Styling Tips to ‘Wow’ Spring-Time Home Buyers

By Patti Stern, PJ & Co. Staging and Interior Decorating

The new year and the upcoming spring season brings with it a fresh outlook and new beginnings. What will prospective home buyers be thinking about while searching for their new “happy place”? For sellers preparing their homes to sell this spring, that means engaging buyers by showcasing a warm, welcoming and cheerful property that others can easily envision living in. The following are our spring décor styling tips to help sellers prepare their property to stand out among the sea of new listings.

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Natural Elements Paired with Metallics

One of our favorite trends is plants of all shapes and sizes–succulents, trees or plants in baskets and colorful planters, and fresh or synthetic garden flowers in vases and wreaths. Since metallic accents continue to be on-trend, we love pairing the two together for an elegant touch to appeal to today’s buyers who like to feel close to nature.

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Pops of Bright Accents

Pair bold pops of colorful accessories such as accent pillows, throws, artwork, glass bowls filled with fruit, and fluffy bathroom towels against a neutral backdrop to give any room a boost of energy and warmth. Mix and match different textures and patterns for added depth and a modern style.

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Update Paint Colors

Whether you repaint an entire room or an accent wall, a fresh coat of paint works wonders to instantly brighten and open a space to make it appear larger. To spruce up your curb appeal, try a fresh coat of a trending spring color such as Benjamin Moore’s Caliente for your front door to create a welcoming first impression.

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Fresh Bedding

To create a spring-like oasis in the bedroom, switch out winter bedding and replace it with fluffy duvets in white, or on-trend floral patterns paired with a soft, cozy throw and accent pillows in different sizes, colors, and textures.  To complete the look, add soothing nature-inspired wall art in complementary colors.

For more examples of interior decorating and home staging, visit www.pjstagingdecorating.com.

PattiABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Stern is principal, interior decorator, and professional stager of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating. She has been decorating and staging homes since 2005. She and her team provide turnkey, full-service home staging and interior decorating to clients across Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts. She also developed an award-winning staging program for the luxury homebuilder, Toll Brothers. Her company received the Houzz 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 Awards for Customer Service.


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7 Ways to Add More Romance to a Home’s Decor

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Love is in the air with Valentine’s Day this week. But a romantic flair to warm up your home design may very well be in style year-round.

In fact, one-third of homeowners say they intended to renovate their master bedrooms to create a more romantic or intimate space, according to a 2015 survey of more than 1,500 homeowners conducted by Houzz, a remodeling website.

How do you achieve a more romantic style with your décor? Here are a few ideas.

1. Fluffy pillows

The more pillows on the bed, the better. Decorative pillows can add a softness to a room. Read tips from stager Audra Slinkey from the Home Staging Resource: How to Use Pillows in Staging

 

2. A lush Rug
A faux sheepskin rug under the bed may add a touch of luster to the flooring.

 

3. Whites and pastels
Softer colors can add a more romantic vibe. Pristine white mixed with soft pastels may add warmth to a bedroom. Try whites or pastel bedding and accessories up against a slightly darker wall color for just the right contrast.

 

4. Fireplace
Illuminate a space with the glows from a fireplace or candles.

 

5. Flowers
Fresh flowers can spruce up any room in the house–and as an added bonus they often bring a pleasant scent too. Even small bouquets can still make a statement.

 

6. Chandelier
Add in more glam in the bathroom with a crystal chandelier that can reflect the light and bring a little sparkle.

 

7. Intimate outdoor spaces
You can get romantic with your landscaping outside too. Set a scene with a small table and chair set, greenery surrounding, and strung lights to create a cozy spot to unwind or dine.


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Hot Home Trend: Florals Are Dressing Up Interiors

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Consider adding more floral patterns into your staging. It’s bold and trendy, home designers say.

Floral prints are seeing a revival in home design, according to the design community on Houzz, a home renovation and design platform. In fact, they are calling florals one of the hottest home design trends of 2018.

But its re-emergence in interiors does come with a twist this time around. Floral designs in contrasting colors is trending. It can make a big statement and can be an eye-popping pattern to jazz up a space.

“Forget low-energy patterns and think botanical references in high-contrast colors, such as black and white, or teal and gold, and over-sized blooms,” Houzz notes in its forecast.

Floral patterns of roses, peonies, and lilacs are popular in wall art, throw pillows or bedding, rugs, or furnishings. It can feel vintage, and add a little flair to an otherwise neutral staging palette.


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Stagers Who Stand Ready to Transform Properties

By Audra Slinkey, Home Staging Resource

A lot of people don’t realize just how much home stagers do for their clients. Certified professional home stagers are true artists and will go to great lengths to get that “right look,” as well as help seller’s maximize the return impact on the sale of their home.

Here are two, behind-the-scenes staging stories that show you how far your home stager will go to GET IT DONE RIGHT…

You may have seen this unique residence in your news stream a while back, but did you consider how it got staged?  It is on an island just off the Connecticut coast and the residence spans the entire three-acre island.

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There were five houses to be staged (a main house, guest house, tea house, game house, and pool house.)  The real kicker is that the caretaker’s boat had weight restrictions and could not hold couches, beds, or larger pieces–so the stager had to be creative!

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HSR Certified home stager Leia Ward of LTW Designs in Fairfield County is the brave home stager who took on this property, and using only accessories, staged it beautifully!  Here is a photo of her loading up the boat with all her gorgeous furnishings.

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Imagine how hard it must have been to crate all of those items over two docks, open sea, and yard space using just the wheel barrel you see here!

Leia and her team staged all day and into the evening but the outcome and sale of the home is what drives dedicated stagers like her.

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Since staging outdoor spaces has become much more critical to buyers, Leia makes sure no stone is unturned using what the client had and adding many more accessories to update the look.

View photos of Leia and her team’s staging of the property.

My second story entails a home that most people had given up on…

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Looking more like an Amityville Horror Movie, this home had been neglected and abused for years and unfortunately the inside was not much better…

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When RESA Stager of the Year, HSR Grad Brad Fletcher of the Home Staging Pros in Orlando, Fla. got a hold of this property … everything changed!

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The transformation is unbelievable, and it’s hard to envision this is the same house! Updated flooring, paint, fixtures, A LOT of clean up, and staging makes this a home that buyers will pay A LOT more for!

Professional home stagers make this kind of magic happen every day for their clients.  They are tireless, they are dedicated, and they are worth every penny.

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Buyers beware … not all home stagers are equal. Is Walmart equal to Restoration Hardware in quality and design? It’s not about getting the best price for your sellers; it’s about getting the best return on their investment. Brad and Leia are stagers who do just that.

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Slinkey ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Audra Slinkey is president of the Home Staging Resource, a RESA Accredited home staging training and certification company. Slinkey has personally trained over 3,000 stagers worldwide and is a bestselling author and international speaker. She also serves as president of the American Society of Home Stagers and RedesignersConnect with her on Facebook!


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The Iwaniw Team
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Hot Home Trend: Black Is Back

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Black is getting popular in home design. Black fixtures, appliances, and even black furniture are emerging as one of the hottest trends in the new year.

Black fixtures are replacing brass or rubbed bronze as a trendy home hardware in 2018.

Black makes a great finish because it goes with anything. In matted finishes, it can also be easier to clean than your lighter, polished metals–so that’s definitely an added perk for homeowners too.

Black cabinets in the kitchen are getting trendy too. To offset the darkness, some homeowners are mixing the black cabinets with lighter cabinets. Check out this one from Weston Lodge…

Black stainless appliances are also gradually gaining more momentum in the kitchen. Black stainless was once again being showed in the newest appliance models at CES 2018, the consumer electronics show this year. As  more smudge proof, black stainless is proving itself as a trendy alternative to traditional stainless.

Photo credit: Samsung

Photo credit: Samsung


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#CES2018: Tech Up Your Style

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

ces-logoThe mega consumer electronic showcase, CES, lands in Las Vegas this week. It may not be the place you typically go to for décor trends, but technology is having an undeniable influence in home design, like see-through refrigerators and smart lighting.

Consumers look to you for expertise too. Forty-two percent of Americans say they would look to their sales agent to provide suggestions about how staging their home with smart home products could impact the sale of their home, according to a newly released Coldwell Banker Real Estate survey of more than 3,000 Americans.

So what do we see that has potential this year to spice up some designs? Here are a few picks from CES 2018.

Accent Wall Light Show

 

Photo credit: Nanoleaf

Photo credit: Nanoleaf

Nanoleaf’s color-changing Aurora light panels would make for an attention-getting accent wall in small or big doses. Connect them in any configuration you like. They just stick to the walls. The panels change colors, and you can sync the lights to music and also with one of your AI’s, Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant. The panels are touch-sensitive so with a tap you can turn them on and off, dim them, or change the color.

Statement Refrigerators

Refrigerators just keep getting smarter. LG’s new InstaView ThinQ smart refrigerator features a 29-inch touchscreen that becomes transparent if you knock on it twice. You can also use the touchscreen to manage your food and get automatic reminders when items are running low.

Photo credit: LG

Photo credit: LG

Samsung has a similar model in appearance with its 2018 version of its Family Hub smart refrigerator. This year’s model offers support for Samsung’s Bixby voice assistant to handle voice commands. It can connect to other third-party devices for the smart home too. So you can actually view what’s happening outside your front door from your refrigerator door.

Photo credit: Samsung

Photo credit: Samsung

Notice both the Samsung and LG models are both featured in black stainless, which we still believe will be a growing competitor to traditional stainless steel.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall … 

Photo credit: Kohler

Photo credit: Kohler

Check out this smart mirror. Kohler is introducing a new Verdera Voice Lighted Mirror, which is a bathroom mirror that has Amazon’s Alexa built-in. It features a dual-microphone solution for accuracy in voice-control and speakers are housed in the casings. There is also a motion-activated wayfinding nightlight for safety, and LED lights for makeup application or other grooming needs. It can also communicate with other connected products in your Wi-Fi network.

Is that an AI in your ceiling? 

Photo credit: GE

Photo credit: GE

Talk with your ceiling lights. You’ll be able to with GE’s Smart Ceiling Fixture. It is a large disk that boasts a speaker in the middle. You can give it voice-driven tasks on anything, like adding an item to your grocery list or telling it to play music. You can also tell it to adjust the warmness or coolness of the lights. It responds to your commands. Flush mount or recessed can lighting options will be available.


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White Kitchen Fatigue?

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Are homeowners growing tired of the all-white kitchen? Some design experts believe so. White kitchens have been popular over the past few years, but Houzz editor and writer Mitchell Parker predicts that the number of homeowners who will get “white-kitchen fatigue” will grow in the new year.

Some homeowners may experiment with adding more colors back in to the kitchen.

“While white kitchens aren’t going anywhere, expect to see a rise in color, especially other neutrals like gray and blue,” Parker notes in reporting on 2018 home trends. “Plus, warm wood tones are becoming a popular replacement for painted cabinets, leading to sophisticated, rich palettes.”

The two-tone look started catching on in 2017, in which cabinet colors were mixed and matched in the kitchen. For example, the bottom cabinets might be a darker color, such as gray, and the upper cabinets then all in white. Or, homeowners were making a bigger statement with their kitchen islands by painting it a bolder color that contrasted with the rest of its kitchen cabinets.


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2018 Outdoor Living Trends: Jaw-Dropping Transformations

By Audra Slinkey, Home Staging Resource

Outdoor patio spaces have sure changed in the last few years with the onset of new outdoor materials, furnishings, fixtures, Cantina doors, and the home owner’s desire for more outdoor living and entertaining space.  In fact, according to the 2017 National Association of REALTORS’ Profile of Home Staging report, the desire to see outdoor spaces staged when selling a home was at 63 percent.  It was not even mentioned in the previous survey.

This outdoor space total transformation is a great example of the kinds of living trends you can expect to see for 2018 and beyond.

Trend #1 – Capitalizing on Available and Unusable Yard Space by Creating Multi-Functional Entertaining Areas

This side yard off the kitchen and dining area was an unusable space used only for barbecuing and the occasional outdoor eating. The patio was too small.  Today’s yards are multi-functional and serve to entertain, lounge, and maximize lot square footage.

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BEFORE / Photo credit: www.homestagingresource.com

 

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AFTER / www.homestagingresource.com

 

The side yard appears to be much bigger than before and now serves as an extension of the kitchen and living room area.  The wasted and unused yard is now a highlight of the home adding nearly 1,000 square feet of living space.

Trend #2 – Bring the Outside In with La Cantina/Folding Doors

BEFORE / www.homestagingresource.com

BEFORE / www.homestagingresource.com

 

AFTER / www.homestagingresource.com

AFTER / www.homestagingresource.com

 

 

Removing the kitchen wall and adding La Cantina folding doors allows for seamless movement between the inside and out.  Almost every new home being built in San Diego County has one of these doors inside, so expect to see a lot more of these in the coming years.

Trend #3– Home Bars and Wine Rooms for Entertaining

The casual setting of a home bar is on the rise with a large selection of finishing materials and resources available online to home owners.  More people are entertaining larger crowds in a “help yourself” type of atmosphere.  The Houzz category of “Home Bar” is one of the fastest growing and searched type of photos. So it’s no wonder people are adding them to their outdoor space.

BEFORE / www.homestagingresource.com

BEFORE / www.homestagingresource.com

 

AFTER / www.homestagingresource.com

AFTER / www.homestagingresource.com 

Trend #4 – Textured Walls/Tongue and Groove Siding

Part of making an outside addition appear to be seamless to the inside is to not have the walls look like the outside of a house.  An easy way to create the “indoor look” is to banish stucco entirely and use tongue and groove, as well as wood cabinets (treated and painted) to add character.

Photo credit: www.homestagingresource.com

Photo credit: www.homestagingresource.com

 

Trend #5 – Seamless Outdoor Heating that Works and is Energy Efficient

It wasn’t that long ago home owners were relegated to the indoors for most of the year due to cold and hot weather issues.  Sophisticated and low energy heating units embedded into the ceiling make this a year round space for watching TV and entertaining!

 

Photo credit: www.homestagingresource.com

Photo credit: www.homestagingresource.com

 

Trend #6 – Matching Flooring as an “Extension” of the Indoor Space

Keeping in line with the home owner’s desire for a seamless movement between inside and outside, flooring options have widened allowing owner’s to use tile that looks like wood but is hardy and easy to wash in their outside space.

BEFORE / www.homestagingresource.com

BEFORE / www.homestagingresource.com

 

AFTER / www.homestagingresource.com

AFTER / www.homestagingresource.com

 

From a resale standpoint, these outdoor spaces cost much less than additions and add buyer lifestyle value.  Light fixtures, finishes, and furnishings that can withstand the outdoor elements are easier to source than ever before, so it can be fun for the designer/stager to get creative with their clients.

Slinkey ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Audra Slinkey is president of the Home Staging Resource, a RESA Accredited home staging training and certification company. Slinkey has personally trained over 3,000 stagers worldwide and is a bestselling author and international speaker. She also serves as president of the American Society of Home Stagers and RedesignersConnect with her on Facebook!

 

 

 


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The Forecast: 2018 Trends in Staging

By Mary Purcell, MoneyGeek.com

Home staging has gone mainstream and is now widely used to make a home more attractive to potential buyers. According to a 2017 survey by the National Association of REALTORS®, a majority of real estate professionals believe staging increases the sale price of the home anywhere from 1 to 15 percent.

But even if it doesn’t increase the value, most agents agree that staging reduces the amount of time the home sits on the market, which is music to any seller’s ears.

Not all homes need a dramatic makeover, but most homes will benefit from at least a thorough cleaning and culling.

“Staging and preparation can include as little as some fresh paint, but in most cases we also landscape, replace dated light fixtures and hardware, and in many cases refinish hardwood floors, replace countertops, bathroom fixtures, etc.,” says Nicole Kennedy, a home staging expert in Piedmont, Calif.

 

Read on to learn what industry and design trends we can expect in 2018.

More real estate agents get on board

Lori Matzke, founder of HomeStagingExpert.com, provides home staging workshops around the country in addition to running her own staging business in Minnesota. She’s noticed an increased interest and involvement of real estate agents in the staging process.

“Back when I started staging (in 1999), agents were not interested; they didn’t want to have one more thing on their plate,” Matzke says. “My classes are now 90 to 95 percent agents. I think you’re going to see a lot more agents learning about staging and how to advise their clients, because more and more homeowners are demanding that.”

That doesn’t mean agents will be doing the staging themselves, but they will have an eye for what is needed, and will facilitate the interaction between the seller and the stager. “It really helps the homeowner to have an educated real estate agent,” says Matzke. If the agent has prepped the seller about what needs to be removed and cleaned out, it makes the stager’s job faster and cheaper.

Complete vs. partial staging

Staging can range from small efforts like decluttering to a complete move out and refurnishing. Complete staging of vacant homes is a growing trend, according to Matzke. Whether it’s new or model homes, or the seller has moved out, many stagers today only work with vacant homes.

In the booming Bay Area housing market, Kennedy says buyers are accustomed to short sales cycles, so having the home primed and ready is expected.

“Fewer than 10 percent of homes I stage are partial–where we keep some of the furniture and belongings, edit out and add in where needed,” notes Kennedy. “This can be challenging because the staging has to fit in with existing styles and pieces, but it can make more sense to sellers who are staying in the house through the sale.”

Matzke says the complete staging trend isn’t limited to hot real estate markets.

“It’s been trickling down into smaller markets, not just in the larger metropolitan areas,” she notes. The ubiquity of staging on HGTV shows has probably made the idea more palatable to sellers and agents across the county.

Embracing a personal touch

One of the golden rules of staging has long been to keep things neutral to appeal to the widest range of potential buyers. But stagers are increasingly adding a little more design, style, and color to the home.

“Staging is becoming a bit more personal and less stale than it has been in the past,” Kennedy says. “It used to be standard to remove all family photos and personal items from the house, but today’s buyers prefer to see a house with a little personality. They want to see a ‘real’ house that they can imagine themselves in and small, personal details that create an aspirational image can help reach buyers on an emotional level.”

Matzke agrees. “It’s becoming trendy for stagers to do a little mixing with vintage pieces to give it a designer look. I think it gives the place more depth and I’m seeing more chatter about it on blogs.”

Following the design trends

While most of the staging do’s and don’ts will remain the same in 2018, our experts expect some new design trends to emerge in many staged homes next year:

  • Color: After a few years in which just about every design magazine is covered in gray, Matzke has a bold prediction: Gray is dead. “People are embracing beige and creamy white again,” she says. “I think that’s good because not everybody’s furniture fits with gray.”

Stagers are also increasingly adding a pop of color or an upscale design element to appeal to design-conscious buyers.

“Adding a pop of color in a room through accessories or artwork is common,” says Matzke. “The two big colors I think you’ll see a lot of in 2018 are dark teal and millennial pink … especially if you’re marketing to first-time homebuyers or a younger crowd, you might want to add those colors.”

  • Floors: It used to be that preparing a home for sale meant replacing old, stained carpet with new carpet, but Matzke says that, too, is changing. “A lot of people are replacing carpeting with wood and faux wood flooring–at least on the main floor,” she adds.
  • Countertops: While quartz is the latest countertop trend among high-end homes for 2018, Matzke thinks most of America will stick with granite next year because of cost.  “Design magazines are pushing quartz, saying it’s going to be the hot trend for 2018,” Matzke says. “And for the really high-end homes they’re probably right, but for a majority of America, I think it’s still going to be granite.”
  • Glam: Although it sounds counter to the rule of keeping things neutral, HGTV and design magazines have popularized a bit of glam. “For a long time you’ve seen people adding a little bit of rustic, heavy metal designs, but now you’re seeing a lot more shiny metallics,” Matzke says. “Even gold–it adds a bit of bling to the house.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary Purcell is a freelance writer and health and finance researcher. She covers homebuying, savings and other personal finance-related topics for MoneyGeek.com


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White Emerges as ‘It’ Color for Holiday Staging

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

White has become a classy go-to color this holiday season, and it’s perfect when staging a home during the holidays. Whether it’s white table linens, holiday stockings, ornaments, or even an all-white tree, the neutral color can be a way to decorate a home for-sale during the holidays without distracting from the home’s overall decor. More traditional holiday hues—like red and green—can take on more prominence in a home. But white blends right in to any color scheme, and can still offer warmth and yuletide cheer for the holidays.

The white artificial Christmas tree is among one of the hottest holiday decorating trends this year. These trees can look elegant and be a perfect staging solution for the holidays, in which your owners still want a tree but you don’t want it to overpower or distract a space.

There is a decorating trick to these trees in staging, however. Unlike more traditional Christmas trees, white trees tend to pull from a more muted color scheme.

Here are a few other tips to decorating an all-white or white-frosted tree:
White LED lights: The base of all-white lights will help create a soft, warm glow on your tree. Red, blue, or multicolored lights on an all-white tree will really stand out so it may be best to avoid when staging.

Use white ornaments: White on white? You bet! The key here is to mix in different textures of ornaments to avoid too monochromatic of a look.

Avoid contrasting colors: Besides white, use more softer shades like creams and soft grays for the ornaments and garland. Contrasting colors, like red or blue, may be too harsh against the all-white base.

Add some shine: Mix in some sparkle with silver or gold ornaments or accent picks.

Channel a farmhouse look: The white tree can be perfect to complete a farmhouse look. Decorate the tree with a burlap ribbon in a zig-zag pattern all the way down the tree, and repeat all around. Add in a few white spray-painted pinecones and even some cotton accents.


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