Staging Diva Teaches Home Staging on new HGTV show

Home Stager with Staging Diva / Six Elements Inc.

ambrose price and debra gouldI just finished an all day shoot for a new HGTV show to air this spring, "The Decorating Adventures of Ambrose Price." He was one of the contestants on the last season of HGTV's Designer SuperStar Challenge.

In one of the 13 episodes of this new show, I take Ambrose under my wing to teach him about how to stage a home. We visited three houses today and I talked through what was done right and what was wrong in each one. All were staged (though it was hard to tell in two of them!).

This January, we'll get together again on camera to have a first look at a home he will stage on his own. I'll be the judge in the last segment of the show and come back to evaluate how well he has applied the principals of home staging.

It was great to visit a couple of "staged" homes to see why they weren't selling.

One had been on the market for 45 days, despite being in a hot market. It screamed "vacant" the minute we walked through the front door despite the attempts to furnish the main floor. There were no proper focal points or cohesion to the design, they set the dining table badly, the house was dirty, the list of mistakes was endless.

I've never been a fan of setting the dining table, though I know some people are. But if you're going to do it, for God sakes make sure all the cutlery is in the right place, put some candles and flowers in the center, and don't put dishes right down on a glass top with no place mats under them. It just looked sad!

In another, they'd done a beautiful job furnishing the living and dining room and then left the rest of the house empty except for a lone desk and broom in a back room and a dirty threadbare towel in the en suite bathroom off the master bedroom! Why bother staging at all? Once you're paying for the truck and the furniture for two rooms, it doesn't cost all that much to finish the rest. I don't believe in staging only a couple of rooms because then all you're doing is emphasizing to people that the home is vacant and that the vendors are probably desperate. When I'm a buyer in that situation, I immediately think "low ball offer." And I know, because I've bought 7 homes in 11 years. 

It was great fun today working with Ambrose and the crew. Here we are pictured above after the third house. I'll report back after our next two shooting days in the new year and when I have the schedule for the new show. Apparently each of the 13 episodes will focus on a different aspect of decorating. Our episode is staging of course, other topics include: cake decorating, floral design, interior design. I'm not sure what else.

staging diva

Debra Gould, The Staging Diva
President, Six Elements Inc. Home Staging

Internationally recognized home staging expert Debra Gould, also known as The Staging Diva, has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, CNNMoney, CBS and CBC Radio, Reader's Digest, Woman's Day, MoneySense, Entrepreneur Magazine, House & Home, Style at Home, National Post, Globe & Mail, and HGTV, CityTV, GlobalTV, CBC TV, LifeChannel among others.

She created the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program and has almost 700 graduates across the US, Canada and in Australia, New Zealand, Wales, England, Italy, Portugal, The Philippines and South Africa. Discover her secrets to business success in the Staging Diva Home Staging Training Program, here's a FREE 90 minute preview.





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Mary Lou Teague
Home Style and Staging Knoxville. TN
Debra: How wonderful and exciting..please keep us posted on when this will air. I would love to see it.
Dec 14, 2007 03:54 AM #7
Anthea Click
Fresh Perspectives - - Franklin, TN
Nashville Home Stager - Selling Nashville, TN homes quickly!
This is fantastic. I hope this benefits your business in many ways. I love it when home staging gets exposure. I can't wait to watch!
Dec 14, 2007 07:11 AM #8
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging,
What fun and great exposure for the industry as well Debra! That's a great photo of you and Ambrose, not too bad on the eyes indeed. I can't wait to see the episodes, be sure to post when it come up for air time.
Dec 14, 2007 07:45 AM #9
Janice Sutton
1st Stage Property Transformations - Murrieta, CA
Home Stager - Temecula Murrieta

Congratulations.  I look forward to watching and learning from the Staging Diva!  :)

Dec 14, 2007 08:14 AM #10
Yvonne Root
rooms b.y. root - Prescott, AZ
Home Stager - Northern Arizona
Debra, Congratulations! As others have mentioned it will be fun to watch. It would have been fun to be with you as you toured the"staged" homes. It seems that budget may have been a consideration in a couple of these homes. Were you privy to that information? It would be interesting to know. Will your "tours" of these home be part of what airs? 
Dec 14, 2007 08:47 AM #11
Fernando Rosado
West Palm Beach, FL
561-906-0050 or 561-840-8950
Debrea Im so excited for you ! and the good way ! Good luck, let us know the exact showing.
Dec 14, 2007 08:58 AM #12
Toronto's 2 Hounds Design: Decorating + Staging
2 Hounds Design + Home Staging - Toronto, ON

This is so amazing Debra! I can't wait to see the episode when it airs. I'm going to have to get my sister to record it for me...I don't have HGTV but wouldn't miss this for the world!

The show will allow others to see what we students of yours already know...why you are the Staging Diva!

Dec 14, 2007 09:12 AM #13
Terrylynn Fisher
Dudum Real Estate Group - - Walnut Creek, CA
HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CSP Realtor, Etc.

Hey, I am excited to know when it is also, I'm sure you'll let us know.   I and many others are anxious to see staging really portrayed in a positive light, in a realistic light in the media.  It's time to tell what staging really is and what it really costs and show how in reality it is done.  So many sellers think you are bringing a crew of 20 people and that you won't charge them.    You ROCK!!!  

Terrylynn Realtor/Staging Specialist, Walnut Creek, California

Dec 14, 2007 09:21 AM #14
Ginger Foust
Certified Staging Professional - Oakhurst, CA
Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging

Debra, first, Congratulations on being selected for this program.  Clearly you are a leader in the industry. 

I do have a question.  In reading over your blog, am I clear that unless our clients can affort to stage the entire house then you suggest that they do not stage it at all?  Most of my clients have very limited budgets and so I usually stage the foyer, main living room, dining, kitchen, and baths, but not the other bedrooms.  I do what their budgets permit and if I didn't I wouldn't have any jobs.  Since with vacants it's often a 2nd mortgage its hard for sellers to come forth with the $$ that I WISH they had to stage. 

Maybe it's different in your area, but here in my rural area, the costs is the primary focus AND all of my stagings have thus far sold quickly even in this very tight market.  

I would appreciate your thoughts and look forward to your TV show.


Dec 14, 2007 10:10 AM #15
Shell Brodnax
Real Estate Staging Association - Valley Springs, CA


This is amazing! Congrats! I can't wait to see it. Please keep us posted on when it airs.

Dec 14, 2007 03:21 PM #16
Lea-Ann Virnig
Lea-Ann's Home Beautiful Staging and Design LLC - San Antonio, TX
Home Beautiful: San Antonionulls Premier , Home Staging Company


I am so excited to see the show!!!!  Thanks for your leadership in the staging industry and as others have said, giving the public a picture of the reality of staging.  That is why I choose to train with you!! 

Dec 15, 2007 02:51 AM #17
Stage It & Redesign Professionals - Douglasville, GA

Debra, how exciting!!!!

So glad that you are there and representing the staging world in such a positive and professional manner.  Keep going and Keep doing you.  It is the efforts like yours and the integrity we as stagers want the public to see.  Thank you.



Dec 15, 2007 06:31 AM #18
Denise Stuart
Coldwell Banker San Jose Realtor - San Jose, CA
Coldwell Banker

I would love to see this show, as others have posted please give us a heads up when you know it will air.. Congrats!!!

Have a great day!

Denise Stuart

Dec 15, 2007 07:24 AM #19
Sheron Cardin
California Moods Inc - Selma, CA
ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend!
Congratulations Debra...and you still look so fresh after a long day...bravo. Can't wait to see the episode. I wouldn't be surprised if you are asked back!
Dec 15, 2007 11:01 AM #20
Kelly Townsend
Coldwell Banker - Santa Rosa, CA
CDPE, Realtor

Debra -

That is exciting. Can't wait to hear when we can see it. The more we can publicize what we do the better it is for our industry! You go girl!

Dec 15, 2007 03:51 PM #21
Nora Marek
Home Stager Brevard County, Florida - Viera, FL
Melbourne Home Staging - (321)795-8761

Thank you for this show and especially the episode you described. I have followed behind other stagers and I cannot believe what they left behind and called staged, right down to leaving behind all their dirt too!

Every one has different styles, but the most important thing I stress when addressing a woman's seminar or group of Realtors is "I return!"  I always to check up on my inventory as well as the condition of the house. I never take the money and run, never to return. I love the standards you are trying to point out here.

I always arrive with my fully charged dust buster, windex, and air pump for the mattress. If the listing goes past 90 days, I always freshen the decor and mix it up. In my mind I call it staging forward (I hope that is not trademarked yet!).

I cannot wait to hear your comments on the episode.  Keep writing and posting!


Dec 16, 2007 03:42 AM #22
Kathleen Lordbock
Keller Williams Realty Professionals - Baxter, MN
Keller Williams Realty Professionals
Congratulations to be chosen for this Debra - it will be fun seeing you in action.
Dec 16, 2007 03:04 PM #23
Robin Rosen, Stageffect, Inc. Westchester County, NY
Stageffect - Mount Kisco, NY

Debra, Congratulations.  I'm so excited for you and can't wait to see the show. Your style will certainly be a treat to watch.

Robin Rosen, Stageffect, Inc.

Dec 18, 2007 12:09 AM #24
Debra Gould
Staging Diva / Six Elements Inc. - Toronto, ON
The Staging Diva

Thanks everyone for your well wishes and your comments! Very much appreciated. 

Yes, my hope IS that this particular show preserves more of the reality of staging than what's currently on air. Home staging is definitely not as it's usually portrayed on TV as all real home stagers know and must try to explain to clients. Check out the letter I got from a client who wanted to get her home on TV so she could get free staging.

As for Ginger's question:

I do believe that if you're going to stage a house properly you need to do the whole thing. I tell this to my clients and explain why and what the incremental costs would be. Whatever they spend on staging is an INVESTMENT not an EXPENSE and I explain the difference there too.

Ultimately it is their decision, and their budget. All we can do is give them our best advice and then do the best job we can within the constraints of available time and money.

Ultimately they live with the consequences of those decisions. Many will get less when they sell or take longer to sell than they might have. It's especially penny wise and pound foolish when you see a house that's been totally renovated at considerable expense and then they decide to save $600 by not staging a few key rooms. Kind of like investing in a great wedding dress and then deciding your hair, makeup and shoes don't matter! I'd say, find a less expensive dress and do the whole package. Spend $600 less on your renovations and invest it instead in properly showcasing the home. Or if need be, borrow the money, borrow the furniture, whatever it takes to let the stager properly finish the job.


Dec 19, 2007 02:04 PM #25
Ginger Foust
Certified Staging Professional - Oakhurst, CA
Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging

Debra, thanks for responding.  I TOTALLY agree and for those few houses, in my area, that have been through a RENO they also have had a complete staging, but for the most part it's meager budgets and partial stagings. I think that will change with time. I HOPE!

Love the analogies...more common sense ammunition for potential clients!

See you on the TV! 

Dec 19, 2007 02:09 PM #26
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