When celebrities like Keith Richards, Robert DeNiro, or Mariska Hargitay want to sell a property, there's a pretty good chance that they're going to call one person: Cheryl Eisen. The celebrity home stager, the brain behind the award-winning firm (IMG), is known for her knack of decorating luxury properties to sell—and sell fast. Want proof? A testament to her ability is Chrissy Teigen and John Legend's decision to purchase a fully furnished New York property Eisen and her team staged. "We make a home so that when someone walks into it, they fall in love instantly," Eisen says of her company's philosophy.
The real estate agent-turned-designer decided to launch IMG in 2007 after word of her home staging magic spread among industry colleagues looking to unload high-end listings quickly. Today, Eisen, who is based in New York City, employs about 80 people and specializes in listings that range between $10 to $100 million, a category that she describes as the firm's "sweet spot." IMG has everything from an art department that makes custom pieces to a full team of interior designers and publicists. And out of its employee base, Eisen is proud that about 75 percent of her staffers are females. "We call it the fempire," she says jokingly.
ED invited Eisen to share her top decorating pointers to add a dose of celebrity style to your abode.
Assess the property thoroughly. The first tactic Eisen follows when she first walks into a property is to assess its positives and negatives. Whether a space has high ceilings or a beautiful view, or is too small or a little dark, understanding the full scope of the project will determine what's needed from a decorating perspective.
Aim for a homey feel. "People don’t want to feel like a home is staged when they walk into it," Eisen says. "We try to accessorize without over-accessorizing." Plush area rugs (Eisen is partial to abstract designs), floor-to-ceiling drapes, and sculptural light fixtures all make for a unique look.
Incorporate statement art. Eisen favors graphic, oversized artwork in a home. Whether it's photography or a painting, it's the best way to make a dramatic statement since the goal as a home stager is to "focus the eye upward versus down to the floor," she says.
Embrace the power of accessories. One room where Eisen's expertise shines is the living room, which tends to be on the neutral side. For this space, she typically opts for low-profile sofas with clean lines, weaving in a mix of accessories for visual interest. "I customize looks with different textures—area rugs, beautiful throw pillows, and luxurious throws," she says. "I might even do an installation of oversized mirrors."
Consider vintage accents. If you step into any one of Eisen's designs, you're bound to find a vintage accent. On any given day, she can be found shopping online at sites like , , or (formerly Viyet). But when you're shopping for vintage items, Eisen believes it's best to proceed with caution. "It's not the type of thing you should do on impulse," she warns. "Make sure it's a piece you absolutely love. It should be interesting, functional, and not something you will get sick of."
Don't be afraid of a high-low mix. Just about every room can benefit from a combination of pricey and inexpensive pieces, regardless of its aesthetic. "You can have Ikea cabinets in a room with absolutely beautiful furnishings, and if you put a unique handle, base or top on it, you will never know that it is not Minotti," Eisen says. "There are things you should splurge on and things you can save on."