Living Room Inspiration

This look works with seven main pieces to create a symmetrical look in a living room. Can you guess the seventh?  The rug!   It holds all of the pieces together.  The end tables, coffee table and accessories are the bonus items that really dial it in, and they are the pieces that we consider how your room is "customized."   If you love classic colors that speak a coastal, industrial, or farmhouse vibe, this could totally work in a room for you depending on the size of it.  Shopping links are below which may be commissionable - at no extra charge to you though.   Let me know what you think about this room design.  And if you're interested in a different design, visit my page on home styling and e-design.

Shhh! Don’t Tell the Buyers!

It's been a while since I have written.   I've been SO busy in and out of people's homes.  Today when I was heading to a home staging consultation near Martin High School in Arlington, my Alma Mater by the way, I was thinking about what houses tell buyers before they even get there.   Hopefully, lots of good things are being said, but sometimes there are changes (easy changes) that can be made that won't give buyers the negative clues about the house.   Negative clues?  What?   Yes, virtually every house has short-comings.  When selling, you don't want to share the short-comings with the potential new owner.  Let them buy the house, move in, and learn how to live best in their new home.  So Shhh!  Don't tell the buyers!  

#1 Don't tell the buyers this:  You'll need a power washer!

The large tree by the driveway (which is a plus) drops acorns, leaves, etc., and because it's shady there all of the time, green algae likes to form and it looks messy (which is a negative).   Now you understand what I'm talking about, right?  Don't let your driveway tell the buyers about this maintenance chore. The solution?  Grab a power washer from a friend or rent one from a local Home Improvement Store and clean that area.  About an hour later, and the negative aspect of that tree just disappears!

driveway being pressure washed

Outdoor cleaning with a pressure water jet on driveway

#2 Don't tell the buyers this:  There's No Room For the Trash Can!

I know many people like to have a trash can out in the open kitchen for pure function and convenience.   It's bigger and can hold more trash, it's easy for kids to access it, and it even has a lid.  But, let's face it.  For many of us, we DON'T have room for it in a cabinet, so it's logical to have it out in the open.    Here's the deal though.   Would you expect a model home to have a big trash can visible in the kitchen?   Probably not. So, the solution is to put it in the garage when photos are taken, and for daily living, you can probably use a smaller one with a swinging lid under the sink.   Yes, it's a little bit of a pain to empty into the garage trash, but it's not blatantly telling your buyer that they'll need a trash can out for all to see when they buy your house.   Another perk...since you'll be emptying your trash more often, there will be less chance for nose-curling smells, like from those left-over chicken or fish.

kitchen trash can

photo: Good Housekeeping

#3  Don't tell the buyers this:  There's not enough closet space!

When you add over-the-door hooks on all of the bedroom and closet doors, it may be purely for convenience so that you have easy access to your robe, your child's backpack, your bath towel.   However, when buyers see these hooks, they may assume that you don't have enough closet space.  So Shhh!  Don't tell the buyers! Take those away, and use the closet space inside.  Also, pack away any items that you won't need for the next three months.  Box them up and get them out.   Donate, pack, rearrange, or throw out everything that is on the floor.  That will instantly give the feeling of more space.   Organize items and use baskets or bins to store things on the top shelves.   Remember, you're moving anyway and will need pack your items. Go ahead and do it before the buyers come.

closet with door hooks

photo: Life Storage

#4 Don't tell the buyers this:   Our A/C unit doesn't cool well!

Can you guess what would subconsciously tell your buyers this?  Here's a clue.  It plugs in, spins, and creates air flow.   It's a fan!   Ceiling fans are fine. Here in Texas, we love our ceiling fans!  However, some people like box fans or oscillating fans in their bedrooms.  Do yourself a favor and tuck these away in the closet or garage. Shhh! We don't want anyone jumping to the conclusion that your a/c doesn't cool the way it should.  It probably works just great, but your online photos may tell a different story if fans are in the picture.    

box fan in a bedroom


Allow your house, your big marketed item, to SHOUT OUT all of the good and positive aspects.  Make sure it's clean, organized, nice-smelling, and staged.    And Shhh! Remember to BE QUIET about all of the other stuff.  

Oh, and if you want more information like organization and what you could be telling your potential buyers, you may want to read the blog post called Linen Closets Talk to Buyers.   Let me know if you need anything!

Happy selling!


Buyer Psychology in Home Staging

Marketing and Buyer Psychology go hand-in-hand.  This is magnified 100 times when a house is on the market, and the sellers are still living there.   I've been in hundreds of these homes, and it's always the same story.   Buyers need to emotionally connect to the house, and the seller can stage the house to cause that to happen.  It's not just about picking up the clutter and putting out some fresh flowers.  The sellers must know what the buyers are thinking before they arrive.

Invading Your Space

When buyers tour the house, the goal is that they are looking at the features that they want to purchase.  If seller's have items throughout the home telling the buyer that THEY actually live there, the buyer psychology says that they are invading someone's space.  To prevent that from happening, remove personal photos and portraits, trophies, certificates, diplomas and items that have your name on them.  You want the buyers to envision living there.  You don't want them wasting time, trying to figure out who currently lives there.  

office with diplomas

Photo:  Houzz

The "Eeeek!"  Factor

Have you ever visited a hotel or short-term rental home that clearly wasn't cleaned?   You know what I mean... towels on the floor, toilet lid up, shampoo bottles and razor in the shower, deoderant, toothpaste, and toothbrushes on the countertop.  Your bathroom could be white-glove clean, but if these items are clearly in sight, buyers will have that "Eeeek!" factor - that feeling of, "Yuk, someone's still using this room." Let's be honest!  The buyer psychology is that they don't want to imagine you cleaning your body in their potential new home.  

Recommendations to wipe out the "Eeeek!" factor:

     1.  Only display clean towels, neatly folded that are NOT used.  

     2.  Utilize a small plastic caddy to hold essential items for bathing.  Take it to the               shower when needed, and store it in the cabinet when not in use.  

     3.  Countertop supplies should be stored under the sink or perhaps in baskets in a             closet.

     4.  Used towels can be folded and hung on a hanger in the closet.

Before: Clover Lane Design

After:  Clover Lane Design

Dreading the Chores

Don't you wish you could live in a house that would magically clean itself?  It would be the best invention ever!   The buyer psychology is that they don't want to think about cleaning while in your house.   So why leave out clues about cleaning?  Tuck away brooms, trash cans, cleaners, plungers, toilet brushes, vacuums, etc.   Also think about the "chore" of exercise and dieting.  Do you really want your potential buyer to weigh themselves while visiting your house?  Remove your bathroom scale. The buyer standing on the scale says,  "Ugh!  I still need to lose 20 pounds.  Now I'm depressed.  Let's look at the rest of the house now while I'm in a depressed state of mind."   Not good for the seller!

While speaking of chores though, make sure that your bathroom is squeaky clean!  I found this short article that gives some quick tips.     A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Clean Your Entire Bathroom

Your Pets Must Stink

67% of American homes include a pet, so it's fair to assume that your buyer may have a pet or two.  However, most pet lovers prefer to buy a pet-free home.  If they see items in your listing photos that include dog food bowls, leashes, crates, litter boxes, and pet toys, some buyers will swipe to the next house to avoid any potential problem.  Here's why!  They will assume that the house smells like pets.  They will wonder if the carpets have been peed on.  They'll assume hair and allergens will be everywhere and wonder if any baseboards have been chewed.  They may still come in for a showing, but it's a risk that you shouldn't make them take.

dog in living room

Photo: Brina Blum


Absolutely no sign of pet in the photos!  

Take your pets and their bedding with you during a showing.

Make sure litter boxes are clean and out of sight.

Don't store pet food in your pantry unless it has a lid on the container.

Cast a Vision!

Now that we've talked about the negative psychological factors that could impact your buyer, let's discuss all of the good buyer psychology that you can put in place.

Buyers want a house that gives them a lifestyle that they ASPIRE to have.  Most people would love to envision themselves having a morning cup of coffee or fruit smoothie in a cool "spot" of the house.  Show them where that is.  

Buyers would like to live in organized, clutter-free areas.  That's pretty unrealistic in our buys lifestyles, but if we could, we would.  Give the buyer the idea that in this house, the magic really happens here.  It's like a fairy-tale perfect house.

Buyers like to envision themselves reading books, appreciating art, and taking relaxing baths.  Create zones in your house that include a few beautiful books, nice big canvas art, and luxurious bath items.

And lastly, buyers love the idea of entertaining.  In reality, they may never or rarely have guests over for dinner or friends visit for a party, but they'd like to ENVISION themselves doing this.  Style the dining room.  A simple centerpiece or one with a few buffet-style dishes would be lovely.  

On the back patio, use a table with some chairs to create a beverage spot.  A couple of pretty bottles and some lemons evoke the feeling of refreshment and relaxation.  Buyers will really love this!

outdoor dining table set for guests

Photo: Rejuvenation


When selling a house, you really need to emotionally disconnect from your asset (the house) and market it to the potential buyer.   Put yourself in the buyers' shoes, and really think about how they will feel while touring the house.  Buyer Psychology is real, and it can make a huge difference in the speed of your sale, and the price that you'll get.  

If you want more help in this area, please connect with me.   I hope these ideas are super-helpful to you!

Happy staging!


8 Ways to Make Your Home Look More Expensive

Hello!  Hope you are doing well today!  If you're like me, you're always drawn to expensive things, but like most people, my budget doesn't support my taste!  One thing most people, including buyers and sellers, can agree on is that we like homes that look expensive. A home that looks expensive is easier to sell and the appraisal usually comes back higher. That's a win for sellers!   And if you're staying put, enjoying the house that you want to stay in, a more expensive-looking home is quite satisfying.  It can be very calming, relaxing, and inspiring. Today I'm sharing 8 Ways to Make Your Home Look More Expensive.  I'm personally going to work on this first one.

1.  More Layers of Bedding

Most of us have a fitted sheet, flat sheet, 2 pillowcases, and some sort of top layer - a quilt, comforter, or duvet.   For the colder months, we may even add a blanket.   If you want your home to look more expensive though, double-up on your bedding.  Have four bed pillows, two that you sleep on, and two that have shams to match or coordinate with your top cover.   Then add another comforter or duvet folded at the foot for more plumpness.  The expensive-looking trend right now is to use linen or linen-looking, neutral colored bedding. Top it off with throw pillows and a throw blanket.   I love the tassels, textures and layers here in this photo by Dear Lillie Studio.  

2.  Large Throw Pillows 

plump pillows

Pillows!   Some people love them and others hate them.   Regardless, if you want your home to look more expensive, adding large scale pillows can really make a huge difference.  Let's face it.  They are usually only for a decorative purpose, but it's like putting a bow on a package.  The package is usually pretty plain without it.  Choose pillows that are down-filled and get an insert that's one size bigger than your pillow cover.   Then they'll keep their shape and look extra expensive.  I like groups of three for sofa corners and on beds.   Single bolster (long and skinny) pillows look great in a chair.  I'm loving all of the pillows here by Studio McGee.

3.  Layered Lighting

Most builders only install one light in the middle of a room.   That's the bare minimum amount of light for a room, and bare minimum doesn't help your room look more expensive.  To make your home look expensive, you should layer in more lights.  Add table lamps, floor lamps, wall sconces, art lights, and consider switching out builder-grade fixtures to something more impressive.  How many light layers do you see in this room from Traditional Home?  Did you also notice the candles?  Another tip...make sure all of the lightbulbs are matching and are not too blue or too yellow.   When selling, make sure you also choose high-wattage bulbs to make your rooms look big and bright.

4. Wall Molding

Installing molding can definitely make your home look more expensive.  Now this one may not be one that you want to try for selling just because it takes longer.  But, ooooh, molding can really make your rooms look amazing!  The trend right now is to keep skinny molding (the old traditional kind) the same color as the walls, so if your walls are pale blue, paint your molding pale blue as well.  Don't highlight it by painting it white.  That's a very dated look!  Board and Batten is very popular as we see in this picture by Tidbits and Twine.  Very expensive looking, indeed!

5.  Remove the Packaging

Now, I'll admit that I rarely do this one because it takes time and energy.  It's not convenient, but I admit that it's a way to make your home look more expensive.  All of the soaps and shampoos, detergents and cleaners CAN look better. No, I'm never going to do this with all of my cleaning products, but if they are on "display" where others can see them without opening cabinet doors, using nice bottles and containers to display these items will definitely look more high-class!  See how pretty all of these soaps are in this huge jar in this image?    Expensive-looking!

6.  Hanging Curtains

photo: Pinterest

I think I've written about this one before.  Short, dinky curtains look cheap.  In order to make your home look more expensive, hang curtains that almost go as high as the ceiling.  And hang them wide, so that when opened, they cover the wall next to your window, not your window itself.  Bigger windows make houses look more expensive. Add to that, neutral curtains are usually preferred, since its part of a neutral palette, which we will talk about on number seven.  

7.  A Neutral Color Palette

Photo: Pinterest

A neutral palette is one that looks expensive.  That doesn't mean that you can't have color, not at all!   But, if you were going to spend $10,000 on a sofa, would you purchase a cream-colored version or a red one?   Probably cream because it's so expensive that you'd want it to last a long time and have a classic look.   Having too many colors creates busyness in a room and makes it look cluttered and smaller.  A neutral palette provides a large background that can highlight textures, greenery, and special items.  It helps your home look more expensive!

8.  Large Scale Artwork

This photo from highlights one piece of large scale artwork.  I truly believe that we could all just have one large, fabulous piece of art in each room of our homes and that would be enough.  Maybe you could also have a mirror, but often-times we have large windows that take up a lot of space anyway.  If you want your home to feel expensive, pack away most of your small art and embrace the large scale pieces.  

Time for a Quiz!

living room furniture and decor

Which of these 8 Ways to Make Your Home Look Expensive do you find in this living room photo by luluandgeorgia?

1.  layers of bedding

2.  large throw pillows

3.  layered lighting

4.  wall molding

5.  remove the packaging

6.  curtains hanging tall

7.  neutral color palette

8.  large scale artwork

If you guessed #2, #3 (if you count the candle), #4, #6, #7, and #8 YOU ARE RIGHT!  That's what make this room feel expensive!  

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this post!  No matter the price of your home, you can use these tips to help you make your home look more expensive.  Have fun with it.   Here are a few YouTube videos that you may find helpful if you want some more inspiration.  

10 Ways to Make Your Home Look More Expensive  by Kristen McGowan

10 Easy Ways to Make Your Home Look More Expensive by Julie Khuu


Happy to help!


8 Pro Staging Tips for Selling

Are you ready to sell your house and know that you need to do more to market it?  If you were selling your car, you would definitely get it shined up, right!   So, here's where we spend time in home staging.   I'm sharing 8 Pro Home Staging Tips to help you get it ready!  Grab a notepad and write these down.   And please call on us if you need help!

Not selling?    Did you know that some people actually live this way (with their houses in immaculate condition) 90% of the time? It's a fact that we feel more inspired and at peace when we live in a well-organized, stylish home.  These tips can help you love your home and achieve that "calm" you may be looking for even if you're choosing to stay where you live.  🙂

Pro Tip #1:  Update Light Fixtures and Bulbs

All bulbs should match, at least within the same light fixture.  I prefer those that are not too yellow and not too blue. I call them the "goldilocks" lightbulb. They should also be at the greatest wattage to brighten and enlarge your rooms. Look for 3000-3500 Kelvin on the box.  A modern light fixture is a great addition, especially in the dining room and bathrooms. Lights under your cabinets is a bonus selling feature. Once you have those, you'll never go without them again!

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Pro Tip #2: Choose a neutral paint color. 

This girl's room would be adorable with pink walls, but when it's time to sell, buyers really do not want to have to move in and paint. This is called a "price-eroding" factor because buyers will over-estimate how much time and/or money it takes to paint it. They'll be inclined to offer less for the house. Go ahead and paint a fresh neutral tone that everyone will accept. You'll be glad that you did it!  Read 3 Steps to Make Small Rooms Look Bigger for some favorite neutral paint colors. 

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ProTip #3: Add modern throw pillows to sofas and beds.

An abundance of pillows evokes the feeling of comfort and coziness. Pillows can disguise older looking furniture or flat bed pillows by drawing attention away from what's really there. People aren't buying your furniture, I get it!  But you want the buyer to feel like your home is updated and modern. This is my favorite sneaky way to get it looking that way!  

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teal blue pillow cover
yellow pillow
striped yellow and purple pillow

                Cool pillows!  By purchasing through my link, I may earn a small commission at no extra charge to you.                        Read the descriptions carefully.  🙂

Pro Tip #4 Create an Emotional Connection

People buy houses when they emotionally connect to them. That connection might be a reading nook near a window with a great view, a coffee set-up on the kitchen countertop or a simple centerpiece with something organic, like we have here. What would help you emotionally connect to a room? That's what buyers might like to see too!

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Pro Tip #5  Add Large Scale Art

And ... take away most of the small art, except maybe in a niche or bathroom. Most buyers have way too many things on their walls which makes the rooms look smaller. Personal photos, certificates, and sports posters don't really count as art.  Go ahead and prepack these things.  Bonus tip: Use colors in the art to match some throw pillows!

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Pro Tip #6 Create a Spa Feeling

Doesn't everyone love a spa feeling? A room that looks clean, spacious, and luxurious? That's the goal when staging your bathrooms to sell. Strive to style all your bathrooms this way, but focus on the owners' bathroom the most! Hide your cleaning products and toiletries, neatly hang fresh towels, bring in a plant or two, let in the natural light, and maintain lots of clean, clean, clean!

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Pro Tip #7 Stage the Back Yard

Buyers highly consider outdoor living space when purchasing a home. Whether you have a built-in kitchen with outdoor dining space or a simple patio with comfortable chairs, style your space as if you were entertaining. Use throw pillows or cushions, add a pop of color through accessories or flowers, and bring out some snacks or beverages. Help buyers visualize the way they'd like to live.

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Pro Tip #8 Strive for Balance

Balance and symmetry are not the same thing, but both are very comfortable feeling for everyone. Most people don't see what's wrong when there is no balance, but they no that something is "off."  What does balance mean? Imagine your room as a rowboat. You don't want to have too many heavy things on one side, which would cause the boat to tip over. Instead, move large pieces around to create balance. Have too many large pieces? Remove them when selling.

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Staged homes usually sell 2-3 times faster and for more money.  Using these 8 Pro Staging Tips should help you along the way to preparing your house to sell.   Need more help or want to really fine tune everything?  That's what we specialize in.  Hope these will help you get started!

Want to read more about creating a calm and happy home because you're staying put?  I found this article 10 Design Secrets for a Calm and Happy Home that you may enjoy!

Happy staging and selling, or happy styling to stay put!


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!


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