7 Staging Mistakes to Avoid

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

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

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

stock photo

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

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

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

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

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

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

Color Psychology for Home Staging

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why color is powerful

stock photo

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

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

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

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

Strategic use of colors in home staging

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

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

Make the home inviting and create feelings of serenity

stock photo

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

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

Make the room lively and friendly

photo: PInterest    website: hymnsandverses.com

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

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

Grab attention with warm colors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Father’s Day 2020 Gift Ideas

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

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

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

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

Gifts for the Cool Pops!

Yeti cup - about $25

                                                                                                                                        Salt Block - about $23

Yeti cooler

Yeti cooler - about $150

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

hot sauce

Hot Sauce -about $18

Meat Claws - about $13

breakfast sandwich maker

Breakfast Sandwich Maker - about $25

Whiskey Stones - about $25

Crack Salsa - about $6

For Dad's who are Stylin'!


Cologe - $95-$170

dot silk tie

Silk Tie - about $25

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

greens towel

                                                                                                                                Greens Towel - about $12

sport socks

Sport Socks - about $11

So Dad can just CHILL!

Candle - about $18

Weighted Page Holder - about $13 

Massager with Heat - about $56

Dads will like these Gadgets!

shower speaker

Shower Speaker - about $35

charging station

Charging Dock - about $25

Fire Stick - about $40

Meat Thermometer - about $57

Always a GOOD READ for Dad!

Book - $17 Kindle $24 hardcover

Knock-Knock Dad Book - about $13

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

Happy Father's Day!


How to Make Your Home Stand Out During a Virtual Tour

Recently Lexi contacted me to see if I'd like to share her post.  Since "sharing is caring," I thought I would post it here.   These are some really great tips - even when it's NOT a time of COVID-19.   You always want to have your house looking its best when selling whether you're giving someone a virtual tour, or an in-person tour.   Chances are in our DFW metroplex, the online photos will drive the traffic to your listing for a face-to-face tour.  

Hope you enjoy her article, and reach out to me if you need anything.  🙂    -Shana

April 16, 2020 - By Lexi Klinkenberg

The real estate industry has been shifting to a digital landscape over the years, but no one expected the digital revolution to happen so quickly. We’re seeing the effects of COVID-19 on the US housing market, stay-at-home orders have brought most traditional open houses to a temporary halt, and in-person showings few and far between. But if you’re looking to sell your house, don’t worry, you can still make your home shine online and reach potential buyers without face-to-face contact. With virtual home touring options such as 3D walkthroughs and live video chat
tourstours, potential buyers can still interact with agents and explore every nook and cranny of your home, almost as if they were touring in-person. With virtual tours, you can also attract homebuyers no matter where they reside. Maybe a potential buyer is currently living in Atlanta, GA and wants to buy a home in Portland, OR – they can still virtually tour your home, no matter the distance.

Here are 8 tips to make your home stand out against the competition during a virtual tour and impress potential homebuyers.

1. Enhance your space with the right lighting Lighting is an essential component when it comes to creating an eye-catching and camera-ready atmosphere, and this is especially true with a virtual tour. “Your home will look its best on camera if you film in the middle of the day. Keep your window shades open and bring in as much natural light as possible to help the room feel larger and look brighter” says Makayla Zurn, the Creative Production Manager at Redfin. “You can even try layering light by turning on lamps and accent lights to create a warm and cozy atmosphere”, says Zurn. “Just be sure to avoid artificial lighting that overpowers the space too much. “

 2. Transform rooms with the perfect paint color Whether you have faded and scuffed walls in the living room, or a bright orange accent wall in your kid’s room, take this opportunity to repaint the interior walls and opt for a camera-friendly shade. This is an easy and inexpensive fix that 68 percent of realtors recommend. “Lighter, neutral paint colors show best in video while darker colors tend to make spaces look smaller than they actually are,” says Zurn. “If you’re showcasing a room with darker paint it would be helpful to note the measurements of that particular space in the description.”

3. Clear your home of clutter During a virtual tour, potential homebuyers will try to imagine your home as their own. This can be difficult if you have areas in your home where things have slowly piled up over the years. “Personal items can take a buyer’s attention away from what you really want them to focus on, the features of your home!” says Zurn, “So clear off your kitchen and bathroom countertops, make the beds, and tidy up.” Maybe you have a pile of paperwork in the kitchen, excessive cords in your home office, or perhaps a box filled with board games in the living room.
Find permanent homes for items that are sitting out, or donate things you no longer need. To create a more open and calming atmosphere, try removing an item or two before taking photos and filming. One trick is to clear off any surfaces, and then add items back one-by-one until the desired look is achieved.

4. Get your home looking spotless Cleaning is one of the simplest ways to create an appealing interior. Potential homebuyers will be able to detect a clean home from a dirty one, even over a virtual tour. Washing mirrors and windows, vacuuming hardwood floors, deep-cleaning carpets, and organizing your closets are just a few tasks that will make your home look more attractive. Furthermore, the potential homebuyer may even ask the agent to describe what they’re experiencing on the property, including certain smells and the cleanliness of the home. So make every inch of your home shine, from floor to ceiling.​

5. Stage for a picture-perfect home Staging is now more important than ever. Begin staging rooms that could influence the buyer’s decision, including the entryway, living room, main bathroom, master bedroom, and kitchen. Remove or rearrange furniture to
make the space appear larger, add flowers to the kitchen table for a splash of color, and arrange decor in odd numbers to achieve balance. To help potential buyers picture themselves calling your house home, remove any family photos or keepsakes. Look online for inspiration and tips, chat with a professional stager over video, or consider a virtual staging service. This is a cost-effective service where home stagers use photo-editing software to transform rooms by adding furniture and decor into the photos of your home.

6. Have professional photos taken Although additional safety measures are being taken during the Coronavirus pandemic to ensure the safety of you and the professional photographers, photo and video shoots are still being offered. Now, it is especially important to have your home staged and “showing ready” for the shooting, as photographers will not be touching or moving anything inside the homes. The listing photos will be the first thing a potential homebuyer sees of your home and may determine whether they request a virtual tour. So make sure your home stands out against the competition with professional photos. Real estate photographers know the correct lighting, angles, and minor details that give a much better depiction of the home, capture it’s selling points, and attract the attention of potential homebuyers. If you’d want to showcase your entire property, capture a bit of the neighborhood, or highlight the breathtaking view, consider having aerial photos taken to offer a unique angle of your home.

7. Highlight your home’s best features What characteristics of your home attracted you to it in the first place? Is it the new kitchen appliances, extensive breakfast bar, large outdoor space, or simply the open floor plan? Whatever it may be, it’s likely that your favorite features of the home will be what attracts potential homebuyers as well. So, be sure to give special attention to these features in photos and during a virtual home tour.

8. Spruce up the exterior Enhancing your curb appeal is just as important as sprucing up the interior of your home. A well-maintained landscape, lawn, and porch can make a great impression on potential homebuyers and can add perceived value to your home. Remove any dead debris, mow your lawn, and trim the plants or shrubs lining your property. Consider re-staining your front porch, pressure washing the siding of your home, and adding flowerpots to enhance the entryway. And if you have any outdoor furniture, be sure to stage it as you would with your furniture inside.
Virtual tours are now more important than ever. Be sure to take time and prepare your home for showing just as you would for an in-person tour, and show your home in the best light.

Originally Published on Redfin

6 Simple Tips for Decorating a Coffee Table

styled coffee table

Coffee tables are an essential piece of furniture for the living room because living rooms get a lot of love.  The coffee table can be used for a homework spot, casual dining, a gathering for remote controls, and places to hold books and other collectables.   I've gathered 6 Simple Tips to help you decorate your coffee table, no matter what your design aesthetic is.   You definitely don't have to use all of the ideas, but I'd suggest not doing anything more than this.   

photo: decorits

Tip 1 - Use a tray

Use a tray to corral some of your things.  It can be wicker, silver, wood, or whatever you like. The photo above has a very mono-chromatic look, and its small tray holds a special candle and a mini floral arrangement.  Sometimes, even using two trays can be really helpful. Clear the table quickly for something such as game night.

photo:  blog.decorsteals

Tip 2 - Greenery or Flowers

Add a beautiful green plant or some fresh flowers.  I love fresh flowers, but of course you have to maintain them and make sure the vase of water doesn't get tipped over by an enegetic kiddo (or adult).   There are some really nice green faux plants that you can choose from, or another idea is to go outside and clip some  greenery from a shrub or tree in your yard, and place them in a decorative pot or vase.    Look how interesting the white and wheat-colored blossoms and grasses look in the above photo.  Below, the size of the branch that overhangs is a great scale for this chunky table.

photo:  studio-mcgee

Tip 3 - Use books

If you have great hardback books with photos, these are called "coffee table books". They look amazing when stacked alone or when other objects sit on them. Book topics that look best are of art, design, architecture, landscape, travel, and nature.   However, if you love hot-air balloons, sailing, or bicycling then by all means, use those!   It's your house and your style!  By stacking books, you can elevate some objects to be higher than others.  

coffee table

photo:  picklebarrel

Tip 4 - High, Medium & Low

When adding decorative objects to your coffee table, think High, Medium, and Low. This pyramid or triangle pattern is very pleasing to the eye.  When styling a smaller table, use your plant or flowers as one of these three objects, maybe books as your second item, and a third object could be a candle or special figurine.  Bonus:  All three items might fit on the tray, or possibly you may not need a tray at all if you have a small table or ottoman.  Use your best judgment.   For a large table, these objects could be three pieces totally separate from your florals and books. Notice how the books in the photo above hold small boxes which gives them more of a presence on the large table. 

photo:  bhg

Tip 5 - Boxes

Find a decorative box to hide essential, but not-so-pretty things such as remote controls, coasters, lotion, eye-glass cleaner, lip balm, etc.   It'll look great, and all of your necessities will have a place to live.  If your table is really small, like the round ottoman above, this may be an item that you want to skip.  By the way, isn't it cool how an ottoman can become a table just by adding a tray?   Multi-purpose at its finest!

coffee table decor

photo: stylecurator

Tip 6 - Personal Objects

It's always fun to add something personal.  That could be a fun elephant like I've included on my table below, or maybe one of your books is a special, collected item for you. Maybe your son created a clay pot like the one above that you still treasure, or you want to display your favorite scented candle.  My wooden beads(below) are my fun, personal piece just because I made them.  I've seen an antique camera or magnifying glass sit on a book, and that always looks interesting.  Whatever you have that is meaningful should be included to make your table special to you.

If you're selling your house, can you use these same tips to stage your coffee table?   Yes, but I would suggest removing about half of your items so that your decor doesn't distract the buyer.  To see some other suggestions about home staging items, read my Top 10 Must-Haves to Stage Your House to Sell blog post.

Hopefully you've found these 6 tips simple and helpful.  Below, I've included some links to products if you're in the mood to purchase something new for your coffee table styling. I may receive a small commission on some of these, but at no extra cost to you.  If you need some console or entryway table ideas, read my blog post called 7 Simple Tips to Design Your Entryway.  As always, I'm here if you have questions or need help.   

Shop these Products

             rattan covered box 

   black tray

                       pink orchid

leather storage boxes

coffee table book


coffee table book

geometric decor set

hourglass with gold stand

Priority Staging

I published on Facebook a while back a post about rooms most critical for staging according to the 2019 Profile of Home Staging. You may remember it.  It's no surprise that a living room ranked first.  And the kitchen? Well, it's the heart of the home.  Why is the master bedroom so important?  Buyers need to know if the bedroom can handle a king-size bed, or just a queen-size.  And will there be room for nightstands, or maybe even a lounge chair?   Buyers want to know, and they don't carry furniture dimensions and a measuring tape around with them.   At least 99% of the people don't anyway.   (My own statistic!)

What the report did not tell you is this.   When a potential buyer walks into a house, the most important areas to have staged are all of the rooms one can see from the entry - including the entryway!  Isn't this where guests are first greeted and made to feel welcome??   That's why I wrote an entire blogpost called 7 Simple Tips to Design Your Entryway. Click here to jump on over and read all about it.  

photo: Avilow

The entryway above has a clean look, a new neutral rug (which is optional when staging because buyers want to see the floors), a beautiful greenery/floral arrangement, great lighting, and art peaking around the corner which pulls the eye in to see what's next.   These are all good things!  What if this room was vacant, and buyers walked straight into a white wall?  It's a nice white wall, but with the decor, it's a WOW wall!

If the buyer can see the living room, dining room, a staircase, and an office from just a few steps inside the house, we recommend staging all of those areas.  If you're looking to save money and not stage everything, the secondary bedrooms are the ones to write off.  Parents understand that small bedrooms should be able to work for a twin bed and a small dresser. They'll want to check it out, but it's not nearly as important.  Check out those percentages above again.   The other place that I would recommend staging is the back patio IF there's a large space and IF the backyard is amazing.   A typical concrete patio with a small grassy backyard does not need any furniture for sure.  Maybe just a pot or two of colorful flowers would be nice.  

Photo:  TraditionalHome.com

If your home has a backyard that has a selling feature like this amazing fireplace and pergola, then you'd better stage it.   This is critical if you want to get the most for your property.   Overall, just put yourself in your buyer's shoes and think about what they'd really like to have staged.  If your kitchen nook is your absolute favorite place in your house because of the awesome view, then by all means, get it staged!

Now if the home is occupied by the sellers, then every room in the house should be staged. Absolutely!   There is already furniture and decor.  Occupied staging is JUST AS IMPORTANT as vacant staging.   Buyers cannot see past personal items, outdated decor, clutter, dog bowls, and cleaning products.   Occupied staging is really my specialty.   It takes a certain kind of stager that can help the seller understand this and buy in to the staging process.  This is why I love it!  

We can help with all of your staging needs.   Give us a call if you want assistance. 


7 Simple Tips to Design Your Entryway

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

Studio McGee

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

pendant light with cork

Advocare Plans

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

Studio McGee

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

House of Jade

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


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

West Elm

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


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

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

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

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

Top 10 Must-Haves to Stage Your House to Sell

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

white brick exterior house

photo: beckieowens.com

Enough explanation.  Let's dig right in.

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

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

living room with pillows and throw

photo: frugalliving.me.com

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

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

updated kitchen

photo: greigedesign.com

coffee station
lemons on cake pedestal

photo: target.com

photo: countryliving.com

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

master bedroom with white bedding

photo: besthomedecorpics.com

Here are a couple of choices that I like.  

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

Lighting is Everything in your House!

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

bed with nice pillows

photo: pinterest.com

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

bed with matching lamps

photo: chchomes

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

Post Pinterest

photo: pinterest.com

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

entry table with a plant

photo: anthropologie.com

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


Linen Closets Talk to Buyers

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

unorganized closet

...or when it looks tidy and organized.   Now, I know we all like to dream that our closets look like the photo that I found below, but most people truly have closets like the one here at gardenfullofdreams.com   I bet there's a before and after tutorial for this one.  Yep, here it is! https://gardenfullofdreams.com/10-easy-tips-to-help-you-organize-your-linen-closet/  This girl really got it together right after moving into a new home.  That's the thing.  It takes time to make a look good, but it's so worth it! 

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

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

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

See what I mean?  This makes sense, right?

tidy linen closet

photo credit: dory fitz

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

 1.  Clear out the closet.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

15 Tips For Organizing Your Linen Closet! 

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

CHEAP ORGANIZING | Linen Closet & Bathroom

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

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

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

Happy organizing!

Shana   817-657-0760   shana@cloverlanedesign.com 

Dallas Medical Office Design

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy to help!