When the Room Does Not Match the Way You Live

Is there a room in your house that you don't use because the expected purpose of the room does not agree with how you live?   That was the case when my clients in Keller hired me.  They had a formal dining room that was located near the front door.  They had a large open floor plan with a kitchen, breakfast, and living room toward the back of the house, and outside of that area was a beautiful outdoor kitchen, covered patio, and gorgeous pool.  They rarely (if ever) used the formal dining space because that was just not how they lived.  Here's the picture of it when I first arrived.  

formal dining room

You may notice that they had a wine refrigerator and several bottles of wine.  When they called me, they had a brilliant idea.  "Let's turn our unused dining room into a wine lounge!"  I was beyond excited to help them  do just that.  I drew up a sketch, hired a cabinet guy, and we were off!

sketch of wine cabinet

We wanted space for two refrigerators, lots of cubbies for wine bottles, and areas to store glasses as well as a countertop to serve from.  In the rest of the room, we chose new lighting, a right-facing chaise sectional, two bucket swivel chairs, a rug, and a cocktail table.   

design board for wine lounge

This was our mood/design board that propelled us on to the purchasing.  The construction took a while, but the details were spot-on.  Look at this dreamy marble tile!  The open cabinets would have glass fronts and gold hardware.

wine cabinet under construction

I absolutely loved how this turned out!  Now they will use this room frequently and enjoy every moment in it. This custom feature looks EXPENSIVE too.  Check this post to find other ways to make your home look expensiveThe picture below shows the (almost) complete cabinet. They were still waiting on one custom-sized refrigerator to arrive.  It took quite a while for the sectional to arrive too.   

finished wine cabinet

As a home stager, I'm always thinking about resale you know!  The additional benefit of this transformation is whenever they sell this house (if they ever do), this cabinet will still totally make sense if the new owners want to use this room as a formal dining room.   What do you think? What kind of multi-functional room will make sense even when selling a home?   If you just can't get enough inspiration for multi-purpose/function rooms, check out this article.

Thanks for stopping by and "Cheers"!  


Lighting: 3 No-Fail Tips When Selling

light fixture

photo: Pottery Barn

If your home wasn't built within the last 10 years, chances are you have some outdated light fixtures in the house you may be trying to sell.  In addition to that, the table and floor lamps that are part of your decorating scheme may be too design specific or maybe have seen better days.  That's not to mention all of the light bulbs in those light sources.  Today, I'd like to share Three Lighting Tips When Selling your House.  Let's tackle the easiest one first.

Matching Lightbulbs

When living in your house any light is better than no light, and let's face it when you go to the store to buy replacement bulbs, it can be very overwhelming!  Not only are you looking for size, but wattage.  Then there's the confusion of kelvin (the color temperature of the bulbs) which most people ignore.  So most homeowners just buy whatever looks good at the moment, replace the bulb and call it done.   That's great except when you're selling and light fixtures have bulbs that are mismatched in color, are different styles, and/or aren't even working.  So before you list your house, consider your lightbulbs!  

kelvins in lighting

photo:  shutterstock.com

I love this Kelvin color temperature chart so much that I have this photo on my phone!   If your home feels colder because it's full of cool gray paint and lots of blues and whites, I suggest switching your bulbs to LED, with a Kelvin temperature of 3500-5000. However, if your home is decorated with beige walls, warm wood cabinets, and browns, I suggest LED bulbs with 4500-6000 Kelvin to offset some of the beige. When everything feels golden or brown to a buyer, it typically feels outdated. If you have CFL bulbs (the spiral, swirly ones) within any light fixture, I suggest tossing them out and going with something more modern.  You'll thank yourself later!  I recently had a seller who was selling a million dollar property, and every wall in the house was a heavier texture, with most of it being golden/brown (darker in nature). In addition, he had quite a few brown and yellow wood-toned pieces of furniture. He listened and definitely was a believer in the end!  He spent about $1000 to replace all light bulbs and the results were clear.  He sold his home quickly and for more than he thought he would.  That's money well spent! I know what you're thinking... $1000???  Well, it was a big house! Haha.

Update with Modern Fixtures

open concept room lighting

photo: Clark & Co homes

If your house has a large open concept area, really give your lighting deep thought. Make sure that each fixture is coordinated with the others.  They should match in color and style.  This photo above has all of the right ideas.  Love the pops of black lighting, the under cabinet counter lighting, and the clear pendants above the island.   Also, don't get too caught up in the finishes.  Here we have gold and black light fixtures, but the faucet is a brushed nickel.   Look for inspiration photos if you need help (or call me :).  If your bathroom fixtures look like they were the swag style from the 70's or the Hollywood lights from the 80's-90's, they really need to be updated. For a few hundred dollars, buyers would see no price-eroding factors and would be ready to make a higher offer.  

Choose Lighting to Attract the Masses

diy lighting


I'm a big fan of creativity and fun decorations, but when selling a house it's not the time to show off your crafty style.  While the cheese grater lights above look clever and probably match the aesthetic of these homeowners, it's not the best decision for attracting the most buyers.  The same could be said for flamingo lamps, strip lighting around the crown molding in a bedroom, or fairy lights dancing on the headboard wall of a bedroom.   Think about what would really be in a model home, and let that guide you to a better decision.  

To sum it up, it's really important to consider lighting when you are selling a house. Compared to many updates, it's relatively inexpensive but can make a large impact in how your house looks online and in person.  From simple lightbulb swaps to fixture updates, you'll be entertaining more offers when you consider lighting.  

Just for fun, read here to find some budget-friendly outdoor lighting ideas.   If you want more Priority Staging Ideas, hop on over to read this.

I hope you've enjoyed this!  Let me know how I can help you!


Design Trends That Won’t Make it to Next Year

living room  with large windows

What’s the general definition of the term trend? The word itself means a general change or development of something. This shows that the adjective trendy describes an item, theme, or selection as being subject to change. Constantly evolving and being made better to suit the current timeframe.

Which brings us to this: Design trends. Design schemes and themes are super trendy and constantly going through changes. Over time, what’s relevant in one year may not be the next. What your parents and grandparents grew up with inside of their home is most likely not what you grew up with inside yours, and not what you’ll give your kids to grow up with.

But instead of focusing on the entirety of design trends, we’re going to narrow in and expose the themes that are exiting stage left at the end of this year. If you have any of these in your home, you might want to think about saying bye-bye to the trend for now.

Open Floor Concept

Today, we’re seeing more normal daily activities being carried out in the home versus the office, school, or workplace. Many of us are working from home, many of our kids are studying from home, and many of us would simply prefer being at home.

Just a couple of years ago, it was common to have an open floor concept in the living room, dining room, and kitchen areas. Having a desk in the corner to get some late night work done wasn’t abnormal. Just like having a television in the same room as your weights seemed to be a good way to get in a lengthy exercise.

That’s not the case any longer. Now, people yearn for privacy. You don’t want to be taking a Zoom call at home in your living quarters while your child is watching television and singing at the top of their lungs. You also probably want some peace and quiet when getting an at home workout in.

Instead: Think about how you can separate different areas of the house, like distinguishing between work and pleasure. Have certain rooms dedicated to entertainment, with movie screens, simulators & projectors, and other rooms dedicated for work and concentration, to provide a smooth transition between areas.

All White All The Time - In The Kitchen

white kitchen with brown cabinets

photo: The Spruce

Too much white can get boring, and it’s really not amongst the popular ways to modernize your home anymore. Plus, do you remember the last time you had to clean an entirely white surface, cabinet, or fixture? It takes quite a deal of time to get it in pristine condition.

Instead: Branch out of your comfort zone and add pops of color to your kitchen. Think bright or bold cabinets, wood grained flooring, and backsplash patterns and shapes that accent the room. Don’t be afraid to be different and express your sense of style.

Accent Walls 

blue powder bathroom

Photo: Houzz

We remember a time when accent walls were all the rave. One wall screaming to be noticed in a different or bright color stood in every common room, drawing what seemed like much needed interior attention. Homeowners used to do this with wallpaper, too.

Instead: Go back in time and make every room the same color - for the walls sake. Using one singular paint color allows you the interior design freedom to decorate as you will with different colors, patterns, shapes, etc. You won’t have to concentrate on getting everything to match the two wall colors in the room that way.

Wine Cellars

wine refrigerator

Photo: Pinterest

Wine cellars always make you do two things that you don’t always necessarily want to do: Go down in the basement to retrieve a bottle for drinking purposes and dust off every bottle in the cellar. Drinking the wine is not the problem; it’s more so going in the damp basement and having to keep up with the accumulating dust.

Because of these two inconveniences, people are opting out of a wine cellar and choosing to go with a mini fridge instead for any wines that need to be refrigerated. Wines that don’t need to be refrigerated can either sit on the counter, in a wine rack, or at a corner wine bar. That’s all the surface area you’ll need to keep the wines you love in stock.

Well, there you have it! Let’s start avoiding open room concepts, all white kitchens, any type of accent wall, and any rendition of a wine cellar in the basement. We’re sure other trends will come around in early 2023, and some will go out of style throughout the year, too. Good thing we’re here to keep you on track, right?

If you like this post, you may enjoy Eight Ways to Make Your Home Look More Expensive.  

Caring for Quartz Countertops

How do you care for your quartz countertops? 

Six months ago, Mr. and Mrs. Client hired me to choose some updates for their rental home.  We installed new white quartz countertops in the kitchen and baths, subway tile for the kitchen, cabinet hardware, sinks, faucets,  new lighting and ceiling fans throughout the house.  It was quite a refresh!  I snapped one picture that you can see right here. 

quartz countertops in kitchen

Here you can see the new countertops, matte black cabinet hardware, and white subway tile backsplash.  Updates like this can really feel higher-end and are attractive when selling.  (Excuse the photo just taken just with my phone.)  Later, we may lighten the stain on the cabinets and replace the floor tile with something such as luxury vinyl plank.  

We had one major problem though!

After only a few months of use, there was a loud "pop"!   Surprisingly, the countertop had cracked in an area near the sink after a hot skillet was placed on a pot holder in that area.  The clients began to wonder about the durability of this product, which caused me to do more research.    

cracked quartz countertop

It turns out that if the countertops are not installed with proper supports, while it is extremely rare, a crack like this can happen. It's greatest weakness is vulnerability to hot and cold temperatures, so always always protect it.  Its greatest strength is it is non-porous and can't harbor germs.  Do your due-diligence on any product that you install in your house.

The great thing is that my contractor is replacing this at no charge to them, but it propelled me to create this printable - caring for quartz countertops.   I'm sure there are more tips that I could add, but this is a general synopsis of the articles I read on the topic

If you'd like a copy of this printable, click the image below and leave it for your next buyer, renter, vacation rental guest, or keep it for yourself for reminders to help keep your beautiful quartz lasting for years!

Let me know if you love quartz, hate it, or if you've had any problems with these types of countertops.  I'd love to know what you think!

As always, I'm so glad that you stopped by!


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 here 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

photo: bestbuy.com

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 zimmo.be

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 julesandjetsets.com 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!


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