Create, Uncategorized

Simple Staging with only Accessories

A dear friend of mine recently put her home on the market. It has been a rental for the past few years and my friend and her family live out of state. So that meant that the home was being shown empty.

It’s a lovely home in a wonderful family oriented and convenient community not far from the beach in Virginia Beach and downtown Norfolk VA.

Unfortunately homes just don’t show as well when they are empty. Sometimes it’s just hard for potential buyers to see the potential of the home and how to utilize the rooms when not furnished. The home will typically not have a warm and inviting feel without furniture or interesting decor.

IMG_4324IMG_4322We didn’t have any extra furniture to put in the home but I have a ton of extra home accessories that I wasn’t using, so we used what we had to work with and added some simple home decor staging to freshen things up.

I chose a few rooms to try and showcase, the first was the kitchen because we all know, kitchens sell homes! The family room, and bathrooms were the other areas we decided to accessorize and bring in some personality.

Luckily for me, the family room has a cozy fireplace and built in shelving to perfectly display welcoming decor.

IMG_4315The kitchen has open shelving which provided a great location to create a coffee bar. Who doesn’t love an inviting coffee bar? My mom had an old single serve coffee maker that looked nice but wasn’t working, so it was the perfect piece for the staged coffee bar. The kitchen counters are nice upgraded solid surface with a drop in double sink and expensive faucet upgrade. Just some simple cleaning to make it shine and pretty dishes made this room complete and ready for the new owner.IMG_4319IMG_4314

I used a green and blue earthy theme throughout the home which is welcoming and happy. The color green is a comfortable color that is a good resting place for your eye as you enter a room. The right placement of fresh decor with lighten and brighten the room with little effort.

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My trick with bathrooms is to use fluffy white towels, candles and simple botanicals. Simple luxe items with the white towels create a perfect spa like environment.IMG_4327

Don’t be afraid to use what you have and just make it better! Staging is about accentuating the beautiful features of your home and helping the buyer to see the absolute potential in each room.

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Create, Uncategorized

Home Staging and Design: Living Room on a Budget

We bought our current home about a year and a half ago.  It was on the market for quite some time and we kept watching the price drop and drop.  Finally we decided to take a look at the property.  The house itself was in great condition and it was actually waterfront property for a reasonable listing price.  It didn’t take long to figure out what was going on with this property upon entering the front door.  Aesthetically the home had nothing going for it.  It was a bachelor pad in every sense of the word.  For me, this was exciting!  We could get a wonderful home on the water for a good price and fix it up the way we want it.  We call it our “Diamond in the Rough”.  By just doing some simple and inexpensive changes, our home is coming along quite nicely.  Eventually, we will be able to do some more extensive remodeling but for now, just painting and using what we have will have to do.

IMG_3185The first room we tackled was the front room just to the left of the front door and foyer.  The seller had the space set up like a billiard.  There was nothing inviting, warm or practical about the space and it did not set a good first impression of the home.

The first order of business was to get the heavy window treatments off the wall and just simply get the room cleaned up.  The molding and woodwork in the home is a beautiful architectural feature, so we simply painted the room to make it really stand out.  We used a nice neutral beige paint, (Behr 7400) above the chair rail and a nice off-white on the chair rail and everything below.  We have used this particular beige color in most of our homes and I love it.  It’s the perfect warm but neutral base color for any room.  When using beige paints, try to stick to one’s with grey undertones so that it doesn’t look too pink or peachy when you put it on the walls.

I ordered a large brown and white striped rug and we simply used the furniture we had to fill in the space.  I can’t stress enough how important furniture placement is.  It’s important that a room is open, airy, comfortable and inviting.

IMG_3342 I wanted to capitalize on the sunshine that spills into the room all afternoon and wanted the room to be as light and cheery as possible.  Using what we brought from our old home, I placed the white armoire and bookshelves on the opposite wall of the room flanked by the windows to create a focal point.   I then chalk painted an old pine coffee table, distressed it and used it with a couple of old rattan chairs I already had on hand.  Some day we will replace the furniture in this room, but for now it’s all about making the most of what we have.  Adding some home decor items, cozy throw pillows and plants helped bring it all together.  We haven’t gotten new window treatments up yet, but I will get something light that will allow for optimal sunshine.  It’s a wonderful sitting room that’s perfect for a cup of coffee and good book or your favorite magazine.

IMG_3177 Remember, don’t be afraid to use what you have if you have a strict budget!  Maybe some paint, updated rug and fresh accessories will do the trick.  We are enjoying our new sitting room and the bright, warm sunshine that pours in each afternoon!  It’s a great quiet place to start the day with coffee or unwind after a long day at work.  Let me know if you have any budget friendly tricks to updating your home in the comments below!

Create, Home Decor, living, real estate

Staging your home using your Five Senses

If you are ready to put your home on the market, here’s a simple checklist you can run through to optimize your homes beautiful features. There are the obvious things like making sure your home is clean and tidy!!! You may want to hire a professional stager or simply ask a friend who has a good eye for furniture placement to help you arrange each room to showcase its size, function and livability. So, now that your home is spotlessly clean and your furnishings are staged to impress there are actually some additional and easy things you can do to really make your home stand out.

SIGHT: So, we have addressed the cleanliness of your home… I can’t stress how important this is! No dirty dishes in the sink, laundry laying around…neat and tidy!! Aside from a clean home, that first impression is tremendous. Make sure your front entrance is welcoming to prospective buyers but don’t overdo it! I love pinterest as much as the next person, but don’t let seasonal decor take over and be distracting to the buyer.
Front door: you may want to see if your front door needs some freshening up. Perhaps a fresh coat of paint and possibly a brass kick plate or new knocker. Sweeping and removing cob webs will go a long way and show your buyers that your home is well cared for, it’s surprising how many people don’t do this easy step. Adding a wreath is always a great way to welcome guests but stay away from a monogramed lettering. It’s important to help buyers feel like they could see themselves living in the home and monogramed anything will not help with that! Symmetry is your friend at the front entrance. Use a couple nice planters on either side of the door with nicely shaped shrubs and maybe add a few flowers in the mix for some color…but DON’T OVER DO IT!

Foyer: Open up your foyer as much as possible by removing too many furnishings or knickknacks. Make it bright, open and airy. This is the first impression of the inside of the home. A simple foyer table with a couple of lamps and a potted plant or candle is sufficient.

Family Photos: So, I know many professionals recommend removing family photos from your home when trying to show it…I agree…sort of. For me, I actually like seeing a few family photos here or there. To me it makes the home feel…well…homey. Again, DON’T over do it, but a sweet family picture here or there never hurt anyone.

LIGHT: For crying out loud…let the sun in! It’s one of my biggest pet peeves when I see pictures of a listing on zillow or walk into a home and it is dark and dreary. Pull back your curtains, open up your blinds and let some vitamin D in your home people!!! Of course, you want to make sure your windows are clean and free of spider webs but please don’t be afraid of the light. It will make your home show so much better and feel so much nicer.

SOUND: Ok, so I hope I haven’t scared too many people off at this point. If you are still reading this, thank you! The rest of the senses will be much easier if you have already done the above recommendations. One of the things I enjoy when I go through a model home or attend our area’s homearama, showcasing several new homes, is when they play (very softly) some smooth jazz or some kind of music that makes me want to relax and hang out there for a bit. So why not do it in your home? The key is softly! This will also help if you live in a noisy area or you hear a lot of traffic or possibly if there is construction nearby. Plus, who doesn’t love smooth jazz?

TOUCH: This one is a little tricky because you may not be thrilled about people going through your home touching all your stuff, I get it. BUT, try to include throw pillows on your furnishings with a variety of soft textures and a cozy blanket thrown over a chair or at the end of a bed. Again, it’s all about making people feel like your home is warm and welcoming and they would want to live in it. Additionally, you will want to make sure your surfaces are not dusty, that’s not pleasant to see or touch.

TASTE: The sense of taste is actually a fun one. If you want prospective buyers to linger a bit and really get a feel for the loveliness of your home, provide some tasty treats. A pot of fresh coffee, bottled waters, fresh fruit or cookies will be hard for anyone to pass up.

SMELL: I left smell for the end because I think it is the most important of all of the senses when showing a home. You could have the most beautifully decorated and clean home in town, but if it stinks then…well… you’re just in trouble. Now, if your home is clean and you’ve worked hard to shine it up and make your rooms sparkle, then you are probably ok. But, there are some things that can make even the cleanest of homes smell bad. One of the worst offenders are our little furry friends. We love them, but they stink bad sometimes.

A note on candles: A candle or two placed strategically in your home can be nice if you are having an open house but they can be problematic if using one too strong or if there are children that could burn themselves. Some people may even have an allergy to a specific candle scent. But I say don’t be afraid to use them, just be extremely cautious and use a subtle clean scent, you don’t want it to seem as if you’re using the candle to cover up something bad.

Baked goods: If you are providing a snack at your showing or open house, try baking it right in your kitchen so that the wonderful smells permeate the home. If you don’t like to bake, just buy something at the grocery store that you can simply throw in the oven and viola… you’re house smells like an inviting coffee shop and you have something nice to offer your buyers.

Open up the home: if the weather permits open up some windows and let some fresh air in, nobody wants to hang out in a stuffy room. If you have celling fans, use them to keep air flowing as well.

Upholstery: if it smells like fido, you may need to get it professionally cleaned or invest in some furniture coverings and try to keep pets off the furniture. It may be time to throw away a few of your smaller rugs in bathrooms or laundry room that are not smelling great and are showing too much wear and tear.

A bit obvious but important enough to mention: make sure all toilets are flushed, trash is taken out, dirty laundry picked up and washed or placed in a covered hamper and if you smoke…STOP it’s bad for you…or just do it outside. Pets should be crated and left in a low traffic area while the home is being shown.

Wow! I know this all seems like a lot and honestly it’s not even a comprehensive list BUT it’s some of the most important aspects of showing real estate. Our homes are our biggest asset and it’s important to make them shine! Make your home a memorable and comfortable place where hopefully the buyer will have a great first impression and very positive experience. Happy Selling!

Create, Home Decor

To Stage or Not to Stage…That is the Question

I say STAGE! We recently sold our home and I decided to stage the rooms myself and take the pictures for the listing. Let me just start off by telling you that I’m not a professional, I’m just a girl that will walk into any room in any home or building and start re arranging and organizing it in my mind. It’s a burden I must bear…however, it did come in handy when preparing our home for the market. Cleaning, de cluttering and optimal furniture placement really does go a long way.  We had an offer within the first week of our home being listed by the first people to look at it.  Here’s what I know:

Home Staging is a budget friendly way to effectively market your home. The right furniture placement will maximize the size and scope of each room in your home and enhance your home’s best features. Most importantly, the right staging will allow perspective buyers to see themselves in the home.

Use what you have!  Enhance your home by reorganizing, and oftentimes repurposing furniture and accessories you already have. By simply rearranging existing furniture and creating welcoming vignettes, your home will be transformed into a beautiful showroom.

Benefits to Home Staging
Every room in your home will have definition and purpose.
Staging a home will make the rooms appear larger.
A well staged home provides a wonderful first impression for prospective buyers.
Studies show that staging will expedite the sale of your home.
Home staging is an inexpensive way to get big returns on the sale of your home.