Home Staging Tips and Advice

Cardboard furniture. Are you kidding?

By Kerry Derwent-Robb

When you were a kid, you probably found a million uses for cardboard. You might have even made furniture out of it. But that's probably as far as it went.

But cardboard furniture has a distinguished history. In addition to being a venerable workhorse of set designers in the theatre and movie business, cardboard furniture has also graced some of the world's nicest homes. Famous architect Frank O. Gehry is possibly the first to have introduced it to the design world with his 1972 cardboard furniture collection "Easy Edges". His cardboard furniture line, which is still sold by Vitra, features modern chairs and tables, and consists of up to 60 layers of corrugated cardboard held together by hidden screws and fibreboard edging. His low table set sells for $1535.



Since then other designers have taken up the standard. France's Eric Guiomar began making stylish furniture and accessories using corrugated cardboard in the 1980s, and continues to produce striking designs.

I discovered this when I became a home stager, because I was facing a dilemma many home stagers face how to stage an empty home. I knew that stagers in big cities would often own their own furniture, or had access to furniture rental companies. But I didn't relish the thought of hauling heavy furniture up flights of stairs, banging the walls and my shins. I couldn't justify renting a big storage space as a new home stager. And I thought there had to be a better way. Then it occurred to me cardboard furniture.

I thought there must be someone out there who's had this idea already. So I Googled "cardboard furniture". I learned about Frank Gehry. I learned about Guiomar. And I was introduced to a number of other designers of dramatic and expensive furniture made from cardboard.

And then I found exactly what I was looking for. NextStage Furniture had begun manufacturing cardboard furniture strictly for the home staging market. More basic, more functional and much less expensive than both its upper class cousins and ordinary furniture, NextStage Furniture was perfect for the home stager. While it could support weight just like real furniture (a NextStage loveseat can carry more than 1000 pounds), it was light (that same loveseat weighs only 25 pounds), and easy to store. It was also easy to set up and decorate with coverings and accessories to suit the particular staging job.

That was it. I quickly began to use NextStage cardboard furniture in my home staging jobs, with remarkable success.

One of the first houses we staged had been empty and on the market for four months when we were called in. We staged the house with NextStage cardboard furniture and within 10 days, an offer came in, and the house sold.

Just recently, we staged a builder's home that had been empty and finished for a year. A freshly minted real estate agent called us in, and we brought our cardboard furniture in on a Friday for the staging. On the Sunday, an offer came in.
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