Do you know the difference between decorating and staging? Some folks use the two terms interchangeably, but they do have different meanings. Decorating is typically done in a house that you plan to live in. Staging is done in a house that you plan to sell. The acts of decorating and staging are done for very different reasons, therefore they are very different in nature.
When decorating a home (and I also like to call it "styling" a home), personal items like pictures, artwork, furnishings, and even the color on the walls are added. Items, colors and fabrics that resonate with the homeowner are chosen. The purpose is to make the homeowners feel comfortable in their own space by surrounding them with the things they love. This is what makes a house a home.
When staging a house, rather than add items, items are typically edited out of the space. The purpose is very different and we want rooms, closets, cabinets and countertops to appear as large and spacious as possible.
While staging, we have historically chosen more neutral colors, patterns and items that do not favor any particular taste or style. The "hotel room" or "model home" look has been our goal in hopes of attracting the widest audience. Any profile of the homeowner should not be visible. The home has now become just a house.
That being said, there is a trend that is happening now that is moving toward stronger colors on the walls and a more targeted marketing approach to staging. Appealing to a specific group of buyers rather than a generic audience is something that makes marketing sense. That doesn't mean that we throw fuschia on the walls and use leopard and zebra print furniture, but we push the envelope a bit more when it comes to appeal while keeping the target buyer in mind. After all, we do want buyers to feel at home when they walk through a home for sale.
There is a big difference between decorating/styling for living and staging for sale, but the gap has become a tiny bit smaller with the targeted marketing approach to staging. Depending upon what your goal is, just remember what I say... LIVE in your HOME, but SELL your HOUSE.