AI Virtual Staging Explained: Everything You Should Know

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May 17, 2024

It’s safe to assume, today, that with the advent of artificial intelligence in various life aspects, the transforming force of AI has firmly turned into an inseparable part of any professional industry, and real estate marketing is no exception.

Currently, AI-powered tools write descriptions for properties, evaluate their price, manage mortgages, and even predict future trends of the real estate market. For the past few years, however, AI virtual staging has taken center stage in what can only be described as a revolution in visual real estate marketing.

What follows is an explanation of what AI virtual staging is, how it’s done, and the advantages and disadvantages that it brings. We will also explain how you can generate better listing photos using AI and provide tips for selecting the right tools. So, let’s begin! 

How Does AI Virtual Staging Work? 

This visual AI product that’s been making waves within real estate marketing is quite self-explanatory. Already used widely as a time- and cost-efficient tool in the back pocket of many real estate agents, AI virtual staging is all about uploading photos of vacant rooms to an AI tool and furnishing them in a matter of seconds. Indeed, a huge amount of work and highly technical knowledge goes into preparing and training such systems but we’ll leave that for another time. For now, let’s focus on the benefits this technology brings to the table and the challenges it’s facing!

The Upsides

Quick turnout 

We’re living in an era where haste is an everyday fact. We love to get things done instantly, and for that matter, with top-notch quality! Not that AI has achieved both already with the same level of perfection as us humans, but as far as timing is concerned, artificial intelligence has proven a remarkably fast tool. While virtual staging done by humans takes one or two hours per photo, good AI tools don’t take more than a minute to furnish a vacant room. 

Visualizing the property’s full potential

Property listing sites are the first place where house hunters turn to when searching for a new home – apart from Googling everything, of course! With thousands of houses listed on these listing websites, the greatest portion of attention goes to the listings that have photos or videos attached to them. But, to stay on the safe albeit competitive side, you shouldn’t attach photos of vacant rooms. 

Empty rooms appear small, cold, and somehow uninviting. This makes it difficult for many to imagine themselves living in a given house. Similarly, properties with outdated furniture may not look appealing to house hunters. Whether you like it or not, first impressions are true for houses as well.

On the other hand, a nicely staged room spurs lots of happy thoughts in any individual, and this is what AI does best. It allows you to choose the style of the design, the color of the furniture, and numerous other factors. And the best part is you don’t have to stick to the same design forever! As soon as you decide that those photos don’t get enough attention – though highly unlikely with a good AI tool – you can opt for a new style and refresh the look with a few clicks!


Poor marketing is one of the main reasons why real estate listings don’t sell. That’s why selling a property entails putting aside some notable marketing budget and choosing the best strategies. The amount of the budget might vary depending on the market status and the estimated value of the place but, overall, individuals do not allocate enough money for this purpose.

This makes AI virtual staging a perfect choice as it is currently the most affordable marketing tool in real estate marketing. Though not all AI-driven tools charge the same, almost all of them cost way less than traditional home staging or, to a lesser extent, virtual staging done by humans. 

Physical home staging costs could amount to anywhere between $1,500-$4,000, depending on the size of the property, and you’ll have to pay an additional $1,000 (or even more) for every month that your house lingers in the market. As for virtual staging done by humans, it costs between $25-$50 per photo, and you’ll need to attach at least one photo of every room, plus two photos of the front and back of the house.

AI virtual staging costs range from 30 cents to $7, which means that even if you generate 10 photos and choose the most expensive tool, your costs for preparing the entire album for a listing wouldn’t exceed $70! 

Possible Downsides…

Poor quality

AI tools have been criticized for generating unrealistic or low-quality photos more than once. The reason for this is that some of the current tools create highly artificial images that look nothing like real-life photos or something that is too bland and lacks visual appeal. This is quite understandable, though, since the development of the backbone of AI tools can vary greatly in terms of precision, quality, data sets, etc.


Similarly, some argue that AI tools might overly embellish or inaccurately represent a property, causing discrepancies between the virtual representation and the actual condition of the property. This will ultimately result in buyers’ distrust when the space doesn’t live up to their expectations. Luckily, however, you have a lot of control over this possible drawback. Firstly, you’re in control, meaning you can ask the AI to create results that are closest to the property in real life. Also, some AI tools allow you to regenerate photos endlessly until you are satisfied with the results. 

Limited creativity

Some others assert that AI systems can never think outside the box; that they operate within the boundaries of their database, which means they generate repetitively similar photos, failing to highlight the charm of a given place as a stager would. 

These criticisms might look justifiable on the surface but we may not generalize them as not all AI systems function the same way. The fact that all these tools are powered by AI does not necessarily mean that they share the same problems. As mentioned, it all boils down to how well each system has been fed and trained. 

To use a tool that has not been trained very well or has been fed with a highly restricted set of data and conclude that a similar tool, – which might have a quite rich database and has been trained to the level of perfection, would generate the same result – is a fallacy we must avoid. While many AI tools might suffer from the above-mentioned drawbacks, there are tools that neither misrepresent the property nor manipulate the quality of the photos.

How to Choose Right: Finding Your AI Virtual Stager

There are quite a few AI virtual staging tools out there and, apparently, there will be many more in no time. So, there are measures to take in order to find the right one! Let’s review some of the criteria that help you in this regard. 


This is arguably the most important feature you must have in mind when looking for a good AI tool. As discussed above, tools that generate low-quality photos or ones that make the space look unrealistically beautiful will scare house hunters away. This means that you should try a few tools and make a list of the ones that meet your expectations. 


A good service does not burn a hole in your pocket! This is more important for regular users like real estate agents. The rule of the thumb is to go for those tools in your list that are not unreasonably expensive!


The best AI tools are the ones that provide online support to users. In the middle of generating your photos, you might face unforeseen problems either due to a sudden breakdown/malfunction of the tool or something that you’ve done unintentionally. In such cases, you’d need help from the developers. The tool you choose should let you connect to the developers, and they should feel responsible for providing guidance.

Tips for Getting the Best Results from AI Virtual Staging

After ensuring that you have found the right tool, you need to follow certain instructions to get better results. These instructions are mainly about preparing the rooms for shooting and how you should take the photos. 

Step one: Declutter 

Virtual staging works best with vacant spaces. That’s why you should take out everything and then shoot the rooms. If you can’t take out the furniture, shoot the rooms the way they are and then remove all the items virtually. So, when looking for an AI tool, you should prioritize the ones that, apart from virtual staging, offer other related features such as item removal, image enhancement, etc. 

Let there be light

Good lighting is the key to taking high-quality photos. Make sure that there is enough light in the room before you shoot them. Remember, if the place receives enough natural light, it’s best to take the photos during daytime.

Mind the angle 

If you choose the wrong angle, the rooms will look smaller, making your place unappealing even if they’re staged nicely. Generally, it’s better to stand in the corner of the room and then take photos so that the viewers can see more of your space. 

One final tip!

One thing that you, as a real estate agent or homeowner, should keep in mind when using AI virtual staging is to let house hunters know that the photos are virtually staged. When listing a property, you should mention this simple fact to prevent any misunderstandings or future legal shambles. 

It’s AI Virtual Staging for the Win!

While there may be criticism directed at the prevailing use of AI tools in all life aspects, one cannot turn a blind eye of the cost- and time-saving nature of artificial intelligence. Granted, you may find tools with poor quality or unrealistic output, but for every weakly developed AI product out there, there are a couple that work wonders. 

As a result, whether you’re in this for a single house transaction or you’re an agent who eats and breathes real estate, a reliable AI virtual staging tool is definitely an ace up your sleeve. Everyday, more and more people are recognizing the potentials of AI in their respective industries, so get on the AI bandwagon while you can!

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