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Spousal Stage-Offs: Adding Competition and Crowdsourcing to the Furniture Staging Process

Updated: Aug 30, 2022

Ah, staging: the last step in the refinishing process, and the time to finally share your work with the broader refinishing community. But are you any good at staging? How do you know?

Are you better than, say, your wildly inexperienced husband? Again - how do you know?

One day, as I was scurrying about staging one of my pieces in our living room, my husband began pestering me with questions that suggested two things: 1) I was taking far too long with a fairly simple process and 2) That he could do it better. Thus was born a competition that we've since referred to as "Spousal Stage-Offs".

In this post, I'll briefly discuss how staging transitioned from a solitary, peaceful activity into a deeply serious (good hearted) competition with my husband. I'll also show the results of our recent stage-offs (yes, we keep score).

The Stage-Off Process

The stage-off process is a straightforward competition:

  1. When I've finished a piece to my liking, I bring it into the living room. We always shoot the piece in the exact same location so that issues like lighting and environment can't be used as whining points by the loser (my husband).

  2. We flip a coin to determine who goes first. The original stager can use whatever items are in the household to stage the piece to their liking, captures the image, then removes all the staging items so the other person doesn't get any hints/ideas.

  3. The same step is repeated with the other stager.

  4. I create a poll showing both staged images to my followers on Instagram and garner their feedback on which image they prefer. I usually wait until there's between 60 and 100 votes or until it's sufficiently one-sided that a clear winner is chosen.

  5. Winner gets bragging rights until the next stage-off.

  6. I provide my husbands comments (win or lose) for everyone’s entertainment, he’s pretty funny.

Rules of Engagement

Here are the rules of the stage-off as we currently practice it.

You Can:

  • Use any inanimate objects in the household - including rugs, books, pictures, etc.

  • Use certain living objects such as plants and trees

You Cannot:

  • Use pets or children in the staging process (see below to see how this rule can give a stager a clearly unfair advantage)

  • Use a different filter, camera angle, or house location when taking the picture

Recent Competitions:

Follow Along!

Want to have input in our next spousal stage-off? Follow me on Instagram!

Also - if you have your own ideas for how to make the competition better - or if you try your own competition with your spouses at home, I want to see it! Please leave me a comment below or send me an email so I can share in your staging glory.

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