Small Is the New Big for Home Staging Professionals

I have just read an inspiring business book, Small Giants – Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big, by Bo Burlington. A finalist for the Financial Times/Goldman
Sachs Business Book of the Year Award, this book rejects the mantra of
growth for growth’s sake in favor of a passionate dedication to
becoming the absolute best and demonstrates that big does not equal
great and great does not equal big.

As home staging entrepreneurs, we are not corporate giants – but we
can be great! Common attributes of these small giants were: close
connections to their communities and demonstrated and meaningful social
responsibility; outstanding customer service, close ties to employees,
suppliers and clients; and leaders who were passionate and had deep
emotional commitments to their businesses.

What are you doing in your business that makes you great? As president of Ingenuity & Pizzazz, Inc.,
I have developed close relationships with my community of real estate
agents and vendors. I am committed to delivering excellent staging work
and incomparable customer service to every client – regardless of the
price of the job. I am absolutely passionate about the value of staging
and the work I do, including training new home stagers for Certified Staging Professionals.
I support Habitat for Humanity and local NYC non-profit organizations.
I am also dedicated to my professional communities and am always
supportive of my CSP alumni. Of course we all want to increase our
success and profitability, but it is critical to stay focused on being
the best we can be.

With this, small is the new big, thought on my mind, I made
another connection while reading the Sunday newspaper, Parade
Magazine (Oct. 11/09, p.6). “American Houses Are Getting Smaller”. In a reversal
of a decades long trend, houses are getting smaller and downsizing
continues. The McMansion era has come to an end.

“Demand has shifted from people looking to trade up to larger homes
to first-time buyers, who are typically younger, with less income,
looking for a place that is more modest. Smaller houses are also
attractive to empty-nesters looking for places that are more energy
efficient and less expensive to maintain.”

This presents several opportunities for home stagers:

STAGING SMALL SPACES: A few years ago, some agents
didn’t bother staging small spaces. Of course that was a mistake,
because all properties benefit from staging, and all sellers deserve to
achieve the maximum ROI on the sale of their homes. But now, agents are
paying attention to the marketing of these smaller properties because
they are in demand. And while more buyers are now interested in smaller
properties, they still desire the best value. Properties that are
staged to look bright, spacious and appealing to the targeted buyer
will have the competitive edge. I have recently staged two studios and
a one-bedroom apartment, that may not have been staged just a couple of
years ago.

DOWNSIZING SERVICES: Another opportunity for home
stagers is to help home sellers transition into smaller spaces with
space planning, color choices and downsizing strategies, as part of
their staging for living services.

: And with revved up interest in
energy efficiencies and cost savings, there will be increased interest
in Eco-Staging and Green businesses.

I suggest we embrace the “small is the new big” in our business practices. Enrich your staging skills and become a  Certified Staging Professional and pursue continuing-ed classes in staging for living and Green Build Science. Add these services to your business to capture niche opportunities. And as always, focus on being great.

Nairn Friemann, MBA, is a Certified Staging Professional & Trainer. As president of Ingenuity & Pizzazz, Inc., she has
collaborated with sellers and agents on the staging and marketing of
over $500 million in real estate. Her next CSP staging training class
will be held in NYC, October 17-19.

For more information visit and contact Nairn at 917-952-4669 or

The Importance of Floral Design to Real Estate Staging

What is the one common feature in rooms showcased in decorating magazines, regardless of design style? Floral Accents!

Everyone would agree that flowers and plants are beautiful decorative accents to these stylish rooms. But please consider that flowers are so much more than decorative room jewelry. With more than 80% of home buyers shopping on the internet, shouldn’t we all be paying attention to what the decorating magazines already know? In the same way that I say that, “staging isn’t decorating, staging is marketing,

Attractive floral design isn’t optional – it should be a key component of staging. I believe flowers and plants help sell real estate!

Recent Research:

Did you know?

  • Scientific research conducted by Rutgers University, The Emotional Impact of Flowers Study, has proven that flowers improve emotional health, having a profound effect on mood and well-being.
  • At Texas A & M, research showed that a change as simple as adding flowers and plants can be important in the most meaningful way to businesses. Workers’ idea generation, creative performance and problem solving skill improve in workplace environments that include flowers and plants.
  • Research by The Color Institute showed that people start forming impressions in the first 90 seconds and that up to 60% of that impression can be based on color alone.

For more information on this groundbreaking research visit

Given the powerful impact of color and emotion, flowers in different color combinations can enhance or adjust feelings. When we stage a house to sell, our goal is to transform the home to a living space that will appeal to a broad base of potential buyers. As we set the stage in various rooms, we aim to create positive emotional responses from potential buyers. Flowers can help us accomplish our goals in a subtle yet highly effective way.

From the first, all-important, impact of curb appeal, a beautiful garden will tell buyers that this is a well-maintained, well-loved home. And when the front door is opened, flowers will instantly welcome visitors. Think of the grand hotels. What do they all have in their lobbies? Fabulous floral arrangements! Think of fine restaurants and special events – flower arrangements! These businesses invest in floral design as a key component of their marketing budget, because of the positive response from their clients. If they weren’t achieving a significant return, they wouldn’t waste their money.

Given that up to 60% of the first impression is based on color alone, pleasing color palettes are key in the first 90 seconds. A pretty flower arrangement on a foyer table will become an attractive focal point and have enormous impact on the potential buyer’s emotional response.

Throughout the rest of the rooms of a home, floral accents, plants and trees should be integrated to draw the buyer’s eye to key strengths and away from weaknesses. They also add instant vitality and color to any space. Color theory teaches us about the impact of color on emotions. Floral accents can enhance the desired color palette of any room and help evoke the desired emotional response from potential buyers. While white orchids can add a sense of calm and a spa-like feel to a bathroom, vibrant tropical flowers will instantly energize a loft space.

However, poor floral design can have a hugely negative impact on potential buyers, Dusty dried flower arrangements and wreaths should be removed. High quality silk floral accents look remarkably authentic and photograph extremely well, but cheap “fake” flowers will draw the buyer’s attention like a magnet. Also critical is attention to style, scale and mechanics.

I believe professional floral design should be a key component of real estate staging. Before becoming a real estate stager, I achieved my certification in floral design from the prestigious New York Botanical Garden. I interned and then freelanced with a top New York floral designer and gained invaluable experience in event staging. I bring this specialty and experience to all my staging projects and staging training.