The difference between home decorating and home staging
Home decorating and home staging are not the same. This is a common misconception with home sellers and Realtors who may not have experience working with a home stager.
When you understand the two distinctions you are one step closer to finding, and working with, a professional who can best serve your needs and deliver results.
Both home staging and home decorating are valuable services with very different objectives.
A home stager’s goal is to package a home to sell fast and get the highest price. This is accomplished by presenting the best visual image online first that will schedule a home showing. This means showcasing the best features of the home, and a lifestyle, to attract the largest pool of buyers that will result in a home showing.
Investment to prepare and stage a home will range from .5 to 1% of listing price. These costs can include updating fixtures, painting, handywork, furniture and art rentals, and the staging expert’s fees.
How a home stager plans rooms:
Home stagers use furnishings, accessories, art, and plants to extenuate the positive aspects of the home and appeal to the largest pool of buyers. The home seller’s personal style preferences are irrelevant in the staging.
Home stagers install furniture, accessories and elements to best present the home’s style and that will resonate with prospects. Professional photos are important to cut through the clutter of other homes online. This can mean installing certain items that make a lifestyle statement and also present well online.
It is not uncommon to stage with less furnishings than in a decorating project. Fewer items will make the spaces feel larger. In the perfect world, a good home stager installs items that not only fit the space, but also align to the price point of the home for sale. If the home seller does not provide the stager with an appropriate budget, the items installed may not be ideal.
Tailored – furnishing options
With the home’s architectural style in mind, a home stager selects furnishings from their available inventory at the time the contract is executed. The choices are tailored to best appeal to the buyer’s profile. Stager’s inventory changes every day based the homes staged. Scheduling can impact furnishing availability.
The stager selects the items
The home seller does not approve the items before the staging. They are hiring a professional and need to trust their expertise and remember why they are staging, to get the home sold.
Changes after the install
Most stagers will charge a fee for edits to a staging after the items are installed. If the homeowner or Realtors has ideas or insight, this needs to be shared with the stager in the planning process.
How long does staging take to plan and install?
Depending on the home size and the team’s project load, it can take from 2 – 5 days to stage. De staging takes less time, but requires a 10-day notice to pick up items.
A home decorator’s goal is to create aesthetically pleasing, functioning and comfortable environments that reflect a homeowner’s personal style, design preferences and values.
Investment to decorate a home can range from 30-40% of the home’s value. This varies based upon the scope of work, but can typically include fixtures, furnishings, art, window treatments, rugs and accessories and the home decorator and craftsman’s fees.
How a home decorator works: Home decorators create spaces that reflect the homeowner’s personal style and design preferences. They design and plan around how they live and what’s important to them.
Home decorators install furniture, accessories and elements that are selected to create a livable space with function, comfort and personalization. Items in a decorating project also reflect the customer’s budget and their quality standard. Home decorators are often involved in selecting finishes, fixtures and structural aspects of the home. While customers hire a decorator for their talent and design sensibility, the best home design projects are collaborative with the home dweller and the professional home decorator.
Personalized – furnishing options
A home decorator has the global marketplace to source both stock product and custom items for the client. Timelines and budgets are not always a factor.
Decorator prepares vision boards prior to installation
Vision boards present design stories before items are ordered and installed. The decorator relies on the home planning feedback and their style preferences.
Changes after install
Custom items cannot be returned or exchanged. Depending on the supplier returns and exchanges are allowed, but, may have re stocking fees.
How much time does a decorator need to design and furnish a home?
Depending on the home size, numbers of rooms, and custom items, the average home decorating can range from 30 days to 6 months.
Home Frosting helps home sellers and homeowners with home staging and home decorating. In both cases we start with the end result in mind, work within a budget and a set schedule. If you have a project, we’d love to learn more, see if we are good fit and create a delicious life and home for you!
Karen Post is a Tampa-based interior designer, home stager and home stylist. Catch her on Daytime, a nationally syndicated lifestyle show and on HGTV sharing design tips and staging strategies. She's also a regular contributor to the National Association of Realtors publications, providing staging and design advice to 1.3M realtors.
Home Frosting is a Tampa-based interior design studio providing home interiors, home decorating, remodeling, custom furnishings and SELECT™ luxury home staging services. Headquartered near the Tampa International Airport, we have a retail showroom by appointment, an e-commerce store, and service Tampa, South Tampa, St Petersburg, Clearwater, Belleair, Apollo Beach, and the surrounding areas.