Virtual Staging: The Top 10 Apps That Can Help You And Your Home

11 Min Read
Updated March 9, 2024
Minimalist staged kitchen dining living room in open concept home with large windows.
Written By Victoria Araj

Real estate agents know that staging is an absolute must for every home sale. A survey from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) found that 62% of listing agents agree that staging helps homes move off the market faster.

But when you have a vacant home on your hands, is it really worth it to invest time and money to stage it? This is where a virtual staging app can come in handy.

What Is Virtual Staging In Real Estate?

Staging a house in real estate means arranging the home to look like an individual or family lives there. This allows potential buyers to envision themselves in the home and get a taste of what the interior design might look like.

Virtual staging works the same way, except that photos of the home are staged with virtual furniture and decor with a digital app.

Virtual staging has become key in the real estate industry, especially because real estate agents are now able to show houses online versus holding in-person open houses.

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Why Virtual Staging Software Is Worth It

The coronavirus pandemic and social distancing permanently changed the procedure of buying and selling a home. The process of scheduling open houses and closing on a home had to be entirely re-thought, and virtual staging offered a new, popular alternative for real estate agents to showcase a house.

Although in-person showings are back, virtual staging still offers benefits that can help you make a great first impression on a potential buyer.

Virtual staging apps allow you to add furniture, rugs and even paint to a photo of a home. You don’t have to rent furniture or move items around. It’s not only a safer way for real estate agents to show homes to clients, it’s also more cost-effective: virtually staged listings cost 95% less than in-person staging.

And it’s more beneficial to homebuyers because it allows them to imagine themselves living in that home.

Top 10 Virtual Home Staging Apps

Let’s look at 10 unique virtual staging apps you can use to make your online listings as appealing as possible.

1. VisualStager

VisualStager is a DIY staging website that allows you to upload and stage exceptional photos of vacant homes online. Simply upload the photo you want to stage and choose from a series of over 4,000 interior design pieces.

VisualStager’s system is easy enough for total tech novices to operate. Just select the piece of furniture you want to add, drag it onto the photo and export the photo when you’re finished.

VisualStager is a completely browser-based program, which means there’s no software you need to buy or download to get started. The website is compatible with PCs, Apple computers and even iPads.

If you’ve never used a virtual staging app before, consider starting with VisualStager. Its intuitive and easy-to-understand model is simple enough for everyone.

2. iStaging

Turn your smartphone into a virtual reality device with iStaging’s impressive app. You’ll start by shooting a virtual 360-degree shot of the room you want to stage with iStaging’s app for iOS or Android.

You can preview your tour on your phone, then upload it to iStaging’s online design center and start adding furniture, logos and more. Finally, embed your tour on your website or send it to clients directly.

The iStaging app offers a simple way for real estate agents to take their listings to the next level. Though its software is a little more complicated than Virtual Staging’s system, it also offers more features and creative design options.

3. Cedero

Some agents avoid virtual staging apps because they think the staged photos look fake. Consider Cedero if you’re looking for superior images that will really stand out. Cedero’s online application allows you to stage and create 3D models from your computer or tablet.

The feature that agents love most about Cedero is its highly realistic furniture and texture library with its wide range of textures and pieces. Like other virtual staging apps, all it takes is a few clicks to add a piece.

Then, edit the shading and lighting on each piece to look more realistic. You can even create exterior 3D models and 360-degree room tours as well.

4. Punch! Interior Design

You might not have the budget to subscribe to a monthly virtual staging service if you’re a new real estate agent. For a more affordable way to stage, consider investing in the Punch! Interior Design program for Mac.

Punch! allows you to decorate the interior of your space after uploading the dimensions of the room you want to stage. The application includes a full library of staging furniture, and you don’t need any technical knowledge to get started.

Punch! is one of the most affordable options for computer-based staging. You won’t need to worry about paying per photo or funding a continuous subscription – it’s just $50. The software is currently only available for Mac desktops.

5. Box Brownie

Don’t have time to master a virtual staging program yourself? Let Box Brownie handle the hard work on your behalf with its professional staging service.

Box Brownie isn’t a standard DIY service. Instead, you simply send in photos you need staged. From there, its team of professional photo editors stages the room for you.

Box Brownie promises a 24-hour turnaround on all photos and it also offers to rework any image at no additional cost if you aren’t satisfied. And you can choose a particular style of decor you’d like to use to stage your rooms.

From Scandinavian chic to light and airy farmhouse furniture, Box Brownie makes targeting a particular market niche simple. Not sure how to best stage each photo? Consider allowing the experts at Box Brownie to help.

6. Real Tour Vision

Real Tour Vision offers two staging services – DIY and professional assistance. Real Tour Vision’s DIY package allows you to stage your rooms yourself using its online library of furniture and textures.

DIY editing from Real Tour Vision is the more affordable option at $15 per photo. You can choose professional photo editing and staging from its in-house team if you need a little more help.

You’ll get a satisfaction guarantee if you choose professional editing at an affordable price point.

The company’s website is full of tutorials and video guides and its service even includes furniture removal tools – you don’t need a completely empty room to get started.

Real Tour Vision prides itself on offering an easy design experience. The company claims most people can learn to use every tool in under an hour. But if you get started and decide that self-staging isn’t right for you, you can request professional assistance through the site.

7. Barion Design Inc.

If you’re a luxury real estate agent, you already know that high-end clients expect more from a listing. Barion Design offers luxury staging services aimed at high-end real estate agents.

The team at Barion Design offers both interior design and professional virtual staging services. Founded by celebrity home stager Ilaria Barion, Barion Design offers luxury staging for both empty homes and already-furnished rooms.

Does one of your clients have a specific design style that you don’t think will appeal to buyers? Barion Design’s team professionally edits over existing furniture and wall treatments to add a neutral look to the home.

This allows you to increase the home’s appeal without asking your client to move their things. With a full team of high-end interior designers and professional photo editors, rooms staged by Barion Design never look fake or edited.

At $119 a photo, Barion Design is one of the most expensive virtual staging services. However, it can be worth the extra money for high-end agents who want the best staging team at their disposal.

8. Homestyler

Homestyler is a free virtual staging app available for both iOS and Android. Virtually staging a home with Homestyler is simple and you can do it all from the screen of your smartphone. First, snap a few photos of your space.

Then, scroll through real interior design pieces from some of the largest decor companies in the world. Drag and drop the items you like onto the screen to stage. With that you’re ready to export your final product to an online listing, an email or to your social media profiles.

Unlike other virtual services, Homestyler doesn’t currently offer professional staging services. You’ll need to be ready to spend time designing your own spaces. However, if you’re looking for an affordable way to get started staging your spaces today, you can’t beat Homestyler’s mobile offering.

9. Roomle

Are you looking for a cutting-edge staging solution? Roomle is an AR company offering a series of mobile and web applications that add a touch of tech to your staging.

Roomle’s most basic offering is a free iOS and Android app that allows you to add furniture with a few taps of your phone screen. But the company offers much more than just 2D layouts.

Their 3D floor plan tool allows you to stage a virtual space quickly from your phone or desktop. They even allow you to create your own custom furniture to show off the best features of the space.

You can turn your virtual tour into an AR-compatible floor plan for a fully immersive experience. This can be a massive asset if your main client base buys homes online.

Roomle prices vary widely depending on which tools you want to use. For the most affordable staging tools available, stick with their basic floor plan offerings.

10. PadStyler

PadStyler is another web-based professional service offering virtual staging solutions and furniture replacement. Its team offers a 100% money-back guarantee on its virtual staging services with free redesigns if you aren’t satisfied.

It also offers a 48-hour turnaround guarantee on all projects. If you need your photos back faster, PadStyler also offers same-day services for an extra fee.

PadStyler offers most of the same features as competitors like Box Brownie and IBD but at more affordable prices. If you don’t have time to stage your own home photos but you’re still on a budget, be sure to get a quote from PadStyler.

FAQs About Virtual Staging

Below are a few commonly asked questions about digital staging in real estate.

How much does virtual staging cost?

The price is based on how many rooms you need staged. So if you’re planning to stage the living room, kitchen and dining room, you’ll pay for three staged rooms. The price really depends on the service you’re using, but on average, you can expect to pay $15 – $50 per staged photo.

Is virtual staging legal?

Yes, virtual staging is legal but unfortunately, it can occasionally lead to legal issues. Some home buyers have argued that virtual staging is misleading. To avoid these complaints, you should clearly label and disclose all photos as virtual staging.

How do I learn how to do virtual staging myself?

The best place to start is to find a virtual staging software that meets your needs. You’ll start by taking a photo of the home, and then adding computer-generated furniture and accessories to highlight the home’s potential.

How should I take photos of rooms for virtual staging services?

Ideally, the room will be empty when you take a photo of it. This makes it easier to add furniture and stage the room the way you want it.

The Bottom Line: Virtual Staging Is Here To Stay

The pandemic expanded a number of real estate tech trends that agents should incorporate into their efforts to sell homes. And one of those trends is virtual staging.

With virtual staging, you can increase the appeal of your home without spending time and money renting furniture to stage it. The right virtual staging app can help you transform an empty living space into a dream home for potential homebuyers.

If you’re looking for the best staging experience possible, consider a professional virtual staging service. These services handle the staging and editing for you so you’ll have the most authentic image possible. 

If you’re trying to save money, a DIY virtual staging app can be a good choice as well. These apps allow you to create floor plans or upload photos of your space and manually add decor from a design catalog. 

Interested in learning more about staging and other relevant topics? Check out the Quicken Loans® Learning Center for more home-selling advice.

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