How to Stage Your Home Like a Celebrity

Celebrity home stager Meridith Baer offers a few of her tips.

March 12, 2015, 6:38 PM

— -- intro: When Hollywood’s hottest stars, from Brad Pitt to Halle Berry, want to sell their homes, they call Meridith Baer.

Baer is a celebrity home stager who styles stars’ homes to perfection before they go on the real estate market.

“I think their homes are like anybody’s,” she said. “Sometimes you can be a great actor and not have great taste. ... They have stacks of unread mail, just like us.”

“I remember we did Halle Berry’s home at one point,” Baer continued. “And you see ... her pajamas, you see all these things and you kind of go, ‘oh my God, these are Halle Berry’ pajamas.’”

Choosing from thousands of items from her 80,000-square-foot warehouse, including 8,000 pieces of art, Baer creates impeccable settings with her team of 175 craftsmen, movers and designers. Once selections are made, Baer and her team load up one of their 13 moving trucks and head to their latest project.

“The first thing I do when I walk into a home is I get a feeling for the personality of the home, what it wants to be, and I get an idea of who probably will buy this home,” she said. “And then I go to work and try to make it the home that person is going to want to buy.”

She said “staging will cost anywhere from $5,000 to $200,000,” but that the homeowner usually gets 20 percent more back on the home when it sells.

“If you don’t stage the house, it might be on the market for six months, eight months, and just think about what the caring costs are for the house for that time. It could be $5,000, $10,000, $20,000 dollars a month,” Baer said. “Generally, our homes sell very fast. So if it’s staged, you skip those payments, and you’ll generally get a much higher price for your home.”

Real estate developer F. Ron Smith has been working with Baer for 20 years. He said a non-staged home can take twice as long to sell when compared to a well-staged home.

And celebs have been so impressed with her work that they have had trouble parting with the results.

For example, Baer recalled staging Scarlett Johannsson’s home. “She was going to sell it, and then she saw what we did, and she said, 'Why am I selling this house? I love it,’ and she bought the furnishings from us.”

Baer offered these tips for how any homeowner can stage a home, whether they are trying to sell, or even looking for a decorating change.

See her tips below and watch HERE to see how Meridith Baer staged “That ‘70s Show” star Topher Grace’s home, shown in the photos below.

quicklist:1title:Stick With White media:29594177text:White walls, white sheets in the bedroom, white towels in the bathrooms, Baer said. It’s better to stage a home with a neutral palate, and then add in colorful accessories through a rug, throw pillows or a chair.

For the bedroom, in addition to white sheets, Baer said she also uses a second comforter. “There’s a secret to bedding,” she said. “We often put a comforter under the sheets as well just to make it look really plump and yummy, it reads really well. And crisp, white sheets.”

As for the bathroom, roll up fluffy, white towels and keep them fresh. “If there’s any surface that that doesn’t look great, just add towels,” Baer said.

quicklist:2title:Hang Long Curtainsmedia:29594965text:Hanging curtains can help soften a room and make the ceiling look taller, Baer said.

quicklist:3title:Decorate in Pairsmedia:29594740text:Baer likes to use a pair of lamps to create ambient lighting in a room, as well as matching side tables.

“We use these demi-lune side tables a lot because they don’t take up a lot of space, but they show you that you can have two pretty good-sized side tables in the room,” Baer said.

quicklist:4title:Style Your Bookshelvestext:Baer suggests clearing away clutter and adding books to book shelves, but she has a trick even for that.

“We’ll go to estates sales and ... just buy boxes and boxes of books,” Baer said. “And then we’ll get some white craft paper, or brown or red or black, and wrap them, so that they look uniform and they tell the story but they don’t -- they don’t’ disturb your eye. It still feels peaceful.”

quicklist:5title:Decorate the Kitchen with Bright Fruitmedia:29594473text:“You want a big bowl of lemons,” Baer said, adding that she prefers using real lemons, but fake ones work too. “Or a big bowl of green apples."

“It is very inviting, it’s visual, it’s kind of an artistic statement, but I think that is always really welcoming,” she said.

Baer also suggested leaving a cookbook out and open on the counter.

quicklist:6title:Nix Family Photos and Kids' Toystext:“People don’t really want to see pictures of your kids. They want to see pictures of their kids,” Baer said. “They want to imagine themselves living in a home, so I would say mostly take down those personal photographs. ... Keep it really simple and let somebody imagine themselves living in the space if you’re ready to sell.”