I recently tuned in to the 91st Academy Awards, Hollywood’s biggest night. The category of production design, while not one of the most anticipated, is one I watch closely. This year, the nominated sets ranged from the world of Wakanda in Black Panther, to early 1700s Britain in The Favourite, to the moon in First Man. Audiences believe these movies’ stories in large part because of the sets. Now, think about all of the movies and television shows that are set in living spaces: the iconic apartment on Friends, the gorgeous Hamptons home in Something’s Gotta Give, and the covetable brownstone in The Intern. In many ways, the field of set design parallels home staging. In this article, I share five Hollywood staging tips that will make your home a showstopper.
Hollywood Tip #1. Start with stories
Hannah Beachler just became the first African American to win the Academy Award for production design. What was her process for designing the amazing fictional world of Wakanda in Black Panther? After touring countries in Africa, Beacher said that “To get to the design, I had to come up with stories about why [elements of the set] would particularly be there.”
And the same is true with staging. To get to the design, start with the stories. Who are the people that might live in the house next? What are the activities that they might enjoy? How might they use the home? Once you’ve answered those questions, you’re ready to stage. Learn more about developing a home buyer persona here.
Hollywood Tip #2. Have a plan
Beacher created a 515-page Black Panther bible that “included not just the designs, but the histories for Wakanda’s buildings, its epic waterfalls, its technology.” Your staging plan is your bible and includes your color scheme, your room arrangements, suggestions for minimizing and organizing, and perhaps new stylish décor items. Be thoughtful about your staging plan and it will pay off once your home is listed.
Hollywood Tip #3. Find inspiration
Nancy Meyers’s films, including It’s Complicated, The Intern, the Holiday, Home Again, and Something’s Gotta Give, have inspired decorators and homeowners for years. Her process for set design begins by creating mood boards on Pinterest. Pinterest is a wonderful tool for home staging. In fact, all Zesty Spaces staging clients receive a custom, private Pinterest board for their space. Our home stagers pin inspiration images that demonstrate the strategies recommended in the staging plan.
Hollywood Tip #4. Start with neutrals
Although all of Nancy Meyers’s sets are dreamy and eclectic, most begin with a rich palette of neutrals. Crisp whites, creamy vanillas, and sand-colored beiges lay the foundation for the rest of the layers. You can’t go wrong by painting walls white or light gray. Check out some of our favorite paint brands and colors here. Then, once a neutral foundation is set, bring in a mixture of both classic and trendy, colorful décor items to stand out from other listings.
Hollywood Tip #5. Design for the target media
Hollywood sets have a purpose. They are designed to support the script and make a story believable. Aside from live television, Hollywood sets aren’t designed to be viewed in person. On the contrary, sets are designed for the mediums of televisions, cinema screens, and social media. Therefore, the production design must grab the audience in each of those outlets. The same is true of staging. Today, most buyers find homes on their phone. Be sure you’re staging your home for photographs and phones as well as in-person visits. Check out these strategies for capturing attention on a mobile device.
Teamwork makes the dream work
Above all, remember, set designers don’t work in isolation. They work as part of a team to bring a vision to life. It’s important to have the right team to support your goal of selling your home for top dollar. A professional stager, experienced Realtor, painters, and home-improvement technicians can make your dream a reality.