Prop Rental Idea

Crouching Pear, Hidden Plum

I just had an “ah-ha” moment about prop rental. If you live in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, you can probably skip this post. You already have great stores that specialize in prop rental, like Creative Elements. But here in Seattle, I haven’t been able to find anything similar. Until today, when I stumbled on not one, but several real estate “staging” services. You know, when you view a house that has already been moved out of and it looks like you just walked into a Pottery Barn photo shoot? There are people who’s job it is to do that (hmm… maybe a second career choice is on the horizon for me! Think of the props I could buy!). Recently, I toured a home that was just up the street. The kitchen was drool worthy, but a large part of that was the cabinets, all with sparkling clean glass windows and filled with a complete set of all white dishware, including cake plates and milk pitchers. There are homes all over the city, on the market, being staged.

Most of the staging companies I found provide the service only, and it’s probably a bit too expensive for a small photo shoot. But, some of them rent the furniture and accessories for pretty reasonable prices… a dining table and chairs for $100 per month, for example. And, I have to guess that when the props aren’t being used in homes, the staging companies are probably more than happy to make a buck or two on them for a couple of days use. In addition, some of the companies also teach classes in staging… a great way to learn more about set and prop styling.

The simplest way to find staging companies is through a google search, like Real Estate Staging + your city. Or, if you happen to know a realtor in your area, chances are they will be familiar with at least a couple of staging services. There is also an association dedicated to home stagers, IAHSP which has regional chapters all over the country. The association has a member directory that shows almost 30 stagers in the Seattle area alone.

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  • Anita

    you’re brilliant! I love this.

  • wendy

    My cousin in Virginia is a professional stager — he’s also a realtor. Apparently, you can be trained as a stager. I’m trying to get him to take me along. I think it sounds like a fun business– but he says people fight and yell when he tries to trash their beloved 69-year-old ratty pillows and tattered teddy bears.

  • DrinkJack

    That photograph is incredible. Perfect focus. Perfect composition. Once again, I bow down to your “eye”.

  • joyofcooking

    I know that some food stylists purchase lovely cook wear and plates only to later return them. This goes for stylists in general, the rule of the game is to hold on to the receipt.

  • Cate O’Malley

    Another great place for photos is development model homes. They usually, almost always, have at least one model-home in Pottery Barn fashion, right off the pages, completely decorated. We had friends who would make a day of touring model homes, pretending they lived there. :)

  • kim

    I know a woman in seattle who is a stager. I think it is a fun idea. Love the photos!