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Staging is a sizable expense for home sellers, who spend hundreds—even thousands— appointing their homes to web- and show-ready state. The National Association of REALTORS® reports the median spend on staging is $675, and according to StagedHomes.com, professional staging services average $3,000 to $5,000. Add remodeling expenditures to the tally, and the cost is considerable.

Enter pop-up staging, a new, inexpensive method that can eliminate the cost of not only hiring a stager, but also renting, transporting and storing décor and furniture. Flat-pack pieces made of lightweight materials like cardboard and corrugated plastic “pop up” in each room, effectively setting the scene as real housewares (and stage productions!) would.

One pop-up sets provider, Dandy Pack, purveys slip-covered cardboard furniture sturdy enough to withstand 1,000-plus pounds without collapsing. The company’s starter kit, which includes a full/queen bed, a sofa, an oversized chair and an ottoman, costs $1,031. The pieces, which ship in as few as two business days, can be assembled by the listing agent or the seller, further controlling costs.

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inFormed Space, another pop-up staging vendor currently operating in New York City, supplies similar products made of plastic (assembled with hidden magnets), as well as set-up and break-down services. Two months of staging by the company starts at $1,899, and set-up can take just one afternoon.

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Both products’ neutral finishes achieve the goal of conventional staging: de-personalization, minus the sparseness of a vacant space. Both render superbly in online listing images, drawing interest as traditionally staged homes do, and their clean lines read contemporary, but accessible.

Will pop-up staging become the new norm? With savings to be had, we won’t close the curtain on these prop pieces any time soon.

This post was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Check the blog daily for top real estate tips and trends.

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