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What Staging Homes Taught Me About Interior Decorating

What Staging Homes Taught Me About Interior Decorating


I’ve learned countless valuable lessons throughout my career. However, some of the most impactful insights I’ve gained have come from an unexpected source: home staging. Staging homes has taught me to approach interior decorating in a whole new way, focusing on creating spaces that are not only visually appealing but also functional and inviting. In this article, I’ll share some of the key lessons I’ve learned from staging homes and how they’ve transformed my approach to interior decorating.

The Power of First Impressions

One of the most crucial lessons staging homes taught me about interior decorating is the power of first impressions. When potential buyers walk into a home, they form an opinion within seconds. As a home stager, my goal is to create a space that immediately captures their attention and leaves a lasting positive impression.

Curb Appeal Matters

First impressions start before buyers even step inside the home. Curb appeal, or the external appearance of the property, can make or break a sale. When staging a home, I always make sure the exterior is well-maintained, clean, and inviting. This might involve:

  • Mowing the lawn and trimming hedges
  • Power washing the driveway and sidewalks
  • Adding fresh mulch to garden beds
  • Placing potted plants or hanging baskets near the entrance
  • Updating the mailbox and house numbers

The Entryway Sets the Tone

Once buyers step inside, the entryway is their first glimpse into the home. I’ve learned that creating a welcoming and functional entryway is crucial for setting a positive tone. When staging an entryway, I focus on:

  • Providing a clear and uncluttered space
  • Adding a console table or bench for keys and mail
  • Hanging a statement mirror or artwork
  • Incorporating warm lighting and fresh flowers or greenery
  • Ensuring there’s a designated spot for shoes and coats

By creating a strong first impression, both outside and inside the home, I’ve learned to capture buyers’ attention and leave them eager to see more. This lesson has translated into my interior decorating work, where I now prioritize creating welcoming and inviting spaces that immediately put clients at ease.

The Importance of Neutral Palettes

Another key lesson staging homes taught me about interior decorating is the importance of using neutral color palettes. When staging a home, my goal is to create a blank canvas that allows potential buyers to envision themselves living in the space. Bold colors and personalized design choices can be distracting and make it harder for buyers to connect with the home.

Neutral Doesn’t Mean Boring

Using a neutral palette doesn’t have to result in a boring or sterile space. In fact, I’ve learned that neutrals can be incredibly versatile and sophisticated when used effectively. When staging homes, I often incorporate:

  • Warm whites and creams for walls and trim
  • Soft grays and taupes for furniture and accents
  • Natural textures like wood, stone, and linen
  • Monochromatic color schemes with varying shades of the same hue
  • Pops of color through easily changeable accessories like pillows and artwork

Letting the Space Shine

By using a neutral palette, I’ve learned to let the features of the space shine. When staging a home with beautiful architectural details, like crown molding or a fireplace, a neutral background allows these elements to take center stage. Similarly, in homes with stunning views or abundant natural light, a neutral palette enhances these assets rather than competing with them.

Incorporating neutral palettes into my interior decorating work has allowed me to create spaces that feel timeless, sophisticated, and adaptable to clients’ changing needs and preferences over time.

The Value of Decluttering and Organizing

Staging homes has also taught me the immense value of decluttering and organizing in interior decorating. When preparing a home for sale, it’s essential to create a space that feels spacious, functional, and move-in ready. Clutter and disorganization can be major turnoffs for potential buyers, making the home feel smaller and less inviting.

Less is More

When staging homes, I’ve learned that less is often more. By removing excess furniture, decor, and personal items, I can create a space that feels larger and more open. This might involve:

  • Removing bulky or oversized furniture pieces
  • Clearing off countertops and tabletops
  • Storing away personal photos and mementos
  • Simplifying decor and artwork
  • Creating clear pathways and sight lines

Functionality is Key

In addition to decluttering, I’ve learned the importance of creating functional and organized spaces. When staging homes, I focus on highlighting the potential uses of each room and providing ample storage solutions. This might include:

  • Arranging furniture to create clear conversation areas or work zones
  • Maximizing closet space with organizers and shelving
  • Adding storage ottomans or baskets for hidden storage
  • Incorporating desk or office areas in unused nooks or corners
  • Ensuring each room has a clear and defined purpose

By decluttering and organizing spaces, I’ve learned to create homes that feel spacious, functional, and easy to navigate. These lessons have translated into my interior decorating work, where I now prioritize simplicity, functionality, and organization to create spaces that are both beautiful and practical.

The Art of Highlighting Architectural Features

Staging homes taught me the art of highlighting and enhancing a space’s unique architectural features. When preparing a home for sale, it’s crucial to showcase the property’s best assets and make them stand out to potential buyers.

Enhancing Natural Light

One of the most sought-after architectural features in a home is abundant natural light. When staging homes with ample windows or skylights, I’ve learned to maximize this asset by:

  • Removing heavy window coverings or replacing them with sheer or light-filtering options
  • Arranging furniture to avoid blocking windows
  • Using mirrors to reflect and amplify natural light
  • Incorporating light and airy color palettes to enhance the feeling of brightness
  • Adding supplementary lighting to brighten darker corners or hallways

Showcasing Unique Details

Many homes have unique architectural details that can be easily overlooked if not properly highlighted. When staging homes with features like crown molding, built-in shelving, or exposed brick, I’ve learned to:

  • Use paint or contrasting colors to make details pop
  • Incorporate decor or artwork that complements the style of the feature
  • Arrange furniture to draw attention to the detail, such as placing a sofa or console table beneath a large window
  • Use lighting to highlight the feature, such as installing under-cabinet lighting to showcase a beautiful backsplash
  • Minimize competing elements or clutter that might distract from the detail

By learning to highlight and enhance architectural features, I’ve been able to create spaces that feel special, memorable, and full of character. This lesson has been invaluable in my interior decorating work, where I now prioritize showcasing a space’s unique assets to create designs that are both beautiful and authentic.

The Impact of Lighting

Another crucial lesson staging homes taught me about interior decorating is the transformative power of lighting. The right lighting can make a space feel warm, inviting, and sophisticated, while poor lighting can make even the most beautifully designed room feel dull and uninviting.

Layering Light Sources

When staging homes, I’ve learned to layer different types of lighting to create a cohesive and well-lit space. This involves incorporating:

  • Ambient lighting: Overall illumination, usually from overhead fixtures or recessed lighting
  • Task lighting: Focused lighting for specific activities, like reading or cooking, often from lamps or pendant lights
  • Accent lighting: Decorative lighting that highlights specific features or creates ambiance, such as wall sconces or picture lights
  • Natural lighting: Sunlight from windows and skylights, enhanced by light-colored decor and reflective surfaces

Creating Ambiance

In addition to providing functional illumination, I’ve learned that lighting can be used to create a specific mood or ambiance in a space. When staging homes, I might:

  • Use warm, soft lighting in bedrooms and living areas to create a cozy and relaxing atmosphere
  • Incorporate bright, cool lighting in kitchens and bathrooms to energize and awaken the senses
  • Install dimmer switches to allow for adjustable lighting levels throughout the day
  • Use candles or string lights to add a romantic or whimsical touch to outdoor spaces
  • Highlight artwork or architectural features with accent lighting to draw the eye and create interest

By understanding the impact of lighting on a space, I’ve been able to create interiors that are not only beautiful but also feel inviting, comfortable, and carefully curated. This lesson has been invaluable in my interior decorating work, where I now prioritize creating well-lit and ambient spaces that enhance my clients’ daily lives.

The Power of Accessories

Staging homes taught me the power of using accessories strategically in interior decorating. While furniture and larger decor elements create the foundation of a space, accessories are the finishing touches that can make a room feel pulled together, personalized, and memorable.

Creating Visual Interest

When staging homes, I’ve learned to use accessories to create visual interest and draw the eye around the space. This might involve:

  • Incorporating textural elements like throw pillows, blankets, or rugs
  • Adding pops of color through artwork, vases, or decorative objects
  • Creating vignettes or groupings of objects on tabletops or shelves
  • Using greenery or fresh flowers to add life and organic shape to the space
  • Incorporating unique or unexpected elements, like sculptural objects or vintage finds

Telling a Story

I’ve also learned that accessories can be used to tell a story or evoke a specific lifestyle in a space. When staging homes, I might:

  • Use travel-themed decor in a study or den to suggest a sense of adventure and curiosity
  • Incorporate sports memorabilia or equipment in a bonus room to appeal to fitness enthusiasts
  • Display cookbooks and gourmet ingredients in the kitchen to attract home chefs and entertainers
  • Use nature-inspired elements like driftwood or stone in a bathroom to create a spa-like retreat
  • Incorporate children’s toys or artwork in a playroom to appeal to families with young kids

By using accessories strategically, I’ve learned to create spaces that feel finished, personalized, and full of character. This lesson has been invaluable in my interior decorating work, where I now use accessories to add visual interest, tell a story, and create spaces that truly reflect my clients’ unique personalities and lifestyles.


Staging homes has taught me invaluable lessons about interior decorating that have transformed the way I approach my work. From the power of first impressions and neutral palettes to the impact of decluttering, highlighting architectural features, and using lighting and accessories strategically, these insights have allowed me to create spaces that are not only beautiful but also functional, inviting, and full of character.

As an interior decorator, I now prioritize creating designs that capture attention, showcase a space’s unique assets, and tell a story that reflects my clients’ personalities and lifestyles. By incorporating these lessons into my work, I’ve been able to create interiors that are both visually stunning and deeply meaningful to those who inhabit them.

Staging homes taught me that interior decorating is about more than just creating a pretty space. It’s about understanding how people live, what they value, and what makes them feel at home. By approaching my work with empathy, intention, and a focus on the details, I’ve been able to create spaces that truly transform my clients’ lives for the better.

Paula Edric (Home Decor Tips)

About Paula Edric (Home Decor Tips)

Paula Edric is an expert writer of home and decor tips at thotslife.com, offering insightful advice and creative ideas to elevate living spaces. With a passion for interior design and a knack for practical solutions, Paula inspires readers to transform their homes into stylish and functional retreats.

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