In this interview, we are joined by Kelly Corwin – founder and home stager at Kelly Corwin Designs. Established in 2014 in Portland, OR, her team consists of 5, and they stage on average 250 vacant homes for sale in a year. Kelly’s preferred staging design style is a mix between boho and mid-century modern.

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Who are Kelly Corwin Designs and Kelly Baker - Corwin?

Kelly Corwin Design- home stager

Hello! My name is Kelly Corwin and I own Kelly Corwin Designs. We were established in 2014 and are located in Portland, OR. We have a small team of 5 and we execute about 250 vacant stages a year. We pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service and value to our clients. Our aesthetic is a clean, warm and modern look.

How it all started with the home staging business?

The idea for Kelly Corwin Designs began in 2000 when I had an epiphany one day and decided to pursue interior design. I signed up for classes and never looked back. It took me several years as I was juggling marriage, kids, and a full-time job. As I worked my way through my degree, I decided that home staging was what I wanted to pursue. I joined a local real estate investing group to start building my clientele.

What are your main responsibilities at Kelly Corwin Design?

My main responsibilities right now consist of running the business, networking, and opening up in the Phoenix market. I have a team that stages the houses now.

How does it look the future for Kelly Corwin Design in the new 12-24 months?

I see explosive growth on the horizon. Portland has a very healthy staging culture here. Right now I’m looking for a 4000 sq. ft. warehouse and adding another team to meet the demand.

Describe your preferred design style?

My preferred staging design style is a mix between boho and mid-century mod. These styles are very popular with buyers in the Portland market.

Kelly Corwin Design - Home staged interior (2)
Kelly Corwin Design - Home staged interior

From where do you draw inspiration for each staging?

I get a lot of ideas and inspiration from IG accounts I follow as well as other stager’s work.

Tell us about your most recent encounter with obstacles at work

The most recent obstacle we have had to overcome is being overwhelmed with work! It’s a great problem to have but comes with challenges. We found a way to efficiently stage 2 homes a day by changing the way we prep and pack for each job.

How to recognize Kelly Corwin Design's signature

Our signature look is a warm and modern design that isn’t “overstaged”. We focus on how the marketing will look and how the buyers move through the space. We also have a reputation for being extremely dependable.

Kelly Corwin Design - Home staged interior
Kelly Corwin Design - Home staged interior

What is the process to become a home stager?

The best process to becoming a home stager is to get a design degree and work for another home stager. There is a huge difference between being able to run a home staging company and executing the design aspect. Being an employee or your own boss is something you’ll have decide on.

What is the right way to do home staging?

The main consideration to home staging is figuring out the target buyer, listing price and location. This will dictate what most buyers will be attracted to when they view the home and the staging design needs to appeal to those specific buyers.

What is the most common objective you hear from people about home staging?

The most common objection to home staging is the cost. It’s hard to convey the value of home staging to a hesitant seller unless they see the result in a fast and lucrative sale. I provide stats and personal experiences to help them see the value

Kelly Corwin Design - Home staged interior

On what projects do you work on at the moment?

Right now we have 16 jobs to execute in the next 2 weeks. November and December usually slow down which gives me time to prep for the upcoming selling season.

How Covid19 affected the home staging market?

COVID has actually increased our business. People now have more options for work and school and changing how they want to live in their homes. Most sellers want to move to a larger home with more outdoor space.

What separates the good from bad home staging?

Good home staging includes a cohesive design, layout and color palette. You have to pay attention to how the buyers will move through the space to make sure it doesn’t feel cramped or uninviting. Designs need to be current and not dated.

What is the difference between soft staging and full staging?

Soft staging is when we stage occupied homes using the seller’s furniture. We will add pillows, art, bedding and accessories to enhance what is already there. The transformations can be quite astounding.

How did you find your first home staging client?

My very first staging client was a home flipper that I met at a real estate investor meeting. I used a bunch of furnishings from my house and added stuff from IKEA. I was terrified but excited.

If you were to give advice to your younger self, what would be?

My advise to my younger self would be to trust the timing and process. I believe that
everything happens for a reason and at the right time.

Final words

As stressful and draining as this industry can be, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. The growth of my company has exceeded all my expectations and I see a bright future ahead! You can check out my work at, Kelly Corwin Designs on Facebook and Instagram. My email is

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