Interior Design Versus Home Staging

By Adrienne Green, REALTOR

We are delighted to have a Guest Blogger for this week. Adrienne Green is a realtor in the Loudoun County, Virginia area.

People love their homes, and many customize their homes to their personal tastes with interior design. Perhaps you have sentimental items or family photos on display. Maybe a prized family heirloom is featured in your living room. Is your favorite color highlighted in accessories, or maybe even painted on the walls?  Your home has been a haven for you and your family, and that is reflected in the interior design.


Design by Margery Wedderburn Interiors. Photograph by Angie Seckinger.

When it’s time to sell your house and find a new place to call home, it is important to stage your home to sell, which has some differences compared to interior design. Interior design’s goal is to make your house beautiful and functional for you, while home staging is focused on making your house appeal to everyone else.

While it is work to stage your home to sell, it is well worth it as staged homes sell faster and for more money.  Home staging recommendations (even for homes with great interior design) are to depersonalize, minimize, and create space.

“Depersonalizing” means making your house more neutral and generic so buyers could see themselves living in that space. Family photos, diplomas, and any accessories or furniture that may be sentimental but aren’t on-trend should be removed. Strong colors should also be replaced: bed linens, throw pillows, and wall paint are easy switches to make a home more neutral. Anything related to pets or politics should be packed up: both can alienate a potential buyer.


Design by Margery Wedderburn Interiors. Photograph by Angie Seckinger.

“Minimizing” is getting rid of the stuff on the horizontal surfaces of your home. These items may be great interior design elements that add beauty or utility to your day, but remember that your house, not the stuff in it, is the focus when you are selling. You want buyers to look at the house, and not your possessions. Common items that need to be removed are collections or collectibles, magazines, and small kitchen appliances.


Kitchen Design by Margery Wedderburn Interiors. Photograph by Angie Seckinger.

Every buyer wants a house that seems spacious, not cramped. Therefore, a goal of home staging is to create the sense of space. That may mean rearranging (or removing) furniture so that a Realtor and buyer(s) can easily flow into and out of rooms without feeling cramped while touring the home. An interior designer may not have to consider if you have dozens of people in the house for an open house, but a stager certainly does!

Design by Margery Wedderburn Interiors. Timothy Bell Photography.

Creating a sense of space also means getting rid of any extra storage: you want buyers to think the house has ample storage, not that you’ve needed to create more. An interior designer may come up with beautiful ways to have extra storage, but for home staging purposes all of that extra storage needs to be gone. While an interior designer may not focus on your closets, a stager will. Closets should appear spacious, so excess items need to be removed, and the closets need to be organized.

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Image courtesy of Better Homes and Garden

A house with great interior design is a joy to inhabit, but it may not be optimized to sell. Using the staging strategies of depersonalizing, minimizing, and creating space will help even the most beautiful house sell faster for the most amount of money.

Adrienne Green is a Realtor in Northern Virginia. Learn more at www.adriennegreen.com.

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