Home Staging = Interior decoration?

Home Stager with Destination Home Staging

The concept of Home Staging is still quite new to the Canadian real estate market. Some say they do not know what it is; others may have heard about it but had never done it before.

So, when I say that I do Home Staging, I often hear: “Oh, so you are an interior decorator!”

Yes, sure, to some extent. But do you know the real difference between Home Staging and Interior Decoration?

Interior decoration (not to be confused with Interior design) is the art of decorating a room according to the personal taste of the main user. An interior decorator will take into account the desired theme and style of the person using the space and try to create an individual setting while focusing on the ease of upkeep and the functionalism. The main goal of the Interior Decorator is to create a tailored environment that will contribute to the happiness, well-being, and productivity of one person or family in particular.

Home Staging on the other hand is the act of preparing a private residence for sale in the real estate marketplace. The goal of staging is to make a home appealing to the highest number of potential buyers, thereby selling a property more swiftly and for more money. Staging techniques focus on improving a property's appeal by transforming it into a welcoming, attractive product that anyone might want. 

So here are 5 main differences between Home Staging and Decoration:

Decoration: to decorate according to your personal taste

Home Staging : to use neutral decoration; to appeal to as many as possible


Decoration: to add personal touches to your home decor

Home Staging : to eliminate almost everything that speaks about your personality


Decoration: to create personal comfort and functionality

Home Staging : to accentuate strong points of the property discounting the comfort of your day-to-day life


Decoration: to buy new furniture, accessories and decorative objects

Home Staging : to use the existing to the maximum


Decoration: your house is your fortress

Home Staging : anybody can imagine living in your house and call it home

So, actually, while doing some Home Staging I do not decorate, I “undecorate”. I am not creating a house of your dreams I am trying to create a place that anybody would like to call their home.

It takes special knowledge and experience, a good understanding of the buyer and the market. I will decorate the home that you live in and I will stage the house that you sell.

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Re-Blogged 7 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Ginger Foust 01/31/2011 04:20 PM
  2. Michelle Molinari 02/01/2011 07:41 AM
  3. Linda Esposito 02/01/2011 09:38 AM
  4. Donald Bradbury 02/01/2011 08:02 PM
  5. Vivian Gilbert 02/02/2011 10:31 AM
  6. Michelle Drewry 02/02/2011 11:08 AM
  7. Irene Kennedy RealtorĀ® in Northwestern NJ 02/06/2011 09:51 AM
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Jason Burkholder
Weichert, Realtors - Engle and Hambright - Lancaster, PA
Sales Manager, Assoc. Broker, Realtor, e-Pro

Good post, but maybe , at least from my perspective, is that many decorators and homestagers are both.  I see decorators offer staging services all the time.  from the public's perspective, its very similar, so I think as long as you have people crossing into and out of both worlds you will continue to see this

Feb 02, 2011 11:30 AM #41
Irene Kennedy RealtorĀ® in Northwestern NJ
Weichert - Lopatcong, NJ


As I state in my preface to the reblog, this is brilliant!  I put my reblog into Draft to roll out tomorrow but know my local readers will greatly appreciate this post.

Feb 02, 2011 11:39 AM #42
Brad Hornshaw
Brad Hornshaw Realtor Lynnwood, Bothell, Everett - Lynnwood, WA
Realtor, Listing Agent, Buyers Agent, Investments
Hi Alla A very good explanation. I enjoyed this post. ........Brad
Feb 02, 2011 11:43 AM #43
Craig Hatcher
Georgia Residential Realty, LLC - Smyrna, GA

Great vs. chart, thanks for the post.

Feb 02, 2011 11:52 AM #44
Beth Lester
Home Staging Designs of California - Torrance, CA
Home Staging & Interior Decorating

RESA (Real Estate Staging Association) has made a great professional video for realtors and stagers to share with clients to clarify the need for staging the home.  I keep a couple of them and share them with realtors for clients that need a little better understanding. 


Feb 02, 2011 12:06 PM #45
Heather Tawes Nelson
Realty ONE Group - Scottsdale, AZ
Associate Broker, ABR, CLHMS, CRS - Scottsdale, AZ

I really enjoyed your post and had not thought of it broken down that way. It will be a great resource when talking to clients about potentially staging their homes. As you said, the goal is to appeal to as many people as possible.

Feb 02, 2011 12:41 PM #46
Betsy Shellman
Great idea to break down each point. I would love to include your point in an upcoming eletter, may I quote you?
Feb 02, 2011 12:45 PM #47
Alla Philippova
Destination Home Staging - Candiac, QC
Home Stager, Montreal Area

@Evelyn - Sure. I hope you sell your listing fast!

@SCA - Congratulations! And Good Luck!

@Kathy - Exactly! We all think we know best, but listening to another person may actualy save you money :)

@Judy - Not yet. :) I didn't think it would be THAT popular. And I am "jumpy"in general by nature. LOL

@Vivian - Thank you!

@Jason - I don't mind consumers confusing the terms: sttagers or decorators, doesn't matter, I just don't want them to think that their taste will suite everyone. They may find it beautiful, and it is fine as long as they live in that house, but to sell it fast they would have to "undecorate'. My point is: you decorate for yourself and stage for the others.

@Irene - Thank you!

@Betsy - Sure, no problem. Thanks. :)


Feb 02, 2011 01:19 PM #48
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi Alla,   Well written review of the differences.  I suspect there is a lot of cross over from one profession to the other due to the parallel concepts.

Feb 02, 2011 01:44 PM #49
Karen Paris
Keller Williams Capital Properties Fairfax - Fairfax, VA

Well said Alla!! A well staged home sells faster.

Feb 02, 2011 01:53 PM #50
Amy Bly

Love this explanation -- I know it, stagers know it, but a lot of agents and consumers don't know it. Sent it to a prospect of mine who just "isn't getting" why her 50 year old decor isn't getting her house sold after more than 2 years on the market! 

Feb 02, 2011 03:58 PM #51
Brenda & Ron Cunningham
West USA Realty - Phoenix, AZ
Realtors, Homes for Sale - Phoenix Metro

Staging a home does make a big difference. 

Feb 02, 2011 06:08 PM #52
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Wonderful explanation of the differences between decorating and staging. I wish staging had come into vogue back when I was still selling. I'm sure it would have made a huge difference.

Feb 02, 2011 06:45 PM #53
Bonnie Allen

Great post, It would be wonderful if not only the sellers would embrace staging but also their real estate agents. 

Feb 02, 2011 06:57 PM #54
Karen Bernetti
Staging4Smooth Transitions Connecticut Home Staging - Southington, CT

Well said Alla!  You speak my language.  I think the confusion lies in the fact that so many decorators also offer staging services.  Many sellers, agents (and even some decorators I'm afraid) get these concepts mixed up. 

Of course a distinction needs to also be made between staging vacant/model vs. occupied homes.  There IS a lot more decorating going on in the vacant home and "un-decorating" in the occupied.


Feb 03, 2011 12:17 AM #55
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

The tempation here is to try to be funny and joke about "Staging" a Canadian Home.  Thoughts of Hockey sticks and moose heads come to mind among other things.  But it was a really good post.  I will probably reblog it when rebloging is not disabled.

Feb 03, 2011 08:16 PM #56
Tony and Suzanne Marriott
Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ

The difference as I see it is Staging attempts to minimize clutter and maximize the appearance of space - whereas interior decorating is a free for all! :-)

Feb 05, 2011 09:37 AM #57
Jan Laurie
JL Residential Styling & Staging - Nanaimo, BC

Thanks for the post Alla.

I think the best compliment we can receive from a home owner is "this doesn't feel like my house anymore". Bingo! That's the idea.

Keep up the good work in Montreal.

Feb 05, 2011 08:57 PM #58
Janice Sutton
1st Stage Property Transformations - Murrieta, CA
Home Stager - Temecula Murrieta

Great informative Home Staging post! Thanks for stating the differences between staging and decorating!

Yup, I hear the same when I tell them I am a Home Stager and they correct me with "Interior Decorator."  :/ 

Oh well at least more and more get what a Home Stager is then 5 years ago.  We've come a long way! :)

Feb 15, 2011 08:29 PM #59
Kelly Penuita
DecoChic Interiors ~Creating Beautiful Spaces~ Winnipeg, MB - Winnipeg, MB

Very well put Alla!  I find I have to explain these differences quite often.

Happy Staging!

Kelly  :)

Mar 18, 2011 05:42 PM #60
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Alla Philippova

Home Stager, Montreal Area
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