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Is Decorating the same as Home Staging?

Owner of Delta

Denise Sleeper, Jan 17 2021
Owner of Delta Home Staging & Redesign

Nope. There is a misconception that decorating and home staging are the same. As a professional home stager, I hear this all the time. “My girlfriend is good at decorating, so they can stage my home” or “I have some pillows and artwork, so I can stage their property”. Just because I have good scissors doesn’t mean I should be cutting your hair! 


Now, home staging and decorating do have some similarities. Both professions are knowledgeable about style, colour, floor planning, and décor to create visually appealing spaces. However, these two disciplines and their goals are very different. So, if you take nothing else from this blog, remember this: 

How you live and how you sell are different.

Decorating is how you live.

Home Staging is how you sell.


Let’s take a deeper dive into the differences.


The Feeling

Decorating is about the homeowner's style and how you choose to enjoy your home. If you want a zebra-striped sofa in your living room or you want neon green painted walls in your dining room, then go ahead and enjoy. If you want to have all of your family photos on the
walls and display your trophies and certificates, then go ahead and enjoy. If you love your
curio cabinets full of all of your collectibles and heirlooms, then go ahead and enjoy. Interior decorating is all about the beauty and comfort of YOUR space for YOUR enjoyment.


Home Staging on the other hand is not about the homeowner's style. It’s about marketing the home to appeal to the greatest number of future buyers. It’s understanding the target buyer demographic and curating the home to bring out the properties' best features. Home staging is about fuelling the imagination of potential buyers, so they see themselves living in this home.


So, let’s take a step back in time. Where did the word “staging” originate? It harkens back
to the theatre and performing. Actors needed props such as furniture, backdrops, etc. to enhance the actor's storyline and performance. Home staging is similar as it is creating the right “props” to tell the right story to the right buyer.

The Financials

When a homeowner decorates, there is typically not an increased gain in the value of the property. The value is from the pleasure the homeowner gets. You can spend as much or
as little as you like to make the impact you want.

On the flip side, the main goal of home staging is about creating monetary gain – getting the biggest bang for the sellers buck. Home staging is well researched showing a positive return on investment. A home stager knows the right amount to be invested to yield the greatest impact.

The Function

When decorating a home, the design is based on the functional needs of the homeowner.
Do you have a large family that requires a lot of comfortable, durable furniture for family get-togethers? Are you a retired couple with a large art collection and enjoy silk fabrics imported from the Far East? The design is focused on those living in the home.

Home staging is designing to inspire future buyers. Picture the spa-like ensuite, the romantic and serene master bedroom, the stylized coffee table and the streamlined bookshelves. Home staging is aspirational. It’s creating that perfect image about how we all “think” we want to live. It’s creating an emotional connection with the home and not the homeowner's items.

Home staging is about making the house look spacious by using current proportional furniture and accessories and moving the buyer's eyes to the best features of the home. Keep in mind that furniture in a staged room doesn’t necessarily make the most sense if you lived in it. A home stager knows how to maximize the layout and flow to know how the rooms will look best when taking the all-important professional photos.

Here is a quick comparison chart:


So, let’s circle back to the beginning.


How you live and how you sell are different.

Decorating is how you live.

Home Staging is how you sell.


So, if you are planning on living in your home, then a professional decorator is best suited for you to maximize your enjoyment in your home. If your goal is to sell your house fast and for the most amount of money, then employing a professional home stager is your best bet.

Dining room with elevated furniture
Dining room with bright light and elevated accessories
Purple bedroom with gold lamps
Social post showing a comparison between decorating and staging
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