Secrets of a professional home stager (that you can steal for your own space)

Staged to Sell Home founder and chief magic maker Jason Saft spills his best home-decorating tips

Home decorating tips from NYC-based Staged to Sell Home
“Location, location, location” might be the first rule of real estate, but when it comes to selling multimillion-dollar properties in a market like New York City, you could probably rank “staging, staging, staging” at number two. No one knows this better than Jason Saft, founder and chief magic maker of Staged to Sell Home, one of the city’s premier boutique home staging and marketing firms.

A quick scroll through the @stagedtosellhome Instagram shows photo after photo of drool-worthy homes, full of inspiring vignettes even if you’re not trying to navigate the NYC real estate market at the moment (though if that is indeed the case, Saft and his team are experts). Luckily, for those of us who just want to steal the Staged to Sell Home look and transform our own spaces into high-design showstoppers, Saft has plenty of home-decorating tips to take you to the next level.


Home staging, according to Saft, is as much about a visual marketing strategy as it is about design. “While design principles, approach and style are universal, home staging is more theatrical in nature. You are creating the idea of a lifestyle,” he explains. The ultimate goal is to create memorable moments that evoke emotion and ultimately drive interested buyers to purchase. It’s also much faster than traditional interior design, with Saft and his team often creating fully staged homes in a week or less.

The way Saft approaches staging a home is also a good starting place for home design generally, depending on what your goals are. “The first thing I do is identify the flaws and key selling features. It’s essential to understand the best and worst aspects of the home and then formulate a visual makeover strategy to mitigate the flaws and accentuate the home’s best assets,” he says. Playing up what you love about your home and minimizing what you don’t? We’d say that applies pretty universally.

I love the power of design to take a space from what it is to what it can be.


“I like to divide the house and high-impact moments into zones,” Saft says. “There is always a moment in the entry: it sets the tone for a buyer’s experience in the home, and the same can be said for everyday you. Walking in and out of your front door should be exciting and inspiring.” To balance bold design moments, Saft tempers them with neutral elements to keep the space from feeling too “frenetic.”

In addition to entryways, Saft likes to transform forgotten corners that may feel dated, cold or simply unmemorable. This can often be a laundry room, closet or old bathroom. “I love the power of design to take a space from what it is to what it can be,” Saft says. A formerly empty walk-in closet can become an inspiring, gallery-esque space.


To take a room to the next level, Saft turns to lighting, rugs and oversized art. This is one instance where bigger is often better: larger pieces help to create a foundation and layers within a room, while soft lights and plush textiles give a room its warmth and soul.

When considering statement furniture and decor, “I’m obsessed with shape, form and high functionality,” Saft says. “The silhouette of a piece is what makes it a statement.” Neutral pieces can provide wow moments as easily as loud patterns and colors, if they’re sculptural or unique in other ways.

Design needn’t be so serious all the time, either: “I also look for pieces that add a dose of humor and make people smile, like the Snake Table Lamp,” Saft says.

Naturally, we couldn’t resist asking Saft what his favorite CB2 pieces are. “I live for the entire Peekaboo line. The console is a design workhorse: it’s budget friendly and transcends time periods. I’m actually sitting at one now, along with the super sexy and comfy Foley Mink Chair.”

Speaking of chairs, Saft cites the fan-favorite Gwyneth Boucle Chair as another go-to, saying it “works with everything and adds elegance to any space.” We’ve also noticed the Kara Mann Scrunch Table Lamp popping up in many of Saft’s most-liked Instagrams. He notes that the lamp “pairs like a dream with the Stature Chair,” so it’s no surprise both pieces top his favorites list, too.

Home decorating tips from NYC-based Staged to Sell Home
Home decorating tips from NYC-based Staged to Sell HomeHome decorating tips from NYC-based Staged to Sell Home

Home decorating tips from NYC-based Staged to Sell Home

Quick Fire

  • Soundtrack of your life: Madonna, Neko Case, Nina Simone, Blondie
  • Coffee order: Tall, dark and strong
  • Cocktail order: None, I'm proudly (but not annoyingly) sober
  • We’ll never catch you without: My CB2 credit card (I live for the reward dollars)
  • Guilty pleasure: my daughter
  • Style icons: Madonna
  • Favorite designer: Nate Berkus
  • You’ll never get sick of: anything acrylic
  • Your current state of mind: hopeful
  • Favorite place to travel: Italy
  • Where you’d most like to live: Portugal
  • On your nightstand: Athena Calderon’s Live Beautiful and Kara Mann’s Scrunch Lamp
  • Your greatest extravagance: Scented candles (I need a 12-step program for them)
  • Most treasured possession: My grandmother’s candy dish
  • Talent you’d most like to have: I’d like to fly, but I’ll settle for being a respected painter
  • Most overused word or phrase: Oh my god
  • Tea or coffee: Espresso in coffee

This interview has been edited and condensed. Photos courtesy Staged to Sell Home.

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