Home Staging 101: Resources, Tips, & Tricks

To anyone getting ready to sell their home, the idea of staging can be an intimidating thought that conjures ideas about feng shui or concepts of interior design. But this need not be a complicated task, and when done correctly staging the home can help give it a much-needed advantage in a difficult marketplace.

The idea of staging is to clean and arrange the home in a way that makes it most attractive to buyers. While there are countless websites or books that can help with this topic, at its heart it is simple—turning the home into a blank slate of sorts, a place potential buyers can imagine their own details. The first step is to take a thorough examination of the home, looking in every room and try to see it as a buyer would. If it helps, bring in a friend or family member to give you a fresh perspective, someone who wouldn’t be afraid to make difficult suggestions to you.

Home Staging ChicagoWhen it comes time to start the staging, address the basics first. The house needs to be clean and free of clutter. Potential buyers want to be able to imagine themselves living in the home, but if all they see are the dirty dishes in the sink and piles of laundry, they might not even finish the visit. Eliminating the mess also makes the house seem larger, more open.

Once you have cleaned, it is time to get rid of all the clutter as well. For those who have lived in a home for a long time, this can mean addressing years or even decades of accumulated things that are no longer used and this alone can be stressful. So keep it simple and don’t try to get rid of everything at once. Take a room-by-room look at clothing or boxes, and use the general rule that de-clutter experts suggest—if you haven’t used it or worn it in the past year, get rid of it. Separate things into piles for the garbage, for donation and the last for a garage sale. Don’t think you can just throw everything into a box and shove it in a closet, because potential buyers will want to see what kind of storage space your house has as well. If you have a spare room or other space that is being used as a storage space for all this clutter, move it out and give the room a new purpose like a sitting room or library for your extra books. If it helps keep you motivated, think of the move ahead and how much easier it would be without having to move all the junk you don’t use anyway.

Now that it’s time to stage the house, keep in mind that you want it as a blank slate for the buyer to fill in with details. Remove bulk furniture, big pictures and the other things that might be taking up space. If you have unused space, try to fill it creatively with plants or bookshelves—if you can use something from another, more cluttered room, that’s an even bigger bonus. Some people think that placing all the furniture against the wall will showcase the size of a room, but staging experts say that placing them together in small groupings makes the space seem friendlier to users. Finally, be sure everything is clean, freshly vacuumed and neatly arranged.

Try to keep the rooms simple as well. If your choices of paint color are too bold or personalized, change to a neutral paint. Take a careful look at lighting as well, replacing light bulbs with tints that seem most attractive or adding new blinds that let in more natural light.

Megan Gates is an active blogger who provides written work to the blogosphere pertaining to Nassau Rental Properties, Hamptons Real Estate, home improvement and the latest architecture, design and fashion. Follow her on twitter @MEGatesDesign.

“Man Cave” Interior Design

The term “Man Cave” has chiseled its way into home design over the past decade with a vengeance, although the idea has always been a part of the traditional American home. Dad’s room, the study, the den, or in some cases, the garage have all been in essence a man cave. It is simply someplace for men to get away from the wears of the world, providing the same relaxing experience others might find in a trip to a day spa. So what makes a man cave a man cave?

It is important to keep in mind the best Man Cave designs are extensions of the men for who they are designed. Here are a few “must haves” when it comes to designing the perfect Man Cave.

John Belushi Man Cave1. John Belushi
Love him or hate him, nothing beats framing the classic black and white photo of John Belushi in “Animal House” wearing his “College” sweatshirt in all of its glory. Putting it in a fancy frame lets people know, “I’m much more mature, but still appreciate the simple things in life like a good toga party and thinking the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor”

2. A Bar
Bars are getting expensive and drinking and driving is not worth the risk, so instead of having the man go to the bar, bring the bar to the man. Whether it is just a quick cocktail after work to put the day behind him, or setting up rounds for his friends when the big game is on, having access to his own bar will ensure the Man Cave is well on its way to Man Cave glory.

 

Bar in Man Cave3. Patio Access
Many times this gets overlooked, but for those men who enjoy a good cigar or a pipe to unwind, being able to transition from their Man Cave to their Man Patio makes any Man Cave that much cooler. In addition, wives will appreciate keeping the smoke outside the home instead of it wafting throughout the house.

 

 

Interior Design Man Cave4. “Turn it up…”
If Lynyrd Skynyrd sang it, there has to be some validity to it. Bring a home stereo into the Man Cave that can provide the ease of the Rat Pack to relax a man over a glass of bourbon, as well as crank up some old school Guns ‘N’ Roses when the need to rock out hits. Having a solid system to crank tunes definitely elevates a Man Cave’s status.

5. Make it Your Own
Whatever else trips the man’s trigger, make sure it is in there. Plaster the place with his favorite sports team memorabilia, pictures of his heroes or favorite games. Remember, even Superman and Batman have their own Man Caves, and whereas re-making the Fortress of Solitude might prove a bit costly, building his own version of it does not have to be.

                                                                                         Good Luck!

Megan Gates is an active blogger who provides written work to the blogosphere pertaining to New York Luxury Real Estate, Long Island and Nassau Rentals, home improvement and the latest architecture, design and fashion. Follow her on twitter @MEGatesDesign.

What I am loving today…

I am doing a little research for a project, and so often I use bronze or pewter metallic paint in my designs. Today I am inspired by PLATINUM!! I am LOVING it!!! Check out this wall finish below, how sexy is this bathroom?

Platinum metallic wall finish

This finish was created by:
www.arteriorsfaux.com

Chicago Bathroom Remodel Progress Photos… post #4

As I said in my last blog, I wanted to post some progress pictures from the bathroom remodel that is going on in Elmhurst (a Chicago suburb). I’ll keep this short since I just blogged yesterday.

View looking towards the master closet wall

View looking towards the master closet door

Tile shower- grouting in process (linen closet doors to the right)

Tile shower- grouting in process

Vanity wall- framed out for medicine cabinets

After the second coat of paint is complete and the shower is grouted, the vanity will be set. After the vanity is set the plumber will come back to install the fixtures and the electrician will be back to hang the lighting fixtures. This is one of my favorite stages of a project, things will come together very fast this week! My site visit today reminded me of why I love what I do. It is so great to see the vision that I have had of this space for weeks now, turning into a reality. Keep posted for the final after pics.

Chicago Apartment Design Tips

So many of us find ourselves in the same decorating boat – a home filled with a few family heirlooms, flea market or tag sale finds, and maybe even one or two treasures from a successful dumpster dive. You love them all, but how do you combine high and low design pieces to create a unified and polished look for your home?

First says Marjorie Marcellus, an interior design instructor at The Art Institute of California – San Francisco, forget about the cost of a piece. “A successful interior is not determined by the cost of its components. For a space to work, it needs to have balance and harmony,” says Marcellus. Finishes and home furnishings, even kitchen rugs should relate to each other as part of an overall design scheme, but “that doesn’t mean they have to match, be of the same era, same price or quality,” she explains.

For example, says Marcellus, “I placed an expensive slab of marble onto a salvage-yard industrial black metal stand and then added four black bargain stools from Pottery Barn.” The similar finishes of the materials made it work. The result? “A custom kitchen table for my client’s urban loft. Topped with a delicate antique vase, fresh wild flowers and colorful cloth napkins from IKEA, the outcome was unexpected and delightful,” says Marcellus.

Suzanne Wilkins, an interior design instructor at The Art Institute of New York City, is another proponent of mixing both high and low design elements. A basic rule of thumb, says Wilkins, is to avoid having a less expensive item next to a more expensive similar item.

“Too many similarities invite comparison, and may make the less expensive things look cheap,” she says. Instead, pair precious things with inexpensive finds by following two rules of thumb: keep it simple and clean lined, or keep it funky. According to Wilkins, simple clean lines naturally look expensive, and we associate clean lines with a more modern and expensive look.

On the other hand, she says, funky items can often stand alone and speak for themselves. But use them sparingly. For example, a nice grouping of African masks can add a lot of texture and color and can be found inexpensively in flea markets. To make it work, don’t use more than three or four or in more than one location, says Wilkins.

Dan Noyes, chairman of the Interior Design department at The Art Institutes International, Minnesota, loves to combine modern pieces with weathered antiques, “to create a wonderful gypsy chic look.” Whether high end or low end, an antique’s patina and unique character flaws can set it apart from a great, modern piece of furniture, he says.

Furniture pieces themselves can combine the best of both high and low end design features says John Gambell, chairman of the Interior Design department of The Art Institute of New England. For a stylish-looking dining or end table, Gambell suggests taking a simple and inexpensive parsons-styled table (Ikea is a good source) and add a made-to-order stone top of either slate or marble. ” A small ‘reveal’ between the base and the top wood appear to make the top float,” says Gambell.

A few final words of wisdom about mixing high and low end design from the experts: When shopping at stores like Crate and Barrel or Pottery Barn, pick a few pieces from each instead of outfitting an entire room with one look. “Mix it up,” says Wilkins. And remember, be patient and shop around. What makes a room look rich and expensive, no matter what the budget, is time.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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