Before “home staging” was in her vocabulary, Kim Pearse called it “sprucing up.”
Her love of sprucing up her own home and her friends’ houses led her to launch her own home staging business in Williamson County, where she connects with people selling their homes to redesign their space. She’s done thousands of consultations.
Pearse, whose business is based in Brentwood, has been a certified home stager since 2016 but has been staging for more than two decades. The former financial adviser launched The Staging Consultant when she and her husband moved to Williamson County in 2017 from Ohio for her husband’s cigar business.
“My heart was always on the creative side,” she said.
Her career in financial advising was the perfect step into staging. When clients told her they planned to sell their home, she’d immediately go from their financial adviser to their home stager and offer to help “spruce it up.”
When she and her husband sold their own home 15 years ago, she sought out books on home staging, to see if tapping into advice from professionals could work. And it did. Both of her Tennessee homes sold in less than one day, and she credits home staging for it.
Her business has been such a hit that it led her to an HGTV show called “My House is Your House.”
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Psychology meets design
There is more than meets the eye when it comes to choosing the right home decor, Pearse said. She taps into the psychology of staging a home that draws buyers in and has them picturing their own lives there. She studies the demographics of the neighborhoods and draws up a profile of potential buyers in the area.
If a seller lives in a neighborhood with kids galore and a play set in every backyard, Pearse said she won’t stage with a white couch, since families are likely to avoid light furniture if they have young children. If the neighborhood residents are approaching 60 years old on average, she might consider putting up a “grandma” sign or something signifying grandparents.
“People can only truly visualize what they see,” she said. “The buyers are looking at the neighborhood. They’re not just looking at the house.”
It’s also about drawing the buyer in to create an emotional connection with the home.
“Buying a house is so emotional. You have to create an emotional staging,” she said. “If you don’t have the texture, the love, the feel. … Staging has to make it feel like home, but not (the seller’s) home. That’s how you get those emotional connections.”
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Pearse is also a color specialist, so she does consultations for paint color. Color is more than just a pretty hue. It affects your mood and mind, even if you don’t realize it.
The psychology of color is nothing new, and it’s fascinated scholars for centuries. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote the “Theory of Colors” in 1810 and dove into how humans perceive colors.
“I call paint ‘money in a can,'” Pearse said.
A bucket of paint is the cheapest thing a seller can do to elevate the value of their home. Some residences throughout Williamson County are what Pearse has dubbed “sherbert houses” — homes with rooms painted dazzling shades that buyers would rather see in an ice cream carton than on the walls of their future home.
“Your eye will see color first before it sees design,” she said, which could move the focus off a seller’s home and into a discussion of their color choices.
Sellers often want to leave up their family photos, which Pearse doesn’t recommend. While wedding photos are a sweet reminder to the sellers, buyers often stare at the images, trying to decide if they know the family.
“They’re not noticing the crown molding, the beautiful flooring,” she said. “They’re focusing on how the sellers are living and not how they can live.”