Home Staging & Interior Design Blog

Three Basic Design Principles of Home Staging

by | Staging Tips

Home Staging is a creative science. It takes a technical understanding of design geometry, color and texture blending, of homebuyer psychology, and experience among other things. A properly staged vacant, occupied, or model home heightens the potential buyer’s perception of a home’s value by highlighting the positives of a property, minimizing the negatives, and creating a welcoming environment people can easily picture themselves living in. To successfully stage a home, you need to consider these 3 basic design principles of home staging.

1) Proportion and Scale

Proportion is the relationship of one part of an object to its other parts. Each room is comprised of elements that should be in proportion to each other. Is the size of a room and the pieces in the room proportional to the room AND to each other?

Everything needs to reside harmoniously in the space. If not, it will look odd instead of pleasing and not have a positive effect on the buyer. Is the couch too big for the room? That makes the room look cramped and small. Is there small end tables with huge lamps on them?  Consider all the elements in the room. If they look out of proportion with the room and with each other, identify the items to replace or enhance to change the appearance of size. 

Tip: You can visually alter the principle of proportion in a room by using the element of color. For example, dark colors bring walls towards you, light colors open up space. 

2) Rhythm and Symmetry

Rhythm and repetition in a home is like the steady beat in a song. While barely noticed in the overall composition, it is the tie that binds everything together. The same holds true within a room and throughout the home as a whole. By creating repetition within a room and the home, you are linking each space and creating harmony within the home. Conversely, it jars the senses of the potential home buyer if there is a complete change of color, style, and feel from one room to the next. 

An easy way to create rhythm in a room is through the use of symmetry and pairs. Symmetry gives harmony to a room because it balances the tensions on the eye. We tend to view a room much like we would read a book, from side-to-side (not from top to bottom). When an arrangement is symmetrical, it will always contain at least one pair of items. Homes are an expression of who we are and what we aspire to be. Rhythm–accomplished through symmetry, pairs, and repetition, results in harmony within a room and peaceful transitions between rooms. This evokes buyers’ perceptions to be…”What a beautiful home!” 

If a room does not lend itself to a symmetrical layout, you can create the illusion of symmetry through the cohesion of elements that use similar patterns and colors. One example is, matching pillows on either end of the couch that color match the curtains. 

3) Balance 

Balance is another important principle related to rhythm, symmetry, and space. It refers to the equilibrium among forms in a room. Are the pieces in a room balanced in relation to each other and in their placement throughout the space? All of the furnishings, large and small, should be distributed evenly throughout the space, not just to one side of the room. For example, if you have a big couch on one side of a room with end tables, lamps, and a coffee table, maybe some plants and a bunch of pictures on the wall and on the other side only has a small table with a TV on it, the room will look unbalanced, even if the proportions of the room and items in it are fine. 

Quantity also affects balance. A room with too little or too much furniture can look out of balance. Rooms that are crowded can be confusing. Too many patterns can create visual chaos. Your eye will have no idea where to look first. A well-designed or staged room will direct your eye. Every object should feel as though it belongs to the composition and has a purpose. Ultimately, the furnishings should feel as though they are distributed somewhat evenly about the room. 

So with Proportion, Rhythm and Symmetry and balance, you can create a space that is pleasing and leave the buyer with a positive impression. Of course, there is a lot more that goes into successful home staging, but if you start with these three basic principles to stage a home you are off to a great start!