Posts Tagged ‘Home Staging’


Helping people in fall in love with their homes, is something that I never, ever get tired of doing. Over the years, I have learned to look at spaces with a certain amount of detachment; we all have different tastes (and budgets) and what we like should be respected, and is very personal.

Knowing what I do, friends have sometimes said that I should “Ignore the mess”, or “Please don’t say anything, I know that my living room needs to be redecorated”. When they say this, I can honestly tell them that I don’t look at their homes that way. If they want my advice, I will gladly give it, but to poke holes in the way that someone lives, without an invitation, is never welcome. Besides, who am I to throw stones? My home is often in a state of flux, or, at the very least, looking well-loved.

That being said, I have found, that there are some things that I see, over and over again, that absolutely drive me nuts.  Whether it is a client, a friend, or a random space, here are my five favorite Design Peeves:

  • Rooms that have no purpose, or are not being used for what they were intended: Can’t you figure out a way to enjoy them, instead of filling them with Rubbermaid boxes, Christmas ornaments and a broken Futon?
  • Living/Family rooms with no tables: Where do you put your coffee, book, snack, remote control, flowers (feet?).
  • Not knowing where the front door, or main entrance is: Please don’t make me guess. It shouldn’t be this difficult to find you.
  • Dead plants in pots: Why? This is just depressing.
  • Toilet seat covers, and the little, matching toilet mat that wraps around the bottom:  I am not squeamish at all when it comes to cleaning, but do you have men and boys using your bathroom?  ’nuff said.

p.s. Even if you have all of these peeves, I will still love you and your home, and never say anything when I come for a visit (just throw away the dead plant, and don’t forget to tell me where the front door is).

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/

Photograph borrowed from the Huffington Post

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Even though it is the Holiday season, many people are still trying to sell their homes. Always a daunting process, I thought I would share some ideas, hopefully made easier from a more personal perspective.

Several years ago, I was faced with the possibility of selling my own home. During the process, I had to get several realtors in for assessments. One of them told me that it was a wonderful old house, and would appeal to a quirky owner (the thought of 10 cats and a cupboard filled with an infamous canned food, beloved by Monty Python, came to mind) and the other, was not shy in saying that my house was cozy (small) and shabby (without the chic).

What was good, is that it gave me the chance to see my home through the eyes of someone who saw it from a very different perspective. Some of it seemed quite harsh, but truly, they were giving me the reality of the housing market, and I learned a lot from talking to them:

The first thing I learned, was that selling a house is about filling the needs of as many people as possible, not about how much you love the crooked staircase and your quirky gargoyle collection. It is no longer about you, it is about a commodity.

The second thing I learned was to be realistic. eg.  A mansion, in a not-so-good neighborhood, no matter how much money you put into it, will probably never get you the return that you hope for. Likewise, a small home will always appeal more to couples or young families looking for a “starter” home.

Depersonalizing was the next thing. Not a bad word, it just means that you have to edit what you have, so that the house is the main event. Family photos and “stuff” are a distraction. At the very least, keep mementos corralled in one area, not spread all over the place.

Clean it up – the outside and the inside. Buyers are fickle; first impressions can prevent someone from even wanting to look inside (put garbage cans, broken Halloween decorations and green hosepipes in the garage). Also, a house that is tidy looks bigger, welcomes you in and makes you want to see more. 

Make your home feel cared for. Open the curtains, fluff up the pillows and let in the light. Water your plants, and get rid of ones that are past their prime.

Every room should have a purpose. Spend some time making sure your rooms look like what they are supposed to be (computers in the office, baskets of clothes in the laundry room, television and photos in the family room etc).  A spare room that is filled with “leftovers” puts people off – it needs an identity.

If you want to fix things prior to the sale, be wise in your choices. Many states have mandatory inspections, and you may have other things to repair that are far more important (and expensive).

Finally, your home should smell good. At the absolute least, change the kitty litter, empty the garbage and open the windows (no air-freshener please!). If you can, bake something in the stove or light a natural scented candle. Make people feel at home with these favorite, comforting scents:  Apple pie, cinnamon, coffee, vanilla, chocolate chip cookies…. 

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/ Lovely, airy photograph from: http://www.softlineonline.com/blog/?m=201104

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“It’s all very well being all “designery”, and living a Polly-Perfect life, but what about the rest of us? Those of us with four children, two jobs and a home that wasn’t our first choice. Never mind telling us to spray paint the brass chandelier with chalk-board paint, what are we supposed to do?”

That’s a really good question, and, honestly, it’s not easy. None of us have charmed lives filled with matching doodads and champagne coming out of the faucet. Decorating a home isn’t about that. As our grandparents used to say, it’s about making do, but I prefer to call it “pretending as if”.

“What Not To Wear” is one of my favorite shows, and having a home, to me, follows the same principles that they teach. Their credo is that you have to accept the body you have right now. Even if you hate every nook and cranny of it, it’s yours, and that’s what you have to work with. If you dress that body as if you love it, then you will get nice clothes that fit, you will look better and, gradually, feel kinder towards yourself.  Maybe you will never, ever be the size you wish you were, but if you enjoy what you have, and take pride in it, you may begin to fall in love with it. 

Your home is exactly the same!  Even if you are not happy about where you are, you could still pretend as if it is the most perfect place in the world to be.  Make some changes as if you really do care; fix things that bother you on a daily basis, don’t cost a lot and can be done in an hour or two.

Here are some quick fixes for “the rest of us”:

  • Change ugly, dated lampshades or light covers (check out local Hardware and Retail stores for cheap, but classic, options). 
  • Declutter your kitchen. It’s often the most used room in the house;   keep the surfaces clean and remove what shouldn’t be there. This will make it a much happier place to be in (and it might be bigger than you think).
  • Place a decorative bin somewhere for each of your children (and yourself). Toss in everything that should be put away. When the bin is full, empty it.
  • Check your front door;  remove dead plants and fix anything that is broken (doorbell?). Coming home should be a good experience.
  • Buy everyday items (dishwashing soap, laundry powder and liquid soap) in colors, designs and scents that you like. Making daily decisions that please you will sneak into your well-being.

See, nothing wrong with a little pretending….

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/

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I know because I’m doing it……..getting rid of ‘stuff’ as you prepare to move is difficult.  Not only are you faced with deciding what goes and what stays, but what do you do with the stuff that goes?

That’s really going to depend on just what the ‘stuff’ is.  And be honest!  Is it truly something someone else could use and/or love?  If not, it goes in the trash.  But for everything else, you have lots of choices.  You could certainly donate those things that are no longer useful or beautiful – or that simply take up too much room.  Good places for that are Goodwill, Salvation Army, or Boys and Girls Clubs, as well as many others.  Or you could post it on Freecycle, a nonprofit local network (check to see if they are in your area) committed to giving things away rather than putting them in landfills. 

If the items are more valuable or you would like to make a little money for the upcoming move, you can certainly have a yard (or tag or garage – whatever they are called in your area) sale.  While this can be a lot of work, it can also be fun – if you make it so.  Invite your neighbors to participate and have a day-long block party.  Let the kids host a lemonade stand.  Let your creative side show when you make your displays.  Just don’t expect to sell your real valuables for what they may be worth.  At a yard sale, everyone is looking for a bargain!

For those most expensive items, try a local consignment shop.  Most will not only appraise the item for you, but they will pick it up and bring it to their shop.  Some consignment stores also hold regularly scheduled auctions, which might be another way to sell your items.  And some also have an e-bay presence, so your items may be seen by an even larger audience!

Whatever you do, don’t be overwhelmed.  The cleaning-out process may take some time, so plan accordingly.  Have a space to store those things you will be selling – and for the others, frequent trips to the dump and the donation center will make your job easier!

Ann Anderson, www.roomsreborn.com

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I am, admittedly, a technological dinosaur. I don’t like    things that beep, flash on and off, have a lot of wires or machines that come with a booklet and an instructional CD. I get by on the bare minimum. I am in the category of people who would rather write long-hand than use a computer. 

Having said that, I have noticed, lately, that most households struggle with the  amount of electronic equipment that they have. Many have multiple computers and televisions; this seems to have just added to the clutter, instead of minimizing it. Mountains of paper sit alongside the computer, and a tangle of wires often creates an ugly image hanging below wall-mounted televisions.

I know these things are here to stay, but maybe we can decrease their impact on our lives? I have never studied Feng Shui but I firmly believe in homes needing positive energy. This is often brought about by  placement, plants, light and striving for a clutter free environment.

Thinking about all of this prompted me to list several quick, easy ideas for controlling technological clutter.

– Organize the wires under your computer or television. Fold them into loops as short as they can go, secure with a twistie tie or rubber band. Maybe they can be taped to the back of your desk or file cabinet?

– Attach wires, neatly, to the wall with telephone cable wire nail-in clips. (These are less than a dollar at the hardware store).

– After they are attached to the wall, either paint them to match the wall color or hide them behind a piece of art.

– Buy black  if possible, it is less obvious than silver or beige.

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bath photo 2From House Beautiful, this article has an array of ideas that are smart, stylish and easy to achieve.  To start 2010 with a fresh start, try some of these products and tips for a newly arranged space that is also pleasing to the eye.  Being organized is essential for a smooth transition from 2009 to 2010 whether it’s for your home or office.  Focus on a few rooms that may need some tweaking and you’ll be amazed at the results!  To learn more, click the link below…


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Handy article for anyone who may be a little discouraged about moving during the holiday season.  This quick read states all the positive things you can do to get through the struggles of selling a home with the stress of the holidays looming over you.  Click the link below to access this article from Robitaille Real Estate of NY.


Article submitted by Christine Spitale, Owner of Sunflower Staging, www.sunflowerstaging.com.

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In today’s real estate market, it’s a buyer’s market.  If you are selling

your home and want to sell in a reasonable amount of time, your house should stand out from the competition. With that in mind, here is my top ten “to do” list before putting your house up for sale.

Curb Appeal

  • should be clean and attractive
  • add some flower pots for color

If buyers don’t like what they see outside, they may never come inside


  • clean out and depersonalize all the stuff
  • clean out closets and cabinets to show there is enough storage

Clean, Clean, Clean

  • buyers don’t want to see dirty bathrooms or kitchens
  • get rid of foul odors (garbage, mold, cigarette smoke, pet odors)

Take care of deferred maintenance.

  • little things like: cracks, broken tiles, light bulbs out, etc.

When buyers see small repairs not fixed, they wonder if the house has major deferred maintenance.

Remove wallpaper

  • wallpaper is frowned upon today

Some buyers will go as far as not buying a house if there is too much wallpaper.

 Paint if needed

  • go neutral
  • neutrals appeal to more people

 Fireplace (everybody loves a fireplace)

  • clean it up
  • paint fireplace wall an accent color
  • make it the focal point in the room

 Furnish for selling

  • don’t overcrowd rooms with furniture
  • too much furniture makes a room look small


  • each room should have a sufficient amount of lamps
  • no one likes a dark house

 Define each room

  • no valuable square footage should be shown as a storage room

The worst thing you can do is to put your house on the market without fixing it up at all.  You should know your competition.  Go to “open houses” in your area, and PRICE TO SELL.

 Copyright 2009 – Rearrange It ! Redesign & Real Estate Staging – Marie DiCara

508-946-4328, rearrangeitredesign@comcast.net

Member of ADE (Association of Design Education) – Graduate of Academy of Design & Decorating

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Want to Make a Good Impression with Potential Buyers?


Don’t have any extra money to spend?


Here are 10 Essential Tips to Help You Sell Your Home

 that Need Not Cost Money, just Time and Effort:


Ø  CLEAR AWAY ALL CLUTTER- Get rid of extraneous clutter such as: toys, too much furniture, accessories, paperwork, too many tech/tangled wires, or knick-knacks.  Organize and contain what must remain.  A buyer wants to see and feel your space not be consumed by it.

Ø  CLEAN EVERY INCH OF SPACE: windows, floors, carpets, appliances, woodwork, fans, furniture, shower, tub, countertops- everything!  A buyer wants to be tuned into your space not turned off.

Ø  REPAIR THINGS THAT NEED TO BE FIXED- A buyer will notice everything, wonder what else is wrong, and it will cost you in the end.

Ø  BRING IN THE LIGHT! –  Allow the bright cheery light of outdoors to come into your space by opening shades, drapes, and having your windows sparkling clean.  And make sure that view outdoors is worth it.  If you can’t improve or neaten up a bad outdoor scene, don’t expose it.

Ø  HAVE A CLEAR PURPOSE or ZONES for EACH ROOM- Don’t try to pack in too many functions into one room.  Make sure the bedrooms are set up for comfortable sleeping, the dining room for eating & entertaining, the living room for conversation and perhaps TV watching.  Comfortably include more than one function, such as adding a study/office, entertainment center, or bar area.

Ø  CREATE OR ENHANCE A FOCAL POINT IN EACH SPACE – Make sure when a guest enters a space there is something that draws their eye immediately; whether it be a: fireplace,  bed, architectural element, special piece of furniture, art, or view out a window.  Rearrange the room to make the most of this focal point.

Ø  MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR FRONT YARD AND ENTRY- You want to draw your potential buyers into your home not scare them away.  Freshen up, clean up, and make the most of what your buyers see first.

Ø  “NEUTRALIZE” YOUR SPACES- Get rid of excessive and highly personal accessories and furniture that don’t make the most of your space, for example a TV that is far too big for a room or an exercise bike in the middle of a bedroom.  Limit personal photos and paraphernalia.  Keep your colors, textures, patterns, and décor as simple as possible and make them cohesive and all work together.

Ø  STAGE AND SET UP YOUR ROOMS- so your buyers can imagine themselves living there. Set up your dining or kitchen table with beautiful dinnerware, napkins, and a centerpiece.  Bring in a nice bowl of apples on your counter.  Set a tray with flowers and teacups on your bed.  Put out your fluffiest towels in the bathroom.

Ø  IMPRESS YOUR BUYERS WITH SCENTS- Have wonderful smells permeating the rooms: soaps in the bathroom, cotton balls soaked with citrus or vanilla in the kitchen closets, scented candles, or fresh flowers anywhere.  If time, set out something freshly baked before an Open-House.  Prepare your home so potential buyers feel like they can image living there and want to buy it!


By Joan Bishop, Interior Designer




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dollarsigns1Did you know that remodeling a home accounts for about 40% of all residential construction spending and about 2% of the US economy?

If you’re getting ready to place your home on the market, there are a few things you should know…

To improve, or not to improve – that is the question.

1. I’ts best to make expensive improvements if they fit existing neighborhood standards. Don’t go overboard.

2. Anytime you can add an extra bath or spare bedroom is good. Again, within existing neighborhood standards. (A good realtor will help you out.)

3. Replace and/or upgrade roofing, windows and exterior paint colors will do the trick everytime.

4. Don’t add bells and whistles just because you want them – add only the ones that will add measurable real estate value.

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