What Is Virtual Home Staging and Is It Worth It?

Amy Pawlukiewicz
Written by Amy Pawlukiewicz
Updated April 29, 2022
A living room with stylish furniture
Photo: FollowTheFlow / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images


  • Virtual home staging allows you to show your home in the best light online.

  • The cost of virtual home staging is around $100 per photo.

  • The benefits of virtual home staging include cost, convenience, and flexibility.

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You've probably heard of home staging, where you hire a professional home stager to decorate your home pre-sale to make it more appealing to potential buyers. But what is virtual home staging and how can it help you with your sale? Let's take a look at how this virtual tool could help you find the perfect buyer for your home.

What is Virtual Home Staging?

Virtual home staging is home staging using modern technology instead of furniture rentals. A professional virtual staging company employs photo editors to virtually decorate rooms in your home. 

If you send photos of an unfurnished room, the company will add furniture and decor using virtual staging software. If you send pictures of a furnished room, the company will edit out your furniture and replace it with pieces and decor that will be more appealing to buyers.

Virtual Staging vs. Traditional Staging

In a recent study by the National Association of Realtors, 82 percent of buyer’s agents said staging a home made it easier for buyers to envision themselves in it. The difference between traditional staging and virtual staging is simple: You don't have to lug all your belongings out of your home, and you don't have to have a company bring in heavy furniture for staging. Virtual staging is more convenient and far less labor-intensive than traditional staging.

The Pros of Virtual Staging

There are several benefits to virtually staging your home before listing it on the market.


The average cost to stage a home is about $1,500 per month. Virtual staging, however, usually costs about $100 per photograph. While your home is on the market, you'll have to continue paying a traditional staging company for the furniture rental; however, with virtual staging, you'll only have to pay for those photographs one time. If you're staging a home on a budget, virtual staging is an excellent way to save money and still make your home look great.

Convenience and Speed

The convenience factor is pretty clear—instead of moving all of your furniture and belongings into storage and hiring a company to move their staging materials in, a photo editor does the lifting for you. And while staging a home in-person can take several days to complete, the virtual staging process can be done in a few hours.


Do you have a room in your home that you could use as a den or a nursery? Virtual staging allows you to show what the room would look like both ways. You have the flexibility to showcase the room's versatility without having to haul different types of furniture in and out.

Maximum Potential

While some buyers may prefer to view an empty home, others may have difficulty envisioning themselves in the space without furniture and decor (or with the seller's furniture and decor). Virtual staging lets you take an otherwise cold, empty room and make it feel homey.

The Cons of Virtual Staging 

As with traditional staging, virtual staging has a few drawbacks to keep in mind.

Misleading the Buyer

If you're using virtually staged photos to sell your home, you should always disclose that fact in the listing. Otherwise, you risk a buyer showing up to view the home in person and being disappointed to find something different. You want to showcase your home in its best light, but at the same time, you don't want to give a false impression of what the buyer is getting.

Must Hire a Professional

Unless you are a professional photo editor, virtual staging requires you to hire a company to edit your photos. Some virtual staging companies charge as little as $15 per room, but you should be wary of suspiciously low prices because your photos might look unrealistic and run buyers off.

In-Person Viewings Aren't Possible

Since your staging is happening virtually, if buyers want to see your home, they won't see what is in the photos. If the house is empty, having the virtual staging photos on hand during a showing is a good idea so the buyers can visualize what drew them to your home in the first place.

May Be Unnecessary

If your home is well-decorated, clean, and ready to show, virtual staging may not be a necessary expense. Consider whether or not you need virtual staging before investing your time and money into this endeavor.

How to Choose a Virtual Staging Company

A home office with a modern retro concept
Photo: FollowTheFlow / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

As virtual staging grows in popularity, so does the number of virtual staging companies. Be sure to conduct thorough research before choosing a company so you don't end up with low-quality photos. Look at the company’s portfolio and design aesthetic to get a sense of what they can do. You should also check out online reviews and ask around for recommendations.

Preparing Your Home for Virtual Staging

If you've decided to try virtual staging, there are a few things you can do to set your home up for success. 

  • Clean your home: Starting with a clean slate will give your virtual staging company a blank canvas. The less clutter they have to clean out of a photo, the better it will look.

  • Provide high-quality photos: If you don't hire a professional home photographer to take photos for the virtual stagers, use a high-resolution camera and take good pictures of your rooms. The better the starting point, the better the end photos will look.

  • Adjust the small stuff: Any minor home improvements, like patching a ding in the wall or cleaning off smudges, will lessen your photo editor's work on the back end. That way, when buyers come to look at your home in person, they won't be surprised to find damage or incomplete projects.

  • Fix up your yard: Curb appeal is a huge selling point for a home. Don't neglect your landscaping and yard and have the editors fix it on the back end, or you may deter buyers who show up to view your home. 

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