The Ultimate Guide to Virtual Staging for 2022

Learn how you can use virtual staging to generate more potential buyers, close deals faster, and sell for a higher price.

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The Ultimate guide to virtual staging for 2022 teaser image

What is Virtual Staging?

This wouldn't be much of an "ultimate guide" if we didn't first start with the basics. But before we get to virtual staging, let's talk about staging. Staging refers to the positioning of decor items and furniture in an empty property to make it exude a sense of livability.

Realtors use staging to personalize a home according to their target market. Over the years, Realtors have realized staging increases the appeal of the listing, which usually results in faster sales and higher sale prices.

Sounds like a win-win, right? Well, it's not that simple. Traditional staging—buying or renting real furniture and setting it up in the property, is very costly in both time and money. Instead, many Realtors are now using virtual staging to give interested buyers a vision of their potential home.

Example of traditional staging

Traditional Staging of Living Room

This problem is solved by staging the property virtually. So what is virtual staging? Virtual staging is a cost-effective alternative to physical staging that allows Realtors to take advantage of the latest advances in software and technology to add photorealistic furniture to their listing photos.  But what exactly is virtual staging? Does it help sell a house? Are there any legal implications of staging a property virtually?

Example of virtual staging

Virtual Staging of Bedroom

The best virtual staging companies are quite advanced and produce photorealistic results, resembling and enhancing the actual property. It's no surprise that digitally savvy Realtors are turning to virtual staging to generate more potential buyers and increase their profit margins.

The National Association of Realtors released a report that showed that 81% of people prefer staging because it helps them visualize the space as their potential home. However, in the cases where properties are not staged due to the high cost of furniture acquisition and rentals, virtual staging can be an excellent alternative at a fraction of the cost and effort.

As a real estate professional, you need to be familiar with the answers to all these questions before going forward with virtual staging. But don't worry, we've got you covered. After reading this guide, you'll know everything you need to take advantage of this real estate innovation.

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Virtual Staging Vs. Physical Staging

Before switching from physical to virtual staging, many Realtors should know how both options compare. Which is better for your budget? Which has a better return on investment (ROI)? Let’s dive in.

1. Virtual Staging Vs. Physical Staging

Staged homes have been shown to sell approximately 90 days faster than non-staged homes and an HSR survey showed that 85% of the staged properties sold for up to 25% more than properties that were not staged.

This means that Realtors don’t have to rely on price reductions to generate more potential buyers. An additional benefit of the speed at which staged homes sell is that Realtors get 3 months of time back that they can use to sell more homes.

Recent statistics show that physical staging can have up to a 586% return on investment, even with the higher costs compared to virtual staging.

In need of a quick sale? Virtual staging is a must.

In addition, staging increases a home's value by up to 20%. When you factor in the speed, time saved, and cost-effective prices of virtual staging, the ROI can be upwards of 1000%.

The cost of physical staging can go up to $10,000 for a single property. Even with a limited budget, you should expect to spend well over $1,000 since you have to account for furniture, upkeep, and interior designer consultation. Alternatively, virtual staging is possible with a small budget - think $25/photo.

living room before virtual staging

Living Room Before Virtual Staging

living room after virtual staging

Living Room After Virtual Staging

2. Showing Occupied Properties

A common problem in the real estate sector is showing occupied properties to potential buyers. The furniture and style of the current occupants may harm your listings ability to generate potential buyers. Physical staging does not provide a solution to this problem.

living room before virtual restaging

Living Room Before Virtual Restaging

living room after virtual restaging

Living Room After Virtual Restaging

On the other hand, virtual staging allows Realtors to remove unwanted objects, and even replace the existing furniture with different styles of furniture to showcase the home's potential.

With physical staging, you typically only have a certain amount of money in your budget to make the property look attractive. A limited budget for décor and furnishing may hinder your chances of showcasing and marketing the unit effectively.

3. No Consultation Required

When you're staging a property physically, you need to consult an interior designer unless you are skilled in designing to some extent. The consultation adds to the cost and hassle of physical staging.

The right virtual staging partner will have stylists and designers on-staff that can match the décor style to your property — maximizing the appeal of the home. Both physical and virtual staging allow the Realtor to customize and direct the style of furniture if they so choose.

4. Fully Customizable

Let's say you want to attract potential buyers to your property using physical staging. You'll have to move, update, and replace furniture manually. Similarly, staging the home for different audiences or seasons will require a significant investment of time and money.

Virtual staging completely streamlines this entire process. Your virtual staging partner can stage the same photo multiple different ways depending on the seasons and styles desired.

Plus, you can add high-end furniture to your property without cutting into your marketing budget.

Virtual staging can match any style of physical staging, including modern, traditional, rustic, farmhouse, Scandinavian, coastal, and urban industrial.

5. Boosts Online Presence

In order to compete in today's market, Realtors need to have a solid online presence. Virtual staging gives Realtors an advantage to help generate online interest in their listings.

Site-unseen renting and purchasing have increased in recent years, which means that listing photos need to be a top priority for Realtors. The Covid-19 pandemic has moved many things online, including real estate.

As technology becomes more integrated into our everyday experience, it only makes sense that the real estate purchasing cycle is also moved online. This presents a unique opportunity for Realtors to enhance their level of service using virtual staging.

Before Virtual Staging for dining room

Dining Room Before Virtual Staging

After Virtual Staging for dining room

Dining Room After Virtual Staging

Setting Virtual Staging up for Success

There is more to virtual staging than placing photorealistic furniture on a photo, and Realtors can help improve the quality of their virtually staged photos by considering the following items. Additionally, the right virtual staging partner will keep these points in mind while working with you.

Which Rooms should be Virtually Staged?

According to a National Association of Realtors study from 2017, some rooms benefit more from virtual staging than others.

These rooms include the living room, master bedroom, kitchen, and dining room. The report showed that 86% of the potential buyers considered the living room to be the essential room.

Empty living room

Turn an empty room...

staged living room

...into a warm living area

Meanwhile, 68% of the respondents said they wanted to see a staged kitchen. Another important room in the house is the bedroom, which 84% wanted to see staged.

Empty Master Bedroom

Empty Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom After Virtual Staging

Master Bedroom After Virtual Staging

Lastly, 71% of the buyers said they wanted to see the dining room staged. As a Realtor, you should keep the importance of these rooms in mind since staging them can make it easier for you to sell a house.

Empty Dining Room

Empty Dining Room

Dining Room after Virtual Staging

Dining Room after Virtual Staging

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Important Design Elements

Although staging helps sell or rent homes, there are a few things to keep in mind when reviewing or selecting the design elements to ensure the staging enhances the appeal of your listing.

Neutrality Works

Yes, neon signs and quirky art are trending these days. But you should never add ridiculously Avant-Garde décor during virtual staging unless you're targeting a specific market.

Instead, opt for neutral tones and a minimalist theme. Pops of color are good for décor accents, but they should not draw attention away from the key features of the listing.

Another way to break the monotony in neutral tones is by adding statement pieces in some parts of the house, such as the hallway or the coffee table. While it may not seem aesthetic enough for you, it could be exactly what a potential buyer wants to see in a house.

Mid-Century Modern Style virtual staging

Example of our Mid-Century Modern Style

No Clutter

The principle of 'less is more' applies to virtual staging. Whether the room is big or small, you need to ensure you're not cluttering it with furniture or décor.

If you're not intentionally placing furniture to accentuate elements of the room, you can quickly over-do it and do more harm than good. The furniture and décor should enhance the room, and having too much furniture or décor may take away from the room's features.

Scandinavian Style virtual staging

Example of our Scandinavian Style

Keep All Features Prominent

The décor will attract the viewers' initial attention, but it's the unique features of a house that sell it instantly. For instance, is there a door in the living room that leads directly to the yard outside? Is there extra storage space in the bedroom? Do the stairs have a cupboard underneath them?

Make sure the staged furnishings do not hide any attractive features of the house.

Contemporary style virtual staging

Example of our Contemporary Style

Balance the Décor

It's easy to go overboard with décor. As a rule of thumb, you should not try to create a room with its décor. Instead, the décor is merely there to complement the existing features. Here are some ways to add décor without overwhelming the viewers:

Preparing a Property for Virtual Staging

One of the most critical steps in virtual staging is preparing the unit for high-quality pictures.

Keep in mind that while you can virtually add and move around the furnishings, the images will be from the actual location. Here are a few things to make the property ready for efficient virtual staging:

Clean It

It's important to clean a room before you take its pictures for virtual staging. Remove every item from the room that you don't want to see in the virtually staged picture. Clean the floors, walls, windows, and other surfaces in the room.

If there are any lights or lamps, make sure they have similar color temperatures. When taking pictures, turn the ceiling fan off. Finally, when taking the bathroom pictures, keep the toilet lid down.

Modern Style Example

Example of our Modern Style

Get the Angles Right

Depending on the room, there are certain ways to make it look more attractive, spacious, and homey. You might want to include the skylight or the window in the picture. Also, ensure there's sufficient light in the room to illuminate every corner.

Scandinavian Style virtual staging

Example of our Traditional Style


A fresh coat of paint can brighten up the space, making it look appealing. Chipped paint and faded walls will still be shown in virtually staged photos, unless your virtual staging partner offers image enhancements that can take care of those imperfections.

Contemporary style virtual staging

Example of our Coastal Style

How to Take Pictures Of Your Property for Virtual Staging

Taking good pictures is the first step towards making your virtual staging efforts successful. If the pictures are uneven, overexposed, poorly composed, or unexposed, there's only so much a professional editor can do.

To maximize the virtual staging results, it is recommended to stage photos taken by a professional photographer. Photographers are experts and will provide excellent photos to showcase your listing. This increases the effectiveness of virtual staging.


Composing the room correctly will make it easier to stage it virtually. If you take pictures from up top, they will make the room look smaller, leaving little space for furniture placement. Similarly, if a picture is not properly lit, it will not appeal to the viewer.

Follow these tips to compose your picture perfectly for virtual staging:

Contemporary style virtual staging

A Great Photo for Virtual Staging

Camera Settings

It's best to take photos with a DSLR camera. Stick to a wide-angle lens when taking pictures for virtual staging. Do not zoom into any feature or space in the house.

If your hands are shaky, put the camera on a tripod to take perfect pictures. If you notice too much or too little exposure in the photos, use the HDR feature in your camera.

When saving the pictures, choose JPG format. The pictures should be high resolution, over 2000 pixels.

How to Choose Pictures?

Once you've taken a couple of pictures for virtual staging, you need to choose which ones you'll send to a virtual staging company. On average, Realtors use 7 to 10 virtually staged photos in listings.

Choose the pictures that show the most space in a room. For instance, a picture should show maximum walls, the fireplace, the position of the bed's headboard, etc.

Moreover, do not send blurry or poor-quality pictures for virtual staging. Instead, select photos that are exposed just the right amount, are crisp, and have high resolution for the best results.

Virtual Staging Mistakes to Avoid

If it's your first time using virtual staging, and you're not using an experienced partner, you might make some mistakes that could ruin your efforts. The right virtual staging partner will avoid the common staging mistakes below.

Not Matching the Furniture to the Space

With virtual staging it can be easy to adjust the dimensions of the furniture to make it fit in the photo provided; however, this can be misleading to potential buyers as the listing photos may make the room appear much larger than it is.

If possible, Realtors should provide their virtual staging partner with dimensions of each room to ensure proper furniture placement.

Staging Only Once

Many Realtors make the mistake of staging important rooms only once. For instance, if there's a separate room in the house, you might have staged it as a study. But what if a buyer with kids is interested in the property? They might want to visualize the room as a nursery.

That's why it helps to stage such rooms for multiple purposes, such as a home gym, a nursery, or a man cave. Likewise, you can stage the same room in different styles, such as contemporary, modern, rustic, etc.

Low-Quality Staging

There are many virtual staging partners available; however, not all partners deliver the same results.

It is recommended that you research multiple companies prior to investing in virtual staging to ensure you select the company that is right for you!

A higher price does not always result in higher quality. It is also vital to understand that good photography is key to high-quality virtual staging. Poor lighting, composition, and placement can ruin the look of a room or space. Here are the differences between high-end and low-end virtual staging:

Does Virtual Staging Actually Work?

We’re in the era of millennials buying homes, and their methods are different from the previous generations. 45% of millennial buyers made offers on homes without seeing the site in person.

If you're catering to seniors or older generations, they might prefer in-person tours rather than virtually viewing a property. On the other hand, the younger generations seem to be happy with making offers on site-unseen properties.

To make virtual staging work for your property, you should choose a virtual staging partner that has interior design stylists on-staff and that delivers high-quality, photorealistic results.

Empty Dining Room

Dining Room Before Virtual Restaging

Dining Room after Virtual Staging

Dining Room after Virtual Restaging

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Which Properties Benefit Most From Virtual Staging?

Again, virtual staging may not work for every property, but it definitely will be helpful in selling the following kinds of spaces.

Multifamily Properties

Renters or potential buyers want to see a vacant space as their possible future home. That's only possible if they can visualize the life they may have there.

Virtual staging lets you help people in deciding if the space is right for them by allowing them to see the livability of the space. Most multifamily properties are smaller spaces. So, your design elements should make the area look spacious.

Residential Real Estate

Millennials are now one of the primary generations buying residential real estate, with Gen-Zs soon to follow. These digitally savvy generations have no problem making offers on homes without seeing it in person.

Realtors can reduce their total costs and increase their profit margins by using virtual staging to attract these individuals from these groups. Virtual staging can effectively generate more potential buyers and sell homes faster for Realtors that embrace this new technology.

Hospitality Real Estate

Businesses dabbling in hospitality services, such as venues and auditorium spaces, can benefit largely from virtual staging since it's hard for the interested audience to plan a layout in an empty space. For instance, a business offering wedding reception venues can use virtual staging to give a festive vibe to the place rather than showing the client an empty hall.

Student Living

Most students are living in a different city or far from campus when they start looking for housing. Virtual staging allows the students to go through a property while sitting in their homes in a different city or state. Plus, they can use the virtually staged space to envision the apartment's layout for the next four years of their lives.

Commercial Real Estate

Commercial real estate properties, such as offices, restaurants, storage facilities, and retail, can also leverage virtual staging to help potential renters or buyers visualize a layout.

When viewers see things placed in a space, they're more likely to understand the area's capacity and dimensions. Virtual staging is commonly used for office fit-outs, helping the owner showcase vacant spaces to future tenants.  

Is Virtual Staging Worth It?

If you are a Realtor who wants to maximize the appeal of your listing and retain all the benefits of physical staging at a fraction of the cost and effort, then yes, virtual staging is for you.

Let's review the pros and cons of virtual staging:

Pros of Virtual Staging

Empty Dining Room

Before Virtual Staging

Dining Room after Virtual Staging

After Virtual Staging

Cons of Virtual Staging

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Choose the Best Virtual Staging Company?

Most experts suggest checking at least three virtual staging companies before picking one. Do not settle for the first option you come across. Take a look at the services offered by the company and their pricing. Plus, ask for testimonials or read them on the company's website. More importantly, choose a company that offers at least one free revision.

Is Virtual Staging Worth the Cost?

Virtual staging gives the same results as physical staging but costs only a fraction of the price. So, it's definitely worth the cost, especially if you pick the best virtual staging solutions for the job.

Can I Use Virtual Staging for 360-degree Room Tours?

Yes, you can virtually stage a 360-degree photos. Viewers can also go to different rooms and move around, giving them a better idea of the area's dimensions.

Is Image Enhancement Considered Misleading in Virtual Staging?

Image enhancement is not misleading. Plus, you can also add accessories in images to make them look more put-together. However, do not remove the permanent features of the house.

Is Virtual Staging Legal?

Virtual staging is legal and used all across the world. However, virtual staging should be disclosed to any potential buyers to avoid misinterpretations.

Here are a few ways to avoid problems when using virtual staging:  

Wrapping Up

Nowadays, 92% of the properties are initially found online. Meanwhile, 40% of Realtors say their clients are more interested in a property when it is staged. Virtual staging is a great alternative to traditional staging because of it's speed, level of detail, and cost effectiveness.

Studies have shown that the majority of people begin their search online, so it is more important than ever to have listing images that stand out. Virtual staging can help get you there.

Empty Living Room

Before Virtual Staging

Living Room after Virtual Staging

After Virtual Staging

Virtual Restaging

Virtual Restaging is one of the best virtual staging partners to create a perfect impression for your staging needs (in our opinion 😎). We offer industry-best turn-around times, affordable prices, and top-tier photorealistic results.

We work with some of the most talented designers in the industry, making sure you get the right style matched to your property. Not only does Virtual Restaging offer quick delivery, but you also get unlimited revisions. This means you’re guaranteed to get exactly what you want for your property.

The process is also simple. You just have to order right on our website, upload your pictures, and you’ll get your images back within 24-48 hours.

Start generating more leads and closing more deals. Faster.