Find out what it takes to do your own DIY virtual staging and how it compares against using an online virtual staging provider.

Like so many things in our mobile-first world, when it comes to virtual staging, you can safely say ‘there’s an app for that.

It’s the easiest thing in the world to go to your App store on your mobile device, download one of many virtual staging apps and start virtually staging at a basic level. What is virtual staging? It’s simply the use of graphics software to add (and sometimes remove) items from an image. That technique typically applies to real estate photography and consists of furniture, decor, and artwork that typically match a specific design style.

Popular real estate virtual home staging

For example, Modern, Scandinavian, or Farmhouse.

So yes, it is possible to get started right away on your own, but that doesn’t mean you’re getting the best results either. Far from it, actually. Sure, you’ll come up with something, but it’s not going to be the kind of real estate marketing image that can make someone stop browsing and think, “I could see myself living there!

That kind of work requires skilled digital artists using hi-end software packages with enough time and processing power to craft a digital masterpiece. Unfortunately, that type of quality and attention to detail is just not available on a consumer mobile app.

The Difference between Virtual Staging Apps and Virtual Staging Providers

There are many subtle, but quite profound differences in what you can achieve with these two methods. Just remember that virtual staging apps have had to give up performance and quality in the interests of speed and usability. 

Can you do your own Virtual Staging?

So when it comes to the variety of furniture sets, artwork, decour, accessories and furniture styles, there is no question that a virtual staging service provider can offer a wider range and a better quality product than a stand alone app.

Furthermore, the skilled professionals doing the work for you have access to better lighting and colour correcting software that makes the finished product look realistic and natural to the everyday home buyer.

Using an app gives you more control over the final product, which is great if you’re a visual person and need something done immediately. Upload an image, select furniture, some quick placement, and you can transform an empty room into a real estate marketing image that you can quickly upload to your listing.

Sometimes that’s all you need and for quick, cheap and easy virtual staging, an App may be your best bet. But it’s far from the best quality. That takes a little more time, skill and processing power.

Pros and Cons of Virtual Staging Software vs a Virtual Staging Provider

Virtual Staging providers like PhotoUp have access to a large library of 3D virtual furniture, CAD (Computer-Aided Design) software experts, photo retouching professionals, and a backend system that makes it simple to upload your images, select some furniture and then go about your day.

You get to choose the look & feel of your room(s) and collaborate with experienced designers who will deliver high quality virtually staged images in under 24 hours. That may seem too long to wait if you need instant results, which is the main pro of using a virtual staging app on your mobile device.

But be warned, these apps rarely work as effortlessly as you might imagine. Your choices are limited, functionality might not be up to par, and some clients may not be happy with the final results that they get.

The biggest difference between the two systems is the amount of time you have to spend. Of course, you can start right away with a virtual staging app on your phone or tablet, but it’s still going to take you quite some time to get a deliverable final product.

With a virtual staging service provider, you’ll simply upload an image, select the furniture, and then sit back and wait for the image to be delivered. The opportunity cost of doing this yourself vs having someone else do this work for you is likely worth the small amount of money you’d pay for using a virtual staging provider.

Best Virtual Staging Providers

If you don’t believe how much better the results you get from a provider are, then we recommend checking it out for yourself. There’s no commitment and most of the best services will give you a free trial where you can test drive their service, make suggestions and get a sense of how quickly they can deliver.

Companies like PadStyler, BoxBrownie and VRX Staging are all doing beautiful work with quick turnaround times and are worth your time to research them more. We would also strongly suggest checking out PhotoUp for a modern, high quality, and simple virtual staging experience. Our teams of artists and editors are on stand by right now, ready to show you what they can do. Get in touch with our USA-based sales team right now and receive some free credits to test out their service.


Digital marketing and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has made a profound transformation in the real estate industry. Digital marketing for real estate has become mainstream and expected on every listing. Processes like home staging that once took hours and cost thousands of dollars can now be replicated online quickly and at an affordable price. It’s transformed the way that almost every single real estate transaction begins… Online.

It’s up to you whether you choose to go it alone with a virtual staging app, or if you take a more long-term, high quality, growth oriented approach with a virtual staging service provider. The choice is yours. Choose wisely.