Love Where You Live: Staging Your Home vs Decorating

Posted July 21, 2018 in Real Estate Trends

Shana O’Brien 2018, Clark County WA real estate agent

“My home is beautifully decorated. I don’t need to stage it to sell, it’s already fabulous.”

As a Realtor and stager, I’ve heard this many times, and I have had the privilege to visit some beautifully decorated homes that anyone would envy. But I wanted to use this opportunity to talk about the difference between staging and decorating your home.

When you decorate your home, or have it professionally done by an interior designer, you’re creating an environment that speaks to you on a personal level and meets the needs of how you live, how you use your space, how you enjoy your home. Having your home staged to sell is an entirely different beast, and understanding the difference between the two can equal money in your pocket when you’re selling your home.

When you hire a professional stager, their goal is not the same as your designer. Rather than create a space that speaks to you and supports your lifestyle, a stager is going to highlight the features of the home itself, demonstrate how the space can best be utilized, and create a beautiful but neutral look that will not distract a potential buyer. Professional staging is affordable and worth investigating, but if you want to take some steps toward a well-staged home on your own, here are my top three DIY tips.

  1. Start packing. Your goal is to sell and move, so get a head start on the packing process by boxing up your family photos, personal memorabilia and other collectibles. When you create a blank canvas, buyers will subconsciously picture their own items in the space and view it more as their potential home. Packing them up will also ensure they aren’t damaged during showings or open houses.
  2. Use the same “blank canvas” philosophy with regard to color choices. Consider repainting rooms that currently have custom or designer colors and using a neutral gray or off-white that will allow a buyer to see their furniture working in the space.
  3. When it comes to furniture, less is more. Eliminate overcrowding by removing at least one or two pieces of furniture from each living space. Is staging worth the inconvenience of putting the recliners and end tables in storage? The national statistics are that a staged home sells for 17% higher than a non-staged home, and 87% faster.

Consider a moving POD or a storage unit while you prepare to move. If that’s not an option, give your garage a deep clean and then use it as your very neatly organized storage space during the move.

If you are thinking about making a move, I offer a free consultation and walk-through to create a pre-listing checklist which will help you prioritize the improvements, repairs and staging that are going to bring you the best return on investment when selling your home. If you’d like to schedule a free consultation, you can reach me at 360.904.8497 or

Shana O’Brien
Realty One Group Cascadia
Realtor & Home Stager, WA and OR licensed • Author •