The quickest way to make a room look like it was virtually staged (we are trying for it NOT to look virtually staged) is to have the furniture and artwork out of perspective on the floors and walls. Their lines should evenly match the perspective of the room. This is probably the most difficult problem when adding furniture into a room. A virtual stager must use a software program that allows them to create a 3D image that perfectly matches the walls and floor of the room. Only then will the furniture be in alignment and you will attain the perspective that makes your room look realistic.
WHERE DO I PUT MY FURNITURE IF THERE ARE TOO MANY WINDOWS?
One of the most important rules of virtual staging is to never block windows. This is what showcases the room and most people want to see the view and not your furniture. Sometimes there are photos of rooms that are covered wall to wall with windows. Don’t panic! You can use smaller pieces of furniture that come up to the bottom of the window casing, like a low headboard. You also do not have to show the entire piece of furniture. As an example, if you have a bed and you don’t want it to block your windows then move it off the picture so that only the end of the bed is showing. Then add a chair, plant, etc. instead of a dresser so that the window is not blocked. Again, you are selling the room and not your furniture. The client isn’t going to be upset that they can’t see where you put your dresser, instead they need to see it is an open and bright room.
LAYOUT OF FURNITURE
Many realtors will send you multiple angles of a room which can make staging very tricky. If it was only one photo then no problem, but you have to layout the furniture so that it looks good from every angle. You don’t want to put a couch in a photo that looks great in photo #1, but then in photo #2 you only see the back of the couch and it blocks the rest of the room. You also don’t want to block any architectural elements like a fireplace. You need to view each photo and map out the room. Then place the furniture so that it “looks good” from the eye of the viewer. What do I mean by “looks good”, I mean you might have to manipulate the layout from photo to photo? For instance, I might have the perfect layout in photo #1 with everything perfectly spaced. The same layout in photo #2 might block the view of the room. The viewer is not looking at a top down angle. In this example you can push the couch back so that it is moved out of the way enough to view the rest of the room, but be cautious that you don’t make it obvious you pushed the couch back. You are manipulating the eye!
IT’S OK TO REMOVE PIECES OF FURNTIURE IF THEY BLOCK THE PHOTO
You now have your layout, and everything looks perfect. Then you add your layout to a different angle and a lamp is completely blocking the entire picture. If you can’t push it back as discussed in the section above than It’s ok to remove it. Little things like this are ok if they block the rest of the room. The viewer is not going to be upset that only one nightstand has a lamp. Another example is that you might have 2 chairs, but when put in the new angle you only see the back of one of the chairs. Remove it and make it look like it just couldn’t “fit” into the picture.
DEALING WITH LARGE ROOMS
Sometimes you will get a very large room, and sometimes the photographer uses a wide-angle lens to make a room look larger. Now you need to figure out how to fill the room with enough furniture to make it feel complete and not sparse. Remember the viewer cannot see the top view of the room so increase your rug size and spread your furniture out. You may need to add more furniture to fill the room, but you do not want to block the coffee table or other pieces of furniture. A great trick is to add a few ottomans or a bench that are low profile so you can view the rest of your furniture layout. It is ok if it is not proportional if the viewer can’t tell it is not proportional. This is not something you would obviously do if you were physically staging, but this maneuver will trick the eye into thinking the furniture fits the room.
Erin Betts | Owner, Erin Betts Interior Decorator
The story of my professional journey and how I got here is not what most people would expect. My love for interior decorating started many years ago in junior high art class in upstate New York, where I was born and raised. My first 3-D rendering of a living room started the bug that I was never able to shake. I have always been artistic and passionate about painting and decorating, but my journey went down a very different professional path. I moved out to Tucson, Arizona when I was a freshman in high school. I graduated from the University of Arizona during the late 90s, and as everyone know this was the boom of the computer industry. Since interior design was not offered at the university, I decided to go into computer engineering. After graduation I worked 20 years at IBM, however during that time I kept up on my creative passions. I would redesign my own home every year, help others decorate their homes and continued to learn new painting techniques. With the amazing support of my husband, Darren, I decided it was time for me to decorate professionally. I took the leap to go down a totally different path and started my own business. I am told time and time again, “I don’t have the time to decorate” or “I wouldn’t even know where to begin”. I COMPLETELY understand!!! I know how life gets in the way and that you would much rather spend time with your family than picking out vases. I also understand the hesitation of decorating your home because of pets or children. A functional home can also be beautiful and affordable. I want to show that home decorating or virtual staging doesn’t have to break the bank, and that you can create a beautiful space even with existing furniture and accessories. I want to help take the burden off my clients, and help them see their home’s potential, express their vision and help them define the meaning of a beautiful home.