Home Staging Interior Design Principles

6 Interior design principles you need to know for home staging

Let’s go over some of the important information you should be familiar with when it comes to interior design in the context of home staging. This is going to be a quick overview that will give you a good basis for understanding how to make good decorating and design choices for your home staging projects, whether you’re staging your own home or working for clients.

My personal belief is that if you’re interested in home staging, you probably already have a knack for it and understand good decorating in an instinctual way.

My dozen or so years as an instructor has shown this to be true time and time again. I’ve never had a student turn in bad work. And in many cases, the student turns in work that looks like it could be in a magazine. This is just because people who are drawn to home staging are drawn to it because it taps into their natural abilities.

Even if you are a Realtor interested in becoming certified, I would feel confident in saying that you probably already have a knack for putting a room together. And Realtors look at so many homes that you can’t help but develop a good eye after a while.

Having said all that, let’s get into some interior design principles that will come in handy for staging.



Balance in interior design refers to the idea of using the visual weight of objects in a room to create visual balance. Balance is one of the ways you can give the room a sense of things just looking right. Sometimes when things feel off, something isn’t quite right and you’re not sure why, it’s probably balance.

You will most commonly use symmetrical balance and asymmetrical balance. When using asymmetrical balance, it’s all about using unlike objects that have the same visual weight.



Unity is a way to give a home a sense of flow and harmony throughout each room. This isn’t something you’ll have total control of in your home staging projects, since you’re going to be working with a lot of design choices that have already been made.

Color is one of the ways a home can have a sense of unity. If one room is painted hot pink and every other room is done in earthy neutrals, that’s going to be shocking space to walk into. If all of the rooms are painted in bold colors then the hot pink makes a lot more sense. As a home stager you might not be painting every room. But if you keep unity in mind, you might be able to make and jarring transitions a bit more subtle.

In this example, you might be able to lessen the shock of the hot pink by adding some bold punches of color in other rooms. Or in the hot pink room, you might be able to calm it down with some neutrals in other elements like artwork, bedding, rugs, etc. And of course they could always paint the room! You can use unity as a reason, instead of having the homeowner think you are questioning their taste.



Humans like visual rhythm. It helps the eye move around a space and creates some visual interest.

Two ways you can use rhythm are with color and with what we call progression, which is basically a series of identical or similar objects that range in size. Emerald green throw pillows and an emerald green vase on the mantle would be an example of using color to create rhythm. An arrangement of small white, blue-green, and orange pumpkins creates rhythm through progression.

Use rhythm in small doses.


Scale & Proportion

This principle is exactly what it sounds like. It’s about putting the right size pieces together, and making sure your furniture is the right size for the room. Make sure the coffee table looks like it’s the right size for the sofa. Don’t put a tiny table in a family-sized dining area. It isn’t difficult to discern problems with scale and proportion, and it comes down to common sense in most cases.



Contrast is another way to add some visual interest to a space. You can use color, form, and space to create contrast. When you put contrasting items together, what you’re doing is highlighting the differences between them, which in turn enhances each one and makes them look better.

Use contrast in small doses or the space can become too busy.



Emphasis is about choosing a particular focal point for a room. You can use design elements to draw attention to an area like a fireplace, giving the room a focal point, and in the case of staging, emphasizing a desirable feature at the same time.


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