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  • Writer's pictureKaren McDonald

Staging with Flair - Cover Story - Around Woodstock

Innovative Impressions Owner Turns Artistic Talent Into Successful Staging Business

In an ever-changing housing market, the highs and lows of real estate continue to be a constant in 2023. Karen McDonald, owner of Innovative Impressions, understands that proper home staging adds value, giving your property a competitive advantage.

Karen Whipple Owner and Home Stager at Innovative Impressions

Staging is more important than ever in a housing market that is shifting. Whether a home is vacant or occupied throughout the selling process, the purpose of staging is to help buyers imagine and visualize their life in your home. According to, 88% of staged houses sell at or above list price, and they sell in 10.3 days on average versus 84.6 days for nonstaged homes.

“When I stage an occupied home, I have to see beyond the way the homeowners live, focusing on how the home will appear in photos,” Karen said. “During the consultation, I make recommendations that highlight the features of a home. I literally have seconds to size up a room, taking into account furniture placement, lighting, paint, etc. Staging prepares a home to appeal to the most buyers.”

Branding for Business

As an artist with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of South Carolina, Karen attributes her unique perspective as a stager to her formal background in art. She often uses her artwork, along with furniture and accessories from her inventory, in the vacant homes she stages.

As a business owner, Karen recognizes the importance of diligently branding herself and has created a style that she hopes is memorable.

“As a stager, I am always thinking about highlighting the features of a home,” she said. “Before I stage a house, I stage myself. I differentiate myself. I want potential clients to remember me, and most people remember my pants – specifically, my bell bottoms. I am very intentional about my branding, and this is an important part of my business. I stage my clients’ homes with the same flair that I use when staging myself.”

Karen prides herself on providing her clients with in-depth, thorough services that have led to 45 five-star Google reviews, a huge milestone that she chose to celebrate with the

help of Laura Moog Medeiros of Giant Letters of Atlanta. Karen met with Laura to pose for photos to highlight the accomplishment. “It was a great experience and a unique way to promote my business,” Karen said.

Karen Whipple Owner and Home Stager at Innovative Impressions

Specialty Services

In addition to staging vacant and occupied homes in preparation for listings, Karen offers specialty services.

Seasonal staging, especially during the holidays, is offered for residential and commercial clients, like the Kimpton Overland Hotel at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Whether staging an event hall for a large crowd or decorating a home for a small family gathering, Innovative Impressions can transform a space.

Redesign services can personalize a space, making a client’s home reflect their style by using existing furniture and accessories to create a different look. Personalizing a space can involve reworking bookshelves, shopping for new furnishings, selecting tile, suggesting paint colors for the interior and exterior or creating custom artwork.

For either service, a consultation is the starting point to guide clients through the entire process with expertise and ease.

No Stranger to Networking

“As a way to promote my business and others, I post weekly on social media from the Woodstock Business Club, giving others a glimpse into our group. By tagging business owners, I am supporting and building relationships, and gaining referral partners in the process,” Karen said.

While the highs and lows of real estate are beyond her control, Karen continues to build her business through her commitment to networking in metro Atlanta.

“The things I can control are building relationships, growing my circle and showing gratitude,” she said. “These relationships are an important part of my business, as I am often asked to provide referrals while staging a home. These referrals are an extension of my services, providing additional value for my clients.”

In addition to the Woodstock Business Club, Karen is a member of the Cherokee Association of Realtors and IN WDSTK. Because investing in the community also is important to Karen, she is a sponsor of Lights of Joy (the largest residential light display in Georgia) and Every Link Matters Golf Tournament (raising awareness and funds for KBG syndrome).

An Attitude of Gratitude

Karen is passionate about her business and is eager to help Realtors and homeowners alike. Her artistic background, eye for detail and commitment to excellence contribute to that passion.

“I have the privilege of identifying a home’s strengths and unique features,” she said. “My recommendations add value to the real estate process and often change the direction of a real estate transaction. Seeing the very best in a home and bringing out its potential, to ensure a more profitable, quicker sale, is the goal. I have appreciated every opportunity to help each client achieve their goal.”

Innovative Impressions 404-538-8085 |

Facebook and Instagram: @iistaging



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