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What is the difference between an Interior Designer and a Professional Property Stager?


Having studied both interior design and property staging, I am able to bust some of the myths about them.

Looking in from the outside, both of these services might seem the same. However, they are very different. Of course there is some overlap, as both offer clients a service that is all about interiors/exteriors of properties. Both offer services that work with colour, furniture, accessories and sometimes home improvements. An interior designer and stager both offer advice about how best to use a space, so therefore design principles still apply across both areas. The aim of both services is to ensure that whatever spaces they are working with offer the best use of space but for very different reasons.

An Interior Designer is creating spaces specifically designed with the homeowner in mind. They need to fully understand their clients’ needs, styles and lifestyle to be able to offer the client design options. The client is paying for the service and will make the final decision based on the Interior Designer’s recommendations. In general, this process can take months to deliver and the client may not change the interiors for years. Ultimately, they are fulfilling their clients’ needs and if the clients want a purple room with leopard print carpet, then that is what they get! Interior designers will purchase individual items for their clients and do not own inventory, as the needs of each client are very different.


In contrast, a Professional Property Stager is creating spaces specifically targeted at the target market rather than the homeowner. They do not need to understand the clients’ needs as they are not offering a service targeted at them. Although the client is paying for the service, they do not have the final say on the style in which the property will be staged. The process of staging a property for sale is much quicker than that of an Interior Designer. Generally, once the furniture and accessories have been selected, they can be installed into the property in less than a day. They will stay in the property for as long as the term of the contact, normally until the property is under offer. Unlike the Interior Designer, the Stager is fulfilling the market needs and if the demand for the market is for open, bright spaces than that is what the stager will deliver. As staging is targeted at a specific market and not any one individual person, home staging companies are able to own stock, such as furniture and furnishings, as they can reuse it to fulfil the needs of several properties.

So, why do you need to know the difference, well, they are very different services and if you are looking to ensure that your property is presented at its very best to attract buyers you could be wasting your money employing an Interior Designer, as their skills and training are not focused on fulfilling the needs of a market segment, rather their clients.

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A Board Member of the International Institute of Home Staging (IIHS)

and Professsional Member of IIHS

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