Can I Do Virtual Staging Myself?

virtually staged room with four chairs and coffee table

Can you do your own virtual staging?

Yes, it is possible to do virtual staging yourself with the help of software apps. There many diy virtual staging software apps offered ranging from very easy to use to apps that require an hour or two to learn to more complex apps that will require more time to learn as well as significant upfront costs.

The trade off is that an easier diy app doesn’t have the flexibility and look less real than their professional cousins. Professional software delivers a highly realistic result and more choices in terms of decor styles and decorative options.

Listing agents report that poorly virtual staged images don’t convert to in-person showings as well as the images that convey a higher level of realism. The better the output, the better the chance of a stronger negotiation position for the seller. Agents also claim that well-done virtually staged properties sell twice or three times faster and with fewer discounts off listing price.

Why learn virtual staging?

Real estate agents use traditional home staging to help sell homes faster. However, the coronavirus pandemic, social distancing and online shopping have all changed the process of buying and selling homes. Enter the virtual staging solution to these issues.

Virtual staging apps are safer health-wise and a more cost-effective way to display homes online. They are also beneficial to the potential buyer because they help them imagine their future in the home.

Finding virtual home staging software that matches your demands is the best place to start. DIY virtual staging software is easier to learn and web-based, but offers less flexibility and realism than professional virtual staging software does. Check out this article about virtual staging options and their costs and ordering particulars.

Virtual Staging Skills


If you want to become a virtual stager, you need to learn basic design principles. It is never totally about how a space looks, it must also function – no matter if its traditional staging or a virtual staged image.

One of the first things to keep in mind is that you need to know who the target buyer is for every staged home. This is true for spaces you physically stage as well as virtual staging.

The buyer profile will give you the exact demographics that you will need to appeal to. Age, income, family size and family composition are all important to keep in mind when using virtual staging software.

People buy space. For example, if the family unit has 6 people, you need to show there is enough space to seat 6 people at a dining table, or for six people to watch TV in the family room. Just making the room look good is only half the job. You have to be able to show propspective buyers that they can spend time in the space, enjoy family holidays there, and entertain friends there.

It is helpful to picture the target family, or individual, you are designing the space for. Some people refer to this as the buyer avatar to help them focus in on the avatar’s personality, life stage, and design preferences.

A summary of the design principles you will need to apply to your virtually staged rooms follows. It is beyond the scope of this article to teach interior design, but it is helpful to understand the principles you will need to employ if you choose to be virtually staging properties yourself.

Seven Design Principles to Use for Virtually Staged Photos

1. A room must have balance both physically and visually. You need to divide the visual weight of the space between the two sides so that is is evenly distributed. Balance can be categorized in a number of ways including symmetrical, a-symmetrical and radial balance and can be achieved by using different shapes and sizes, colors and textures.

2. A focal point in each room is designated for emphasis. This is to grab the attention of the viewer so they stop and look instead of glancing over the staging photos. Fireplaces, bookshelves,large windows are examples of focal points which are typically sales features of a home that should be emphasized.

3. Creating a great first impression is usually accomplished with contrast. Contrast is a fundamental principle of design which adds visual interest as it adds cohesiveness to the design elements used in a room. Using space, form and color a professional staging designer can attract attention to a room’s individual elements.

4. You may have not thought about it much, but expertly designed spaces have rhythm. Rhythm is a pattern which encourages the eye to move around a space, left to right, up and down, far and near.

5. As you virtually design a space, you need to be mindful of scale and proportion. Scale refers to the way that objects relate to one another while proportion balances design elements such as color, texture, and shape. Proportion and scale are the secrets to making a room warm and inviting and one reason why empty houses are harder to sell.

6. Details are what make a space a pleasant environment for people to use. The details are what complete a room. If you are done arranging furniture and decor and something is missing, it’s probably the decorative small details that make a room look complete and functional.

7. When a room evokes a sense of connection or emotion, it is said to have harmony and unity. Combining similar elements creates unity while harmony conveys that things belong together. Unity and harmony create patterns that people can recognize. In the human brain, repeating details are mentally categorized and similar objects are rapidly recognized. Design elements are necessary for harmony and tranquility.


Remembering that a really good virtually staged home helps sell properties faster and for more money, now you know what it will take to do a really good job. It is not only being able to use your chosen staging app, but also to be able to apply the principles of design that will evoke the emotions and responses to the spaces that will transform a tire-kicker into a hot prospect for your listing or your clients’ listing.

If you are reading this article in preparation to start a career in virtual staging, then you have a bit to learn. To become not only proficient, but to also command top dollar for your work, you’ll have to put in time to become a go-to virtual staging company.

If your goal is to sell your own home, or you are an agent who wants to save on marketing expenses, then investing in better software will help you access a better virtual staging result. The better virtual staging apps will offer more guidance and have more of what you need to incorporate the seven principles of design that will make your real estate photos stand out.