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What Is Pop-Up Staging? Budget-Friendly Home Staging at Its Best



In this HGTV-saturated era, most home sellers have heard of home staging, a practice of arranging furniture in your home to make it look as alluring as a photo spread in a design blog. But what is pop-up staging? Consider it the bargain alternative that uses fold-out “fake” furniture for a fraction of the price of actual home www.

Pop-up staging has taken off in the past few years, because the benefits of traditional home staging are undeniable: According to industry data, staged homes sell 88% faster and for 20% more money, on average. Still, traditional staging is not cheap: Staging fees for a 2,000-square-foot home will typically run in the $7,000 range. One reason for this high cost is that the furniture takes up so much storage space between gigs.

“As a traditional home stager, I had acquired 30 homes’ worth of furniture,” explains Karen Nielson, adding that she (and by extension, her clients) had to pay to store it all in a warehouse, have it hauled in a moving truck to clients’ homes, then returned again to storage.

Hoping to curb these costs, Nielson founded Dandy Pack, a pop-up staging company which creates the illusion of furniture with cardboard boxes draped in slipcovers. Rather than using vast warehouses and moving trucks, Nielson can now fit a whole home’s worth of furniture in a car, and change the look of the pieces by changing the slipcovers. Plus, from a distance (or in listing photos), Nielson says, you can’t even tell it’s “fake.”

How much does pop-up staging cost?

A starter kit from Dandy Pack, which includes a bed, couch, ottoman, and chair, costs $1,031, which represents significant savings. Plus, for someone going the DIY route, pop-up staging has the advantage of being portable and easy to assemble; stagers say it would be simple to go from an empty house to fully staged in one day.

Beyond the cost and ease of setup, pop-up staging may trump traditional staging in another key way: by maintaining a neutral home decor style that won’t rub sellers the wrong way.

“Conventional staging with real furniture involves choosing a style—with its patterns, colors, art, and accessories,” says Douglas Pinter, an industrial designer behind inFormed Space, which rents out foldable “prop” furniture, delivered in two rolling bins. Cost: $1,899 to $2,199 for two months. Best of all, the white furniture gives people a sense of a room’s scale so they can imagine how a sofa would fit, without being overwhelmed by a shabby-chic aesthetic, for example, if that’s not their thing.

What are the downsides of pop-up staging?

While pop-up furniture may save you money, you do run the risk that certain buyers might be turned off when they realize the furniture is fake. Especially with top-of-the-market properties, buyers might wonder where else you’ve tried to cut corners to save a few bucks.

And depending on how much furniture you already own, the cost savings might not be that great. If you’ve got some great pieces already and a good eye, you might save more money staging with what you’ve got.

Still, if your home is empty, pop-up staging can save some serious coin. Plus, if you’re worried that the pop-up furniture doesn’t look natural, you can try a hybrid—i.e., mixing large faux pieces with smaller real pieces like end tables and accessories.

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