Home Staging: The Truth Behind HGTV Shows

This post was written by fellow professional Stager Kristine Ginsberg of Elite Staging & Redesign LLC in New Jersey. This post resonates with us because every day we encounter the effects of what has been dubbed the HGTV Effect or what we call Model Home Mentality. While we agree that it’s wonderful to have such a powerful TV network shine a spotlight on our industry, it’s also important to understand that what you see on the screen isn’t necessarily what happens in real life.

Here is the article:

First, we stagers have to thank HGTV for getting the word out on the benefits of staging! Most of us love watching their shows on home Staging, myself included.

That said, the reality is leave it to the trained professionals, like the stagers on these respective shows when preparing a home for sale! Below are some reasons why you might want to consider calling a pro instead of tackling staging all on your own:

1. HGTV is somewhat unrealistic when it comes to staging your own home: Why, they bring in a team of professionals with an unlimited budget and try to convince the average homeowner they can stage their home just by watching their shows or reading their articles. Not true – I can watch an electrician all day long and still not have a clue how to do electrical work – it’s not my area of expertise!

2. Their “simple, inexpensive fixes” are done by professional craftsmen, contractors, carpenters, landscapers, lighting technicians and outside consultants. Do they really think the average Joe is all that rolled into one?!  Not only are their projects unrealistic for the average homeowner, who has the funds to hire all these professionals?

3. The products they use when staging or redesigning a space are donated because of the free advertising they receive, so it doesn’t cost them a penny. Moreover, they send out a team of professionals to “find” great pieces of art, furniture, rugs and that perfect chandelier at auctions and flea markets. Who has time to search out all these “off the beaten path” places for hidden treasures that would fit perfectly into their home – not me or anyone else I know!

4. When staging a home, HGTV use sewing professionals who whip up cheap, inexpensive pillows, curtains and window seat cushions using a bevy of fabrics to choose from. How many of us have sewing and design professionals at our disposal with remnants of fabric on hand let alone the funds to hire them.

5. When they unveil their staging transformations, they don’t factor in the price of labor for contractors,  painters, clean-up crew and paid staff to get the job done, thus their claim that they “staged” a home for under “$2000.” isn’t realistic at all!

6. HGTV Staging shows recommend adding box trim and crown molding – great in theory, but unless you’re a professional craftsman, it will more than likely look like shoddy workmanship and detract from the home. In addition, this is a big investment and not realistic for the average homeowner when staging to sell.

7. Unless you own a florist, who can afford to keep up 20 vases of expensive, fresh flowers while their home is on the market?! Again, great in theory, but unrealistic.

8. They tell you to “create better flow using furniture placement.”  Don’t you think the homeowner would have already done this if they had they knew how? This is where a professional home stager is invaluable – they are trained on how to accomplish this.

So that’s my take on HGTV’s home staging shows – love them, but there really is more to it then what is depicted. When staging your home hire a professional stager who will work within your budget, give you a realistic idea of what needs to be done, highlight your home’s best architectural features for the biggest return on your investment.  Watching a couple episodes of HGTV’s “staging” shows (while they do have some useful information) isn’t realistic for the average seller!

We would also add that simply watching some ‘staging’ shows on HGTV does not make for a qualified stager. Whether it’s a home owner or someone who wants to get into the business, becoming a professional takes a lot more than watching a few shows. So, when it comes time to sell your own home be glad that HGTV has educated you enough to understand that staging is an essential part of the selling process but trust in a professional to help you get your home ready for sale!

If you are considering selling your home, contact Rooms in Bloom Home Staging & Design Inc. The homes we stage typically sell within the first month; 88% of our staged homes sell within the first 14 days on the market.


This blog post was originally written and posted by Kristine Ginsberg of Elite Staging & Re-Design LLC in New Jersey.


9 responses to “Home Staging: The Truth Behind HGTV Shows

  1. Very well said!! While my focus is on decorating, not staging, the same is true for most HGTV decorating shows. Free labor and professional services, the re-purposed treasure from a consignment store, yardsale, or craigslist which looks like a million bucks,furniture re-upholstered (in no time) for “peanuts”, etc. Others, such as Candice Olson don’t discuss budget and people don’t realize that her designs probably start at $100K per room and more if you would actually hire her. Love your Electrician analogy. PS. And yes nevertheless I love watching HGTV as well (:


  2. that goes for every single show on that channel. I’m a contractor and I promise no average homeowner can afford paying for the type of renovations they have on their shows. With unlimited budget and manpower anyone can “make things right”! I wish they could have an independent estimator explaining the cost of every job so people could see the truth!
    I still watch that show thogh!


  3. Altho HGTV has raised public awareness of interior design options like home staging, they have misrepresented the skills & costs involved, which I believe has created misconceptions & confusion for homeowners.

    Professional stagers would never speak to homeowners as flippantly as the way some of the ‘actor’ designers do, nor do they have the time on site to fool around & act like goofs. Some of the shows are very annoying in this regard.


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