Home Staging vs Interior Decorating

Home Staging vs Interior Decorating: 3 Key Differences

My business offers both Interior Decorating and Home Staging services. When someone asks me what I do, and I tell them about my company, many times they  say, “what’s the difference?” or, “aren’t they pretty much the same thing?” 

Actually, no…they’re not. Similarities? Yes, absolutely. But there are very distinct differences. As a do it yourself home stager or new home staging business owner, it’s very important to understand the difference between the two approaches.

Home Staging vs Interior Decorating – 3 Key Differences

1. Interior Decorating is very personal to the client. Home Staging is all about appealing to potential buyers.

Let’s talk about interior decorating first. I’ve included some curated photos from our friends at BHG.com as excellent examples of Interior Decorating…you’ll find the slideshow above.

When I  work with a new home decorating client, the first thing I do is talk with them about themselves…how they live, what their preferences are, decorating styles they prefer, color palette they enjoy…it’s all about THE CLIENT. 

The client’s decorating style preferences are at the top of the list, as this is the staring point for every decision we’ll make along the way.

We work together to create a home interior that reflects their individuality, from the floors to the walls, from the furniture to the finishing accessories and accents. And as you would expect, every project is unique, because we’re all unique creatures.

Sometimes the client wants to make a bold statement in their home, so we’ll put some of that color on the walls, on the floor in an area rug, in the artwork, accessories like bedding, pillows, towels, etc. If they want to see a bold red accent wall in the living area, we’ll work that into the design plan!

Many times I’ll help a client select the furniture for their home. We might be adding to what they already have, or starting from scratch with a blank slate.  We’ll select the pieces that fit their budget and lifestyle, making sure that each room or space is furnished for day to day living.

The same philosophy holds true for the accents and finishes in the home. Family heirlooms, photos, art, collections and similar are all incorporated into the decorating plan, something that definitely defines interior decorating vs. home staging.

In contrast, Home Staging removes most of the personalization from a home; it’s all about THE HOUSE. The goal is to create a style and environment that will appeal to the majority of potential buyers.  We also want buyers to focus on the house, not on the decor.

In order to accomplish that, we typically use a neutral color palette throughout the home. If a home is occupied (most do it yourself home stagers can relate to this 🙂 ) we’ll remove most of the family photos, collections, and other items that may distract a buyer as they tour the home.

Are these rooms stylish? Yes. Are they neutral overall? Yes.

2. Home Staging does not fill a room with furniture; it highlights the function and size of the space. Interior Decorating will most often include more furniture and finishes.

Home Staging vs Interior Decorating

The Great Room shown above is a part of a newly built home by a husband and wife investor team. It’s a lovely, spacious floor plan with plenty of room to spread out and enjoy the beautiful SW Florida climate. 

We staged the entire home for them. Here are some photos of the various rooms. Take note of the neutral color palette on the floors, walls and counter tops. The furniture is neutral, with accent colors in the artwork, bedding and small accents.

Buyers who tour this home are invited in by the style and cohesiveness of the home staging. They can see all of the rooms and spaces with no distractions. The ‘stage’ is set for them to make a purchase!

3. With Interior Decorating, the approach may be for the ‘long haul’. Home Staging is intended  for short duration.

Interior Decorating clients will often tell me that they want to complete their project and have it last for a number of years…they don’t want to be decorating again for a long while! So we make sure that every preference, each detail and request, is addressed. 

Home staging projects, on the other hand, are specifically created for the short term. The goal is to create the most appealing home interior for prospective buyers, and find the new homeowner as soon as possible!

Home Staging vs Interior Decorating is a critical distinction to understand for successful home staging, whether you’re a do-it-yourself home stager or own a home staging business.

WHAT’S NEXT: Arranging Furniture when Home Staging

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