Thursday, May 31, 2012

How Shopping Can Help Give You Ideas to Stage Your Home

You've heard of retail therapy but shopping can help you to stage your home better. And without spending any money.

What? Yes - it's all free. The ideas anyway. Department stores spend a lot of money to make their wares look good because they want you to spend some serious cash - and that's what you want from buyers...to open their wallets and buy your home.

Stores like Pottery Barn, Anthropology and Restoration Hardware are places where you can see how you can merchandize your dining room and get ideas on how to dress your bed and other places in your home, Take notes on how appealingly they style their spaces.

You may be tempted to spend a few bucks - but then you'll know that what they did worked!
Here are some images from some shopping trips I've done recently.


The above photo shows a bed that you would love to sink into.  The takeaway?  A white fluffy comforter, a pile of pillows and a tray with coffee or tea cups and napkins give you the impression that this is a great home to wake up in.



Bring the outdoors in:  This may seem like a well-worn phrase but florals in rustic vases add some needed texture to a plain home.  Add other outdoor items to your home with exterior lanterns, shells, sand and other seaside elements.

So take a trip to a nearby high-end department store.  They will always give you great ideas that you can copy inexpensively.
If you are having trouble selling your home, please give me a call at 631 793-1315. I can help you make it a buyer magnet. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Uninvited Stager Series

It's Saturday and it's time for more advice on what not to do when you are selling your home.

Don't Make Your Home Un-Bearable:  Sorry for the bad pun, but when you are marketing your home, you want online buyers to be intrigued enough to make an appointment to come see it.  You don't want them laughing at their laptops! This particular home had several rooms featuring bears!  So, put the stuffed animals away in boxes - and make your rooms look livable and lovable.


Ditch the Dorm Room Look:  This is in the same home as above.  The dog poster on the wall (held up with scotch tape), grandmas's chair in the corner, the particle board, cluttered desk and the cheap valance for the window don't do anything to entice a potential buyer. A nice, framed piece of artwork, simple sheer panels on the window, a neatened desk and a nicer chair - would do wonders for this room - easily and inexpensively.  PS - shut off the flash when taking photos.


 Open up Shower Curtains in Bathrooms:  This is a very nice bath...but it would have looked better had the owner or realtor ironed the shower curtain.  Pulling the curtain back to the right side with a tassel or a hook and decorative roping would have been even nicer. It would help to make the room look larger.


 Don't Emphasize Hard-to-Decorate Windows:  In this lovely bathroom, it's very obvious that the owners didn't know what to do with this window.  If the owners don't know what to do...the buyers won't know either. This window should have been decorated with a simple blind in the same shade as the wall - so that it would blend in.





Don't Over-Emphasize an Empty Room:  The guitar in the corner just points to the fact that this room really has no function and no furniture.  The owners could have easily put in a air mattress with bedding, a pillow and some artwork - and it would look more welcoming.  Empty rooms connote some possible buyer distress, which could possibly mean a lower offer.



Don't Over-Emphasize an Almost Empty Room with no Function:  We all have those rooms or areas of our homes that seem to collect the stuff we don't know what to do with.  But, when you are selling your home you need to address this and eliminate it.  You are selling a dream, an ideal way of life in your home.  Buyers don't want to see another home like theirs...they are searching for home buying Nirvana - even if it's a lie. Give each room a function - make it a home office or a guest room.

High ceilings are wonderful, if you know how to decorate them:  This room is lovely, but the dark color on the wall only serves to make the room seem a bit squat.  It's too much contrast. I would have lightened the wall color - perhaps using Shaker Beige (HC-45) from Benjamin Moore and then possibly adding some white to the mix and painting the ceiling a lighter version of the color. It would make the room seem larger and less angular (with those short side walls).



 Avoid Too Much Personalization, Themes and Collections:  I just had to include this picture from my realtor friend and fellow blogger, Leif Swanson of Ugly House Photos. He always has some great images of what not to do when selling your home - culled from homes across the country that are for sale. The photo below is something that a homeowner's son may be in love with...but to a buyer it just represents clutter and they cannot see "the room."  Leif calls this "Clutter Blindness" on the part of the seller.  So, get your personalized collections and memorabilia off your walls and shelves and show the buyer the room...not the stuff.

The Spring selling season is in full swing right now...buyers are out there looking for great homes to buy.  Don't blow your chances of selling quickly by being guilty of some of the above faux pas.  Clean up, clear out...and get on with your life and sell your home now.

Call me at 631 793-1315 or email me at Linda.Leyble@gmail.com of you would like some help in getting your home ready and beautiful so that it can be sold quickly.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Some Inexpensive Ideas for Artwork When You are Selling Your Home


I am always looking for inexpensive ideas for home staging - especially for artwork.  I've stencilled canvases, used hats as artwork - you name it...I've done it to improve the look of a home that I'm staging.  I'm thinking of creating a weekly column on this blog dedicated to creating artwork for home staging (and, of course, for home re-design).  Let me know if you think this is a great idea - should I make it a column?  Let me know!

First up...Using Vinyl Appliques for Artwork. You can order all kinds of these vinyl designs via Etsy, Blik and many other sources.  But - look around in HomeGoods, Target and Marshalls because they sometimes have them - deeply discounted. 


For the room above that I staged in Muttontown NY (a $3.5 Million home that sold in 3 1/2 weeks), I found a chandelier vinyl applique in Target for $10.  In the same store, I found the silhouette plates, which were $3.99 a piece. So, for very little money, I had a nice little vignette in this girl's room.



In the same home, I staged another bedroom that had a French theme.  At the same Target, I found the Eiffel Tower applique for $12.  It was a pretty large applique.  I had 3 discounted canvases that I had had in my studio forever...so I painted and antiqued them.  Then I applied the applique.  I added the wording (I should of painted it - but I ordered the script from a printer - cost me $15).  So, for those times when I have to fill a large blank wall - this is a great piece that potential buyers always remember.

And finally, here's an idea that anyone can do...inexpensively and quickly - framing a free fine art photograph.




Here's a resource that I love - I found it on Carolyn Miller's House Tour on Apartment Therapy Everyone would love to have a lot of money to spend on art and fine art photography, but if you don't have the money...don't despair.  What Carolyn did was to download free photographs from the Farm Security Administration's site. She then would print them on German Etching paper, which is acid free.  You can locate it in lots of places on the web - I found it on Dick Blick's.  Then she would frame them very simply.



This repository of photos was created during World War II.  The FSA hired many photographers to go out and document what was going on in various cities and towns around the country at the time.  Among some of the photographers were people who became very famous later in life, like Dorothea Lange. Carolyn used mostly photos from Dorothea and Walker Evans.

I always advise sellers that they should remove their family photos when selling their home.  These types of photographs are different than family ones.  There are truly pieces of art, rather than mundane family snapshots. They are historical, creatively done - and since they are in black and white or sepia they have a wonderful graphic quality to them.

I found some incredible photos...I 'd like to share some of them.

Photo by Dorothea Lange

Threshing, by Dorothea Lange

An Eagle in CA by Dorothea Lange


I love her farm pictures of threshing, the corn fields and of the farm workers. Putting some of these working photos can look great in a home office too - it can remind you how lucky you are that you don't have to do that kind of heavy work in order to make a living.

But, you can also find some pictures of famous people as well in this collection.  Look at some that I found.


Jose Ferrar playing softball in Central Park



  Paul Robeson as Othello and Uta Hagen as Desdimona



Jose Ferrar and Paul Robeson in Central Park


So, take advantage of this free resource.  You'll have to do some searching, but you'll get some wonderful images that will look great in your home. People will think you spent a lot of money on these photographs...and they may think that you knew some of these famous people!!


Happy Staging!  I hope you enjoyed these two ideas for some inexpensive artwork. Let me know if I can be of any assistance to you, as you begin your home selling (or home re-designing) process. I can be reached at 631 793-1315


I am sharing these great ideas here:


Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Uninvited Stager Series

I found some interesting homes for sale this morning that will illustrate some common problems that sellers have when showing their homes for sale.  Very easy to fix...don't know why they still persist!  Always consult a home stager in your area when starting to market your home.  They will give you an unbiased opinion of your home because they don't have to tell you nice things that a potential realtor might say...because they are not making money from your listing!

Clutter: So easy to remedy this.  It would take me about a half hour to fix this room.



De-Clutter and Paint:  It would take 15 minutes to de-clutter this dining room and about a day to re-paint with a neutral color that will appeal to more buyers and will make the room look more spacious, light and airy. I would probably have chosen Carrington Beige (HC-93) from Benjamin Moore for this dining room.  It would help update it and make it a brighter room.  Here's a link to more suggestions from Benjamin Moore on great colors for home staging.



Cluttered and Too much Furniture in the Room:  This is a very spacious room but it looks smaller because of all the stuff in it.  There's no appeal at all in this photo. No care was taken to make this room warm and welcoming.  It says - "This is how we live...take it or leave it!"




Clutter, Clutter and more Clutter: This is a nice kitchen but you don't notice it...you notice "the stuff."


Below is a Competing Home's Kitchen:  Which would you prefer??


However...Once you looked around a bit in the above home, you'd find this...



So...this takes a few points off the house in terms of buyer magnetism. Always remove items that are just a bit too personal.  Deer heads are a big "No-No."


And along this line are decorating no-no's such as this: A different kind of clutter...


Below - I edited the amount of blue and white dishes (not perfectly!) but I think you can see that this would give you an impression that the kitchen is much larger and less cluttered!


These rooms (as seen on the online listing) feature just a little bit too much "blue and white."  Maybe some people will disagree with me (Do You?), but this type of decor in a house might put some people off.  It's a bit too cluttered - not like the kitchen clutter in the first grouping, but cluttered all the same.  This is decorative and very personalized clutter that will prevent the buyer from seeing the actual room.  They will only remember the blue and white items and NOT how clean and spacious the rooms were.







And...you should know that blue is one of those colors that people either love or hate.  So, you may be putting off half of the people who come to look (online or in person).  Try to tame your use of this color - or other very personalized color schemes. Also - this blue and white home might be saying to the buyers "Grandma lives here." That can be a nice, homey thing to some - but younger buyers (and even empty nesters) are looking for more modern decor in homes.

To recap...make sure that you clear your rooms of clutter (the ugly kind of day-to-day stuff and the decorative kind)...re-paint your rooms in lighter, neutral colors to make them brighter and more spacious.  And - reduce the use of very personalized colors and decorating schemes and...get rid of your deer heads!!

If you are having some difficulty selling you home and if you don't know if your home has any of the above issues, Contact Me, Linda

Happy Selling!!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Some Easy DIY Headboards to Make For Bedrooms

The kitchen and bathrooms are really important when you are selling your home...but I feel that bedrooms also deserve to be updated and beautiful if you want to capture the heart of a buyer.  So, here are some ideas that will easily and inexpensively help you with the wow factor in the boudoir - and, the best thing, you get to take these beauties with you when the house sells.

Paint:  It's the cheapest update of all!  So if you have a nice headboard - but it's dinged up and dark and seen better days, whip out your paint brush.  There are a host of primer in the paint type products out there now that make it so easy for you to re-do your headboard.  Try one of the latest crazes - Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. This paint, which comes in lots of neutral shades and other colors, does not need any priming.  You just clean your headboard - and paint.  A coat of wax over it will protect it. You can find distributors of this paint Here




Two Headboards...Two Different Ways:  If you are lucky enough to have a headboard with two inset panels, as below, you can remove those panels and insert 1) with foam core covered with batting and fabric or 2) bamboo placemats or blinds.




Less is More and More is More: Below you'll see two more ways to adorn the same headboard.  1) You can do it simply by adding some crown molding to the top, then adding one central onlay (many can be found online as well as Home Depot and Lowe's) and then paint your headboard all one color. 2) The image below that shows a more elaborate way of adorning the simple headboard. If you add finials, more elaborate moldings and corners and other motifs plus two picture frame moldings and two larger onlays - you will have a headboard fit for a queen. Paint it - then dry brush with a light color (white or cream) to show off the extra embellishments.




Feedsack Plus Architectural Salvage:  If you pair up two of the hottest DIY trends today, you can make this beautiful headboard.  All you need is enough feedsack fabric to fit the right size plywood for your bed (feedsacks can be found on Etsy and EBay)  or you can make a simple one yourself by using a linen or linen look fabric, then adding the stripe using fabric paint. Just use batting first over the plywood, stretch the fabric over that and secure to the back with heavy duty staples.  Then add the crowning touch - architectural salvage. These pieces can be found on Ebay as well.  You can opt to put it on as is - or paint it (as below).



Metal scrolled artwork: Have you ever perused the aisles of HomeGoods, Target, or TJ Maxx and laughed at some of the bright, brassy scrolled artwork in the clearance section?  Well - pick up a few pieces and then take them home and spray prime them, then spray paint them!  You'll have a very unusal, yet unique headboard for a guest room in your home.




Poster Frames and Fabric: Another easy headboard idea is this one that uses two poster frames, foam core boards, batting and fabric. Just paint the poster boards a coordinating color - and you're done.



Fabric and Ribbons: Do you have a headboard that you don't like but you don't want to paint it to update it?  Use fabric and ribbons instead.  Just make sure you get fabric that fits the entire length and width of the headboard (you can even use Stitch Witchery or fabric glue to make the headboard slipcover).  Then stitch ribbons for closure.


Stencil It:  If you have a plain fabric headboard, pick out a stencil design like this damask one and use fabric paint to embellish. You can also upholster a plain headboard with fabric that you stencil. If you have a flat headboard like this one below - you can paint it and embellish with stencils as well.  A wonderful stencil company to try is Royal Design Studio - where you will find a fantastic array of designs to choose from.





So - there are a few ideas for you.  Make sure your bedrooms look like beautiful and wonderful spots to rest, relax and read in.  Remember, you want to create an emotional tug on the buyer's heart.  Don't forget to make the bedroom a special place.

If you need some help with creating a beautiful bedroom...or would like more help with making any one of these headboards...give me a call at 631 793-1315.  Happy staging!

Images credits: bhg.com


Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Uninvited Stager Series


Happy Easter and Passover to everyone!

Taming Odd Architectural Details in Your Home
It'll be a quiet weekend in the real estate market.  But, for those of you with homes for sale, perhaps you can take some tips and suggestions from this post to improve your listing.  This week I found some photos of homes for sale that could use some help...and not even much help to improve their online appearance.  I'd like to focus on how to tackle corner fireplaces and other odd details in your home that may put off a potential buyer.

Corner Fireplaces: When you have an odd architectural detail, like a corner fireplace, you should try to have some furniture in the room.  It's best if the room is staged professionally, but you need to show the buyer where to place furniture.  Most people looking at this room will be baffled as to how to use the room and furnish it. This room would look great with a TV over the fireplace, some tall vases on the ledge above it...plus a sectional in front of the fireplace and perhaps a game table and two chairs and some artwork on the wall on the left and maybe a tall bookcase on the right side of the room - with a chair and small side table in front of it.




Corner Fireplace and Odd Window in the Corner: This room below would look so much better furnished.  It's a dual purpose room - living and dining area.  At first glance you may not notice that. Some carpeting and an angled sofa with a sofa table in front of it - plus a TV or a colorful piece of art over the fireplace - would start to warm up the space and show how it functions.  For the odd window - I would add sheer window treatments to all the windows - then to the left of the odd corner window, I would place an off white bookcase - with a height that is similar to the window - it would give the room balance.  Then I would add a round table and chairs in the dining area and some bar stools for seating at the counter. You need to give a prospective buyer a picture of how to live in a house.  Most people do not have the vision to do this.
A Corner Fireplace and a Glass Sliding Door: Below you'll find a very difficult room situation.  Having both of these elements in a room make it difficult to design a functional room.  But when you are selling your home (or marketing it for someone), you need to turn an obstacle into an opportunity.  I would place the TV over the fireplace and I would have the sofa angled directly across from the fireplace and I might switch the chair to the other side (where the TV is - but angled so that you could see the TV).  Perhaps I would add a small chair and table where the large chair is - just for a little reading spot. I would place a sofa table behind the sofa. I'd angle the carpet the other way...and place it in front of the sofa (it makes no sense the way these owners have it) and then add a coffe table. On the right wall (where the fish is - and I'd take the fish off the wall!), I might place a small desk. I would also remove the tacky palm tree.


So - before you market your home, make sure that you show a buyer how to live in your home.  This is especially true if you have odd architectural features.  Remember, most buyers do not have the vision to see what a room can become and that's especially true when it's vacant and when there are some problematic features like corner fireplaces and oddly placed windows.

If you need some help arranging your funriture in a room or if you'd like to learn more about renting furniture from my company, please give me a call at 631 793-1315.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

For Spring and Summer, Remember to Stage Your Outdoor Spaces

When I was selling my first house in Kirkland WA, I made it a point to beautify my yard.  In my backyard, I always had a hard time keeping a fairly large part of my lawn looking green and beautiful.  That would not look good for selling - so I decided to create a small patio.  Yes, it took time and effort.  But within a week I had a gorgeous looking "outdoor room" that I know helped sell my home in 1 day.  It didn't cost very much - I bought pavers on sale, some sand and pea gravel and some extra plants (also on sale!). I loved this space...and, of course, so did the buyer.  I am so glad I took the time to do this.  Maybe my family wasn't so happy with me because they were the unwilling helpers - but when I had a quick and successful sale, they all admitted it was worth it!

Create a Unique Space Where a Buyer Can Envision Entertaining Friends and Family



Add height and lushness by placing plants in urns and tall planters.  When we worked on Designer Showhouses, the landscape companies that we worked with were able to create beautiful, mature-looking gardens very quickly by doing this.  It also creates more of an estate look and a private space in your garden - both are selling points.


Create a Unique Space:  Using a hammock between two trees can give your yard a memorable moment. Buyers will have this in their mind long after they leave the Open House. Don't have two trees?  How about adding a swing?


Beautiful Porches Can Sell a Home:  Do you have a covered porch in the front or back of your home?  More times than not, these porches are catch-alls for stuff sellers don't know what to do with!  Don't fall into this trap - make your porch is a beautiful spot to entertain in ... and to rest, relax and read a book in.


We can help you make your outdoor spaces beautiful and memorable.  Now that the warmer weather is here, make sure that these spaces look welcoming and warm.  Don't have the furnishings and accessories?  No problem - we do and they are available at reasonable rates.  Don't have a green thumb?  No problem - we do.  Call us at 631 793-1315.
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