Effective Home Staging Showcases Design Trends

Are you thinking of staging your New Jersey home for sale so you get a higher price and sell it quickly? You will get more money if you take time to eliminate out-dated decor and spruce up your home to give it a more modern look. You can inexpensively slipcover outdated sofas and chair upholstery (check out Surefit.com), replace dated or worn rugs, bedding, and pillows, and remove themed decor (e.g. beach, western, Native American, tropical) . Most buyers will not be impressed by country, traditional, shabby chic, or low-end college-style furniture. To elevate your home’s appeal and create a higher-end look, go with modern or transitional furniture and decor. If you’re not sure what’s in style, google sites like Elle decor, houzz.com, or the blog on hayneedle.com. Trendy and appropriate furniture and decor may cost you a bit more upfront but WILL help drive more interest in your property and likely get you a higher price. Following home design trends when listing your New Jersey — or any home — is crucial. It’s almost always best to use modern style (except perhaps in certain 55+ communities) and popular colors — such as gray (still a great neutral), moss green, navy or teal, yellow, white — in furniture, rugs, and accessories. Stay away from more out-of-the-box colors like pink, purple, pale blue and anything very bright (except possibly in accent pillows and decor — this is another way a home stager can help you figure out what works best for your particular home, neighborhood, and price point). A more dramatic finished look is always worth a slightly higher investment for a more effective staging that maximizes any home’s value!

7 Advantages of Working with A Designer

1) You’ll get a one-of-a-kind, special look that will maximize your enjoyment of your home.  Designers have access to lots of products and fabrics that are not available to the general public. We notice the details in how to balance colors, architecture, and scale to fit each space. I’ll help you narrow down your style and color preferences, fill you in on new products, current trends and furniture options, while helping you keep within your budget wherever possible.

living room design

2) A designer will help you save time and money by making sure your furniture, rugs, accessories, and window treatments work together and fit your space. One of the most important services I offer is on-line floor plans clients can also edit if they wish. Hiring a designer can help you avoid costly mistakes and help you make design decisions that will increase the value of your home.
3) Designers work to achieve cohesiveness and functionality in your final design — whether your needs include attractive storage or display options, child-friendly or pet-friendly furniture, extra space for entertaining or accommodating overnight guests, a designer will help you figure out your priorities and how to accommodate them to fit your budget.4) A designer will present several (or more) options for each piece of furniture, rugs, window treatments, and accessories, so you control the final decisions and aesthetic — but still make sure everything works well together.
5) Are you interested in a mix of styles, or do you and your partner other family members have very different design ideas? A designer can be a neutral 3rd-party guide to help navigate varying tastes and create acceptable compromises.
6) I can save you time and legwork! It’s not easy to find the time (and patience) to wade through many online shopping sites or stores. I’ll handle and coordinate that process for you and get you samples of fabrics or wood finishes, etc. where possible. I’ll also present design “boards” (typically on-line) for your feedback and approval. You can even choose to shop with me, if you prefer.
7) Designer discounts: I’m sometimes able to pass on designer discounts to my clients as an additional advantage of working with me. 10 – 20% discounts may be available at higher-end to-the-trade stores.

master bedroom

Why Virtual Staging Doesn’t Work as Well as “IRL” Staging

I’m seeing more agents here in northern New Jersey using virtual staging to try to draw in buyers because it’s so much cheaper than “real” staging — typically only a couple of hundred dollars, vs. staging with actual furniture and decor, which starts at about $2500 or more for a 2 month installation for 3 rooms. However, buyers are usually very disappointed when they walk into an empty (and worse out-dated) house that they’ve seen virtually staged on-line, only to see that it looks cold, boring, and even confusing (especially open plan homes) without actual furniture in place. If virtual staging draws buyers in to look at homes because they look so much better and more inviting, the benefit is pretty much lost when they arrive to actually tour the home. I’ve also seen some really poor “furniture choices” and incomplete looks with virtual staging — out-dated dining room and kitchen tables, a couple of chairs only placed into a huge living room, a sofa or 2 with no coffee or end tables, no lamps, no art or poorly placed art, no decor items, etc.  That kind of virtual staging isn’t serving any purpose, and does nothing to increase the appeal of the home.

So even though virtual staging on the surface can save a couple of thousand dollars, the end result will never be as effective as “in real life” staging, where buyers get to ooh and aah over the lifestyle they can experience in person. They can sit on the sofas, beds, and at the dining room table to see how much room there is with furniture in place — something buyers usually under-estimate. They can experience the “dream” lifestyle staging creates for them that makes any house more memorable and desirable than the competition.  In 9+ years of staging in New Jersey, I’ve found buyer reaction to a staged home is always much more positive than to an un-staged home — and staged homes typically sell within a few days to a few weeks, depending on such factors as the time of year, location, and price. ANY house can benefit from staging to get a higher sales price as well.

Real Estate Agents Find Value in Paying For Staging Consultations


This gallery contains 8 photos.

More agents are offering to pay for staging consultations to their listing clients as a value-added service that results in better photos and faster home sales. The popularity of home staging continues to rise and is becoming more standard, especially because younger buyers expect homes to look move-in ready. Continue reading

Flipping My First Investment House: The Adventure Begins


old kitchen in flip house

After too many years of watching the various “Flip or Flop” HGTV shows, I’ve finally taken the plunge  – with a group of other investors –and am flipping my own investment house — it’s exciting and scary at the same time! The property is a 1300 sq. ft. 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath cape cod in Dumont, NJ. Demo started yesterday, and work should be going on for probably close to 3 months (thanks, holidays!)  Here are photos of the kitchen and baths as they were yesterday, before demo.

I will update the (slow) progress in this blog, and detail where items are purchased and their cost. Fingers crossed this flip works out, but I know it will be an educational experience at the very least!

One of the bathrooms that is being ripped out and redone.

One of the many pink bathrooms of the 50s and 60s — soon to be updated.

Fall Decorating Trends for 2017

pumpkin planters using soil and succulents — you can use plants like mums as well of course

dramatic fall planters

metallic fall decor

Some beautiful and easy decorating ideas to do this fall that celebrate the traditions of harvesting pumpkins, gourds, and flowers in novel, but still classy, looks. Let’s spread joy and beauty where we can find it! Follow-up post to come shortly featuring fall interiors.

classic front entry for Fall, courtesy of Craftberry Bush, www.craftberrybush.com

Cheap Stagings Don’t Help Sell Homes!

Lately, I see some stagers using low-quality furniture (sorry, Ikea) in their stagings of mid- to higher-priced homes, and the results are a poor impression on buyers. For example, using a tiny bistro table with 2 wire chairs does not add style or warmth appropriate for an eat-in kitchen, in my opinion. Instead, it tells buyers “this eating area is so small only 2 people have room to sit here.” NOT the impression that helps sell a home!
The same goes for futon-style furniture, master bedroom beds without headboards, sofas with skirted slipcovers, cheap-looking end tables, old-fashioned dining room tables, etc.
In staging as in most things in life, you get what you pay for, and if you aren’t at least making the furniture suit or go beyond what buyers expect for the price of the home, then staging will likely not help sell a home faster and for more money. You can use cheap furniture to show buyers where and how furniture will fit, but you are not creating the lifestyle vision that will make your house memorable and desirable so it stands out from the rest!
Ok, rant over 🙂

How to Choose Paint Colors that Work for YOUR Home

According to the Staging and Design Network, “Color is the core of every beautiful room. Yet, it is also the place where more than 60% of design and staging mistakes are made.” I’d bet that we’ve all walked into homes – or seen rooms on-line – where the colors just don’t work with the finishes in the rest of the room, such as the cabinets, countertops, or floors, or where the colors are too intense or too pale and washed out for the amount of light the room gets. Sometimes you can’t even figure out exactly what is wrong with the way the room feels, it just seems “off”, as in these cases:

Paint colors work best when they pick up another color already in the room -- or go with a neutral instead.

Lemon yellow walls are jarring with the white cabinets and brown countertops.

lime green walls don’t work with the yellow-orange of the cabinets

This red accent wall is just too abrupt of a change from the adjacent white wall and is disconcerting to the eye, even though the owners have tied in the red in the throw and a couple of pillows. Red drapes and red in the rug would tie it together much better.

Red accent wall doesn’t work

A search of Houzz.com, the popular design and decorating website, reveals there are about 326,000 conversations about picking the WRONG paint color! Paint company commercials often show this dilemma in a humorous way, with homeowners putting a dozen colors or many shades of a similar color on their wall, and puzzling for hours or even days over what looks best. But it’s not really funny for most homeowners when you spend hours of your valuable time looking through paint chips and painting sample colors on your walls, and then you’re still not sure what color works best with your home’s hard finishes or furniture and rugs and bedding. Interestingly, while there are thousands of paint colors and shades of colors, only about 100 of them are used 85% of the time, according to Benjamin Moore.

This is especially true if you are not familiar with the undertones that exist in almost all colors – including neutrals and whites, which can have yellow undertones (the creamy whites), or blue or gray undertones (the cool whites).

Some of the factors that need to be considered when choosing paint colors:
* shade
* saturation
* undertones
* lighting

* sheen of paint
* what works with the hard finishes in the rooms (cabinetry, flooring, countertops)
* what complements the soft finishes such as furniture, rugs, window treatments
* style and exterior of home

Spending $100 to $200 on a paint color consultation from a color/design expert (depending on size of your house and how many colors you need or want), is an inexpensive investment that can actually save you time and money in preventing color mistakes – even having to repaint entire rooms, which can run several hundred to $1,000 to correct just one mistake.

A designer with color training can eliminate all the “wrong” colors that won’t work with your space, finishes, furniture and lighting, and help you choose what colors look best. She or he is also up to date on styles and color trends, especially important if you plan to sell anytime in the next few years. What colors you are drawn to are important, but what’s more important is avoiding colors that don’t work with what else is in the room. A color consultant will also suggest color flow from one room to another, especially in open plan homes.

Here are some rooms that work better:

The gray walls pick up on gray in the countertops for a sophisticated and coordinated look. Notice the crown molding trim color is an atypical choice, but keeps the focus on the detailing of the upper cabinets below.

soft colors with muted undertones work well

lime green walls take center stage, but are grounded by pairing with beige, brown and white to keep the overall effect cohesive.

Tip: Remember to always put up a sample sheet or color on different walls in your room and look at it over 48 hours in different lighting throughout the day. Colors that look pale in a sunlit room will look a little darker and more saturated at night. Paint chips need to be looked at vertically as they will be in the home (or horizontally for floors or decks) Many homeowners forget that when they are looking at paint chips in stores, the lighting is typically fluorescent which has a blue cast. It’s best to look at any samples outdoors or – best of all – in your own home.

Staging Consultations Prepare Homes for Sale to Maximize Value

6b48d__living-room-with-orange-tan-and-white-accentsAre you planning on selling your home? Staging consultations are a very inexpensive way to get expert, objective advice on how to best present your home for sale, on-line and in person. An experienced,trained stager is dedicated to helping you sell your home quickly and at a higher price. The advice I typically provide includes:
* how to maximize curb appeal
* easy ways to make homes and rooms look larger in order to increase perceived value
* the best and most popular paint colors today that work with your home’s finishes (floors, cabinets, countertops, style) and attract more buyers
* tips on how to lighten and brighten your home, which make it more appealing
* how to arrange furniture to create the best traffic flow and best look for photos
* how to use art effectively
* what style/colors of bedding, rugs, towels, pillows, and accessories will give your home the model-home look to increase offers
At Great Impressions Home Staging, the cost of a thorough staging consultation for up to 2.5 hours is only $225, and can even be less in some cases. You also get a written room-by-room list of recommendations at the end of the consultation. Most homeowners choose to stage their homes themselves following this consultation, but for those who want hands-on help, I can usually stage an average size home in a few hours on a separate day by moving furniture within rooms, accessorizing, arranging bookshelves, hanging or re-hanging art correctly and even packing up clutter if you wish.

Paint Colors for Staging

Beige and variations on it such as yellow-beige used to be considered the “go-to colors” for staging a few years ago, but the trend in the past few years has been to use cooler gray colors, which make for a more modern look and complement most rooms and finishes, such as floor and tile colors. And yes, gray does work well with brown, whether in flooring or furniture and accessories.
Gray with blue or green undertones is often used for bedrooms and dining rooms, and is typically coordinated with other neutral colors (white and black) for a contemporary, sophisticated look in urban high-end homes, or for a warmer, more playful and inviting look, with bright pops of color such as blue, yellow, orange, and green. I personally love using gray with blue and green in coastal areas

Sherwin Williams Silverpointe

Sherwin Williams Silverpointe

Sherwin Williams Repose Gray

Sherwin Williams Repose Gray

Benjamin Moore Stoningon Gray

Benjamin Moore Stoningon Gray

or Hudson River homes on the “Gold Coast” of New Jersey, such as Edgewater, Weehawken, Cliffside Park, and Hoboken.
When using gray in staging, it’s best to stick to lighter hues to keep rooms looking lighter and more spacious, including these colors:
(Benjamin Moore)
Stonington Gray
Balboa Mist
Silver Fox

(Sherwin Williams)
Mindful Gray
Popular Gray

Plus these Sherwin-Williams “Greige” colors (mix of gray and beige) that warm up a space:

Agreeable Gray
Requisite Gray
Repose Gray

For bedrooms, these choices are perfect because they have a restful blue-gray or green-gray undertone:
(Benjamin Moore)
Alaskan Husky
Sleigh Bells
Silver Satin
Quiet Moments

Silverpointe (pale blue undertone)
Useful Gray (pale green undertone)

Reflection (pale blue undertone)

I’d love to know what gray-toned paint colors YOU have used for different rooms that you love? Let me know so I can check them out and add them to my list!