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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