If you have only a few hundred dollars to spend on styling and staging your home -- or your client's properties if you're an agent -- for photos and greater appeal to buyers who see it in-person, "speed" staging is a great solution.
For speed staging, I PREFER to:
* do an initial 1-2 hour walk-through to make initial recommendations on moving out furniture, de-cluttering, neutralizing decor including choosing new paint colors where needed, making cosmetic repairs and updates, and changing or removing carpeting and window treatments to reflect looks popular with buyers today and to make properties lighter and brighter.
* Then I come back for anywhere from 1.5 to 3 hours (or more depending on size of house) @$100/hour to add/move decor including changing or re-hanging art, adding decor if the seller has agreed to have me purchase, has bought themselves based on my recommendations, or that I bring in for rental or purchase (preferably purchase so I don't need to return when the property has sold).
However, IF time and money are very limited, I will skip Step # 1 above and make just one trip to re-style the property to look better using what the owner has on hand (sometimes we find additional decor in closets or storage spaces!) OR they can purchase what I bring, such as new bedding, towels, pillows, live or faux flowers, etc.
This is the hands-down fastest way to get properties looking their best for a very small cost and for an effective return on investment that usually brings 3-6 times the cost of the staging (HomeGain statistics). Here are a couple of recent examples of "after" photos based on only using the owner's items and a few from real estate agent, Maria Rini of Re/Max in Oradell, NJ: