Debra Gould blogged on this topic yesterday and as I was posting my comments on her blog there was more I thought I could add.
Debra said it perfectly whe she said staging should NOT "...look contrived and artificial, it needs to fit the mood of the house. You shouldn't be able to walk into a home and know who staged it because they always do the same "look". Nor should you walk into a home and know immediately that it was staged at all!"
In fact I advise Realtors not to tell the buyers that a property has been "staged" as you do NOT want a buyer feeling as if they are being tricked or duped into liking a property. Nor do you want a buyer thinking they have more negotiating room... because it has been staged.
But I have a slightly different philosophy then Debra when it comes to owning a Prop Library. We do own an extensive (and when I say "extensive" I mean EXTENSIVE) Prop Library of nearly 2,000 items... and growing.
The key to using props is that they need to blend in. In almost every home we stage... we have found it necessary to add props. Sometimes it is just a few things... other times (like in the case of the "Bachelor Pad from Hell) we brought in hundreds including a bedroom set for a small ackward vacant bedroom. In our website gallery you will find many many Before & After images of properties we have added props to (and I am not talking about the vacant spaces) and you will be hardpressed to identify our props from the seller's personal belongings. Regardless of weather they are purchased or rented the mark of a "good staging" is that added props should subtly blend in, yet enhance the properties overall appeal.
Recently we worked with an older couple (just married for a second time) who were blending 2 households... and the kitchen table he had been using for years in the property they were selling was way too massive and overpowered the kitchen (pictured below).
And while he and his 2 sons had learned to live with and around it... it was NEVER right for the small kitchen of 3 bedroom home. We brought the table and 4 smaller chairs (because at least a family of 4 would most likely be buying the home) in from our own Prop Library. The "staged" kitchen now made visual sense (in terms of style, scale and proportion) to the buyer.
We find having a Prop Library is an amazing benifit that provides the seller with a quick, easy, cost effective and visually correct solutions to assist them to market their property.
Finally, for professional stagers there are stratigic business reasons why it works to your marketing advantage to own a Prop Library too... I'll share with you about that in a future blog.