but is still partly true. I am, as I’ve said in a previous post ‘partial to a partial’  The more I work on partials the more that agents contact me to work on them and the more I showcase partials on my website and social media the more potential clients approach me with this type of work.

However I think the second reason is the biggest factor dictating the increasing number of partials.  5 years ago property styling was mostly used to stage a vacant house after the tenants had vacated or was used on high end properties. All the furniture was taken out and the stylist started from scratch.

As agents and their clients have got more used to the idea of staging, more and more people are wanting to stage at some level and the general standard of presentation pre-sale has increased. I am getting more phone calls from down sizers and busy families in all suburbs and at all price points wanting help with preparing their house to sell. My clients don’t want to move out and have their vacant house staged from scratch, they want to stay in their house.  They already have furniture, the question becomes what to keep, what to store and what to hire to pull it all together into a better version of itself. The fact is that if vendors aren’t staging their property they are helping to sell the house down the road that has been staged. This realisation is causing more and more people to look to staging in some format to help them sell.

What does this mean for stagers, agents, furniture hire warehouses and their clients?

Firstly for stagers, if you aren’t comfortable with partial staging you either better start getting comfortable or build yourself a shrinking niche around vacant staging.

Partial staging takes time so when quoting make sure you are charging properly for the time it will take. Partial staging takes longer as the consult and measure take longer (and please charge for this part as it really is where the magic happens), the selection often takes longer and during the install stagers aren’t just installing the furniture that they’ve hired they are installing plus making sure the whole house is ready for the photos. As a stager, make sure you take the above into account when quoting.

During a partial stage other skills also come into play, which for me makes it more challenging but so much more rewarding.  As the owner of Silk Purse Design, a staging company in Boston, USA told me “This career is part interior design, part mover, part magician, part referee, part crisis hotline.”  

Finally, looking to the future there is an argument for stagers to carry some of their own inventory of most required items for partial staging – art, bedlinen, bedsides, lamps, rugs, cushions and accessories. These small additions in conjunction with storing, streamlining and proper layout of furniture can go a long way to staging in a partial way.

Agents, don’t just call when you have a vacant house that needs staging (and a side plea, don’t call 2 days before taking the photos). All houses no matter their price point can look their best come sale time and 90% require input from a stager.  Maybe a staging consult is all your clients need, maybe they need a consult plus direction as to what to buy or hire. Any good stager can work to different needs and price points. Find a couple of stagers who are good at partial staging and who are practical yet empathetic. People move for lots of different reasons, not all of them happy so having someone on hand to support sellers through the process can be invaluable.  Be ready to play a longer game, waiting a month to fit a new carpet, store away unwanted items and install some furniture before listing will result in a quicker sale. You can’t expect a family who have lived in their house for 30 years to be ready to list by next Wednesday. This is usually the agents need not the sellers.

Furniture hire warehouses

The warehouses that set themselves up to service partial staging will find more and more stagers wanting to use them. Investing in good artwork, lamps, bedlinen, cushions, rugs and beds will ensure that furniture hire companies will secure more of the budget.  Stylists love a one stop shop, it’s a more efficient use of their time.  Make delivery and pick up cost effective for smaller projects. I also forsee the rise of companies that ‘just’ supply the smaller pieces such as cushions, accessories and art. I carry very little inventory so would welcome the launch of such a company. Specialist companies will also do well. For example many stylists in Brisbane hire art from MMDesigner Art.

Home owners, know that there are many ways to prepare a house for sale and not all of them include hiring a lot of furniture. An initial consult with a good stager will be the best money you spend. They will be able to give direction on return on investment upgrades, room purpose, room layout, what to store, what to keep, what might be missing and whether to buy or hire. They are a good source of contacts and can help navigate you through the whole process when you start to feel overwhelmed. Preparing a house to sell is not without an element of effort and cost, but the motivation of a fast sale at a great price is usually enough to spur clients on. 

Are you a stager, agent, furniture hire company or home owner? I’d love to know if you think partial staging is a growing trend and what this means for you. 

I’m Imogen Brown, a stager based in Brisbane Australia. Contact me through my website or on 0432994056

2 thoughts on “The rise of partial staging – what it means for stagers, agents, furniture hire companies and home owners.

  1. Tara McKenzie says:

    Partial staging could well be a growing trend as I think it says ‘work with what you have got’ to some degree. It is keeping cost in mind but also acknowledging the value in what is already there.
    Sometimes it is not always practical to start from scratch, especially in older homes that are not on trend.

    1. excitemedia says:

      Tara, thanks for commenting. I like that you say ‘acknowledging the value in what is already there’. Staging is so much more than just putting into a house what’s on trend. It’s more to do with room purpose and layout and the feel of the space.

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