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Why Do Kitchen Renovations Go Over Budget?

Alt: White kitchen and dining area

We have all done it; being tempted by new luxurious items that we cannot afford sounds like an everyday occurrence to most people. However, spending money on a home renovation should be an investment, not a money squandering, especially if you want to add value to your home. Although remodeling is more than a whim, specific parts of your new home, such as the kitchen, might cost more than you have expected. If you are a first-time homeowner, it might surprise you to hear how often kitchen renovations go over budget.

However, now that you are aware of it, it's possible to use this information to your advantage. Being familiar with all the hidden cost traps and means of avoiding them will not only save you the trouble of going bankrupt, but it can also help you spare a few pennies!

You spent a fortune on a layout change

You have finally stumbled upon your dream house. It has the correct number of bedrooms, natural lighting, even a cozy backyard. However, you become frustrated just by looking at the single-wall kitchen. The attempt to fit in all the appliances and utensils in your pocket-sized kitchen seems like a mission impossible. Therefore, the solution is to remodel and invest in a new layout, build an island, or maybe even a whole new U-shaped kitchen. Despite the alluring temptation, this is the moment your budget goes down the rabbit hole

A woman holding a piggy bank

It's essential to check your costs twice in order not to squander your savings.

Double-check the renovation costs

Before you even consider remodeling your entire kitchen, you should carefully plot your renovation budget. First of all, consult your contractor to provide you with an estimate of your project cost. If your kitchen renovation exceeds 15 percent of your home's value, you might want to take a break from the renovation splurge.

Avoid being carried away by storage issues

If lack of storage becomes the root of your stress, you can solve it by investing in a walk-in pantry. Choosing a pantry instead of a new kitchen layout will provide you with just enough space. You will even save money compared to the kitchen design change. If the pantry is not an option, storage trays, pegboards, turntables, and various organization items can do wonders! Spend your time organizing instead of wasting money, and you might even save for all the latest kitchen gadgets.

You did not prioritize – you want it all!

It's not uncommon for people to get carried away before moving into a new house. It's supposed to be your safe haven furnished with all the items that bring you joy. Although this is not far from the truth, you do not need to squander your last penny remodeling. There usually are more affordable options for each idea that crosses your mind, and you should consider those before your expenses skyrocket.

When you ignore the hidden costs, kitchen renovations go over budget

When planning a budget, it's never easy to predict all the unforeseen expenses. However, it will save you a lot of trouble if you double-checked every hidden corner of your kitchen. When buying a colonial house or a Tudor-style home often seen in Dallas, you have probably been charmed by its compelling character. However, if the home wasn't kept in good condition, you might need to invest more than expected. You might discover water leakage when replacing the floor, so it's always best to put aside some money for the unexpected costs.

Think twice before choosing a countertop material

Many people are under the impression that they need to spend a fortune to have a sophisticated-looking kitchen. If you have fantasized about marble or granite countertops, you will be shocked to find out there are more affordable but equally elegant options. Plastic laminate countertops could be efficiently designed to mimic all the high-end materials without the risk of overspending. They are incredibly durable and convenient, so you might want to reexamine your decision before investing in natural stone.

Envelopes, money, and a calculator on a marble countertop

                         However beautiful a marble countertop might be, there's always                   a more affordable option.

Try not to multitask when moving

Multitasking can be a positive activity when it's all about saving you valuable time. However, sometimes it's best to take it one step at a time and adequately plan each task that awaits you. When you plot your relocation and redesign simultaneously, you may neglect something important. If you are moving to a beautiful but demanding Craftsman home in Dallas, it might require some work. However, it's always better to schedule your move first, find good service in the area, and then dedicate your time energy to renovation issues. Delegating your relocation to professionals ensures a stress-free renovation atmosphere.

You changed your mind, twice

Sometimes, people might not be satisfied with their kitchen's square footage and want to make it more spacious. Although it is possible to make a room appear larger without breaking a wall or two, you might have decided to borrow a little bit of space. However, during the process, you figure that the spaciousness entails investing in a different layout. Then you decide it was all a mistake and you need to develop a new plan. Changing your mind a couple of times is one reason why kitchen renovations go over budget, and you want to avoid wasting time and money this way.

A woman sitting in front of a laptop looking upset

                            Changing your mind when remodeling is one of the                             reasons kitchen renovations go over budget.

Stick to your plan

When deciding on a renovation, it's too easy to get carried away when choosing the appliances, paint, or flooring materials. The variety of options might lead you to conclude that the sky is the limit. However, your budget might disagree on that. Therefore it's best to double-check every decision you make. Is it essential to invest in a high-end oven when your family prefers to dine out? Do not make hasty decisions you will regret later, and try to invest in relevant features of your kitchen. 


Undoubtedly, it's human to err. However, some errors might be irreparable, especially when plotting an expensive remodel. Take your time to devise a proper financial plan, discuss your options with a contractor, and don't indulge in impulsive shopping. Instead of knocking down walls to compose a brighter kitchen, hire a designer to help you achieve it without overspending. Whichever the primary idea was, there's always a plan B. Kitchen renovations go over budget when you decide not to look before you leap. Instead, choose to rationalize and prioritize, and there will be no room for draining all of your savings.  

white canisters with lids
marble and wood tablet stand
3 piece stock pot

This article is written by a guest blogger, Emma Jones with Superior Moving & Storage.   I hope you found it helpful!  Some of my favorite products above have shoppable links.  If you purchase one, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Happy kitchen planning!


Use Layers to Create a Perfect Room

couple assessing living room

Meet my guest blogger, Karl Kennedy, author of  He's sharing some great tips on how to add layers in your room to make it feel cozy, layered, and give it natural flow.

Do you want your living room to have a natural interior design flow? Check out these layering techniques.

Why do some living rooms look perfectly put together while others lack the interior design sugar and spice of it all? Some homeowners have a knack for getting items to flow naturally. Some do not.

Fortunately, we can help you be successful with your interior design just by using one simple concept: Layering. Layering is simply arranging and rearranging items in a room to make it look better. It’s done in fashion all the time. The only difference is that you’re changing your living room’s blank canvas as opposed to your wardrobe’s blank canvas. Layering will get you to turn the room you spend the most time in into something spectacular, using different colors, patterns, materials, textures, and different sized items.

The trick is to not go with what all the design trends are doing on the daily. Instead, allow the layers to become personal to you, unique to you, and different to others.

We’ll give you some suggestions, and don’t worry, you won’t have to use them all. Just choose the ones that feel right for your living room.

Comfy Additions

One of our favorite things about layering is the comfort some items can add to the room. Think pillows, throws, blankets, and cushions/pillows. Spread the pillows out over the couch, fold up some blankets and place them in a wicker basket near the television, and possibly fold some throws to go on a nearby open shelf.

All of these items support comfort. The pillows and cushions are a solid resting spot for your head and neck after a long days’ work and the throws and blankets are great for cuddling up on the couch, getting warm, and getting into a zen state of mind.


Layering with lighting is easy as can be, all you have to do is mix ambient lighting with task lighting. Make sure the balance fits the space, though.

Think general lights that brighten the room. Then, add lamps in surrounding areas, either standing or table toppers. The balance should flow evenly throughout the room. For instance, add lamps to the dark spaces and corners but have a central light in the middle of the room, hanging or planted on the ceiling.

Miscellaneous Accessories

The miscellaneous accessories are where you can add practical personality throughout the room. Purchase things that work with your dynamic but fit into the spaces they’re allotted.

For example, spread out some cute and colorful baskets in the room. Fill them with items that you and your guests will use, like magazines, the daily paper, and little board or card games. You can purchase a ceramic tray online or at one of your favorite local shops to hold the remotes for the television, DVD player, projector, and any other electronics you have. Install some shelving units to add a statement that can house books, small plants, candles, or photographs.

Looking for accessory inspiration? Click here.


Rugs add texture and they’re comfortable for your feet. Not to mention, the layer provides additional warmth and separation from the floor beneath.

Sisal rugs will give the living room more of a natural look and Persian rugs will give the room a more colorful appearance - so pick your preference. Remember, you can go even further and layer your rugs, too.

Small Furniture

Once the staples of your living room are set into place, add some small furniture throughout the room. Make sure the pieces are overall functional.

Think coffee tables, live edge side tables, ottomans, small benches, and stump stools. Anything that can carry the weight of snacks, drinks, and daily necessities.

Karl has some great ideas, so I hope this helps you if you're adding some layers to a room.  

Happy to help!


3 Steps to Make Small Rooms Look Bigger

How can I make this small room look bigger?  This is a question I get all of the time, especially from people who are selling their house.  A huge goal in presenting your home for sale is to make rooms feel welcoming, spacious, and bright, with good traffic flow.   Maybe this is also your goal in your home, just in general!   Today I have 3 Practical Steps to help you make your small rooms look bigger.

Step 1- Lighten & Refresh with Paint

photo credit:

The room above went from outdated to pretty spectacular just by painting!  Looks like they have changed blinds to shutters, but it's    S.O.   G.O.O.D!   If they were selling, I would have recommended the paint, and then just suggested to remove the blinds to save money - thinking about return on investment.  

Paint is money in a can.  When you choose the right paint color, it can make a HUGE difference in how the home is presented and will attract more buyers.  Paint colors have something called an LRV (Light Reflectance Value.)  The higher the number, the more light is reflected, thus making the room brighter.  Zero is the darkest black and 100 is the brightest white.  When painting for a home to sell, look for a neutral color that has a LRV of 70 or higher. Here are four of my favorites below.

Sherwin Williams 7004 Snowbound       (an off-white)        LRV 83   

Sherwin Williams 6105 Divine White        (pink beige greige)  LRV72   

Sherwin Williams 6385 Dover White     (cream)                  LRV 83   

Sherwin Williams 6070 Heron Plume     (green gray greige)  LRV 75

Paint living rooms, dining rooms, and bedroom walls in a flat/matte or eggshell finish.  In bathrooms, kitchens, or high traffic areas, you may want to go for a satin sheen so that it's somewhat washable.   My recommendation for baseboards, trim, and molding is to use the exact same color in a satin or semi-gloss sheen/finish. That way, you'll know that it matches. No stress!  Plus it looks really classy when you do that.     A great person to follow for painting advice is Maria Killam.  Click here to be taken to her website.                                                                                               

Step 2 - Think Vertically

Your windows are one of the best friends in the room.  You need to expose them by removing the drapes if they are outdated, dirty, faded, etc.   Keep the windows bare or reinstall drapes that go as high as possible - not just above the window.  Also, you want the rods to stretch out to the left and right about 8-10 inches from the window opening so that the open drapes will not block the light from flooding in.  Pro Tip:  Use drapes in a color that matches (or is very similar to) the wall color.   Do you need new drapes up to 120 inches long?  I've found that Half-Price Drapes is my resource.  

photo: Pinterest

A super tall mirror looks great in almost any room.  It draws the eye up, reflects light, and visually enlarges the space.   Placing a large mirror above the fireplace can be great too - just be careful as to what the mirror is reflecting.   Love this one below for its simple, classic look!

photo: Pinterest mirror: Home Depot

Another way to think vertically is to concentrate on a focal wall.  This may be where the fireplace is located, or maybe it's a great built-in, or maybe the headboard in a bedroom. Placing a large art, mirror, or decor pieces on this focal area is another way to make the space feel larger.  The height of this art below really emphasizes the amazing windows beside it, which is what we want to do, especially when selling.   Why?  The art is leaving with the owner, and the buyer gets these great windows, right?

photo: Pinterest art:

Step 3 - Use Bigger Furniture & Accessories

I know this step may sound contrary to what you think, but a lot of smaller tables, chairs, art and decor just makes a room look cluttered and busy.   Use a full size sofa and chair if it's possible.  Choose a coffee table that's in proportion.  If you don't have room for side tables and table lamps, use a floor lamp instead.   The photo above and the one below are really great examples of this step.  See how the lamps above are placed right behind the chairs? Very nice!   Minimize your decor to just a few larger scaled pieces.  Less is more!   I say this all of the time too!  This step will give your room a sense of calm and peace.  

Photo: Pinterest Shop: Amazon

Well, there you have it!  Three steps to making a room look bigger!   I hope these help you with your bigger-looking room goals.   Don't forget to clean and declutter your space.   That's the no-brainer step that we sometimes dread.  But, you'll be glad you did it.   

Have you read my post about styling a coffee table?  Click here to see it.

Looking forward to the next time I can share with you!  Until then, if you need help with staging or decorating, just reach out.  🙂


Past Trends that Need To Vanish when Selling

Are your listings attracting the right buyers? Is the house full of dated items that are a past trend?  Did you know that millenials make up more than 1/3 of all buyers?  They are adults who grew up watching HGTV, Extreme Makeover Home Edition, and they are pros at Instagram and Pinterest.   They are stylish and have high expectations when it comes to design.  Simply cleaning a house and listing photos on MLS will typically not bring the highest offers and quick sale to your seller.  

When Clover Lane Design, LLC works in an occupied home, we are fully aware of the potential buyers and their expectations.   Few people want to buy a home that reminds them of "going to grandma's house,"  or reminds them of their college apartment, and many buyers have a limited budget and/or vision to make changes to an outdated house.  Read more to see which outdated trends need to go (even if they were expensive 25-40 years ago).

Don't use heavy window treatments.

This is probably the biggest change that you can make with minimal work!  The goal is to let in as much light as possible.  Curtains block light, attract dust, and often have cigarette or pet odors lingering in them.  Plus they often date a room with old-fashioned prints and colors. Sheer, straight white or ivory panels can be used to soften the edges, but anything more is a distraction.   Blinds, shades and shutters can be left in place if privacy is needed, but we recommend all drapery and curtains be removed.   

heavy drapery picture

photo via Pinterest posted by

Don't use bright or patterned shower curtains.

Do you ever see these types of shower curtains in a nice hotel?   Of course not!   We want each bathroom to feel like a spa - and spa bathrooms use white towels and white shower curtains.   We recommend a plain white curtain that perhaps has some texture to it.  Then keep it at least half way open so that buyers can see the nice tile, faucet, etc. If a new one is not in the budget, remove the curtain completely if possible.   The bathroom will look cleaner and larger in photos.

rustic shower curtain

photo via

Don't display dried flower arrangements, ficus trees, and ivy.

I know it seems weird that plants and flowers go out of style, but THEY DO!   Faux arrangements from 1980-2000 should be boxed and put away.   They immediately date the room.   This includes any wall florals above doorways, mirrors, etc.   Instead, use faux or real plants where plants might naturally grow.  Green or neutral colors like ivory and white loook great, and a tall orchid looks amazing on a bathroom countertop.  Succulents are very popular and look very welcoming in a kitchen.  Replace ficus trees which were quite popular back in the day with a fiddle leaf fig or olive tree.  If the budget is too tight, just remove the outdated plants.

greenery options

Don't keep all of the dark and heavy matching furniture.

When all of your furniture is all heavy and dark, it can really make rooms appear cave-like and overcrowded.   This happens frequently in bedrooms and living rooms, and was really popular in the past. We suggest that the pieces be scaled down to the bare minimum.  Pack away clothing or other items that are not needed for the next 3-4 months, and remove those furniture pieces that contained them.  Lighten up the spaces with lamps, throw pillows, white bedding, and a large light rug.   Updated bedroom styling tips can be found at if you're interested in reading more.

dark bedroom furniture

photo via NY Furniture Outlets

Do style a house for the target buyer!

Whether the home is a condo downtown, a two-story brick in a young family neighborhood, or a sprawling ranch that backs up to a golf course, we keep the potential buyer in mind when staging a home.   We create spaces that cause the buyer to linger and envision themselves there.   

We are experts at using what owners already have to create spaces that can appeal to the masses.  When more trendy pieces need to be rented or purchased, we know just what to use. Contact us today if we can be of help!

staged bedroom

Read 7 Staging Mistakes to Avoid for more "what not to do" staging tips.

Happy selling! - Shana

6 Everyday Items for Holiday Decorating Today

everyday decor items
everyday bowl

Remember this?  Several weeks ago, I wrote about six everyday decor items to use for fall decorating that can take you through each season, each holiday, and will make decorating easier and ultimately less expensive. Now, I've used the same pieces to decorate for Christmas!  Hopefully you'll find this inspiring and find the energy to decorate yourself!   My philosophy is to keep it simple so you'll have time for everything else this season.

If you don't have everyday decor items like these and want some, I'll link a few products at the bottom of this post.   I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting my smal business!

1.  Cake Pedestals 

everyday cake pedestal

Cake pedestals are great for holiday decorating - with or without a lid!  Here I've chosen a white ceramic cake stand instead of my wooden piece.  For entertaining, these are perfect when you have plenty of food on the buffet table.  Other platters or bowls can slightly tuck under this dish, so it's a space-saving choice.  Right now it's just holding some plates and fruit on my kitchen table.   I'm loving the lantern too, warmly adding the glow of a candle.  Another location option is next to your coffee/cocoa bar, holding cups of cocoa packets, marshmallows, candy canes, pods, stirrers, and creamers.  When you ground items on a platter or cake stand, everything suddenly becomes organized and looks intentional!

2.  Bowls and Trays

I used the wooden dough bowl and again, just filled it with a little greenery - some faux and some fresh. This large bowl is filled with a few of my holiday mugs.  If I don't get them out of the cabinet - stored way up high - I'll never use them.  But now, it's convenient and I'm ready to entertain a guest or two right away!  Think BIGGER when you choose a bowl!  Place your mugs in first, and then add the sprigs of greenery or berries into the open spots.   My Merry Christmas sign fits into the corner right behind it.  Here's a little sign was too low at first, so I rested it on a small white bowl to give it some height.   Coffee anyone?

3.  Hurricane or Apothecary Jars

everyday apothecary jars

Large apothecary jars, vases, even iced tea dispensers can be used for your holiday decorating.  Just find something large and clear.  Pop in some fake snowflakes (Target $3) or epsom salt!  I purchased these bottle brush trees last year at the Target $1 spot.   I arranged this as my dining room table centerpiece because the colors really coordinated with this year's tree decor.  The fabric is bunched up as a table runner to give more of a snowy effect. Using three large jars is another design plus because everything looks better in odd numbers! This would look amazing on an entryway table, greeting your guests. Hanging a mirror above it would be fantastic!   For other entryway ideas, read more here, and you may find some great gift ideas as well.   

4.  Candlesticks & Candles

everyday candlesticks

I wanted to purchase sleek, gold or brushed nickel candle holders but again I was determined to use what I had and save some "moo-lah" for the gift-giving.   Instead of candles, I found these three large ball ornaments and placed them in the candlestick holes which will prevent them from rolling around.  It gives a modern twist to these otherwise traditional candlesticks.  Then I found one of my vintage santa decor pieces to include.  We've had this piece for years and years.  He looks right at home here. 🙂

A word about scents and aromas ...scented candles, wax, or diffusers can change the feel of a room based on the aroma that's in it!  Christmas is a time for evergreen, vanilla, cinnamon, and fresh-baked apple, or cookie scents. We picked up a few candles at Bath & Body Works this weekend, but I also found some that I really liked at Calyan Wax Co.   Their soy wax candles smell wonderful, and it's a simple way for you to help others as well!

5.  Tiered trays or Stacked Pie Plates

My tiered tray made its way to my living room this time.  I simply filled it with plastic and glass ornaments that didn't make it onto my tree.   When placed in front of a mirror, the sparkle is reflected, adding to the overall look.  By the way - - this has to be the simplest way to decorate! Ornaments could have filled my apothecary jars, my dough bowl, or been stacked on the cake pedestal.  

Remember that tiered trays don't have to be only a centerpiece.   A tiered tray would be a lovely gift!  Fill it with lotions, soaps, hand towels, and other spa items.  Another option - purchase candy, salty snacks, popcorn bowls, playing cards, dominoes, score pads, timer, and cool pens.  I could go on and on here, but you get the idea!

Need some gift ideas for the home?  Read my blog post called  Gift Ideas Under $100!

6.  Greenery or Faux Leaves/Garland/Sprays/Flowers

Depending on the season and the look you're going for, "greenery" can be used almost anywhere!  Unless it's in a pot, I hardly use it on its own anywhere.  Think of it as a filler and a way to add an organic touch to the decor.  Go back to all of the previous pictures and count the number of ways that I used some sort of greenery.  It's an essential decorating item that most people forget about.   

Shopping for the Classic Everyday Pieces

Using these six everyday decor items will take you through each season of decorating.  If you're in need of some basic decor pieces, here are some links for you. 🙂

My holiday wish for you is that you'll find joy in 2020 - we have so much to be thankful for!   And that 2021 would be kinder to all of us!

Happy holiday decorating and Merry Christmas!


6 Everyday Items for Fall Decorating

Here are six everyday items to use for fall decorating that can take you through each season, each holiday, and will make decorating easier and ultimately less expensive. Do you have items in your house that are similar to these?  You'll be amazed how you can decorate with things that you already own!  Get ready to read more!!

 Let's go through each one, one at a time to see how you can decorate for Halloween/Fall/Thanksgiving.  Next time, I'm going to use some of these same everyday items to decorate for Christmas in the blog.  Just wait and see!

If you don't have items like these and want some, I'll link a few at the bottom of this post.   I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase, at no extra cost to you.

1.  Cake Pedestals 

Cake pedestals are great for fall decorating - with or without a lid!  Here I've chosen two in varying sizes that I purchased last year.  These are wood and metal, but glass or ceramic are perfect as well!  I stacked fake pumpkins that I've had for years and just added a fall-themed towel and a cute little sign that I think I bought at Canton Trade Days years ago.  Remember to choose pumpkins of different sizes so that you add some interest with the layers.  This happens to sit at my coffee bar area- my favorite spot in the house, but it could also work as a centerpiece for your dining or coffee table.  It would be so welcoming in an entryway too!

2.  Bowls and Trays

I used the dough bowl that was in my first picture and again, just filled it with a little greenery (and orange leaves) and some pumpkins of various sizes.  This can take me straight through Thanksgiving easily!   The trick here is that your bowl or tray needs to be LARGE.  Mine measures about 10 inches x 20 inches.   Don't try it with small trays or soup bowls.  Think BIGGER!  Lay the greenery in first, so that the pumpkins will cover up the stems.  

3.  Hurricane or Apothecary Jars

This is everyday living here - no professional photos!  But you get the idea!   Large vases, even iced tea dispensers can be used for your fall decorating.  Just find something large and clear.  Pop in some greenery, pine cones, pumpkins, moss balls, Halloween candy, whatever!  I have one piece of faux greenery here combined with some dried branches from the yard.  Keep it simple and you won't mind changing it out for the next holiday.  

4.  Candlesticks & Candles

I found these three candlesticks at a thrift store this week.   Originally, they were purchased from World Market, but I got them for a steal!  I have battery-operated candles on top and yes, one candle is a little more off-white because I was determined to use what I already had on hand.  This little plate was at Hobby Lobby last year.  So cute on my sideboard table.  I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a huge candlestick person.  Why?  Because I really like the scented large candles that stand alone.  This brings me to another point though - you can really change the feel of a room based on the aroma that's in it!  Fall is a time for pumpkin spice, vanilla, cinnamon, and fresh-baked apple, or cookie scents.   

5.  Tiered trays or Stacked Pie Plates

My tip for this type of decor is to use leaves or greenery for some filler.  Pop in a few larger pieces like the shiny candle, ghost, Spooky sign, and bird.  Make sure the other side has larger things also.  Then fill in with small pumpkins, berries, pinecones, small votives, etc.  I'm looking forward (already) to seeing what this becomes for Christmas.   Tiered trays don't have to be a centerpiece.   You can use them anywhere!  Even your bathroom vanity could hold towels, soaps, and fun seasonal items.  

6.  Greenery or Faux Leaves/Garland/Sprays/Flowers

Depending on the season and the look you're going for, "greenery" can be used almost anywhere!  Unless it's in a pot, I hardly use it on its own anywhere.  Think of it as a filler and a way to add an organic touch to the decor.  Go back to all of the previous pictures and count the number of ways that I used some sort of greenery.  It's an essential decorating item that most people forget about.   

Shopping for the Classic Everyday Pieces

If you're in need of some basic decor items, here are some links for you. 🙂

For help with Thanksgiving Table Decorating, click here to see post.  You'll notice how I used some of the same items for the table last year!:)

Happy decorating for fall and every season!    


Fabulous Finds Under $100

If you're like many people working from home, I'm sure you've had a deeper look into your decor pieces - or maybe realized that you're lacking in that area.   While accessories are not essential items in life, they sure can complete a look in a room.  Here are some great finds for less than $100. 

Shop the Fabulous Finds!

cozy for bedroom, living space, or even out on the patio


great as part of a gallery wall

a touch of fun for a bed or chair

holds your books in style or just use as cool art

hide away essentials in a foyer, living room, kid space, anywhere


artwork in the form of a functional tray for the kitchen, bar, dining room...

extra spot to hold your drink, books, or a plant

stash remotes, photos, lip balm, loose useful

stylish clock for any room - so classic-looking

Need a Gift Idea?

Any of these would be special gift items also, because who wouldn't love a cool plant, or a beautiful soap dispenser?  It would be a great time to get Dad some cool book-ends and a classy clock for his desk.  Use containers to corral bathroom or bedroom small things.  So stylish!  A beautiful kitchen makes cooking fun again, and goodness know, we've been doing a lot of that lately!


great on a bookcase or next to some candlesticks on a mantel or table

cutting boards

layer in front of your backsplash for an organic touch in the kitchen

soap or lotion from here would feel luxurious 

pedestals to add height to your buffet spread, or display some fun cupcakes

Bee happy while in your kitchen

popular succulents that need no water - use on a shelf or as part of a table centerpiece

I hope you have fun shopping and find something you love.

Stay safe and have a wonderful week!

Affiliate links disclosure: Clover Lane Design, LLC may earn a small commission from your purchase at no cost to you.   Thanks for contributing to small businesses!

Many of these great finds would be beautiful in your entryway.  Click to see that post.  

If you're putting your house on the market, get it staged with neutral decor.  Check out this post for more great staging ideas, or call me to help you get it ready.

7 Staging Mistakes to Avoid

I'm in hundreds of homes a year and I see the same home staging mistakes over and over, which of course I don't mind since I am there to help the homeowner get the house ready for the photos and for showings. 

However, I know many homeowners like to get their houses ready without the help of a professional home stager.  With that in mind, I've compiled seven out of the twenty staging mistakes that I see all of the time.  

1.  Bringing in too many trendy items.   For example, displaying distressed items and furniture everywhere for that farmhouse look.   Yes, it's popular.  No, not everyone likes it.  The take-away is to use some of this in a small dose.  The goal is that your house is "Transitional." Transitional = trendy + traditional.   Another trend is displaying plants.   A good rule of thumb is to have one real or faux plant in every room.  It's a sign of life, something organic that appeals to everyone.  This does not mean seven or eight large plants should be in the kitchen nook alone.  Spread the love, or use some of the plants outside.  Or, since you'll be moving you might want to give away a few if you're afraid they might die being outside.  

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2.  Neutral Overload.   Neutral paint, floors, and big furniture pieces are awesome because you can do so much with them.   If everything that you own is also neutral (think brown, tan, gray, beige, etc.) nothing will draw the buyers eye around the room.  Stagers use contrast such as blue pillows, blue art, and a blue throw so that the visitor will notice the blue around the room and look from place to place.  A local estate sale professional told me that "brown is down."   Very few people are attracted to brown things - people are tired of it.  So, add some contrast with color - but do it in moderation!

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3.  Rooms like dark dungeons.  Okay, maybe not really dungeons, but the point is...people are drawn to rooms that have a lot of natural light.  Take down heavy drapes and make sure the windows are sparkling clean.  Make sure all of your lightbulbs are working and that they match.  You want people to feel energized and cheerful when they tour your home. 

4.  Poor furniture placement.  Sometimes a few furniture pieces need to be removed in order for the room to feel spacious.  Make sure sofas and chairs are close enough together to promote conversation.  Don't line up furniture along the walls because it will look like a waiting room.   In the bedroom, the bed is the focal point, so try to put the headboard on the largest far wall. Walkways should be about 3 feet wide throughout the home, so eliminate pieces that don't really fit.  You want your rooms to feel  s p a c i o u s.

5.  Neglecting to put away personal items.   Buyers don't want to see your dirty laundry, shampoo, razor, toothbrush, picture of Grandma, certificate of CPR training, or your toilet plunger, just to name a few.   Pack away any personal photos, and tuck away your toiletry and cleaning products into your cabinets or garage.  

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6.  Neglecting important improvements.   Are your wood blinds in working order?  Does that molding piece need to be nailed back into place?  Is your a/c or heater doing a good job?  Does that bold red wall in the entryway need a lighter color of paint?  There are a hundred little things that need to be considered when selling your home.   You don't want any problem (big or small) to become a price-eroding factor.  Go ahead and make your repairs and improvements before you list the house.   If you have questions about renovations and return on investment, ask your realtor, or visit my blog post Renovation Projects to Add Value when Selling.

7.  Forgetting the little things.   Fresh fruit or a plant in the kitchen gives an organic touch and everyone loves that.  Set up a minimal looking coffee station with some mugs.   Stack some books on nightstands coffee table, or open shelving to warm up the space.    Hang fresh towels in the bathroom and don't use them!  Sometimes owners pack everything away and then the house feels cold and boring.  Don't forget the little things!

Color Psychology for Home Staging

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What do homeowners want the most when they are trying to sell their houses? Every property owner who sells their home wants to sell it fast and at the highest price possible. And anything that can help them achieve those objectives is welcomed by most owners.

This is why home staging is quickly becoming a standard part of the process of selling a home. As Granite Foundation Repair in Arlington points out, houses that are staged sell faster and for a higher price than homes that are not staged.

Home staging is the strategic use of interior design principles as a tool for marketing houses. Professional home stagers use color, furnishings, layout, and lighting as instruments for enhancing a home to make it more enticing to buyers.

The specific goal in home staging is to transform the space into buyers' idea of their dream home. This is because buyers are more likely to buy a house if they fall in love with it.

One of the ways home stagers make a home more alluring is through the intentional use of colors. A room's colors can make people in that room happy or sad, energetic or lethargic, compassionate, or aggressive. This effect of color is natural and subtle.

People rarely understand that the emotions they feel within a space can be engendered by that room's colors. Most professional home stagers recognize this and know how to use color as a real estate marketing tool.

Why color is powerful

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Why do colors affect people? Because light affects people, and color is light. Although we think of color as a tangible attribute of objects around us, color is really the light that is reflected by those objects.

There are several wavelengths or colors of light in white light or sunlight. And those different light colors become visible when they are separated in a rainbow. When white light, composed of different wavelengths, falls on an object, that object does one of three things.

The object may reflect all of the white light back; it may absorb all of the light, or it may reflect one wavelength and absorb the others. When an object reflects a particular wavelength, that object appears to our eyes to take on the reflected wavelength's color.

Like white or dim light, which can make people alert or sleepy, that particular wavelength of light also has its specific effect on the human mind. This is why colors affect people's moods.

Strategic use of colors in home staging

When staging any room, the mood that the stager wants should dictate the specific colors they use in the space. Doing this requires the stager to have a firm grasp of the psychological effect of different colors.

The goal may be to invoke feelings of security, romance, or comfort. Below is a primer on how to use colors when staging a home.

Make the home inviting and create feelings of serenity

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Most people find neutral colors appealing; a higher number of buyers will find them reassuring. Using neutral colors - beige, cream, ivory, taupe, gray, or white - is a rule of thumb when staging a home.

Neutrals make the home feel fresh, brightens up its rooms, and creates a sense of spaciousness. Moreover, if buyers want to change the colors, neutrals are easier to paint over. Also, they are easy to match to other colors.

Make the room lively and friendly

photo: PInterest    website:

Cool colors infuse a sense of peace; they are soothing to the mind and friendly. Using shades of green creates a similar effect to being surrounded by green plants.

It is calming and life-giving because green is the color of nature. Shades of blue produce feelings of strength, stability, and trust. They are calming on the emotions and ideal for bedrooms and bathrooms. Incorporating blue in children's rooms will make the children more creative.

Grab attention with warm colors

Warm colors are rousing to the emotions and should rarely be used in large quantities when selling a home.  Stagers will use "pops" of these colors to add interest and to help guide the buyers' eyes around the room.

If you're redecorating or refreshing a room and NOT putting your house on the market to sell, you can go all out and choose the colors you love!

Red is intense and energizing; it is highly stimulating and arrests the attention. Using red in entryways makes them eye-catching.

Red in kitchens sharpens the appetite. Yellow, orange, and pink also stimulate the mind, but to a lesser degree than red. Yellow lifts the mood makes people cheerful and more vocal. To get an effect midway between the energy of red and the mood-lifting qualities of yellow, use orange.

In conclusion, to get the most from colors, one color is rarely enough inside a room. Instead, different colors should be used to complement and balance the effect of others. And one color might also have undertones of other colors.

Furthermore, the right use of colors is not limited to wall colors only. Using colors to create the right ambiance and evoke the desired emotions should be extended to the colors of furnishings, appliances, and fixtures. The idea when using colors should be to immerse the space so that their effect is inescapable.

Discover other staging tips by jumping over to my blog post called "Top 10 Must-Haves to Stage Your House to Sell."

Thanks for following my blog!  Let me know what other topics you'd like to hear about. 


Father’s Day 2020 Gift Ideas

We're celebrating all of the Dads out there on Sunday, June 21st!  

What dad doesn't love to receive hand-written cards, a game of his choice, a nap in a hammock, or a favorite dinner out? Fathers should be celebrated for their hard work everyday, but once a year we like to show them how special they really are!

Would you like to honor your dad with a gift without having to get out and face the crowd?  I came across this list of ideas from Rachel Sipe, and then I added some of my own ideas too.   I'm really curious about how the Salt Block works and the spiciness of the Truff hot sauce. Has anyone ever bought these before? 

Affiliate links disclosure: Clover Lane Design, LLC may earn a small commission from your purchase at no cost to you.   Thanks for contributing to small businesses!

Gifts for the Cool Pops!

Yeti cup - about $25

                                                                                                                                        Salt Block - about $23

Yeti cooler

Yeti cooler - about $150

For all of the dads who like to cook, or barbecue, or just eat!

hot sauce

Hot Sauce -about $18

Meat Claws - about $13

breakfast sandwich maker

Breakfast Sandwich Maker - about $25

Whiskey Stones - about $25

Crack Salsa - about $6

For Dad's who are Stylin'!


Cologe - $95-$170

dot silk tie

Silk Tie - about $25

Sporting Dads or Just "Hard-to-Please" Pops

greens towel

                                                                                                                                Greens Towel - about $12

sport socks

Sport Socks - about $11

So Dad can just CHILL!

Candle - about $18

Weighted Page Holder - about $13 

Massager with Heat - about $56

Dads will like these Gadgets!

shower speaker

Shower Speaker - about $35

charging station

Charging Dock - about $25

Fire Stick - about $40

Meat Thermometer - about $57

Always a GOOD READ for Dad!

Book - $17 Kindle $24 hardcover

Knock-Knock Dad Book - about $13

Hope you found these gift ideas helpful!  If you know of a great Father's Day gift, I'd love to hear about it!  If you have questions or need additional help, let me know.

Happy Father's Day!


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