Decoration, Design trends, Staging

Home Staging or Home Decoration ?

Blast from the Past.

I once had a discussion on a topic about differences of home staging and home decorating in my LinkedIn group. And here are some of the comments from experts in Home Staging and Home Decorating field;

Jill Hosking-Cartland | Owner/Principal Designer at Hosking Interiors Windham, NH, USA

Staging addresses, the expected functional and style needs of the buyer demographic likely to purchase a home; decorating is all about helping the existing homeowner create an environment that is a perfect reflection of them, their aesthetic desires, and their functional needs.

Cindi Ann | Welcome Home Staging & Decorating, LLC

Decorating a home is usually done for the Home Owner who is living in their home and wanting to make their home more appealing to themselves and others. By filling the home with not just new and updated items, but also personal spaces and personal items. Giving their home their personality. Decorating helps keep the owner comfortable and happy.
Staging is usually done for those who are wanting to sell their home. So the decor used is to stage it for the buyer. To help give the buyer the imagination of them living in the space. Staging is usually done with partial decorating. Not complete and full decorating. And nothing, personal. It is actually just a teaser of what you could use the spaces for, or what colors the house looks best in, etc. Just to give color to an vacant or dull occupied home. Staging helps keep the buyer looking and deciding.

Helen Bartlett | Home Stager/Re-designer at Refined Interior Staging Solutions

The simplest way I’ve explained it is decorating is about reflecting the owner’s style, life and interests. Staging is focusing on the house, the focal point and features, things that are included in the sale of the house. Staging a home helps the buyers to recognize these features and not the “decorations” in the house.

Debra Gould | Founder Voice of Possibility Group Inc. and Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training, Author, Marketing Expert

Most home stagers also provide decorating services for their clients since both of these services draw on the same skill set. The key difference between both types of services is the intent. In home staging, the goal is appealing to the likely tastes and desires of the target market for the home. In decorating, it’s all about creating the most pleasing environment for the people actually living in the home. Many home stagers will also provide advice on what would help a future home sale when decorating a home for the current owners. provides a free worldwide referral service for home owners looking for a home stager in their area.

Lori Murphy | Owner at Element One Home Staging & Redesign

I explain the difference to my clients that decorating is about personalizing – staging is about de-personalizing so that potential buyers can feel like they are in THEIR home as opposed to someone else’s home.

Julea – Reinventing Space | Chicago Interior Stylist | House Staging | Educator

Home Staging is the art, science and psychology of prepping, packaging and styling a house for sale. Home Decorating is celebrating the personality of a home and infusing the lifestyle and soul of the people who dwell there.

Sharon Baldoni | Interior Designer and Feng Shui Practitioner at Baldoni Designs

I would like to add, in addition to all of the above statements, that I believe that intuition plays a huge part in the process of home staging. I have taken a home with many bedrooms, and “tuned in” to the potential buyer’s family with great success. The buyer came to the home and the strongest selling feature was the specific decor that I had targeted. That home sold immediately after having been on the market for over 8 months. It is a difficult idea to teach, but it works. You get rid of all the personal style- the flowered wallpaper and poofy worn-out furniture, remove it all and add those special effects that are tasteful yet specific. A very difficult but powerful tool in the stager’s bag of tricks.

Of course when designing for a client, allow their style to flourish and don’t put out the fire of what they love, even if it disobeys your rule of “good design’. Nothing is so stale as a perfectly designed home that lacks the love that comes only from the heart of a tender soul. Unless you are more concerned about your own portfolio, the client’s heart must shine. That’s where the Wow is.

Judith Burzell | Home Staging – ReDesign – Remodeling – Interior Design at HomeScapes  SD

For me, the clearest example is what happened to me in one of the first homes I bought, had decorated & then sold. When I moved in I had an interior designer help me with the decor. It was a beautiful home, not overly decorated (kind of minimalistic) & almost everyone who came in said how beautiful it looked. But it was my home & it reflected my taste. When it came time to sell it, I put it on the market ‘as is’ – with the decor the same. And it didn’t sell for over 2 years. It finally occurred to me to depersonalize it & see if I could figure out who my target market was, & appeal to the widest range of potential buyers. I took it off the market & the first thing I did was declutter. Everything I didn’t use every day went into a storage unit. I emptied closets, drawers, cupboards, even the refrigerator, to give the illusion of more space. Then I depersonalized – out went the refrigerator magnets, personal photos, taste-specific decor, trophies & diplomas. Then I took the bright color scheme down a notch & substituted neutrals & more texture. I re-listed it & it sold the first week. Interior design is decorating inspired by the homeowner’s own taste, so that they feel their home is a reflection of who they are & how they want to live. Home staging is taking the same space & looking at it through the eyes of a potential buyer & creating a space that appeals to the broadest range of potential buyers, highlighting the homes unique features & allowing them to feel at home & envision themselves in the space – so much so, that they want to put in an offer. It’s 100% about getting it sold.

Joanne Bechhoff, UDCP | Owner at Staging by SPC | Member of Board at NARI NYC/LI, National Association of the Remodeling Industry

I have always explained it this way to my clients; Staging is merchandising. It is the process of preparing a house to be placed on the market for sale, going beyond cleaning, de-cluttering and de-personalizing. It demonstrates flow and functionality while directing the eye of the viewer to the natural focal points of the space. It begins at the curb and maintains continuity throughout the journey. The viewer can not help but be drawn in and imagine themselves and their family in the space. Personalizing it in their mind as they walk through.

Decorating is all about personalizing a space to accommodate the way we live and is individual specific.

Virginia Youngblood  | Owner at Do-Stage LLC

Staging is depersonalizing. Decorating is personalizing. I do both as most home stagers do offer both for the Homeowner. Two of the main services that my company: DO-STAGE!, LLC offers are called “Staged to Sell” (depersonalizing) for the homeowner who is moving and “Staged to Live” (Redesigning) for the homeowner who is staying. May you have great success!

The “Staged to Live” phrase is to mean, that when one is still living at their property and are not selling, the owner can opt to have their house “staged” or have a “redesigning” of their property. This process is simply called “Staged to Live” in order to distinguish from selling (“Staged to Sell”). It is to pare down, give a “less is more” approach to their property and to simply enjoy their present home’s “new look” or “redesign” when they want to stay in their home and not sell it.

Leslie Tarbell Donovan | Pres. Donovan Design / Staging Places

At every turn each professional Stager faces a new and unique challenge, whether the property be for rent, sale or simply a long awaited upgrade of the occupant’s lifestyle.
How it differs from Interior Design is that we work with what exists on a much smaller budget. Our clients range from first time buyers to investors to retirees looking to downsize and relocate. And sometimes we repair the situation that a previous Interior Designer has left us after the budget has been exhausted, the home remains unfinished and the owner, disheartened.

Staging is most times but not always about De-personalization, though it is definitely accomplished through enhancement and a gentle eye towards a seamless blend of color, light and space. Staging is editing and shuffling the existing but not always complimentary elements, then organizing them into a well thought out environment and appealing to an expanded variety of age groups. In my own experience I can’t tell you how many times the selling agent thought that a particular property would most assuredly sell to a retired or second home couple but instead sold to a younger couple or a bachelor which resulted because of my resistance to pigeon-hole the property into what was generally expected.

Having generously been coined ” the House Whisperer of the Hamptons” I believe that successful staging is accomplished by not stereotyping what you feel the next Pottery Barn or Ballard’s catalog will feature.,,By always expanding one’s horizons and reading up on what’s happening design -wise in France, Hawaii, California or Brazil. Global thinking, if you will.

In my opinion and depending on the essential elements of your palette, thinking outside the box while staging by adding a touch of drama, the unexpected or the lighthearted will enhance most atmospheres and word will spread thus gaining curiosity and interest from buyers and agents alike.

Most importantly the understanding that a beautiful home need not be intimidating or staid or a financial drain but rather be gracious, inviting and cost effective is one of the most successful formulas for Staging and how it differs from the work of our talented industry counterparts, the Interior Designers.

Great photos are essential to gaining interest. As well as the “before & afters” for a Stager’s book…When I first started out I often got so excited about diving in and starting a job that I forgot to take “before” photos, missing out on acquiring a timeline of reference material. Now it’s among the first things I do during the initial consultation, while the “after “photos are immediately sent to the owner/agent and are used for editorial as well.

Teresa Rutherford | Owner, The Sellable Home, LLC. Home Staging and Redesign

Staging is used for a few purposes in my view.

1) to help a buyer envision themselves living their dream lifestyle in a home.

2) to help minimize any areas that may cause a buyer objection by accentuating the home’s positives. Thus tipping the scale favorably so to speak.

3) over 90% of buyers search online for homes themselves before contacting an agent, or to tell their agent about homes they want to see, Staging (not just cleaning and decluttering) will make a home stand out favorably in online photos

Nikolene Isely | Owner at Stager by Design

Decorating is so different than staging a property. The purpose of staging is to showcase the property and have the home be center stage! Decorating is showcasing a clients’ collections, lifestyle and the home is the background. If the home has a phenomenal view you don’t what to hang art or have anything that distracts from the center stage. Yes you hang art and you have furniture, but remember what you are trying to sell.

These are the exact words from the pros of  home staging field. A “BIG THANKS” to all these gracious LADIES to send me their words. This discussion was actually for a magazine article, which unfortunately never happened. So, I decided to acknowledge their advice here in my blog article. ENJOY! 

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