Staging vs. Decorating: Here’s The Difference

9 April 2018

Staging vs. Decorating: Here’s The Difference

Inman News

9 April 2018

Because a timely sale at the highest price is the most desirable outcome for sellers, having homes staged before going on the market is essential.

In getting a listing ready to sell, staging may sound exactly like redecorating to sellers, so hearing a suggestion that they have their property staged might sound like a criticism of their taste; however it’s an entirely different matter.

Here are some key points on how widely staging and decorating differ.

1. Stagers and interior designers may adhere to similar design principles, but their goals are completely different.

The decorator strives to make a home reflect the taste and support the lifestyle of the owners. A stagers’ purpose is to transform a home so it appeals to the greatest number of potential buyers.

Staging is designed to appeal to the target buyer, not to the current owners.

2. Staging is more like merchandising than decorating.

Like a good product stylist, a stager’s fundamental goal is to draw buyers’ attention to a property’s best features while minimizing its less desirable aspects. The materials, furnishings and accessories stagers use to achieve that goal will be tailored to the target buyer(s).

And the final design will highlight the most common buyer desires — a home that’s in move-in condition with updated kitchens and baths, spacious rooms, enhanced lighting and a neutral color palate.

3. A stager will have a large inventory of furniture and accessories in a variety of styles they can ‘rent’ to sellers as needed.

That factor alone can save sellers a lot of money. One of the most common problems stagers confront is furnishings that are not well-proportioned for the room. So their inventory not only includes varied styles and colors but also pieces in a variety of scales.

Properly scaled furnishings and accessories can make a snug room feel much more spacious — a common buyer “must-have.” The stager’s fee covers these added pieces for a specified period of time along with the expense of moving them in and out.

If sellers had to buy these items and pay for their delivery, those costs alone would greatly exceed the stager’s fee.  

4. Staging shows buyers how to use a home so they can envision themselves living there.

Homeowners outfit and use their spaces to suit their needs, tastes and lifestyles. Stagers demonstrate how rooms can best be used. Very few buyers can imagine how to use a space without such visual aids.

5. A good stager doubles as a photo stylist.

A good stager will make every room look good in photographs as well as in person. All buyers today see a property online before they decide to spend their precious time seeing a home in person. So good staging and excellent photography are essential because a home’s online appearance is the new “curb appeal.”

6. Effective staging and photography will make a listing stand out against the competition.

Buyers look at a lot of listings online before choosing the ones they want to visit. And, when they do visit in person, buyers often tour several properties a day in their search for “the one.”

Before long, all homes start to run together in buyers’ minds. Good staging differentiates your listing from the competition and makes it memorable. And that’s a good thing!