In recent years we have had a huge amount of buzz about staging. Staging is a fantastic tool for selling a home. Unfortunately there have been many times in which staging is confused with interior design. So I thought I would clear up some of the very important differences between staging and designing.

Staging is all about how to sell a product. It is about how to best market an display a product. It is a sales tool. It is usually about how to sell a home but it can be about how to sell a product or service. When we apply staging to a residential home it is used to sell a home faster and for more money. This means that the house must be put together to attract the most people and offend almost no one. This means that whomever owns the house is not important. Whomever is using the house is not important. What is important is the mind set of the potential purchasers. This means that it is about depersonalizing the home so as to allow potential buyers to be able to see themselves in the home. The best way to say it is that staging is nothing about the owner and everything about the buyer.

Designing on the other hand is all about the home owner. Jessica Mann Amato defines design as “Design is the expression of the envelope that surrounds you at work, at home, at play, everywhere. It’s creating an experience, an emotion, or a story of your surroundings; helping life’s functions to be pleasing to the senses while organizing you.” NCIDQ defines design as “Interior design is a multi-faceted profession in which creative and technical solutions are applied within a structure to achieve a built interior environment. These solutions are functional, enhance the quality of life and culture of the occupants and are aesthetically attractive. Designs are created in response to and coordinated with the building shell and acknowledge the physical location and social context of the project.” As you can see both definitions talk about function and how that relates to the end user. Designing is about getting to know the client and creating the perfect space for them.

Staging is more about trends than function. When staging a home it is important to make sure it is relevant and evokes the current trends in design and fashion. Again it is about appealing to a buyer not about how it actually functions. When staging a home the furniture and treatments are solely for the look. They are not made to last, they are not made to function for someone to actually use them.

Designing is just as much about function if not more than, it is trends and fashion. The space has to function for the user. If it doesn’t it is simply bad design. So that means that even if there are certain trends that are popular or in fashion they simply may not work for the design. A good designer would advise their client of this and work to incorporate as much of the trend as is functional. This may mean that a better option and not the current trend is elected for the design to function properly. A stager never has to take this into consideration.

So when you think about staging know it is about the buyer not the home owner. When you think about design it is about the home owner not about anyone else and that includes the designer. So when you are looking for the right designer for you, remember to ask them how they work and how they feel about staging. It will be very enlightening about how they will treat your project. Staging has a wonderful purpose and it is a great real estate tool, however it is not designing.