Staging vs. Styling a Dinner Table

Have you ever wondered how staging is different than styling/decorating?    Stagers believe "less is more" and we constantly are thinking about that as we add elements to a space.  Watch the video below to see that there are basically two ways to "stage" the table, and that's different than "styling" the table for guests to come and enjoy dinner.  

At Clover Lane Design, we create flow within rooms, provide that spacious feeling, help the eye move from place to place, draw the eyes toward architectural features, and give the suggestion of how each space in a home can be used.  It's not about decorating!

GO Month – Get Organized Month

Laundry Room to Envy

Welcome to GO (Get Organized) month - January.  A RESA (real estate stager association) friend shared that with me.   She's a professional in organization, which I am not.  I'm pretty organized - but not professional.  I aspire to have things organized though, so that's why I'm sharing.  Also, after giving four staging consultations this week, I quickly realized that organized people can get their houses ready to sell in lightning speed.  I know not everyone has a laundry room that looks like this (, but...most homes I see have shelving or cabinets above their washer and dryer, and many have a clothes rod.  What's the difference?   Well, check out this photo below.  

This is comparable to what I normally see, especially when it's in a room with a door.  I get it!  We're all busy!  We all have lots of "stuff."  Here's what I'd tell my seller.  Use baskets or decorative boxes on the shelves to hide away essential cleaning products and items such as light bulbs, toilet paper, everyday tools, etc.  Anything that's not essential for a few months gets packed and stored in the garage or a storage unit.  Nothing except maybe one beautiful backpack or bag should be hanging on the wall.   So where do all of the brooms, dusters, mops, etc. go?  You hide them away - for showings and especially MLS photos!!!  What about this big laundry sorter?  Unless it's built into an alcove in the wall or in a cabinet, it gets stored somewhere else.  When your house is for sale, no buyer wants to see your laundry or think about chores.  They want to subconciously feel like everything is magically organized and clean in your house.  

Linen Closet Love

On to the bathroom or hall linen closet...fluffy white towels hanging in the bathrooms are the perfect addition to make the bathroom feel spa-like.   Where do you store the extras?  Like this in the closet.  I seriously do envy the organization of this, since my husband thinks a variety of colors of towels are desirable.  I say "white" or "off-white" - that way you can bleach them and wash them all together with another of my favorites - white sheets!  I like how they at also have their cleaning products in an attractive basket.  A+ for organization here!

Pantry to die for!

And one more inspiration photo for organization - look at this pantry from  Now, to be honest, I don't know anyone who lives like this.  Where's the mac-n-cheese boxes, the chips, they canned goods, etc.?  And the spices!   My 75 spices live in the containers they came in.  I can brag that they are in alphabetical order because years ago I discovered that doing that would change my cooking world.   I do like the clear containers with the chalkboard-style labels and the baskets to contain items in this photo.   Buyers really don't expect this, but I suggest grouping like items together, combining snacks into one basket, displaying cans with labels all facing forward, and throw away anything that's expired or nearly empty.  Make sure nothing is on the floor or hanging on the door. Another A+ for pantry organization though!  

Good luck with your organization endeavors.  Whether it's part of your January resolution or just another month when you want to gain control, you'll be glad you spent the time to organize a space.  

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Top 10 Holiday Design Tips

Simple Tips For the Season

           #10 Use ornaments in unexpected places throughout your home. A bowl                filled with shiny ornaments looks great in the kitchen or on a side table.

#9 Use lots of white lights (make sure they all work before placing on tree or garland). Battery operated twinkle lights look festive when mixed in with ornaments.

photo from Pinterest: grandin road

#8 Use beautifully wrapped gifts as decor scattered throughout your home. Choose wrap and ribbon that matches your theme.

#7 Use Christmas tree greenery clippings to add beauty and fragrance to your mantel, table centerpieces, everywhere! You can pick up free clippings where they sell live trees.

Photo from Pinterest


#6 Pick a style and color theme. Then stick with it!  Check my Christmas pinterest board for ideas. Remember your packages can carry this theme throughout.

Pinterest:  Jones Design Company

#5 Add lots of texture. Cozy throws, fluffy pillows, burlap ribbon or table runners, sparkly glass, shiny ornaments, nubby get the picture. Mix it up!

Houzz: Robeson Design

#4 When hanging ornaments on your tree, larger ones should go near the bottom. Smaller toward the top. Hang "filler" and "less expensive" shiny balls on the inner branches. This gives dimension to your tree and the ornaments reflect more light.

#3 Group your personal collections together. If you love nutcrackers, but they are scattered and lonely, it's not much of a collection. Instead, group them in clusters of 3 or 5 around your home. If you collect spoons, wrap decorative ribbon as bows around the top and hang them on your tree for a unique personal touch. What collections do you have? I collect whimsical Santas.

#2 Add the warmth and fragrance of candles. Aromas that remind us of yummy desserts are my favorite! Also, I love Woodwick candles because they crackle and sound like a fire.

Pinterest:  blog.balsamhill

#1 Floral picks can add so much to your tree and garlands. Just poke them in. They can add drama to the tree topper, and make the tree more interesting looking.

I hope you enjoy these design tips. Most of all, remember to spend time with the    ones you love! Baking cookies, sipping hot cocoa, touring Christmas lights,        singing holiday songs.... those are my favorites and repeating them year                after year creates lasting memories.
May you be blessed this Christmas season!

When a pantry could be so much more!

Ready for a Remodel

We down-sized to a smaller home recently, and I knew right away that this 9 door pantry had to go.  Don't get me wrong, nine doors sounds like a lot of storage space but they were so deep that you could lose a small child back there.  There was also wasted space on each side, so even pull-out baskets weren't really an option.  To make matters worse, the entrance to the kitchen was only 2 1/2 feet wide and 7 feet tall.  It felt like another bedroom entrance.   Ugh!  My last house had a huge kitchen open to a living and dining space with lots of natural light.   Immediately I began to problem solve.  I envisioned 4 cabinet doors with custom pull-out drawers to be the base cabinets.  Four others would go all the way to the top of the 10 ft. ceiling and be used for party and holiday items that I wouldn't use often.    Perfect!   Another problem was on the opposite wall.  It stuck out so much that the refrigerator door couldn't open completely.  So, I hired a contractor to widen my opening to 8 feet tall and about 4 feet wide.    Now the fridge functions properly and it feels a lot more spacious.  Read on...
A few weeks later,  we had the subway tile installed in a herringbone pattern, added black granite for a classic look, hired Daniel (my favorite electrician) to do electrical work for the coffee maker, new barn light, and open shelving.    SO MUCH BETTER!   Of course, it's never ending.  We now have new wood floors and baseboards.  Time to paint all of the cabinets white, and pick a color for the walls.  I literally have four paint colors on the kitchen walls right now.  I'll share more pictures when that is finished.  Honestly, I'm in no hurry because I think I just got all of the dust cleaned up.   Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog!  Happy Home Life!

If you love fabulous kitchens as much as I do, check out my collection on Pinterest

5 Tips – Styling with Pillows

Styling with pillows!  Load up on some soft, fun pillows for your sofas, chairs, and beds!   Who doesn't love the color and comfort that they add?  This is an inexpensive way to change up your look for the seasons also.  Since the rug in this photo already had a large design, I went with solid-looking colors.  The brown is actually a velvet print on print, and the cream ones are actually a cream and white mix.   Don't go crazy with too many patterns is my suggestion.   

Here are 5 tips that I use when working with pillows:

Tip #1 Use pillows that are at least 20 x 20 inches with down feather inserts on a sofa

Tip #2 Layer 2-3 pillows on each end to give a very inviting, comfortable look

Tip #3 Give each pillow a little "karate chop" right in the middle to make them look plump.

Tip #4 ​For beds, use 2-3 European pillows as a backdrop for your standard or king size pillows with shams layered in front. White pillows always look clean and classy.

Tip #5 A rectangular or oblong pillow looks great as the "middle" piece since it is smaller.   Think tall, medium, short as you layer on sofas or beds.

Bonus Tip #6 Don't have room to store lots of pillows?   Buy pillow covers and just change them out when you feel like it. has nice ones.  Poppin Pillows is another great place that you can order online.  I actually sewed the brown velvety ones myself!  I think I spent about $12 on fabric.   Good find!

​Have fun styling with your own pillows.  I hope you found this helpful.