By Sophie Azouaou - © 2006 SophiSticate Interiors
Hills Newspaper / East Bay Daily news, Friday January 14, 2006

In the course of my career I have been asked many times to explain the difference between Home Staging® and Interior Decorating. Even though both processes involve a great deal of creativity, talent and skills they are two different things.

  • Staging® is the process of preparing your home for sale. When you get ready to place your home on the market it becomes a product and just like any product at the local store it has features and benefits, pluses and minuses. Your home will need to stand out among the competition. In order to compete it should be priced right and look better than any other house on the market.
  • Decorating is the process of maximizing and enhancing the beauty of your home so you can enjoy it even more. Decorating is keeping up with the current trends so the house is not out of style. Decorating will also maximize you home’s equity. It will invite others to enjoy your home.
  • Staging® is becoming mandatory. You have to stage® your home to sell it well. As staging® has gained in its popularity, it has set standards and it has become necessary to do it. Staged® houses on the market look like well cared and maintained properties. The old way of just putting a “for sale’ sign is over. Staging® involves cleaning, de- cluttering, rearranging the furniture and accessories to show the features of the home.
  • Decorating is optional. You decide if and when you want your home to be redecorated. You plan ahead and work a budget for it. You are not decorating your home because you are selling it but because you want to live in it and enjoy it even more. It is your decision to make it more comfortable and more beautiful. Therefore it is your choice whether to redecorate or not.
  • Staging® is a fairly short process. It takes an average of two to five days to stage® a home depending on the square footage. If a house is vacant it may take longer as a lot of furniture and accessories will need to be brought in. On the other hand when a house is lived in, most of the time the client’s furniture is used and it can shorten the process of staging®. It will take a few more days to stage® if basic remodeling is involved such as replacing the carpet, repainting and landscaping. When staging® you have a deadline. The house needs to be on the market at a certain date and it should be ready by then.
  • Decorating is a long process. You embark on an adventure with your interior decorator (if you decide to hire one). Together or on your own you will invest time selecting colors patterns, fabrics, textures, furnishings and accessories. Every single item has to be the right one for you. It will reflect your taste and your personality. A lot of time will be devoted to reach that goal. It can take months to find that very special piece you have always wanted but could not find before.
  • Staging® is “de-personalizing”.The purpose of staging® is to “de-accessorize” and remove all personal things. Family pictures, portraits and personal accessories are removed. The house should look almost impersonal. Mostly neutral colors are used. The goal is for the prospective buyers to be able to envision their possessions in the house. They should not “fall in love” with your furnishings or accessories but they should” fall in love” with your house. The potential buyer needs to feel he is at home not in YOUR home.
  • Decorating is very personal. I always tell my clients that their house should be a reflection of them and who they are. It should show what you like. It should display your favorite art, books, family pictures and knickknacks. It should also show your family and friends what you have collected over the years and express your taste. Your home should say with pride: “this is who I am”.

Happy Decorating or Staging®!



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