What do you mean "vs" you ask? Aren't they one in the same?
Be honest, this is what you thought when you read the title. You are not alone, many do, including folks who sell their services as home stagers, so don't feel bad. But this is not intended to criticisize anyone's work - directly. And I guess it really isn't the end of the world because lets face it, whether you get a professional home stager or home decorator or you just grab a couple friends and declutter and redecorate yourself, you're going to improve how the home shows. But here's where I get a little excited; a home decorator is not a home stager and although they may use that title, beware, because even a home that has been carefully and beautifully decorated can end up being harder to sell because of all that work.
How can you tell the difference? That my friend is the reason for this blog.
A home decorator is just that and will work with you to establish how you live, what your tastes are and help you create a space that is functional and comfortable......for you. A home stager will evaluate the home, identify the home's best and worst features and create a plan that will highlght the best features and try to create a sense of space in every room, but....and this is the major difference......not for you! A home stager should have a good background in real estate and understand what it is that will either keep a buyer in your home wanting to see more (this happens in the 1st 10 seconds) or send them screaming from the house never to look back. Decorating is added solely to create a sense of good up keep and a little icing to the cake but never ever distract from those things that will actually SELL the house. This often times means that your favourite room in the whole house which you painted a deep purple and lovingly display your collection of painted horses has to be neutralized, assessed for its best use and completetly devoid of all painted equine. Or the 3rd bedroom that has bcome the man cave with the autographed parafanalia of Wayne Gretzky and Brett Favre and the 60" flat screen mounted securely on the wall, while rating very high on the "cool" factor and "gets used all the time" , will not help to sell that house. A very simple beige 3rd bedroom will. Rather than buying throws and flowers, new door handles and baseboards go way further. Area rug or no area rug? A decorator almost always will say yes! A home stager very often will say no. Why? Because an area rug defines a space and says "this area here is restricted for this". When we're wanting to sell we want every room to appear as large as possible and only "hint" at what the use should be without using up too much space. Know what I mean? Try it - remove an area rug you currenlty have in a room - the room just grew didn't it. Granted its not as warm and may look unfinished and to live there you want that area rug - but if you're buying you're assessing that room for size - how much furniture will fit etc - so if we stage it with a couple peices, no rug, you're already finishing it in your mind with a rug, more seating etc because its HUGE! Tons of room. And don't even get me started on art work vs photographs or religious art or...........
So without carrying on and on, cause I really could, I think the point is that when a home stage comes in they basically treat your home as a product. A product that will be on the shelf alongside others in the same price range and being directly compared. If you have already taken the step of listing your home for sale you are saying you are letting it go, so let it go already! DO NOT DECORATE IT! Have it staged. There's a difference.