Interior Design vs. Home Staging: What exactly is the difference? (With Photo Examples!)

People often ask me the main differences between Home Staging and Interior Design, or even Interior Redesign, so I thought I would post my official response.

Home Staging is essentially the art of preparing a home to sell. The goal is to appeal to the most potential buyers as possible for a quick and profitable real estate transaction. The basic idea when staging a home is to play up the positive features of the space.

Interior Design, or even Interior Redesign for that matter, is the practice of working with a homeowner to personalize their space for the way they live and intend to use it, and to emphasize their own personal style.

When I am staging a home to sell, I am much more concerned with how a potential buyer will view the space than how a homeowner is currently living in it. The goal is to sell the home quickly for the highest price, so that is where I concentrate my efforts. When I am redesigning a space, the homeowner’s style, needs, and opinions are my top priority. The objective is to please the owner and make the home functional for them and pleasing to their aesthetics.

As a Home Staging Expert™, I do get a lot of requests from people to come in and ‘stage’ their home, even though they don’t plan to move. Clients who ask me to come in and redesign their space are typically former staging clients or have been recommended by former staging clients. They like the look and they would like me to help them get the same feeling in their current home.

I charge exactly the same for redesign as I do for home staging. The only difference is that I do not do any shopping for my home staging clients, but I am often asked to shop for my redesign clients and they are charged accordingly. While I am usually in and out of a home staging job in a day, my relationship with a redesign client…while it can sometimes be completed in a day, depending on the project…might last for weeks or even longer.

Both Home Staging and Interior Redesign are intensely creative and very case specific undertakings that come from two very different perspectives. One is not equal to the other. The home shown above is a perfect example.

In this case, I was called in to stage a property that had been professionally decorated by a certified interior designer a few years before. The designer had created a space that was pleasing to the homeowner…heavy lace draping, seating to induce comfort and conversation, a table to display personal photos and mementos, etc.

Of course, staging the property meant undoing much of the design. The goal was to show off the soaring ceilings and gorgeous view, one of the attributes that prompted the current owner to purchase the property to begin with, bring in more natural light, and create visible square footage by implementing a more open and inviting furniture arrangement.

The changes I made, while perhaps more subtle than many staging projects I have taken on, are still quite recognizable and a wonderful example depicting the principle characteristics of Interior Design vs. Home Staging. To get a better idea of the changes I made and the difference between the two, click on the photos to enlarge.

*All Photos the property of Lori Matzke and Center Stage Home, Inc. Photos may not be republished/reprinted without permission.

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Back by POPULAR DEMAND! Coming to Long Island, New York in March of 2014 – 1-Day Home Staging Certification Workshops!

March 10, 2014 – Huntington, NY
March 11, 2014 – Hempstead, NY
March 13, 2014 – Brookhaven, NY

Whether you’re a realtor and your goal is to stage your own listings or advise your clients on the process, or if you are looking for a major career change, our 1-DAY HOME STAGING CERTIFIED TRAINING will provide you with all the tools you need to succeed!

Home Staging provides a VALUE ADDED SERVICE for homeowners preparing to sell. By having a clear understanding of the ABSOLUTE TRUTH behind the action, you will walk away with the ability to utilize your new-found skills to assist!

Because we know your time is valuable, we are pleased to offer SIMPLY THE BEST Hands-On Home Staging training in the industry! Our no-nonsense approach and stream-lined system ensures YOU WON’T BE BOGGED DOWN with unnecessary rules and regulations. Instead, we provide all the information you need to ‘THINK LIKE A STAGER’, regardless of your current skill level or aptitude in design.

You will learn EXACTLY what to say and how to say it without offending! How to edit a room QUICKLY and EFFICIENTLY! Arrange furnishings and accessorize for the biggest IMPACT! Thoughtfully choose THE RIGHT PAINT COLORS for the best results! And we’ll even show you how to TAKE BETTER PHOTOS for your internet marketing and brochures!

What you receive…

180-page Training Manual!
253-page Full Color Home Staging Book!
10-Step Business & Marketing Program!
Your Final Exam!
Full Use of the HSE™ Logo!
Lifetime Website Listing!
Monthly Industry Newsletters!

SIGN UP EARLY and enjoy $100.00 OFF! Bring a friend and DOUBLE your savings. Just contact me at for the discount code. Space is already filling up, so please don’t delay. We don’t get to Long Island as often as we’d like, but when we do…it’s a MAJOR EVENT! Hope to see you there!

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Staging Cold Rooms for Warmth

A warm and inviting space will always entice potential buyers in during the cold winter months. And warming up a space is very easy to achieve through color and texture.

Choosing shades of brown, cream, or gold for paint or as accent colors can help set the stage. You can turn up the heat a notch by accessorizing in brick red or burnt sienna.

Take the idea one step further and include a mix of textures, from soft and cuddly, to sleek and sensuous. You can achieve this by mixing a few silky pillows in with a fuzzy throw, or adding a thick, wooly rug for instant snuggle quality.

The key is not only to stage the property and highlight its best features, but to create a mood that makes a potential buyer want to curl up right there and settle in for good!

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2-Day Home Staging Workshop – TORONTO, ONTARIO

2-Day Home Staging Workshop – February 3 & 4, 2014

Taught by long-time Center Stage Home™ Affiliates, Home Staging Expert™ Certified Trainers, and two of my most favorite people, I might add, this is not a class you want to miss!

Carole Sherkey and Mary Helen Rosenberg are the owners of Stage to Sell. These two pack a lot of style and business experience in their punch and have been proving my ’avoid-business-partners’ theory wrong for years!

When I first met this dynamic duo way back when, they just wanted to do a little staging in Toronto. Maybe on the side. Just, you know, here and there. But just a few years and thousands of staged rooms later, and you can see why they are now considered the premier staging and home staging training company in Canada!

Please stop by, check out their website at and see if you can still get in on the workshop they’re holding in Toronto! They’ll teach you twice as much and you’ll be ten times happier you did!

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Winter Home Staging – Bringing in More Light

"Ballard Design's SACHA Mirror placed just off the window helps reflect even more light into this dining room!"

“Ballard Design’s SACHA Mirror placed just off the window helps reflect even more light into this dining room!”

Light, bright spaces SELL! To prevent the dark and dreary days of winter from sabotaging your best staging efforts, follow these simple steps…

1) Encourage more sunshine! To bring in as much natural light as possible, take down
heavy window treatments, remove screens when appropriate, and give the windows a
good cleaning.

2) The most well-lit rooms have a good balance of natural, overhead, and surface lighting
to ensure an evenly lit space. Don’t be afraid to mix it up!

3) Need to lighten it up even more? Use brighter bulbs! A higher wattage bulb will throw
out an even brighter light! Just make sure to use a proper wattage for the light/lamp.

4) Reflective surfaces are sure to make a dark room sparkle! Mirrors, glassware, shiny
artwork, and glass-topped tables keep a space feeling light, bright, and inviting.

*Ballard Design’s SACHA Mirror, shown here, was placed just off the window and helps add dazzle and daylight to this dining room!

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Staging a Basement, Creating a Family Room THAT SELLS!

When it comes to staging your house for market, the more livable, finished space you can show a buyer, the better! And when it came to this basement…it wasn’t exactly the kind of space that would have a buyer “oohing and ahhing!” But we changed all that, and as a result, this listing had multiple offers within days and sold over list price!

In this case, low ceilings, dated paneling, and a cold tile floor were major turn-offs. With a couple of easy, low-cost fixes, however, this basement was easily transformed into a bright and cheery family room in no time!

I first tied it all together by painting the walls, doors, trim, and paneling a nice creamy shade of antique white. This was the best color choice to make the room seem much larger and more open, and to brighten it up since there were no windows. Next, I painted the ceiling and cleaned up the fireplace using a baking soda solution and metal brush.

After giving the tile floors a good scrub, I warmed them up with an inexpensive sisal area rug, then layered that with a faux-animal hide I cut out in the shape of a cowhide rug using a couple of yards of faux-fur found on clearance.

To add visual square footage, the sofa and chair were arranged on the diagonal. Not only does this layout open up the space, but it also draws the eye directly to the fireplace.

Lighting is especially important in rooms like this where there is no natural lighting to be had, so a floor lamp and table lamp were also placed on the diagonal to light up the furthest points of the room.

A glass top coffee table helps reflect the light and keeps the space looking open and airy, while silk greenery as well as black & white artwork placed over the fireplace, help draw the buyer’s eye around the room and make it feel more homey.

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