Staging vs. Interior Decorating: Understanding the Difference for Sellers

When you’re getting ready to sell your home, it can be tricky to figure out the best way to show it off to potential buyers. You might hear a lot about home staging vs. interior decorating, but even though they both make your place look great, they’re not the same thing.

Home Staging

Home staging is all about setting the stage for buyers. You’ll strip down the personal touches and set things up so that anyone walking through can imagine themselves living there. It’s about making your home appeal to the widest audience possible, which can help you sell it faster and possibly for more money.

Interior Decorating

Interior decorating, on the other hand, is more about making your space your own. It’s where you get to play around with your favorite styles, colors, and decor to suit your taste. But when you’re selling, what you love might not be what buyers are looking for.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through the key differences between staging and decorating so you can figure out which approach might work best for you as you prepare to put your house on the market.

What Is Home Staging?

Home staging is all about prepping your place so that as many buyers as possible can see themselves living there. The goal? To make your home so appealing that it flies off the market.

When you stage a home, you’re highlighting what makes your place great. You focus on showing off the potential and the best features of your home, whether that’s a spacious living room, a cozy nook, or great natural lighting. It’s about creating a welcoming atmosphere that anyone can fall in love with.

For example, imagine you’ve got a living room that’s seen better days and is a bit cluttered. A stager would come in and clear out all the non-essential stuff, maybe even remove some furniture to open up the space. 

Then, they’d rearrange what’s left to create a cleaner flow from room to room. They might also switch out any bold colors for neutral tones that make the room look bigger and brighter, which appeals to more people. This kind of setup helps potential buyers picture themselves in your home, making it more likely that they’ll want to make an offer.

What Is Interior Decorating?

Interior decorating is all about making your space truly yours. It’s where you get to show off your style and pick out things that make you happy every time you walk into a room.

When you decorate, you’re choosing everything from the style of your furniture to the colors of your walls based on what you love. Maybe you’re into bright, bold colors or maybe you prefer something more subdued—interior decorating lets you call the shots. You can fill your home with items that mean something to you, like art you’ve picked up on your travels or family heirlooms that bring back memories.

An interior decorator could help you pick out a really cool, bold wallpaper that turns the wall into a focal point. Then, they might suggest adding some unique art pieces that go perfectly with that wallpaper and show off your personal style. It’s all about creating a space that feels right for you and makes your home a place where you love to spend time.

Comparing Staging vs. Decorating

When you’re looking at staging versus decorating, it’s really about different goals, processes, and outcomes. Here’s a quick overview of each:


Home Staging

Interior Decorating


To make a home appealing to the highest number of potential buyers.

To tailor a space according to the personal tastes and needs of the homeowner.


Highlighting the property’s strengths and downplaying its weaknesses.

Personalizing the space with specific styles, colors, and decorations.


Temporary—set up for selling the house.

Permanent or long-term based on the homeowner’s preference.


Neutral setup to appeal to a broad audience.

Highly personalized to the client’s preferences.


Generally minimal; focuses on maximizing return on investment.

Can vary widely, generally tailored to the client’s budget and desires.


Rental furniture and accessories are commonly used.

Purchased items that the homeowner will keep.

Client Involvement

Minimal; the goal is to depersonalize the space.

High; based on the client’s choices and lifestyle needs.

Outcome Goal

To sell the property quickly at the highest possible price.

To create a comfortable, functional, and aesthetically pleasing living space.

Here’s how they stack up:


  • Staging: You aim to depersonalize your home to sell it quickly at the highest price possible. It’s not about your personal taste; it’s about what sells.
  • Decorating: You personalize your space to make it perfect for your everyday living. It’s all about what you like and what makes you feel at home.


  • Staging: This might mean bringing in temporary furniture and opting for neutral designs that appeal to a broad audience. You’re setting up your home more like a model house than your personal space.
  • Decorating: You’re in it for the long haul, choosing permanent fixtures and furniture that reflect your personal taste. From vibrant paint colors to your favorite art, it’s all about what makes you smile.


  • Staging: The main goal is a quick sale. You want buyers to walk in and see a home they can see themselves living in, which often means making it look less like your home and more like their potential home.
  • Decorating: It’s about creating a comfortable and inviting living environment that suits your lifestyle. You’re building a space where you can relax, enjoy, and live your life to the fullest.

Why Staging Matters for Sellers

Staging makes your home look great in listings and reduces the time your home sits on the market. Homes that are staged often sell faster because they’re set up to help buyers visualize themselves living there. This is crucial in a competitive market.

From a financial standpoint, staging can also bump up your sale price. According to a survey by the National Association of Realtors, staged homes sell for 1% to 5% more than non-staged homes. That might not sound like a lot at first, but on a $300,000 house, that’s an extra $3,000 to $15,000 in your pocket.

By staging your home, you’re not just making it look nicer; you’re strategically setting it up to appeal to buyers’ dreams of living there, which can lead to a quicker sale and a higher selling price.

Schedule a Home Staging Consultation with Dazzle

Home staging can transform your average home into a top-selling property and give you negotiating power with potential buyers. Before you list your house, contact Dazzle Home Staging. Fill out our contact form or call us to schedule home staging in St. Louis, Missouri.


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