By: Jennifer Geddes
Home staging versus interior design: What’s the difference? And which one do you need? While both share the goal of making your home look its best (and many pros offer both services), each serves a very distinct purpose. Here are some questions to ask to help you decide which one is right for you.
Are you selling your home soon, or staying put?
To begin, consider whether you’re planning a move in the near future. If a sale is on your mind, a home staging company is the right choice.
“Home staging is all about prepping your house so it will appeal to as many buyers as possible,” explains Dessie Sliekers of Slick Designs.
Home staging can include changing out paint colors, adding new pictures and artwork, and bringing in furniture and accessories. This service is generally viewed as a temporary one that’s done in order to garner bids and result in a sale.
But if you’re settled into your home for the foreseeable future, an interior designer would be more suitable.
“An interior designer is knowledgeable about building construction, remodeling, and structural details,” says Sara Chiarilli, a designer with Artful Conceptions in Tampa, FL.
While a designer may also offer home staging services, this professional offers a much broader range of services, from complete overhauls (ripping out walls, installing new flooring) to simple color updates (paint, carpet, drapes, upholstery).
“A designer will create a beautiful, functional space for her client that will last,” Chiarilli says.
Do you want to express your personal style, or fetch top dollar when you sell?
Home staging often has pretty rigid sales tactics (e.g., rolling three towels just so in the powder room, or displaying shiny green apples on the dining table nearly every time). This isn’t to say there aren’t different approaches to home staging, but the majority of a stager’s tweaks will be impersonal and on the generic side.
“A home staging company is concerned with placing furniture to best sell the property and won’t necessarily take into account what the client really likes,” says Chiarilli.
Sliekers agrees: “With home staging, you’ll receive firm suggestions.”
The upside, however, is that on average, a staged property sells 88% faster and for 20% more than a nonstaged one.
Hire an interior designer, on the other hand, and you get a lot more creative control. Do you want a bright-green laundry room and a tricked-out master bath? A designer will work to meet your needs.
“This professional operates as your partner to handle paint consultation, light fixtures, improved plumbing, new furniture, finishes, artwork, and rugs—all of which is approved by the client,” says Sliekers.
Are you on a tight budget or want to spend big?
Home stagers charge based on the size and scope of the project, averaging around $500 per month for each room you want staged. This can go up if you’re renting furniture or artwork to stage your home.
However steep that may seem, an interior designer will charge more—anywhere from $100 to $500 per hour, depending on her expertise.
“Staging tends to be cheaper because it’s usually a one-time consultation, sometimes paired with the selection of rental furnishings or artwork,” says Sliekers. Interior design, on the other hand, is a much more expansive service, so that’s reflected in the price.