Category archive - Staging Solutions

No Brainer De-Cluttering

No Brainer De-Cluttering

When it comes to selling, or just living in your house, clutter is one of those things we always realize we have. There are so many items though that we can get rid of. Here are 20 items that you don’t have to agonize over to depart with when de-cluttering. This is the easy stuff!

  20 Easy Items To Get Rid Of Now

  1. Plastic/paper bags- they will multiply before you know it, keep less than 12
  2. Expired coupons- if you like to clip go through once per month prior to shopping and purge. Or better yet just get the items you are going to buy online and print, better still get from your smart phone
  3. Old Magazines – pull the article/picture you think you need for future reference, add to a file by subject; toss the rest
  4. Old Newspapers- read and toss, if you have an article cut it out and file, same as with magazines
  5. Mail- before it even touches the counter pull out all junk mail and recyclerecycle
  6. Old Clothes – each season ask yourself when was the last time I wore this, if the answer is over a year, get rid of it!
  7. Pantry Items – all the canned and boxed items group together in an area of your cabinet, contact your local food pantry and donate what you will not consume in 2 months.
  8. Broken things- If you haven’t repaired it in a month, you probably don’t use or need it. Get rid of it
  9. Chipped dishes, mugs, and glasses- they’re in the back of the cabinbet right? Give yourself space and get rid of them
  10. Take-out menus – They’re online, get rid of themgarbage bin
  11. Expired Cosmetics- old cosmetics can harbor bacteria eww, some ingredients lose their effectiveness so get rid of them
  12. Books – those that you thought were just OK, or you would not revisit or use for reference edit them out for new books
  13. Electronics – anything that does not work, or work well, get rid of
  14. Stained, ripped bedding- will you be painting soon to use as drop cloths? If not get rid of, another words if you have no intended use, dispose of them
  15. Towels- those that are worn or have holes can always be used by your local pet shelter or veterinary office- they use bedding tooorganized linen closet
  16. Accessories- anything you have not worn in a year, this means shoes, jewelry, purses, ties, scarves, gloves etc. donate
  17. CD’s or DVD’s- those you haven’t listened or watched, get rid of them- especially if you have VHS tapes move on!
  18. Empty boxes- use these to pack up all the clutter you are throwing out and get them out of your house too. If you need storage buy plastic bins because it is more protective then cardboard
  19. Travel brochures – you can find more information online than in any pamphlet you have picked up to read about
  20. Toys- this can be a little hard with the kids around. As kids grow, so do there interest, donate those that they no longer use to a charity that needs them

before and after declutter

Once you de-clutter a space it feels more inviting. By removing all the extra stuff, giving it a home the room feels more relaxed. Start with one room and see if it gives you a new perspective.

Other Good Reads:

Clutter Prevent it Before it Takes Over

Organizing a Kitchen Part 1

Organizing and Decluttering a Closet

Case Study on Book Cases

Are You Taking Care of Your Home or Is It Taking Care of You?

Are You Taking Care of Your Home or Is It Taking Care of You?


You build, buy new, or used you are excited to make your home yours. You paint the walls; fill your rooms with treasures to make it your own. The years go by, your home falls into the background … are you taking care of the home or is the home taking care of you where family memories are made?

Hmm… what, that makes no sense!? Like in any relationship it is a two way street. Many times when I go on a consult I can see the home owners were energetic when they moved into the house to make it their own, and then forgot it. Now… the decision comes to sell; repairs need to be made, and the question now I need to invest the money now? A fresh coat of paint is needed on walls, the tiles that are lose need to be replaced, the worn carpets are no longer desirable, the chimney needs cleaning, septic now needs to be pumped and maybe an appliance or furnace needs replacement.

As a homeowner we have obligations to our home. Some repairs are major like a new roof, windows, siding, some cosmetic like paint, updating light fixtures, replacing stained worn flooring. It is important to maintain both while you are a homeowner because it maintains the value of the home, and your home is one of your largest investments.

When I go on a consult the concentration is on the priorities where a seller needs to invest the money to obtain the best return on that investment. Yes, sometimes it is a new roof, but many times it is smaller and simpler. If you love your home and are thinking hmm, in 2, 3, 5 years I might sell… here are some suggestions.

  1. Look at the “workings” of the house.

Have you cleaned the furnace, pumped your septic in the last 3 years, and cleaned your chimney, made sure your appliances are working.


These effect in the value of your home

  1. Look around the outside of your house.

Are bushes trimmed, lawn maintained, landscaping colorful, pool maintenance updated taken care of, patios/ outside architectural elements power washed, clean- desirable

gardens along a house

These can increase the value of your home

  1. Look around your rooms and the interior.

Imagine who will buy your home. Remember when you fell in love with your house and wanted to create family memories here… now is time to think of “today’s” family. Many times people wonder if they need to update, things to consider are:

  • Flooring if it looks worn replace or refinish.
  • Kitchens and master baths influence buyers choice of house heavily so make sure these are up to date.
  • Look at colors and lighting are they desirable with the trends.

These can effect the time your house sells in

Caring for you home now will at least keep you in consideration with the competition when you do sell. If you are not sure where the best investments would be to make in your home if you are selling within the next couple of years contact us and we will help you create spaces within budget that works.

8 Reason Why Your House is Not Selling

Cleaning Secrets when Selling

Sterile or Styled | Makes a Difference When Selling


A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words

A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words

9 out of 10 home buyers search internet photo’s when looking for listings. They are doing their research online, gaining their information and comparing homes. So what are those pictures worth for a residential real estate listing? If the images are well done, they can result up to a 3.9% increase in the final sale.

What is a well done image? One that enhances the scene- a photo that tells more of a story. As a stager I review a lot of listings and it still amazes me to see images of rooms that do nothing for the home.

Here are some of my ‘cringes’ and simple suggestion to correct the problems to make your home attractive to buyers

  1. Dead body in the bed- Yes the covering pulled over the pillows. Add two pillows per person that can sleep in the bed. If it is a twin have two, if a King have six. Pillows lend a touch of luxury feeling that buyers love.
  2. Too much furniture, yes you can have too much and it makes the rooms feel like there is none. Open your spaces up, move furniture out and/or re-purpose it to other areas.  LR
  3. Not enough furniture, make the room have a purpose with personality. To add a chair and a vase with flowers in an empty room says what? If you do not have anything to put in the room leave it empty or better yet ask a professional stager to help you out to highlight the key areas in your house to their best ability.
  4. Your ‘stuff’ all over. If I am buying a house I want to see the house, not your papers, collectibles, kids toys, toothbrushes, etc. you get it. Start editing because you want to sell, and you do not want to have so much stuff to pack when the time comes. Clearing out the stuff makes the room appear spacious, neat and clean. clutter kitchen
  5. Controversially don’t go overboard though to be sterile. Similar to the room with not enough furniture you need to still give the spaces some personality but it does not need to be unnecessary clutter.
  6. Buyers feel pets are a turn off. Cute little Fido does not help your listing. Remove pet paraphernalia and evidence of your pets for the photos and when showing.
  7. Cell phone photo’s or photos posted at the wrong angle, that are blurry. As a seller you are paying your agent big bucks to market your home. Are they representing it in the best possible light by posting pictures as mentioned?
    sideways picture on MLS

    yup, this was a photo on the MLS of a house in the position as you see it. I did not rotate the image

  8. Not enough photos. Is your house that big of a mess to list yet? Wait, take care of what needs to be done, then list. Seriously, remember you are in competition with every other house out there. What is the rush? Unless you are being transferred to another state in two weeks. To list a house that is not ready to be marketed is a turn off to buyers, it just creates a listing that becomes old on the market that needs to be marked down $10,000 after three months.

Prepare your house first, if you are unsure where to start get a professional stager in to help you set your priorities. Remember to interview your agent too, to ensure you have one that will be marketing your property correctly.

Details – Speak Loud and Clear

A Picture is Worth- What?

Marketing a Home Well

Eight Biggest Selling Offenders

Eight Biggest Selling Offenders

First ask yourself, when was the last time you updated your décor? Was it in 1990? Before?

Decorative fashion trends come and go but some of the choices we made then, could be the biggest selling offenders now, if you are trying to sell. I have said it before, and will say it again, you need to be objective when marketing a house for sale. Here is a list of the biggest offenders to buyers and how to correct them making your home look like it is in this century.

The biggest offenders to buyers now are:

Dense floral wallpaper and fabrics. Look at your walls, furniture, and drapery this was a big trend and nothing screams outdated more than seeing these. Remove the wallpaper and slipcover the furniture if you cannot replace to remove these offenders.

dated floral couchesWallpaper boarders around the ceiling or as a chair rail. These were an inexpensive way to add detail to a room because the finer details of crown moldings dissipated. Remove these and simply paint the walls one color.

Shiny brass hardware, unless high quality, do not stand up to time and start looking pitted, discolored and rusty. Today the choice is matte if you still love brass, or replace with nickel or chrome. Replace door knobs, faucets, lighting fixtures and handles on cabinets to something more desirable and with trend today.

Overstuffed furniture; I get it “it’s soooo comfortable” but 9 times out of 10 it is too large for the space it occupies and is not in style today. Buyers will see this cumbersome furniture literally as the “elephant in the room,” remove and update.

Lots of color and texture – think bright tiles all those mixed patterns, sponged walls, lots of color all very visually stimulating which is not what you want when selling. Tone it down to neutral colors, use the texture and color as accents in the room in pillows, art etc., not throughout the room as the feature.

too much pattern and dated tile

Carpeting in bathrooms; one word, YUCK! When selling you want to create the spa like feeling in the baths. Spotless clean bathrooms are what a buyer wants, so lose the carpet and invest in a tile floor if you need to, but remove the carpet. While we are talking about carpets, remove area rugs too for photos and when you are showing. Clean fresh open space is what buyers love.

Wall to wall mirrors on slider closet doors are no longer in fashion. Remove and paint the doors or replace if needed. Mirrors do help a room look larger, but today mirrors are decorative accent pieces. Even in the bathroom the trend is to have a decorative mirror with a nice frame versus the large piece. Look at something like Mirror Mates to improve yours.

Tiffany style glass hanging lights. If the furniture, walls and overall ambiance are updated these might work, but if the furnishing through the space are from 1990’s or earlier they will look really dated. Either remove and update with a more current style light fixture, or time to purchase new furniture. The light fixture might be a little less expensive when selling.

decor faux pas

As you can see in the picture examples these are houses did not sell quickly because the overall image they projected was dated. Buyers could not see themselves living in these dated homes and moved on to ones that were updated and felt fresh. Keep this in mind when you put your house on the market, it can make a difference of lingering or selling.

Should a Seller Waste their Time and Money on Staging

Staging, Why Bother, Who Needs It?

8 Reason Why Your House is Not Selling


Which Paint Color Is the Right One?

Which Paint Color Is the Right One?

When it’s time to paint a room, do you agonize over which color will work? Have you painted a room you chose from a chip and through “this will be it!”; only to find it is not the one? Paint color can be tricky but it does not have to be.

I recently attended a conference in Toronto to learn how to make sense of it all. There are many blogs, websites and tons of information on color, but they are typically just that, information on color. When it comes to finding the right paint color it can be tricky because there are so many elements in the room to consider. If they are not being considered, you will feel like the room is not “quite right,” but not knowing why it is not “quite right.”

A great example I have, when I first moved into my house I chose fabric for drapes in my dining room because I liked it. Similarly, I found wallpaper that I thought would look lovely giving me that beautiful airy tone on tone look I was trying to achieve. Low and behold once the room was completed it was OK but not “quite right.” Yes, everyone said they “loved” the room but something was off. One day my daughter said “Mom, I think the drapes are faded or something,”  they looked dirty compared to the wall paper! When choosing fabric for the drapes and the wall paper they looked ok together from the samples I had, but the beige’s were “not quite” right. That’s when I fell upon Maria Killam’s blog and discovered it’s all about the undertones.

beige colors

The yellow/beige in the drapes was not working with the pink/beige in the wallpaper making the drapes look dirty. Needless to say it became a huge project (info for another blog) to remove the wallpaper and paint to make everything work together; an expense I could have avoided if I only knew then what I know now!

Through Maria’s course I learned to distinguish the difference in colors, and why they work or do not work within a room. You see you need to take all the element in the room, distinguish which undertones are going on, if the color is on the warm or cool side of the spectrum, muddy or clean and then you can start to eliminate some colors to consider others. I truly believe either you are born with this instinct or you need to learn it. Not all is lost, I mean 90% of the time I was getting it right but did not know why. Now when I have a client say “but I really love this color, can’t I use it instead?” I have the facts and ways to show why a color is the correct choice over another so that the room looks great, not that “not quite right look.”

Other posts you might enjoy:


Try Out Your Room Colors Virtually

The Right Color for a Room

Can the Colors of Your House Affect Your Mood?

8 Reason Why Your House is Not Selling

8 Reason Why Your House is Not Selling

You say you are ready to move, your house on the market, but it’s not selling. There are many factors that can be causing your house unfortunately not to get an offer. These are the 8 most common reasons.

Think back when your realtor toured your house and you discussed what should be done prior to selling, and spoke about the pricing did you…

Start Packing

A cluttered home eats equity. A home that is filled with furniture and your personal collections can be overwhelming buyers. All the stuff you have not been using for six months can be packed up and put in a storage unit. By doing so your rooms will start to appear more spacious.

Say Goodbye

Yes it’s hard, all the memories that have been created in those four walls is hard to part with. Nevertheless, if you cannot be objective and realize that your house is now a product on the market with similar, that needs to attract a buyer, you will not be able to sell. Marketing the house involves price and product, if you are not willing to listen to professionals as to what the best price is to market your home, and how to stage your home to appeal to buyers, you will have a tough time selling.

Stay For the Showing

I know it is hard to leave your home open to someone you do not know. Buyers want to know what they are purchasing, they will open closets, drawers, check out your refrigerator, and they want to freely comment on what they see. They will feel uncomfortable doing just that with you there, moving onto the next house.

Hire a Cleaner

A buyer enters your home with eyes wide open, they see everything. This is the time where every surface needs to be white glove clean. Look up and around every room, if you see any look of wear or dirt and you cannot get it clean, then replace it.

Open Windows and Window Treatments

Buyers love light and bright. If you have heavy window treatments remove them, even lace curtains panels, and screens remove and let the light shine in. Having all windows clean too is important. Then if the weather permits open a window or two and let the fresh air in. Fresh air helps eliminate odors and is far better than masking them with candles, and air fresheners that buyers could be sensitive to.

Remove Excess Furniture and Neutralize

Although you may feel your furniture is situated perfectly for viewing the TV there may be too much making the room feel cramped and difficult to navigate through. Buyers like light and bright spaces, the less furniture the more spacious a room feels. Along with the packing move a few unnecessary pieces out opening the room. In addition, keep in mind light neutral furniture allows buyers to look at the room, not the furniture. You want them to see the spaciousness and feel that their personal items can fit into the house.

Forget About Your Honey Do List

Make sure all repairs and taken care of before your house goes on the market. Remember, once you have an offer, an inspection will take place; any potential problems can make you lose the sale. Buyers today are looking for homes that are move in ready with little to no maintenance issues.

Have Professional Photos Taken

Remember the photos online are the first impression buyers get of your home. If the photographs reflect the beauty of the home then you will get the buyers requesting a showing. If your photos are not impressive, you are losing potential buyers at a click.

Other good reads to get your house sold…

Listing? Make Your House Speak Luxury


What, Why, When | Home Staging

If You Can Smell It, You Can’t Sell It

If You Can Smell It, You Can’t Sell It

Eventually we adapt to the smells of our home and we don’t even notice them anymore. Unfortunately though when you are ready to put your house on the market, if you have odors that linger, it can very well be a turn off to potential buyers. So how and where do you attack the smells so they are non-existent without sprays, candles and other artificial air deodorizers?


If you have animals you can guarantee you have pet odors. I love Fido too but when selling you have to be conscious that not everyone loves animals or their odors. If you have pets, you need to be fastidious with grooming. Clean pets smell less. The areas where they relax also need to be considered. Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum and vacuum again; every surface your pet chooses to relax on and in; they retain lingering smells that need to be addressed. Hair, slobber, litter boxes, excretions etc. all contribute to the collective smells. If you have animals that are not bathed or groomed that live in cages, their “homes” will need to be cleaned daily also to keep the odors at bay when you are selling. Neutralizing the odors can be done by cleaning with a simple solution of ½ vinegar ½ water. Washing bedding with baking soda and regular detergent can also help neutralize the tell tail odors of pets.



The musty smell that can be a turn off to buyers. Check for mildew and mold on surfaces of items stored in this area. Mildew is usually gray or white, if it’s fuzzy it’s mold, neither are desirable when you are selling. Clean the surface that has it with 1 part bleach 4 part water. If you are able to let light into the area do so. Also run a dehumidifier to continue to keep the air dry and the moisture at bay. Trick people use to absorb odors are bowls of vinegar, or baking soda, or even kitty litter (provided you do not have a cat that might use) to remove the lingering smells.


I get the question quite often, will buyers open my fridge/freezer? Of course, they are looking to see if your house is a good investment and are scoping out the product they might purchase. Therefore expect buyers to open your fridge, but make sure when they do they are not met with a cloud of air that smells of lingering food. Clean out your fridge of its entire contents and wash all surfaces with a solution of ½ vinegar and ½ water add an open box of baking soda to absorb any odors that could occur. Anything that has been in the fridge that is expired throw out, any food that is over 3 days old throw out, and maintain the interior of the fridge throughout the selling period of the house. Same goes for cooking while your house is on the market, do not cook items that produce a strong odor before a showing, if you are craving those types of foods, go out and have them.



Insure there are no lingering odors, start by cleaning ALL the bedding first. This will neutralize any smells, and if not purchase new. Sprinkle your mattress with baking soda and let it sit a while to absorb odors, then vacuum. If your bedding is old or not in the best condition, invest in something new, the nice thing with bedding is that it goes with you when you move; so treat yourself and invest in something beautiful. I also suggest that this is a great time to replace old pillows with new fluffy pillows to make a relaxing statement to buyers. Again it all moves with you so invest in something you like.

Addressing just these four areas can make a significant difference in the air quality of your home. Start with these and have an objective friend or family member stop by for a sniff, if odors still linger, keep cleaning!

Features That Will Sell Your House

Features That Will Sell Your House pooled information from across the country to see what buyers are currently investing their hard earned dollars on when it comes to purchasing a home.  I will recap a few of the highlights from the article here.


As always location, location, location as we always hear is one of the biggest factor when people purchase a property. That being said the most important feature happens to be good schools. The homes located in good school districts sold on average in 76 days, with a median price on the house being $330,000. That tells me that communities should make sure their school boards are making sure the students graduating better be a top product if you want to increase or maintain the equity in your property. While location is popular so are views. If you are in an urban area and have a place with a view of the city you will do well when selling. Other desirable views are golf courses, lake views, mountain views and then ocean views.


Price of course is always a factor when investing in property. The strongest price range was $200 to$250K with an average of 83 days. Not too surprising the trend I keep reading about are buyers downsizing, and small starter homes are being snatched up quickly. The $150 to $200K range was close behind at 86 days.

Size matters, but this time it’s about the square footage of the home. A 1500-2000 sq. ft home has been selling over the 3000-3500 sqft home by two weeks, the bigger you go the longer the house is on the market. Tiny houses are all the rage, along with energy efficiency too. Those trying to get into the housing market because rentals are actually not the best deal on the block anymore are jumping on these smaller homes.


The study did numerous other areas too, but one I thought interesting was their ‘hottest amenity’ category. Here they show that having stainless steel appliances are most desired. I am just wondering if it is that stainless is desirable or is it that most homes have stainless appliances that sell today so that is the reason why it ranked so high. Many trend predictors are saying for kitchens, the stainless trend is waning, but nothing is coming out on top as a new trend so the kitchen trend category I believe is still up in the air. Black appliances are being seen, and integrated appliances are being shown more and more, but there is not a surge in anyone particular area.

I would be interested to hear what is trending in your particular market versus the findings from Let me know

Key Improvement for Kitchens

2015 Kitchen Trends

Impressionable Color for Selling

Impressionable Color for Selling

There have been numerous studies on color and how a color can affect your mood. I have found this fascinating because when I go into a house to do a consult when people are ready to move, it humors me how defensive they can be about the colors in their rooms. When selling, your goal should be to appeal to the broadest range of buyers. So knowing color can relate to people’s emotions, why not go with colors that do not elicit a negative mood, but a positive impression so that they fall in love with your house?

We hear neutral colors are great when selling, but rarely know why. A neutral color does not just have to be white or beige, they can have green, blue, yellow, gray etc. undertones. A neutral color typically is one that does not necessarily elicit a reaction of feeling. So how do you create a house that is neutral but not boring, one you can live in but is easily transferable when you are ready to sell? That’s asking a lot out of a color!

When a client is willing to take the advice that painting is one of the biggest bangs for the investment when selling, we choose colors that will complement the furnishings but also convey to the entire house. Choosing colors can be a challenge but by choosing the right ones they should convey a feeling of warmth and the room should stand on its own, not the color. An example is this bathroom. Although the color initially worked with the room, by selecting one a little different made the room appear larger and cleaner- ooh ahh what buyers love!

bath before and after

Certain colors convey different emotions too. Colors that should be painted over before selling are orange, reds and deep purples. These are high energy colors that are very subjective to many people. If I have a client that absolutely LOVES their purple I suggest possibly consider going a lot lighter on walls and keep the accents in the room. So there are ways to work around bolder colors without changing everything in your house.

Keep in mind when selecting colors that unless you are planning on dwelling only, and not selling you can choose an array, but if selling keep to a few colors in rooms per floor, using a neutral color such as a soft gray or beige to connect the rooms to one another. The only mood you want to elicit when selling is inviting and tranquility, the mood of “this is the home I have to have.”

Meaning of Colors

Meaning of Colors

Color can have a significant impact on how we feel, perceive something, and react to things. Because of emotions, different colors can elicit feelings throughout the house subconsciously. The questions comes to which colors are best for some rooms and not others, and why.

For example yellow is associated with joy, happiness, intellect and energy. Because it evokes a pleasant, cheerful feeling it is a great color to use in spaces that you want to be uplifting. It is a color that would be good to have in an office, child’s room, kitchen or even a family room where there is a gathering a friends, family and acquaintances.

soft yellow kitchen

Blue one of the most popular colors maybe because it is considered with stability providing a calming and serene feeling. In home décor it can be used as a neutral (think blue jeans), to combine other colors within a room. Blue of course is associated with water so it is a perfect color for bathrooms, due to the calming effect. It is considered to suppress appetites I think because, we have very little blue food, but if that is the case it would not be choice then for a kitchen or dining area.

Blue bath

Red is a very popular color in décor because of the energy it gives off, its stimulating visibility is full of ego. It would be a great color for a child’s playroom, or an exercise room. Red, orange and bright yellow are two very subjective colors though when used in home décor so they should be avoided as a paint color on walls if you are trying to sell your home.

When we think of the outdoors green comes to mind because of trees, and grass. Green is associated with newness, nourishment and a fresh start. It is believed to relieve stress and is easy on the eyes- probably why you see shades of green in places of healing.

green living room

But when choosing colors for your home do not rule out what are considered neutral colors- gray, whites, browns. These are great for connecting spaces with color, but they are also great for spaces to play up color. Both Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore picked neutral whites for 2016 Color of the year for the serenity  and calmness they can create, but also giving individuals the ability to off set other colors if one so chooses.   Neutral colors also help highlight architectural details which is important when selling a house; you want buyers to be looking at the house, not at the “things” within the room.

Color does play a big role in the feeling of rooms, so when choosing, it is usually the last design element to go into the room, but one of the important details to set the entire mood. If you are thinking of changing your colors, feeling something is not quite right in a room, consult a professional to help you ensure that what you are painting will convey exactly what you intend. Do you have a color story you can share? I would love to hear.