Monica Flowers, Rave’s Lead Home Stager, found her way into home staging through marketing and interior design.
We often say that home staging is actually marketing. Our lead stager, Monica Flowers, comes from a marketing background and is currently in school for interior design. In the video above, she plans out how to stage a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home.
Monica has been staging for Rave for two years. How did she make such a big transition? It all started with an internship.
Back to School
Monica didn’t see interior design as an option when she first went to college.
“When I was applying for college at 17 and didn’t know what I wanted to do, I hopped around to a few different majors,” she said. “Started in psychology, moved to graphic design, and then ended up with marketing and communications with a minor in graphic design. I wanted to make commercials. I wanted to make a Super Bowl commercial.”
After college, she moved to North Carolina with her husband. There, she worked in sales for a while, but she couldn’t see herself staying in that industry long term. Interior design came naturally to her, and going back to school seemed like the best next step.
“I’ve always had that knack for interior design,” Monica said. “My dad owned his own construction company, he was a contractor, so I always got to help him build things in the backyard and stuff. One of my uncles is an architect down in New Orleans, and my cousin is actually an interior designer. I guess the creativity just kind of runs in the family.”
Staging Isn’t Just Interior Design
Knowing good interior design isn’t enough to be a good home stager. When you’re staging, you’re not just making the house look good. You’re marketing it to a very specific kind of buyer. But the fields are close enough that, when Monica got the opportunity to intern with Rave, she took it.
“When you’re staging a house, you’re staging for a particular demographic and you’re thinking of psychographics and the potential buyer,” she said. “Whereas, with interior design, it’s very specific to your client. So something that works for a client in design may not be the best choice for someone who is looking to stage their home.”
Working with Older Homes
Monica said that one of the most challenging houses she’s ever staged was an older home in Orange Park. It was very large—6 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, and 3 living spaces—and since it was an older home, it didn’t have an open floor plan.
While it had been on the market for a long time, it didn’t take long to sell once it was staged. It sold within the month.
“I know a lot of people who were viewing the house probably saw it as a small, cramped space, since those open floor plans are really in now,” Monica said. “But coming in and staging it really helped them. It was actually the same buyer who had looked at it before who came back and purchased it after it was staged. They were able to visualize themselves in the space once the furniture was in the house.”
Space Planning and Interior Design
A home has to be functional, not just aesthetically pleasing. That means making sure there’s good traffic flow through the home. If you’re walking through a house, you don’t want to run into the back of a couch.
“Think about how people are going to live in a home and function,” she said. “I see stagers’ work online, and the houses are beautiful, but the furniture is placed in a way that is very formal. A lot of the time, there might be a sofa facing two occasional chairs and no console in the room to indicate where you’re going to put your television. Although the room is beautiful, it’s not planned correctly for that demographic.”
This is especially true for small homes. If a stager sets the only living room in a house up for conversation, then there’s nowhere to watch television.
You don’t want buyers thinking, “This is the only room where I can put my TV. Where are my children going to sit to watch TV?”
If Monica could change anything about the home staging industry, what would it be?
“Please stop using tiny rugs!,” she said, laughing. “It’s not often that I ever have to use a 5×7. Minimum, 8x 10, if it can fit, a 9×12.”
Monica Flowers was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana but has been calling Jacksonville, FL home since 2017. After graduating with her degree in interior design from FSCJ, Monica plans to work towards becoming NCIDQ certified. Outside of her love for staging and design, Monica also enjoys expressing her creative side through macrame and modern calligraphy as well as cooking and spending time with her husband and dog, Poboy.