MH+D Inside Out: Elizabeth Polansky on the Impact of Home Staging

Elizabeth Polansky had originally begun her business, the Styled Home, as an interior decorating firm, when in 2004 a realtor called to ask if she staged homes. Although Polansky had never before staged a house, she said yes, and thirteen years later, she now owns the largest staging inventory in Maine and New Hampshire. Polansky explains to Maine Home+Design how staging can transform a space.

Q. Could you describe your work in staging?

A. My goal is to make the home current and fresh. The seller first has to do prep work, like painting. The staging is the artistic part. You’re highlighting the beauty of the room. An empty room doesn’t photograph well, either, because there’s nothing for the camera to focus on. We are truly visual creatures, and if we don’t connect with something visually, it’s not going to work for us in our lives.

Q. How does a staged room feel different to a homebuyer than an unstaged one?

A. When you go into a home that’s professionally staged, it feels good. You can imagine living in that space. It’s all about emotion.

Q. You say you’re an interior decorator, not an interior designer. What do you mean by that?

A. When I decorate, as opposed to stage, I work with what the client already owns. I believe that we have the things in our home that we do because we love them. I work with what you have, and we can build from there. When it comes to a decorating client, I also want to find out what he or she likes.

Q. What’s the first thing a homeowner should invest in when trying to sell a house?

A. Paint is my number one recommendation. It will reinvigorate a home that is dated. In the 80s and 90s, the interior color trends were jewel tones, such as greens, blues, and golds. Today it’s fifty shades of gray. Everybody wants gray walls.

Q. Why do you think staging is so important?

A. A home is the largest marketable item most people will ever attempt to sell. And you want it to shine. It’s a beauty contest. The prettiest one out there is going to win and get that offer.

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