When You Should Consider Occupied Home Staging

Do you use certain words or terms so often that you forget that most people who are NOT in your line of work have no idea what you are talking about? I just assume that everyone knows what I mean when I talk about occupied home staging. But they don’t.

When You Should Consider Occupied Home Staging

Let me clear this up: occupied home staging is a service offered by some (but not all) professional stagers where they arrange what you already have in your home, bring in carefully selected decor items, and make the house ready for photography and showings. This is quite different than vacant home staging, where rental furniture and props are brought in to stage an empty house. Many sellers believe they don’t need staging if they have a furnished home, but there are times when enlisting a professional stager is a wise investment in marketing.



1) If you will be living in the home until it sells.

If your home is not going to be empty, there’s obviously no reason you need to stage your house with rental furniture. Occupied home staging involves using your own furniture, but making your home look better than it has since you’ve owned it!

Let me share an example of an occupied home staging of a high-rise condo staged by recent Expert Psychological Staging® graduates. The owner was planning on living in the condo until it sold. His Realtor, Scott Lynch of Parks Realty, knew that occupied staging was the right option his client. Here’s the “before” of the entry to his condo:


Using and rearranging his own furnishings, we were able to create a more inviting first impression than what this room was previously. Artful editing and the addition of select staging props make all the difference:

home office staged by Expert Psychological Stager™ graduatesafter occupied staging

2) If similar homes are for sale in your neighborhood.

I’m sure you’ve heard that “comparison is the thief of joy.” You want your property to stand out as the first choice for would-be buyers so that you can sell it quickly and for top dollar. Occupied home staging will make your house more competitive. Like it or not, you are essentially entering a beauty pageant when you list your home for sale. It’s all about comparison and which house presents itself best.

Let’s say the “before” represents what the bedroom of a similar condo in the same building would look like to a would-be buyer:


And the “after” represents which condo won the beauty pageant, so to speak:

after staging

3) If updates or renovations may be needed.

A good occupied home stager is an expert in knowing what your house needs to get the asking price you want, and they know the most cost-efficient options to get your house to where it needs to be. Part of an occupied home stager’s job is to save the seller money. Some upgrades or renovations are necessary, while others are not. Homeowners may not know the difference and often make expensive mistakes without professional advice. Stagers know exactly what will (and what will not) make or break your chances of getting a solid offer on your home.

4) If you need to sell your home quickly.

Besides pricing below your competition, there is no better way to sell your home quickly than to utilize occupied home staging. Staged homes sell in one-fourth of the time it takes for unstaged homes to sell, and are often the homes that are the object of bidding wars.

Let’s see which version of the condo’s living room wins the bidding war. Will it be the “before?”


Or will it be the “after?” You decide:

after Expert Psychological Staging™

5) If you want to make more money on your home’s sale.

Having your home professionally staged will make you more money – and who doesn’t want that? Staged home typically sell for more money than similar unstaged ones. One of the reasons for that is because they sell more quickly. The market tends to control the price of homes dependent on how long they are on the market. Statistics show us that the best chance of getting at or close to your asking price is when it gets an offer within the first two weeks. If a home remains on the market for a month without an offer, the average selling price drops 5%. On a $500,000 home, that’s $25,000! The cost of staging is well below that of the first price reduction. And guess what? Because occupied home staging doesn’t require the rental of furniture, it costs only a fraction of the cost of vacant staging.

Most occupied stagers charge hourly and focus on the most important rooms of the house. This condo has 3/4 rooms, so it only took a few hours to stage.


occupied home staging by The Decorologist


Staging props include art, pillows, lamps, plants, and other decorative items.



A great stager is like a great makeup artist or hairdresser – she knows how to make the best of what the good Lord gave you!

All the props we used are from my inventory and cost me around $1000 total. It’s typical to charge an hourly rate for the staging labor, plus about 20% of the value of the staging props. A staging like this is quite affordable for a homeseller and costs less than the staging props that were brought in. If the seller had instead gone out and purchased all these props, it would have cost more than hiring a professional stager to do the job!

So now you know!

occupied home stagingpin this image!

Guess what? I just found out that we were voted Best Staging Company in Nashville House & Home Magazine’s 2019 Readers’ Favorites!

If you need a GREAT home stager in your area, here’s the list and contact info of my Decorologist-approved EPS™ stagers.

If YOU want to become an Expert Psychological Stager™,  find out all about my ONLINE and accredited training!

Expert Psychological Staging® training course

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2 years ago

I am a firm believer in occupied home staging. Our home was on the market last year for 6 months, one unacceptable offer. Pulled from market in November. Put occupied home back on the market 1/25/19. First showing on first day we got a full price offer. We close March 7th. Needless to say we are thrilled. The staging really softened our home and I know made a huge difference.

Arabella Mudon
1 year ago
Reply to  Alyce

Hey! this is a great post, well a discussion on the important point.

2 years ago

I would love to hire a stager just to come and give me ideas for my house even though I am not moving! Do they ever do that? Seems in the Salt Lake area that stagers are hard to find! I would learn to do it if I had any taste. You do such amazing transformations!

2 years ago

Congratulations on the award!
Agree that most buyers don’t have the vision to look past the stuff. And most sellers don’t see how bad their own things can look. Your protégée did great with this condo. Hard to believe it was the seller’s furnishings.

Elizabeth Scruggs
2 years ago

Excellent post- the proof is in the pudding, and those photos say it all!!
Proof why the Decorologist is the BEST staging company in Nashville!!
So excited for you!

2 years ago

thanks the sharing your experience with us… it was really amazing to here your words thanks for sharing

Sheri Bruneau
2 years ago

First of all, congratulations on being voted the Best Staging Company.

This article is so spot on! I’m going to be sharing it with my group of real estate agents.

It can be difficult for sellers to push back the emotion of selling their home. Bringing in professionals to give a fresh set of eyes is so important. Not many buyers can see past ‘stuff – especially when rooms are full of it!

Great tips here and the images are just proof of how important this is!

Sunny P Cox
Sunny P Cox
2 years ago

I agree, and greatly value this demonstration. Being the mother of several young children, I can say that having the stager come in offers the HUGE benefit of creating a a “plan” or “map” that lets you know exactly where everything needs to be put back in place before a showing. Where do we put our legos while the house is showing? How is my made-up bed supposed to look? Where do we hide the phone cords?! Just reference the listing photo: now we have a cool little basket/special pillow/useful drawer for that! There is also a hidden benefit – the editing process of staging will give you lots of ideas for how best to use your possessions in your new home, and helps with packing up, because you may have mentally edited which things you really love, and which ones will be necessary in the new home. It even makes shopping for the new place easier, because watching your staging artist at work will help you understand how to utilize space!

2 years ago

Absolutely spot on, Kristie! And great examples here! So many homeowners feel their house is “good enough” the way it is because they have been living in it that way, but from a financial perspective, they would come out ahead by hiring a professional stager. And for those that do hire a stager, once the staging is done, almost without fail we hear – “this looks so much better, we wish we had done this years ago”! Such an important and timely message with the spring market quickly approaching.

Lisa Peck
2 years ago

I really didn’t know this info! Very illuminating.

Jill Laine
2 years ago

Great information, Kristie! As a Realtor in LA I can say beyond a shadow of ANY doubt that preparing a home for market, be it full staging or occupied staging, is imperative.

Mary Ann Benoit
2 years ago

Excellent article! Occupied home staging can save the seller money as well in rental costs. Most people have all the items needed already to do a nice staging job, they just need to be edited or re-arranged. This is hard for a homeowner to do objectively after living there for so long.

1 year ago

How do I find a professional home stager in Casa Grande AZ?

Kay Bowyer
Kay Bowyer
1 year ago

As someone that works with home staging companies, I really had never thought about WHY people would choose to stay in their homes while going through the selling process beyond the obvious financial hurdles. This post has been very informative, I didn’t realize how many variables there were!

Meraas Port De La Mer

Hey Kristie! a home remains on the market for a month without an offer, the average selling price drops 5%.

Rita Sanders
11 months ago

It’s interesting that homes typically sell for more money when you stage them nicely. It’s amazing what a little bit of re-arranging can do! Making your home look its best is the perfect way to draw in buyers.

Charlotte Fleet
10 months ago

I wasn’t aware that staging your home could lead to more money since you can sell more quickly. My husband and I have been wanting to sell our house this year. I think we should look into hiring a professional with experience in home staging to help us.

home staging
2 days ago

Every little bit helps. Whether it’s occupied or not, staging will make the home look much warmer and move welcoming.

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