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Karen Post calls her staging company Home Frosting, but when she prepares a house or condo for sale she doesn’t just stick to what’s on the surface. She considers all the ingredients — color, light, space, furnishings — with an eye toward making the property look tasty to prospective buyers.

“Staging is really marketing,” she says. “It’s presenting and packaging the real estate asset.”

The author of two books who at one time had her own advertising agency, she decided after meeting her husband, a Tampa executive, that she was tired of traveling the world giving speeches on branding. Now she does regular decorating segments on WFLA’s Daytime show and helps homeowners make the most of their cherished real estate.

“You have to remind the seller that a staging is different from home decorating,” she points out. It’s not about doing what the seller likes, but making changes so that the house appeals to the largest number of qualified buyers.

“When home sellers get that look on their face — ‘You’re hurting my feelings’ — we really try to be gentle,” she says. It’s not that their art, or their furniture, or that special knickknack from Grandma, isn’t good. It’s just that it may not fit into a broader vision.

“As a stager you want to make it look as large as possible, as upscale as possible, and help guide the prospect on the purpose of the room,” she says. “We need to understand who the new buyer might be — a family with children? Empty-nesters? People who entertain a lot? Then it’s about creating vignettes that will connect with the new buyer — less pieces of furniture but enough to show the possibilities.”

Recently, she worked her magic on a property in Belleair currently listed for $1,695,000 by Realtor Martha Thorn. The transformation, which took 90 days from start to finish, was remarkable. The Before and After photos from the Belleair project suggest some of the key the elements Karen Post considers when she’s “frosting” a home.


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