Top 10 Must-Haves to Stage Your House to Sell

"What kinds of things should I have on hand to help my house look amazing when I'm selling it?"  I get this question all of the time.  So to make it easy, I'm providing my Top 10 Must-Haves to Stage Your House to Sell right here. These items can be merely inspiration for you, or this can be a one-stop shopping experience which should save you time (since you're not going anywhere) and probably money (especially if you're getting free shipping).   Now, styling with all of things can still be a challenge, so I recommend that you hire a certified Home Stager who is a member of RESA - Real Estate Stagers Association to arrange things perfectly.  You'll be ahead of the game if you have some of these items on hand. 

white brick exterior house


Enough explanation.  Let's dig right in.

Let's start with the LIVING ROOM.   Often, it's one of the first areas buyers see.   I'd suggest  #1 some new colorful pillows and # 2  a textured throw that coordinates.  This will really ramp up your sofa and chairs, especially if your sofa is dark or a little outdated.  Here are a few examples/links to get you going.  (By the way, I may receive a small commission on some of these items at no extra cost to you.  Just want to be transparent, and helpful at the same time!)   

 Great start! #3  Now, ya' need some art - art that is large and either is colorful and matches your pillow pops of color, or very neutral that provides something calm on a bare wall. 

living room with pillows and throw


Here are a few selections I suggest.  Remember LARGE is better than small.  Maybe one of these would look great, or find something similar in your color scheme.   

Next, let's tackle the kitchen.    After clearing almost everything away, I think it's important to have #4  a tray. It  can corral either the coffee maker "stuff", or maybe use it to ground some accessories and/or plants to create a focal area.   Also #5 Grab some nice coffee mugs and maybe some limes, green apples, or lemons to add a pop of color in the kitchen.  Purchase real fruit from the grocery store or find some faux lemons at places like Hobby Lobby or Tuesday Morning.

updated kitchen


coffee station
lemons on cake pedestal



Now let's tackle the master bedroom.    Many homes have flat pillows, random-sized pillows and bedding that's either outdated, too small, or almost non-existing.   So, let's ramp up the bed which is the focal point of the bedroom.   #6 Get a king-size white/light comforter or coverlet with matching shams if you have a king bed.  Get a queen if you have a queen-size bed.   Invest in one you'll take with you to the next house!  

master bedroom with white bedding


Here are a couple of choices that I like.  

Next you need #7 Get new big, thick fluffy pillows to put those shams on.  Your regular sleeping pillows can hide behind those.   Remember items #1 and #2?   Add some colorful pillows and a throw blanket to the bed to make it even better. 

Finally, in the bedroom add #8  two matching lamps for each side of the bed.  I'd suggest tall ones for a night stand.  If you don't have nightstands, no worries...get 2 matching floor lamps or 2 tall vases with cut greenery.  I do believe lamps are better because they brighten the room, but Hey, sometimes you have to go with what you have.   Look at this great idea below!

bed with nice pillows


Alright, here are nice selections of lamps.  Remember to buy two!

bed with matching lamps

photo: chchomes

Then there's the bathroom...every bathroom in your house.  Buy some new #9 towels.   White fluffy towels work great in any room.   If you must have a color, I suggest something that coordinates with a shower curtain or any art in your bathroom.  Hang them in 1/3s and DON'T USE THEM!   We want them to look like they're in a model home! 

Post Pinterest


Now you may have noticed one item that repeats in all of these beautiful rooms.   What could it be?    Bright lighting, yes of course.  Clean surfaces, oh yes.  But something that's common that you may not have noticed is #10 PLANTS!   Plants appeal to everyone and bring a sense of life into the room.   So, if you have a green thumb, let's get a plant in almost every room.   If you're like me and you forget to take care of them, then I've put a few faux plants here for you to choose from.

entry table with a plant


I hope you've enjoyed these tips on home staging.  Preparing your home to sell takes work, but when it's time to move, many sellers are glad that they've already packed away a lot of their items and gone through what they want to carry with them to their new home.   Happy shopping and staging!  If you need help, you know where to find me!

7 Simple Tips to Design Your Entryway

There is one place in your home that guaranteed, everyone will see.   The entryway!   It's where you greet your guests, welcome in new friends, and say hello to your family on special days.   It's the first impression into your home - a glance into your style, personality, and family life. Here's how to make sure it's speaking the language you want others to hear!  In designing and "tweaking" entryways for sellers, I have found at least 7 Common Elements to every well-designed entryway.   Hopefully some of these will inspire you in your home!

Studio McGee

The first thing to address is lighting the space.   Sometimes, you already have great natural light, and with a fresh color of paint on the walls, the entryway is bright enough.  However you may have guests at night, and you don't want a dark room to be their first impression of your home.  Correct that by installing a light fixture from your ceiling, add a sconce or two on the walls, or choose a great table or floor lamp to put with a table or bench that complements your decor.  

pendant light with cork
pendant light
table lamp

Advocare Plans

Secondly, I suggest choosing something bold that becomes the focal point.  This can consist of a great piece of art - something that adds color, texture, or just something you love! Or, consider a large mirror to fill the wall. This is great for reflecting light, and it's also a bonus when you want to check your smile right before walking out the door.  So, grab a great piece of art or a mirror and hang it so that the middle of it is about 60 inches from the floor.  This varies slightly depending on the height of the furniture that may be below it, but it's a good starting point. 

Studio McGee

The third tip for designing a lovely entry is to find a great rug to establish the space.   For function, we all like small doormats for wet, dirty shoes.  However, this is not the way to DESIGN your room.  I only like those out when it's raining or snowy outside.  My suggestion is to keep one of these in a closet nearby, and choose a beautiful rug to have on display when possible.  Check out this House of Jade-designed entryway below.  Notice how the rug is the same shape as the entryway, and gives a great pop of color to the space.  The darker colors here could even camouflage some small amounts of dirt.  Also keep in mind that the rug should be a foot or two from the walls.  This gives room for furniture to sit nicely beside it.  

House of Jade

My fourth tip is to have a great basket or two to corral backpacks, shoes, scarves, jackets, or whatever else comes in with you.  Extra blankets are a nice textural item to have peaking out. You'll have to choose baskets according to the space you have.  There's only a small basket hanging on this ladder in the image below, but notice a large basket also tucked behind the coat rack for larger pieces.  Plan ahead and get one (or a couple) that fits the space.  


The fifth entryway tip is to create a drop zone.   A beautiful tray, shallow bowl, or even a small basket can hold keys, cell phones, stamps, mail, lipstick, loose change, or any other small everyday object that you have.  Keeping these items contained in a spot creates order and calms the surface.  

West Elm

Now for tip #6.  Keep your entryway natural and "alive" by adding something organic.  My suggestion is a nice plant that has some height.  This could be in the form of branch cuttings from your yard arranged in a vase, beautiful flowers, or an apothecary jar of green moss balls.  If you choose art instead of a mirror, make sure the flowers coordinate with the colors in it. You can't go wrong with white flowers, an orchid, or simple greenery.  


The last tip, number 7,  for a well-design entryway is to add your personality to the room. Check out the art in this photo above.  Clearly these owners love big, bold art.  Some like geometrical patterns (like below), others love family photos.  Readers sometimes stack books on their entry table - always a good thing, because you can use them to layer items on top and give some of the pieces height, when needed.  

To sum it up, an entryway may be last on your mind when setting up your home.  That's totally understandable from a functional point of view, but when you're ready, it can really be a fun space to jazz up.  As some designers like to say,  it really "creates a moment" for your guests. It's also a great way to welcome yourself home each night.  Writing about all of this has inspired me to update my own entryway.  When finished I'll be sure to post pictures on Facebook and Instagram.  My space is teeny-tiny, so it'll be an adventure!  

Happy decorating!  If you need help, you know where to find me!   -Shana

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

Linen Closets Talk to Buyers

Did you know that organizing your linen closet could be REALLY IMPORTANT when your house is on the market?   What?????   The photographer will take pictures of that????  No,  however, great staging and great photos draw prospective buyers to your house, and they look around. Maybe everything looks clean, spacious, and pulled together in the rooms. That's great, but imagine if they open your bathroom or hall linen closet and see something like this below.  Surprise!  It's not like the rest of the house!  Take for example this photo below.  Well, let's face it. This one is NOT the worst we've ever seen!   Nothing is bursting out when you open the doors, but subtly, you're telling the buyer something about how you care for your house, whether it looks like this....

unorganized closet

...or when it looks tidy and organized.   Now, I know we all like to dream that our closets look like the photo that I found below, but most people truly have closets like the one here at   I bet there's a before and after tutorial for this one.  Yep, here it is!  This girl really got it together right after moving into a new home.  That's the thing.  It takes time to make a look good, but it's so worth it! 

 I don't pretend to know all of the answers, but every blog I've read and video I've watched talk about the same similar tips.

And here's the deal when you're selling.  You're linen closet looks great, so subconsciously your potential buyer believes your HVAC system must be in perfect working order and you change the filters regularly.   You surely must have a pest control person out quarterly to take care of well...pests.   All of your wiring and bulbs naturally are in perfect condition, and no dog has ever had a little accident on the carpet.  Ever!

If your closets or pantry look chaotic, catastrophic, sad or overstuffed, the buyer psychology says that you don't take proper care of your HVAC, oven, plumbing, carpet, etc., and there's not enough storage in your house to meet their needs.  

See what I mean?  This makes sense, right?

tidy linen closet

photo credit: dory fitz

So here are eight tips that are common to every "expert" I found out there.

 1.  Clear out the closet.

2.  Put like items together. Small, irregular items should go into baskets or bins.

3.  After sorting, find correctly-sized bins, tubs, or baskets to corral some items.  Pick storage pieces that are the same color, or all neutral.

4.  Wipe down all of the shelves and mop or vacuum the floor.

5.  Fold towels all the same direction and put the folded side out.  

6.  Purge (throw away) items that are expired or unused.

7.  When folding sheets, store the whole set in one pillow case.

8.  Use large baskets or totes on the floor to contain large items.

Are you inspired when you see other people show you transformations?   I am!    So, I've posted a few YouTube video links here for you to check out.   Whether it's your house, or your seller's house, I encourage you (or them) to find some inspiration,  visit a store like Hobby Lobby or Dollar General to buy some storage bins, and get that linen closet in tip-top shape!   You'll be so happy you took the extra step to show off your home.

This video is by Miss Liz Heart and it inspired me.

15 Tips For Organizing Your Linen Closet! 

Another video I really like was by Kathryn at Do It on a Dime.  She bought all of her storage baskets at the Dollar Tree!   Organizing can be super inexpensive and still look great!  

CHEAP ORGANIZING | Linen Closet & Bathroom

I hope you found this helpful!  Once you get one closet organized, you'll have the motivation to tackle your pantry or another closet. One extra benefit to this is you will have gone through a lot of your things, so that you can begin packing when the time is right. 

Want some advice on your laundry room?  Click here to see my post about that critical space.  

Let me know if you need other tips, or if I can help you in any way!

Happy organizing!

Shana   817-657-0760 

Dallas Medical Office Design

"Can you design a medical office waiting room for people who are in pain?"  Yes we can!   The goal was to create a soft, but colorful space for people to feel comfortable while waiting for their appointment.   So, the semi-before pictures showed the walls already painted an existing blue and we suggested Sherwin Williams Repose Gray to coordinate with it.  New flooring was already installed and a few walls were removed or added to before the design plan began.  

We needed to keep a spacious walkway to the left (for possible wheelchair access), so the waiting area would be restricted to the two spaces on the right.  

We wanted patients to have choices as to the kinds of seats they could sit on and relax.  What if they had a child or a spouse?   Maybe they'd like the sofa.   A sofa always grounds a room, so that it doesn't feel like an airport terminal or time spent at the D.M.V!   We chose this brown one from Wayfair.  It's pretty firm, so patients who may have a hard time getting to their feet wouldn't feel trapped in it.  Then we purchased really comfortable, larger chairs with wooden arms to aide in standing up.  Lastly we picked a simple "cushy" smaller chair to, in honesty, save some space.   The owners wanted this waiting room to seat 20 people.  

This is the "almost" final product.  Two or three TV screens will be added in the future to display information about procedures that this office uses - laser therapy and acoustic sound wave therapy.  We ordered matching rugs, matching coffee tables, and a couple of matching lamps.  Here you can see all of the seating choices that we love!

We found some great art pieces, and brought in reds because the countertop at the receptionist desk is a dark red.  Don't you love these floor lamps?  They're a perfect size to add a glow to the dark corners of the space.  

When you first walk in, this is the view - very clean and simple, but inviting!  To the left is a magazine rack, and on the left wall a TV will hang.  The far blue wall will also have a TV hanging above the cream chairs, which will tone down the blue.  The flooring has great colors - both warm and cool tones.  

Our next task was to create space for six people to eat lunch or take a break in this area.  This room was very small and narrow, so a traditional table with chairs wasn't going to be possible.

Nothing about this break room was changing, so we definitely just had to "make it work."  

We purchased pub height tables and rustic/industrial counter height stools for this space. The mirror works great, because one can talk to a coworker by looking through the mirror instead of craning the neck to the side.  The mirror also bounces light around in this somewhat dark space.  This photo was taken on an overcast day, but the room still doesn't receive a lot of natural light.  The view's not bad though!

I may post more pictures later, because we have the doctors' office to finish, and there is a classroom/conference room that is awaiting art arrival.  

This was an exciting project, and we had a great time working with the staff and owners there.  Thank you ReGen Medical Dallas!

Happy to help!


Fall Tablescape How-To

Using a design board, I ordered everything (almost) online, and then styled this beautiful table for the fall.   Enjoy the video!   I'd love for you to send me your tablescape designs too.  If you'd like some help, you can purchase this design board and get the same look.  

Too Cheap to Stage?

A smart real estate agent buys a home that he wants to flip - a flip property - a fixer upper.  You know, whatever you want to call it.  Drab to Fab!   He spends a decent amount of money replacing the roof, flooring, hvac, and appliances. He updates the countertops to granite and installs trendy tile.  Nice paint and bedroom carpet take the house from a smoky cigarette stinch to a new-build aroma.  Nice barn doors even allow a flex space to be an office, dining room, or fourth bedroom.  Outside, new paint, some mulch, flowerbed landscaping, and a new wood deck improve the curb appeal and backyard.  Oh, did I mention the nasty hot tub was removed?  Yay!  Now, another big option...the decision to stage or not to stage?  

Can we just start at the entry??   A new door allows more light to flow in to an otherwise dark hallway. Cohesive laminate flooring, new wall, door, and trim paint provide a nice first impression. Notice the cool barn door that opens up to what we staged as an office.

And now for the rooms...

A closet was added to the mirror wall.  The small bump out just used a bit of the garage space without inhibiting parking inside.  This adds extra storage space in this buyer's flex-room.  The new lighting is definitely a hit, and now home-shoppers can visualize one way to use this room.  This room seems huge, and it's due to the furniture placement and the cowhide rug.

Oh my!  I can almost smell that smoke on the walls from here.  The living room had to show the buyers how one could use the space.  A large area rug grounds the furniture and the light furniture with pops of color help the room to appear even larger.  A glass coffee table also gives a spacious feel since light can flow through it.   

From this angle, a couple of emotional connection points in the kitchen was all that was needed to show off these freshly painted cabinets, new granite, tile, sink, and faucet.  What a difference!   Did you notice that the flooring is the same throughout?  That's a smart decision that brings flow to the house, making it seem bigger than it is.  Did you know that during staging consultations, we give sellers advice like this if it's in their budget to replace flooring? Explaining "why" is our specialty.

Okay, I admit this fresh bathroom could sell itself, but creating a spa-look with fluffy towels, natural plants and an organized tray of essentials say, "'re going to love living here."

And here's the tiny master bathroom.  Don't you love the clear glass door?  The vanity had to be switched to the other wall for the shower door to function, which still works!  We brought in this antique gold mirror to warm up the feel of the room.  What an improvement, right?

And now for the master and one of the secondary bedrooms.  Buyers can now visualize the roominess here.  A queen bed is in the master with room to spare, and the twin-sized bed in this cute kid's room is sure to attract a family with children.  Soooo much better than just empty rooms with four walls.

So now the big question...Is it worth less than $2000 to attract multiple buyers and have it under contract within a week?   This agent thinks it is.  When you're holding a property, every week on the market costs you more and more money.   Get it sold as soon as possible and look for another property. 

Do you have questions about staging?  We have answers, and we're here to help! 

Hope you enjoyed the pictures of this investment property.  Thanks for staying in touch.  What topics would you like me to include on this blog?  Do you enjoy the before and after stories?  Do you need more content to share with your sellers?   My goal is to add value to you and your sellers, so I'd love to hear your ideas.

Click here to read the article on "Candy's Dirt" highlighting this property that we staged.

Remember, we're here to help!

You relax.  We stage.

Shana     817-657-0760

6 Reno Projects to Add Value When Selling

You’ve decided to sell your house, but wonder how it’s going to compete with the others in your neighborhood.  You’re not desperate to sell fast, but would like to get top dollar.  Maybe you need to do some updates, but you want to make the wisest decision about where you spend your money.  Here’s are 6 recent average return on investment renovation statistics that can help you make that wise decision.

Cherished Bliss

#1 Minor Bathroom Remodel – 102% average return at sale

What’s minor?  New tub (or resurfacing) and tile surround, flooring, toilet, sink, vanity, and fixtures without changing the floorplan.  Choose styles that are on trend such as shaker cabinets, brushed nickel or brass hardward,subway or marble tile, framed mirrors, and open shelving.  Colors of the cabinets and walls matter too. Best choices for now are grays, whites, and blues.  For flooring, wood-look luxury vinyl plank or tile is great for these high moisture areas.  How do you know what’s popular?  Pick up a home decor magazine, check out the most recent pictures on Pinterest, or simply ask for help at a home improvement store.  Better yet…ask your stager or designer.

the creativity exchange

#2  Landscaping – 100% average return at sale

Green grass that is trimmed and free of weeds is a no-brainer here, but appropriately-sized shrubs, flower bed borders, and pops of color can make a huge difference.  Also, trees should be trimmed to a height in which average sized adults can walk under them.  When a buyer drives up, the curb appeal is critical to lure them inside to see the property.   

Blog Lovin

#3 Minor Kitchen Remodel – 98.5% average return at sale

So define minor:  Your kitchen needs a cosmetic change, but not a radically different floor plan.  Maybe your cabinets need re-facing such as new doors or just new paint and hardware.  Other new items may include a wall oven, cooktop, undermount sink with updated faucet, and a solid surface countertop.  Recessed lights and pendant lights are popular.  Also, under-cabinet lighting can make a huge difference in the “brightness” of your kitchen.

Demi and Dashton

#4  Exterior Improvements – 95.5% average return at sale

Possible improvements may include vinyl siding, paint for trim, brick, shutters and/or the front door, and creation or update of a front porch.  Thin posts or iron metal posts can be exchanged for chunkier beams.   Get inspiration for paint colors here or check with your local home improvement store.  Look for the large brochures that have coordinating paint colors for the exterior of your house.  Think about your neighborhood colors, because you want the property stand out, but not stand out in a bad way.  New porch lights and address numbers are a quick update.  Remember to grab a new door mat! 

#5 Attic Bedroom Conversion – 93.5% average return at sale

An average attic conversion is around $40,000 which would include a bathroom and a 15×15 foot bedroom.  Consider your HVAC system – is it powerful enough to handle this extra space?  If not, that could be an extra expense.  Also, talk with your real estate agent about the comparable homes in your neighborhood to weigh your options on this renovation.

#6 Deck, Patio, or Porch – 90.3% average return at sale

These spaces are increasingly popular as people use them as additional living areas.  Comfortable outdoor seating, lighting, and shade are important.  Durable finishes are key.  Outdoor fireplaces, built-in grills, and landscaping take it up a notch.  

Want to know even more about renovation return on investments?  Click here to read more about this on HGTV.

So you may be thinking that if you don’t receive a 100% or better return, why should you do anything to get your house ready? Well… Your property should sell faster if it’s updated and priced right.  A quicker sale saves you in holding costs – mortgage, tax, and insurance payments.   Other updates that weren’t mentioned above, but that could have great impact are new paint on the interior living spaces and bedrooms and new flooring – especially new carpet to replace stained or smelly old carpet.   Decluttering and staging also add great value to your home.  I can help you with that when you’re ready.  Be sure to talk to your agent about your plans before you begin spending big bucks.  He or she can advise you according to the price-point and location of your house. 

So you’ve decided to update your house in a few areas.  Remember that you are picking products that will appeal to the masses.  Just because you like yellow walls or green cabinets does not mean you should make investments like that.  Think “NEUTRAL”  and calming.  If you need help, I’m here!  

Happy renovating and selling!

-Shana 817-657-0760

Why Stage a Vacant Home

You’re ready to move.  You find a real estate agent and want to sell as soon as possible.  You decide to go ahead and move out, thinking that your house will sell faster without your furniture and decor in it. Maybe you even leave an old rug and table behind.  That will look great you think.  Buyers will see how roomy and open it looks and will fall in love with it.   It should work, right?  Probably WRONG.  

Did you know that vacant homes usually sit on the market longer than occupied or staged homes?  Buyers rarely (only about 10% of them) can visualize the size of the rooms, or imagine their furniture and items in the house.  They’re confused.  Empty rooms, believe it or not, look smaller until something is in there to give the buyer perspective.  In the photo above, the rug and table actually do help define the rooms in this big open space.  What’s missing?   There are no emotional connection points in here.  Buyers spend money on homes when they can emotionally connect to them.  They can imagine sitting at the kitchen island, sipping on their morning coffee.  They long to put their feet up, snuggle up, and watch a fun movie with their family.  They want a cozy spot to read a bedtime story to their children.   And the examples go on and on…

Also, think about what happens when you put on a swimsuit.  Every ounce of fat, cellulite, every wrinkle, freckle seems to be magnified.  Every flaw is exposed!  In a vacant house, it’s the same thing.  Any smudge you have on a wall stands out.  A scratch on your fireplace mantel is magnified.  A small discolored spot on the wood floor looks massive.  Since there is nothing to feast their eyes on, buyers will notice every flaw in a vacant house that otherwise they would probably never notice!

What about bedrooms?  Ninety percent of people cannot figure out if a master bedroom can handle a king-size bed, or only a queen.  Let’s not leave it up to their imagination!    Plus, this looks a little “blah,” don’t you think??

Now buyers can see that this room easily fits a queen bed with plenty of room around it.  It’s not hard now to imagine a king size in here.  See how it helps!  The window coverings even seem to make sense in this townhome now.  

Would you like buyers to take their time as they walk through your house?  YES!  Do you know why?  Statistics tell us that buyers take more time walking through an occupied or staged home.  When a house is empty, they can zip right through it and leave quickly. Take for example this kitchen, it has some great features, but nothing is highlighted.  No one is connecting with it because it feels cold and plain.  When items are added (like below) a buyer tends to linger, and the chances of them submitting an offer to buy the property increases. This is a good thing!

Here are a few emotional connections that would look great in a kitchen, or perhaps the last picture could be in a bathroom. I easily found these on Pinterest, and if you hover over the photos, you’ll see the photo credits. Do you notice that there is a plant in each photo?  That’s not an accident!  People like real, organic looking things.  Think of the buyers that can relate to cooking, coffee, and a nice-smelling hand soap.  That’s what staging does for your vacant home.  

Now I know what you’re thinking… Doesn’t vacant staging cost a fortune?   Not really.  If you only stage the main areas of your house and the master, most buyers can get the feel for the house with that, so it costs less than staging the whole house.   Now, let’s say your vacant sits on the market for four months because…well… it’s vacant.  You’ve now made FOUR MORE mortgage payments, insurance payments, and paid property taxes.   That’s a lot!  Let’s say you reduced the price after two months, by 5% like your agent recommended.  That could easily be $15,000 on a $300,000 listing.   What if staging only was only $3000 and it SOLD within two months?  See what I mean?  It can actually make you more money than not staging.   Is this always true?? No, but it’s worth thinking about.    If you know me though, I hate selling things so that’s not what my business is about.  I’m here to help, and if helping you sell your house for top dollar is priority, then reach out to me or another professional home stager.

Thanks for hanging out with me on my blog.  I’d love for you to find me on Pinterest or Instagram so you can see other great ideas for staging, decorating, and life in general.

Warm regards,  Shana


Bright Yellow Walls OH NO!

The sellers want to list the house, like YESTERDAY!  There is no budget or time to paint the sunshine yellow walls.  So what do you do?  Leave everything AS IS, or vacate everything?  We say that we can usually work around the less than trendy things in a home, but keep some of the furniture.  Why?  Because homes with furniture sell faster than vacant homes.  Look carefully and you'll find that this is the homeowner's furniture.  We only brought in the right colors that can attract the right buyers.  Either this house will sell to someone who likes the cottage/bungalow vibe, or it will sell to someone who sees potential in the house.  Of course, the seller's goal is always to get top dollar, so some simple staging creates interest in more buyers other than just investors.  Take a look at the before pictures below and tell me this doesn't look better?!?

You might be thinking, "What happened to the huge marshmallow sectional, recliner, and the red rug?  They're gone!  We brought up the love seat from the den, changed the rug to sisal and navy, and added pops of blue throughout.  

Even though it feels like we work a little "magic" in these transformations, it really isn't magical it all.  It takes a lot of planning and problem solving to create a room that feels spacious, yet cozy.  It feels bright, but relaxed. A buyer has to emotionally connect to a space in order to want to live there.  Messy rooms with crowded furnishings and decor does not speak to buyers.  And even though most people would want to get a couple of gallons of paint ready for this house, most buyers would at least think it's "cute."   Cute, believe it or not, is an emotional connection.   

This is the downstairs den.  Here's the matching sofa.  The loveseat was down here before, making this room also feel crowded.  Now here's the rug.  Is it gorgeous in this space?  No, but at least it's the right size, and it's not the first impression room.  We found this coffee table in another part of the house, moved out the console to use as a media cabinet in the front room, and added a chair for this desk.  Why did we bring in the blue and yellow pillows?  Because when you can scatter the color pops throughout the house, it feels more cohesive.   Did you notice the cool floorlamp in the back corner?  The sellers actually had that!  So mid-century modern!   We brought in a table lamp as well to add extra lighting.  This room before staging was dark, dingy, and depressing.  

Buyers can definitely envision a cozy fire in this den.   Is it a magazine worthy room?  No, of course not!  But not everyone can afford rooms like that anyway!  Which room would you rather hang out in?  The one above or the one below?  Which would you pay more money for?   See what staging can do!    One additional note, these are just photos from my phone. Imagine how good they would look if a professional photographer worked his/her magic!

Thanks for hanging out with me for a while.  Do you follow me on Instagram?  I'd love for you to give me feedback on my posts there.   @cloverlanedesign

Take care.  I'm happy to help!   -Shana

Taking a House from Ho-Hum to Hip-Hip-Hooray!

Occupied homes are quite the challenge.  We use what the seller has as much as possible so that it saves them money, time, and hassle.  This home was just outside the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex so it had a semi-rural feel.  Large lots with occassional horse pastures and open fields are common.  We wanted to keep the rustic vibe, while bringing in some modern and updated accessories.  In the living room, we reconfigured the rustic tables and benches to gain focal points and better flow.  Check out the new rug and pops of blue on the sofa.  Coffee table accessories, beautiful horse art, and a creative corner for reading, playing the guitar, kicking off boots, whatever...brings a bit of modern to increase home buyer desire.  The casual corner is a better look in a living room than the bar height cafe table. Buyers won't be confused as to where the dining areas are.  I'm sure you can distinguish between the three after photos and the two before photos.  Don't you love the difference?

We have to give the seller kudos here.  He gave us permission to move anything around and use anything in the house.  He installed a new sink, faucet, and overhead light fixtures which brightened up the kitchen immensely.  We rolled in the bar height table with the fun cafe stools.  All we added was a pitcher of fresh greenery, a pop of color through artwork and a bowl of lemons.  We created a coffee vignette and a drink tray.  Nothing really fancy in here because we work within a homeowner's budget.  But...what an improvement!

Below you'll notice how large the dining table was for this kitchen nook space.  We moved that into the dining room space and the nook now feels so much bigger.  Perfect for a quick breakfast or just hanging out by the person cooking dinner.

Now for my favorite room...the dining room.  This chandelier seemed a little outdated without the furniture in here.  All that was in this room before were some musical instruments and a kitchen island that was never used.  We rolled that out to the enclosed patio facing the back pasture.  Here is the same table from the previous picture.  It fits so much better, and looks gorgeous because we added updated nailhead fabric parsons chairs.  We styled some organic plants and fruit in a natural wicker basket, which brings texture and a feeling of casual living.  Like the art on the wall?  That was the owners, and we liked the pop of orange it brings to the space. 

Now for the master bedroom.  We actually really liked the purplish-gray walls in here and when the owner replaced the fan lightbulbs with LED bright white, the room was instantly brightened.  Just a quick you notice the lamp light looks more yellow/gold?  That's because they are soft white.  If they were bright white also, this master retreat would look even better.  Here we brought in some light canvas art, fresh pillows, and a soft textured throw. Very inviting!

The master bath had the same wall color, which is a pretty personal color choice.  Usually we recommend a neutral tone, but the owner had already painted another room, bathroom and hallway.  Remember what I said about seller's budgets?  We work within them.  This is a moderately trendy color and these unprofessional photos also make them look more "purple" than "purple-gray."  Most buyers will still find it pretty tasteful.  We tucked away all personal toiletries and towels, and just styled with fresh white towels (not seen) an orchid, and a couple pieces of art that the owner already had.  What a pretty space!

This bedroom turned about to be a sweet little room.  We added colorful pillows, art, and a great chair.   This room is actually pretty tiny - not even room for a nightstand, but it feels more spacious with the big windows and the chair that somehow balances out the big full-size bed.  Don't judge the bedskirt too harshly.  We are paid for our time in a house, and some little details aren't as important.  Have you ever noticed that your eyes wouldn't really notice the bedskirt if you were actually in the room, but photos reveal every "flaw?"  It's due to the 2-D nature of photos and the angle of the photographer.  We're accustomed to "seeing" about 5-6 ft. high off the ground, not 1-6 inches from the floor.  

And now for the study.  This room was used as a workout room.  There were padded "tiles" over the hardwood floors and gym equipment was on top.  That's an awesome use of a room while you live in a house, but not when you're selling.  The French doors open up to the living room and dining room, so an office makes better sense.  We used the sellers cowhide rug, lamp, chair and plants.  We brought in the desk, tray, pillow, and art.   Now buyers can visualize the room for themselves.  

And for the screened-in patio.  We carried two rockers to the front porch and left two right here on the back porch with a similar setup.  Pops or orange pillows and white hydrangeas make you want to sit a spell, and have a cup of coffee - or wine - or something different!  When you see the before photo, we rolled out the big kitchen island and placed it on the far side in front of part of the screened wall.  We styled that as a beverage station, but I forgot to take a picture of it.  And naturally, everything else was removed and the floor was swept clean.

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you enjoyed reading my blog today.  Remember that if you need help styling your home where you want to continue living, or if you're wanting staged to sell it for top dollar, reach out to us.  You relax. We stage.  Have an awseome day!   -Shana

Want to read more? Click here to be taken to Home Staging Tips for Under $100

1 2 3