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Do You Know the Difference between an Interior Decorator and a Home Stager?

Updated: Nov 15, 2022

As a Professional Home Stager in Houston, TX, I am often asked what the difference is. The common misconception is that the two are one and the same; that is not the case. We will start by defining what home staging is.

Professional home staging is indeed a form of home design; however it is in fact quite a ways different from interior decorating or design. Home staging is the art and science of preparing an occupied (a house that is lived in) or a vacant house for sale. Home staging is designed to highlight a home’s best features and helps clients sell quickly and for top dollar. It is the ONLY service done in preparation of the house that brings MEASURABLE Value.

Home staging elevates a home’s charm to appeal to the largest pool of prospective buyers while maintaining its design integrity. When a property is styled and furnished in good taste, it converts into competitive offers and amplified demand. More often than not, the investment in staging comes back to a seller many times over in the final sale price. As Barb Schwarz, the creator of home staging says, “The investment in staging is always less than a price reduction”. Ultimately, the benefits of marketing a home that has been methodically styled and prepared for the larger buying audience outweighs the initial expenses and produces a far greater return.

A home stager uses a number of techniques to create an environment of universal marketability for the property by repairing, de-cluttering, de-personalizing, re-arranging, re-accessorizing, and neutralizing the home’s interior as well as exterior furnishings. If you cannot see it, you cannot sell it. Adding new bedding and accessories as well as accent pillows, throws and flowers can liven up rooms with paint and exhilaration. Shelves can be styled with books and interesting objects and artwork can be displayed throughout the house.

A home stager uses these proven strategies to show that a property is welcoming, larger, clean and inviting both inside and out. To put it simply, the job of a home stager is to remove the seller and the emotional impact of their stuff from the home and make a potential buyer want to live there. Sometimes the master bedrooms have so much stuff in them, they look like furniture stores. Home staging does not fill a room with furniture; it shows the best part and the purpose and size of the space. Interior decorating will more than likely include more furniture and finishes.


A few illustrations of how home stagers purposefully improve a client’s home would consist of:

  • Removing clutter from rooms including, but not limited to living rooms and bedrooms. Clients should decide which items they want to keep or dismiss.

  • Showing a client’s belongings in ways that are appealing to the eye. This is often times referred to as interior re-design. Home stagers arrange furniture, art and home accessories in a precise order to enhance a specified room. Thoughtful furniture installation and placement can give a buyer an understanding of how to use a space or how to a best arrange their own furnishings.

  • Removing personal items, such as family photos, religious items and sports memorabilia. This helps to create a broader space that any buyer could imaging themselves living in.

  • Assessing any repairs that need to be made to the home’s exterior improving curb appeal. These improvements could consist of painting walls in lighter colors, installing new carpeting and by adding uniform-colored bulbs.

  • Resurfacing kitchen counters and replacing old appliances with new, more updated ones.


Home staging is a dynamic, widespread service that is in great demand! When a buyer can

imagine how they will live in a space, it increases their chances of purchasing. “The majority of buyers only know what they see, not what it is going to be”. Home stagers gain trust with clients who rely on their services and know-how to sell their home. They are the experts in making delicate or extensive changes to the property in order to facilitate a fast and profitable sale. A home stager decorates a property for the real estate market as home staging is about selling a perceived lifestyle. They can see all of the rooms and spaces with no distractions. The ‘stage’ is set for them to make that purchase! Remember, “It’s My Business to Set the Stage”.

On the other hand, Interior Decorators are mainly about aesthetics yet practical considerations with particular emphasis on unity and flow. Interior decorating or design refers to the act of working with a homeowner to personalize the design for their space; just the opposite of home staging. Interior decorators tend to be hired by clients who might be overwhelmed with the idea of revamping or making any changes to their home, or even specific rooms within their

home. They work closely with their clients to select color schemes, furniture placement, purchasing new design items and accessorize in ways that reflect the client’s unique taste and

personality. You can think of them as an expert who can help you bring an entirely new look to your existing space while working within a client’s budget.

Interior decorators manage budgets along with schedules throughout the entire process.

Budget management involves not only guarantees that decorations and furniture stay within the

client’s budget, but also ensuring profitability for the interior decorator. Managing schedules and deadlines is equally important, as interior decorators must maintain a balanced workflow and meet client expectations to stay profitable.


An interior decorator transforms a client’s home by using some of the following:

  • A checklist to evaluate a space in order to define what is missing, or what could be upgraded including traffic flow.

  • Replicating a desired style within your client’s home, such as a Mid-Century Modern, Shabby Chic, Bohemian, Traditional or a Contemporary design style.