Going from Drab to Fab with Personal Stylist Rayne Parvis // The Home Staging Show Podcast Season 2 Episode 4


Going From Drab To Fab With Personal Stylist Rayne Parvis // The Home Staging Show S2 Ep 4

Hi guys! Today on the show I interviewed personal stylist and author Rayne Parvis. I always think of styling principles as very interchangeable. How you dress is very much how you would styling your own home. I am very excited to get Rayne on the show today. She is very personable, great energy and knows her stuff. I hope you had gotten some great styling tips from today's show and be sure to check out Rayne's amazing website and get her weekly Rayne checks.




Rayne Parvis is the founder of Style by Rayne, style expert on WHK 1420 AM Cleveland, Oh. The Avenue, KXKz BigZ 107.5 fm West Monroe, La.’s Mountain Man Radio, KCLA 99.3 Los Angeles, Ca.’s The Dating Advice Girl and Toledo, Oh.’s Andrew Z in The Morning radio show, author of Ultimate Guide to Style: From Drab to Fab! and the go-to stylist for top match making agencies; Elite Connections, Los Angeles Singles and Catch Matchmaking.

She began in fashion as a fit model for clothing manufactures like Tommy Bahama, Felina, Sunsets Inc., Anne Cole and Frederick’s of Hollywood. During her fit-model career, she acquired a B.A. in Cinema Arts & Television Production from Cal State University Northridge. Then, because she loves to make people laugh, Rayne spent a 2006-2009 as a stand-up comedian--packing seats and successfully entertaining at The Improv, The Comedy Store and Ha Ha’s Comedy Club. She wore fishnets, 4 inch heels, a blonde wig and bright, fluffy dresses. In 2010 she won a raffle for a business consultation and turned her hobby of making people over into a profession.

In 2014 she assisted a celebrity wardrobe stylist for the TV show Top Chef and Arbonne’s (make-up, skin care and supplement company) Got Talent in Las Vegas, Nevada. They were responsible for the wardrobe of over fifty contestants for their live performance at the MGM. She also worked as a personal shopper in Macy’s Sherman Oaks and is frequently hired by matchmakers to make-over their frumpy clients. From established corporations to the single who is ready to mingle, she can do it all.


Don't Get Screwed, Here is How to Vet and Hire the Right Home Stager // The Home Staging Show S2 Ep 3

On today's episode, I talked about some recent issues I've observed from a lot of new home stagers entering the market without proper business training, and what are some of the right questions homeowners and real estate agents can ask to make sure they are hiring someone who is a professional home stager that will be ethical and do a great job to help them sell the property.

How to Avoid Hiring Unqualified Home Stagers  // The Home Staging Show


Got Q's or Comments? Leave a Comment Below or Talk About It In Our Private Facebook Group.


Hey guys! Welcome back! 

EcoJoe Saint Joseph Statue Home Selling Kit

Today's episode is sponsored by EcoJoe, the eco-friendly St Joseph statue home selling kit. In real estate, there is a tradition to pray and bury Saint Joseph statue in your yard for good luck in selling your home. And we had designed and made an eco-friendly one that is made with 100% clay. You can find our EcoJoe products in our shop at www.staged4more.com or www.ecojoekits.com.

If you are a home stager or a home design professional listening to this show, don't forget, the registration for our November Napa Valley retreat is closing. You can find more information on our website as well. 

On today's show, this is a bit of a sensitive topic, especially it has to do with a lot of new home stagers entering into the industry, but I feel like it is something that needs to be said and addressed, especially for those of you who are homeowners and listening to our show. I feel very passionate and strongly about the industry moving forward in a positive direction. I also don’t want to discourage any new stagers who are listening to this show, because we all have to get started somewhere, but some of the ways people are going about it can actually be detrimental to our industry.

I think it's a problem when new stagers coming in the industry and have zero training. They don’t necessary have to get home staging trainings like Accredited Staging Professionals or Certified Staging Professionals, or whatever alphabet soup they can get behind their names. But not having a business sense and a strong sense of ethics and business practice, it is a problem. It is not only a problem for other stagers working in their areas, it can be a huge one for the consumers.

I have been in the business for close to a decade and I have seen a lot of stagers come and go. I have seen people price themselves out of the business by undercutting in pricing and offer poor quality staging, because they were eager to get the projects and the only way they could was undercutting other professional stagers. It is a very unhealthy business practice. I have also seen other professionals like cleaners offering staging services for $200 for an entire 3-bedroom house. And the home sellers think they are getting a great deal, instead, they get a few fake plants on the countertop for $200. Unfortunately a lot of times, home sellers don’t know what they are exactly paying for, so they just thought, oh okay, I’m paying for staging here. As long as it is staged then it’s fine, so the quality of the staging is judged by pricing instead of the portfolio. It is actually a huge disservice for the homeowners.

I get emails all the time from people who are getting into the industry and asking for advice. Which is fine, I’m all about paying it forward and trying to help a new stager as much as I can, because I was once new in the industry. But I am getting a lot of inquiries from people who are looking to enter into the industry without learning how to run a business or how to stage homes properly, and just want a shortcut and free information without investing in their business. And sometimes these encounters feel like hit and run, because I’d spend time that I could be doing work or hanging out with my family on answering these emails, and people don’t even say thank you. So I do get a little worried for these clients that they would be working with. This is something I’ve personally experienced, and some of them have been a bit unpleasant. I am also not alone in it, since I talk to stagers around the country regularly and other senior stagers have also experienced this. 

I have also encountered home sellers who have been burned with unethical stagers, which turned the homeowners against the idea of staging. And that’s heartbreaking to see, because they really needed to stage their house. But because they had an bad experience working with a stager, they feel that it is something they don’t ever want to do again.

So on today’s show, I’m going to talk about how to vet a home stager, and questions to ask to make sure you hire someone who is legit and will do a great job for you.

So how do you find a home stager?

You can ask your real estate agent, who may have someone they work with regularly, or someone they found online or by asking around in their office. You can find them yourself, usually by Googling or checking Yelp or social networks like Houzz. Before you meet them, you can usually get a good gauge of their style and the way they conduct their business on their websites. You can also check out their portfolio to get a sense of what type of homes they usually work with, what kind of staging that they do. It is important that you hire a stager that will be able to deliver the lifestyle your target buyers want to buy into. Staging is about creating a lifestyle that buyers want, not necessary what you personally like.

You may also know someone in your social circle who does staging here and there and will do it cheap for you. I hear that a lot actually. I still remember once I was depositing a check, the bank teller told me, “oh yeah, I occasionally stage people’s houses for fun.” You want to keep in mind that you need someone who is really going to accentuate the positive of your house and someone whose work will really help you sell. Don’t leave money on the table just because you wanted to save a few bucks. So choose the most qualified person for the job that you think will be able to target your home buyers. The ideal stager for you will be someone who is experienced, knows your market, can answer all your questions, addresses your concerns and acts in an ethical manner.

So here are a few questions for you to vet potential home stagers:

1) How many projects have you worked on? Are those projects done by you as a lead or while you are assisting a stager?

This is a bit of gray area here. I know some stagers let their assistants use the work they assisted on as their work, but some are not. I used to let assistants use my photos as part of their portfolio for them to get styling work, but I no longer do because there are a lot of gray areas there. First, someone who see those photos, without explanations, they will assume that the whole thing is done by the assistant. It can be very misleading for the consumers. My assistants, when they are on site, they clean, steam the bedspreads and make beds. They don’t really participate in any styling decision. So for them to use the photos as part of their portfolio like they have styled it, it can be misleading for their potential new clients. Second, I’ve been burnt by unethical assistants, so I stopped letting my assistants use any of the photos that they have assisted on.

I had an assistant who worked for me for 5 months. I had to let her go because she worked for a client of mine behind my back and then got really drunk at a client’s party where the client had to call for a ride for her. And then 6 months later when I went on her website, I saw my own portfolio photos with watermark cropped off on her website and the descriptions of her involvement was she was a stylist on the job, which was a very eye-opening experience. And on her LinkedIn profile, she gave herself a raised and said she was a stylist and home stager while working at our company.

For anyone who have been on project sites, they can easily talk a good game and tell you what they did and why they did it, even when they are assisting someone.

So you want to ask specific questions to try to see if their stories match up. Or if something strikes you as kind of odd, like when you look at their portfolio photos online and they are all in weird shapes, not the regular 4x6, chances are they had copied and pasted someone else’s work and claimed as their own. Unfortunately this happened more often than we would like to see. I have also had this happened where a new stager who had gone through one of a major home staging training school, who copied my entire website’s color scheme, my business name and my tagline word for word. So sometimes by just looking at their websites and portfolio is not enough.

2) You want to ask questions about their business practice, like how do they charge, what kind of pricing package they offer, how do they bill, etc.

My staging company is very transparent about it. I put it all on our website. There is no reason not to be transparent about the business practice. I even put what company processes our credit card payments on our website. Once someone has been in the business for awhile, they should know their numbers very well. It is their livelihood. They may not be able to give you a specific number right on the spot, like me, I can’t do math on the spot anymore. But they should be able to tell you roughly a ballpark for pricing or how long it will take to stage your property, etc. 

3) What neighborhood do you primarily work in? Have you done a project like my house before? Can I see sample photos?

I am a firm believer of niche selling, especially in real estate. I have never met a top producer who does everything under the sun. They always specialize in something, usually a neighborhood or a price point like the luxury market. Once they have developed teams, then they will take on a wide range of projects because they can delegate to other team members who specialize in that niche. I am the stager who specialize in staging houses that are starter home, under 2,400 square feet. While I can do big projects like 5,000 square feet one, it will be more expensive for me to take on those projects because I need more lead time to get the right inventory for you since I personally don’t stock bigger furnishings. 

4) What is included in your pricing package? Can you tell me a little bit more about the way you stage houses?

I believe that as a business owner, when a potential new client questions your business practice and how you price your packages, you should be able to stand behind your pricing decision and prove that you are not making numbers up in your head and slap it on a proposal. I had actually blogged about this on my home staging blog. Generally it takes about 75 hours per project for an average 2-3 bedroom house in San Francisco bay area, give or take 5-10 hours. So if the client comes back from the proposal wanting to shave off the price, I can come back and tell them either we can change some of the planned pieces, downgrade, or we can’t do it at all. It is the same with my design decisions.

5) Do you work full time or part time as a home stager?

I included this question because I feel that it is important to talk about how seriously someone takes their business. I know the number of hours per week you work doesn’t determine how successful you are as a business owner. But have you ever watched Shark Tank? They added Ashton Kutcher this season which I thought was very fascinating. Anyway, they always turned down business owners who still have a day job. When you are part timing, it is difficult to run a business full time and concentrate your effort. I also know this because for a period of a year and a half, I was doing a lot of freelancing work on top of running a home staging business. I was burning on both ends, and it can be a lot and very distracting. If I didn’t have a team during that time, I would not have been able to do it.

6) What kind of experiences do you have? 

More experience and education typically make better professionals. This is not to alienate newbies, because I was once a newbie, but the longer someone has worked in the field, the more situations or ideas they would have to problem solve. Experiences is an important consideration, especially if you have tricky floor plans. A good stager will know how to troubleshoot that. 

Picking the right stager for your home is an important decision. I know it’s very tempting to get three proposals and pick the lowest prices. You also want to take into consideration the quality of the inventory, their portfolio and their experiences. It is your home’s equity on the line, so you want to make sure you are hiring the best qualified professional for your home.

So that’s it for today’s show! Thank you so much for listening! If you enjoy today’s episode, please leave us a review and a rating on iTunes, Soundcloud, or Stitcher. As usual, feel free to ask any questions on the show notes or our private Facebook group. You can find the show notes by going to www.staged4more.com/podcast. That’s is, have a wonderful week and happy staging!  



Feng Shui, Energy Clearing & Decluttering With Cathi Hargaden // The Home Staging Show S2 Ep2


The Home Staging Show: Feng Shui, Energy Clearing & Decluttering

In today's episode, I discuss Feng Shui, energy clearing and decluttering in depth with UK Feng Shui Expert Cathi Hargaden.  We also discussed in depth how energy and the way you arrange your interiors can affect your health and the mood and feelings of your visitors. I personally believe in Feng Shui, having grown up around it. I apply some of that in my staging and styling approach as well, which was also discussed on the show. Cathi also discussed the importance of internal Feng Shui, where you work on decluttering your internal environment.



Cathi Hargaden is an internationally acclaimed expert in the ancient art of Feng Shui. She has 20+ years experience consulting and teaching and has worked with over 1,000 clients around the globe. Cathi's work has helped clients increase revenue, reduce stress, resolve conflicts, build health and more. She is the host of the Feng Shui Mastery Show podcast. Cathi’s expertise is right for audiences in the health, wealth, business and personal development arenas. Her message of being aware of and modulating the energy of places and spaces we live and work in to assure health and good fortune is fresh and timely. Energy marketing!


Her services & projects

www.wealthyspaces.com: There are 8 boxes in which people can choose to discover how they can shift their environments to support different aspects of their life whether it be creativity, spirituality wealth, health and relationships. There are free resources there for people to use; they can contact me if they want to do trainings; consultations, presentations, or buy any of the products I have created.

Cathi also does consultations on Skype for both Feng Shui and internal Feng Shui (that's the exercises to explore clearing blockages within; using meditation, colour and sounds to let go of the clutter on the inside).


E-mail: wealthyspaces@gmail.com

our website: www.wealthyspaces.com andwww.fengshuimasteryshow.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cathi-Hargaden/143654305651664

Twitter profile: www.twitter.com/cathi888

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/cathihargaden


Home Staging Q & A // The Home Staging Show Podcast: Season 2 Episode 1

The Home Staging Show Podcast



In this episode, I answer your questions about home staging! We also announced our Stage Your House Like A Pro self-study, video ecourse! In this episode, I answered questions about:

  • How much furniture is enough in the room?
  • Do I have to use a coffee table?
  • What are your thoughts on dressers for staging?
  • Do I need to set dining table for staging?
  • How to stage little kids' room and with a lot of pink?
  • What to do with outdated paint finishes and furnishing?
  • What kind of fridge should I buy?


Today's show transcript

Hi guys! Welcome back to Season 2 of The Home Staging Show podcast! This podcast was formerly known as the 30-Day Home Staging Challenge podcast. I'm very excited to be back today. As you may have noticed, we also have a new cover artwork for the show. I want to say thanks to those of you who had sent in questions and feedback during the hiatus of the show. It was really great to hear from you! If you enjoyed the show, please leave a rating and review in iTunes, whether they are good or bad, so I can keep improving the show and bring you content that is relevant to you. 

Today's show is sponsored by EcoJoe, the eco-friendly St Joseph statue home selling kit. You can get your own in our shop on our website. You can also get open house check lists and access to our new ecourses on our website.

Before I get started today, I want to mention a major update here in the Staged4more land. We have finally launched a self-pace, home study, video course on home staging. It is called Stage Your House Like A Pro. I made this course because I see that a lot of homeowners and real estate agents want more information on home staging, but may be limited because there may not be home staging professionals in their geographic areas. I also recognize the fact that not everyone want to hire professional home stagers and may feel that they can do it themselves. The truth is that there are a lot of homes out there like that, even in San Francisco bay area where home staging is so popular and common. I have many friends who sold their houses without hiring a home stager, simply because all they needed was minor tweaks and a little bit of help. Or they simply have no budget for it. I also want to empower everyone to learn how to style their homes, whether it is for sale or for living. That's a big part of the drive behind this podcast. I think the way we live our lives have very strong correlation to our environments, and it is important to learn how to create a great environment that we and our families will enjoy and can prosper and thrive in. That's also the reason behind the course, because a lot of styling and design principles I cover in the course can be translated into decorating your new homes for living. 

I also want to clear the air really quick. I had some home stagers contacting me expressing concerns. I personally feel that there are so much information out there on the internet, and there are some great advices out there and there are some not so great advices. Personally, I am very passionate about the subject of home staging. I mean, I have been a home stager for almost 10 years. I have seen it working over and over again. I feel incredibly blessed and lucky to be able to help my clients to get their homes show ready to sell. It is a gift and an act of service, even though I am compensated financially for it. I don't see how this course is a replacement of a professional home stager. It is the next best thing. As a real estate professional, it is my job to help my clients create wealth. I feel very passionate about educating people about home staging, and it has become a lifelong goal for me. This is why I've decided to devote myself into the education component of things, doing a podcast, writing a blog and coming out with courses to do that. Overall, it helps our industry more when there are more open dialogues about home staging. There is no need to withhold information. There are enough work out there for everyone. Just look at other industries, there are plenty of work out tapes out there, and there are still plenty of gyms and personal trainers working. Same with interior designs. There are tons of information out there, and still plenty of work to go around. So more dialogue is actually better for the industry. I really want to encourage you to start blogging and having that conversation with people in your market.

With that said, let's start today's show. Today's show is all about your questions!

Q: Angie: I would like to know how much furniture is enough in a room. I have been fretting about whether to leave dressers in the bedrooms. I talked to my realtor, and she said I could go either way with our master because it's huge. I have decided (I think) to not have dressers in the kids' rooms but to leave them in our room so it's not so empty. I'd love to know your thoughts on this, plus things like whether we should use a coffee table in the living room; it would hold lifestyle props, but I think it will make my LR look too small.

A: I think your realtor has a great point. If your bedroom is huge and has a lot of room, then you should leave your dresser. But if your bedroom is on the smaller side, I wouldn't leave the dresser in. The bigger pieces of furniture does eat up room visually, so while they are necessary in every day living, I actually recommend most of the time to remove dressers, buffets, hutches and entertainment center for selling. But keep in mind I work in most starter homes types of scenarios. If you do have a big room, and there are plenty of room for walking around these pieces, then leave them in.

In regards to coffee table, yes, I'd recommend to have one. If you feel that your existing coffee table is too big, use something smaller. You can substitute coffee table with trucks, ottomans, or 2 smaller side tables putting together side by side. But having something that resemble the purpose of coffee table will be great to help to ground the space.

Q: Sharon: Would like to hear your take on dressers as well, we seem to be moving away from this except in large master bedrooms

A: So yes, like my answers for Angie, I normally don't use dressers in the bedrooms. I would use console table instead. They are the similar rectangle shape, they are much less heavy visually and they can still suggest the shape and potential use for the room.

Q: Sharon: Staging dining areas. To set the table or not? We don't but I've seen many who do

A: I personally feel less is more. I prefer to have one centerpiece like a bowl of fruit, a floral arrangement, than setting entire table. Because I am not in the business of selling furniture and stuff. The more focus should be placed on the space. However, I've heard from stagers in some markets, their target audience prefer them to set dining tables. So it is largely dependent upon your market. You can usually tell by open houses in the neighborhood and the lifestyle in your target market.

Q: Sue: How to stage little kids rooms with lots of stuff and lots of pink

A: This is a great question. I would recommend to shy away from the pink if you can. The reason is that in staging, you should stay fairly gender neutral. Pink, while a great color, also doesn't read as well on the photos than colors like blue and green. Generally for kids' room, we would stage it with a child's bed, add a play set, a carpet to warm the space up and decorate the walls with kid-friendly artwork. I've seen a lot of homeowners have decals put on their walls for their children, which is fine, as long as they accentuate the space, not distracting. If you ever watch Modern Family, in Lily's room, Cameron had murals painted with Mitchell's and Cameron's faces on them, that's too much. The point is that you want to create a lifestyle that the buyers want to buy into. Usually if you are staging a room as a child's room, you probably have multiple bedrooms in the house. Then I may do an older child's room that can read as either a teenager or a guest could live here. In staging, I generally recommend to stay away from specific ideas, and go toward more generalization since you do want to appeal to a great range of buyers.

Q: Phyllis: Here is a question I would love for you to answer on an upcoming episode (thanks for asking!): How to work around dated fixtures and furnishings when you are on a limited staging budget!  Such as, in my case, things like:
 1.) dated, but otherwise good condition honey-spice maple kitchen cabinets that we don't have the money or energy to paint  

2.) A small, tailored sage- green sectional couch that we don't want to pay to replace unless absolutely necessary (we have a VERY awkward layout in our family room and a very tiny (89" x 89") sectional is the only thing that makes sense in there! This small of a sectional is not only very hard to find, but sectionals are expensive! ) 

3.) Dated tile in the bathroom (in my case 4" x 4" standard bone colored tile on the walls and garden tub surround!)

 5.) Dated color scheme throughout the main living areas (My husband has been unemployed and near retirement age, so, due to lack of extra money, our home is still stuck in the "gold/green/rusty-red" era! The living spaces of our home are all painted in Behr "stable hay", a soft golden yellow. It would be a big job to repaint everything(Can we just do touch-up painting, or repainting a room or two, or should we repaint everything?) 

6) A big, brick fireplace (the brick is actually a very pretty mix of terra-cotta shades--should we paint it though?) I think you probably get the picture! 

Thanks for your help. I am looking forward to upcoming episodes.

Phyllis (AKA "Fun2Learn1)

A: This is a great question. So when it comes to dated fixture and furnishing, I would highly recommend to replace fixtures if you can and leave the furnishing alone, unless they are in really bad condition for staging. The reason behind that is the buyers are not going to buy your sofa, so as long as it's presentable, clean and styled, you will be fine. But fixture, that is something that comes with the house. Most fixtures are fairly inexpensive to replace, I'm talking about the basic light fixtures that you get at big box stores like Home Depot. These improvements will go a long way for ROI. So if you can find budget somewhere to do that, I'd recommend investing in changing out fixtures.

So going back to your kitchen cabinet. This is a big ticket item, and since it's in great condition, you have no budget or energy to paint or change it, I would say deep clean the cabinet, make sure it looks presentable and update the hardware if they are outdated. 

About the sectional, it sounds like you are living while you are selling, I'd leave it as is. Again, if it is in great conditions, I'd leave it alone. But just make sure your placement in the room makes sense and will bring out the focal point of the room. You can also freshen up the sofa by refluffing the pillow, add appropriate accent pillows, etc. to warm up the space.

With dated tiles in the bathrooms, this we run into a lot doing older homes in the bay area. And I've seen many dated beige and bone colored tiled kitchen countertops and bathrooms. As well as pepto bismal pink ones and super bright green ones. I'd say leave them alone. These are really big ticket items to replace and if you are selling your home fairly soon, you won't recoup the return on investment on this, not to mention it can also delay your marketing timeline. I'd recommend make sure that your grout is in good condition. Make sure you have a deep clean before you go on the market.

With repainting, if you really don't have the budget, touch up as much as you can. I once did a project where most of the interior walls were painted peach color, which is a color where people either really love it or really hate it. The homeowner had no budget to repaint. She also had a dining room that was blood red, which they repainted with primer paint, because the lack of budget. I have not seen your house personally, so I'd recommend assess this with your real estate agent. If you have zero budget, do as much as you can to touch up. The other thing with this particular projects, I downplayed the peach walls by my styling. I used a lot of black and white artwork to downplay the rooms and I used colors that would complement the space. 

With your brick fireplace, I have not seen it personally but the sound of it, I think it's something you can leave alone for the sale and just make sure you clean it. A lot of times I see traces of fireplace burning staining the fireplace.  Just make sure that you clean it before it goes on the market. A working fireplace is a great selling point.

Q: Phyllis:  I thought of another question/topic you might want to discuss on another episode: if you are replacing appliances before putting your home on the market, what kind and how much should you spend, etc. The reason I thought of this is that yesterday our 14- year old refrigerator died a sudden death!! I came home to melting ice all over the floor,  thawed and dripping frozen foods, and liquid popsicles! I had planned on eventually replacing the refrigerator anyway before we  put our home on the market since it was "bisque" colored and the other appliances were stainless, but I hadn't even started to shop around, or even think much about it yet--until I was forced to do so late last night!! 

While I was in the stores, I kept wondering if I should just buy the least expensive side-by-side model or a more expensive French door model. The French door models seem to be much more popular, judging by how many were on the showroom floors, and the salesmen seemed to agree that they were more popular these days, so I thought that perhaps it would help attract home buyers and justify the extra cost, but I wasn't quite sure. Also, I wasn't sure how "brand- aware" most home buyers really are: in other words, if I skimped and bought a lower end brand, such as  Frigidaire vs a better, mid-range or better brand, such as Samsung,(at least  Consumer Reports testing and customer reviews seem to rate it highly) would home buyers really even notice? Since we aren't selling until the spring, I wanted to make sure I got one that didn't seem to have too many potential repair issues,  was an ample size for a family, and one with a water and ice dispenser. I was thinking that, if I am going to spend the money, it should have enough space and the typically popular features that a potential homeowner would want so that they wouldn't be thinking that they would have to replace it in the near future.  I think many of us would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Or do appliances really matter much at all, as long as they match in color, aren't too old, and are in good working order?

 In my case, since I needed a new refrigerator asap, I was limited to ones in stock and stores that could deliver the next day. I didn't find any last night, but went out again today, armed with my Consumer Reports ratings, and, after a lot of mental "jumping back and forth" over the options (and angst over how expensive refrigerators are!), I  ended up purchasing a stainless steel, 28 cu. ft. Samsung French door refrigerator, with an in-door ice maker and water dispenser, on sale for what seemed like a good deal of $1700.  Somehow, though, even though I am sure I will enjoy the refrigerator for the time we are here, I am not sure if we will really "recoup" our money on this one! (Just fyi- our home is probably a mid-range home in size and price for our area in Maryland (a bit larger and more expensive than a typical "starter home" but definitely not as large and upgraded, or as new, as many of the homes in our area. I was thinking that maybe a little nicer  fridge might help give our home a few "perks" compared to some of those larger, newer homes?)

A: I'd say that if your other appliances are all stainless, buy something that's stainless. You do want that to match if possible. As far as buying the cheaper model or the French model, that's actually up to you. Since you are still living in the home while you are selling, it is probably nicer for living to have the more expensive version that you will enjoy using. In my experiences working with investors, they generally buy the cheapest model since they want to get the most profits out of the sale. But, you are living in your home, I personally think it is fine either way. I personally do not know if it makes a significant difference what brand of fridge you have when you are in mid price range. I think the allure of the brand comes in more significance when you have a high end home, I am talking about like those homes you see on Million Dollar Listings where they have all these cool and fancy toys and tech gadgets for the home. Then it is common for the potential buyers to expect something like a sub zero type of fridge or Viking range. 

I hope today's Q&A session has helped! Remember,  you can always submit your photos and questions in our private Facebook Group. Just search for The Home Staging Show and ask to join. I will approve you as soon as I can. Thank you guys for submitting your questions! If you have any comments or additional ideas for the questions asked on today's show, please comment in the comment section of the show notes. If you enjoy today's show, don't forget to leave a rating or review on iTunes, Soundcloud or Stitcher. Thanks again for listening, and happy staging!

New Home Staging Class!

I was going to title this blog post WEEEEEEE!, quoting Fredrick from Million Dollar Listing New York. It's only two days after Labor Day Weekend, we already have lots of exciting announcement!


You asked, and we made one!

There are a lot of home staging courses on the market for budding home stagers and real estate agents, but not so much for homeowners. We created this course with homeowners in mind. We know that not everyone has access to professional home stagers in the market and they are constantly looking for information. The primary goal of our company is always educating people about home staging. It is the driving force behind our blog & podcast.

It took a lot of labor of love to create this course, and it is such a dream to be able to make it live. So big thank you to those who have beta tested the courses, gave me feedback and had been supportive throughout the entire process. 

That brings me to.. 

The Podcast! Season 2!

The Home Staging Show (formerly known as The #30dayhomestaging Challenge podcast) will be back next Wednesday. Do you have any burning questions about home staging you would like me to answer on the show? I'd love to! Just leave them in the Comment section below.

Lastly, are you a home stager?

Then join us for our November retreat! Our Labor Day Special for the retreat ends tonight at MIDNIGHT PST. So you are on the fence, stop dilly dallying and sign up.

I created the retreat because I want to talk shop privately with a group of like-minded individuals who are determined to push their businesses to the next level. It is going to SO MUCH FUN and I honestly cannot wait! Join us now!

Staging Your House for the Fall

How to Stage Your House for The Fall | Staged4more Home Staging & Design

I love Labor Day Weekend. It is a great time to hang out with friends, relax, and enjoying the last hurrah before summer unofficially ends (thanks to Burning Man clearing out the entire city). (Although, if you live in San Francisco, you actually will be looking forward to the two weeks of Indian Summers coming soon!) It also reminds me one of my favorite movies Serial Mom

Now the weather has cooled, and the leaves are turning vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges, we are approaching the peak season again where everyone is rushing to sell their homes before the holidays. With the holidays almost here, it is important to stage your property to grab the buyers' attention before the holiday arrives. 

I love staging for the fall because I can use the warmer tones like reds and burnt oranges in styling the interiors. Here are my top five tips for staging in the fall.

1. Add Warmth

How to Stage Your House for The Fall | Staged4more Home Staging & Design

Color has psychological effects on us, and one of them is temperature. When it comes to the weather cooling down, it is great to add visual warmth through colors. You can do so by incorporating colors into your decorative accessories, floral arrangements, throws, accent pillows, artwork, etc. I love the fall season because I can add warmer tones like browns, muted golds, muted reds and burnt orange without worrying the colors will come across too strong. They are perfect for the season.

2. Avoid Literal Translation for the Holidays

How to Stage Your House for The Fall | Staged4more Home Staging & Design

Since we are fast approaching the holiday season, you may start seeing Halloween and Thanksgiving displays in stores now. However, should we do so for the staging? No. As you know, home staging is about appealing to a broad range of buyers, and this includes religious beliefs. Many times, homeowners had asked me for a Christmas tree; I'd recommend not to do so. Because you never know who your buyers will be, some may celebrate Christmas, and some may not. You can still get the atmospheres across through using colors in a very subtle way, instead of splashing red and green everyone and deck out the halls with jingle bell cheers. 

Like this photo above from Williams-Sonoma Home, you can create the mood by using the gold finishes, faux fur throw, deep red and foliages to create the wintery holiday feel without literally putting Christmas ornaments all over the place.

3. Set A Welcoming Mood

How to Stage Your House for The Fall | Staged4more Home Staging & Design

You can set the stage with a warm welcome by displaying a wreath made with rich fall colors on the front porch. This is a great and welcoming way to set the first impression for potential new buyers as they approach your home to tour during an open house. 

4. Add the Lifestyle Element

How to Stage Your House for The Fall | Staged4more Home Staging & Design

I talk a lot about adding in subtle lifestyle elements into your styling because this will create warmth and ambiance. (But do so lightly, so it does not come across cheesy.) If your home has a fireplace, it is a great way to add some birch logs in the fireplace to help to draw attention to this great focal point. People love the feelings a burning fireplace creates. So remind them that visually.

5. Add Textures

How to Stage Your House for The Fall | Staged4more Home Staging & Design

Texture is one of my favorite interior styling principles. You can create feelings and add depth and layers to your space by adding textures into your accessories. Especially soft goods like throws, accent pillows, etc. Having textures like wool, chenille and deeper shades of reds and oranges can create warmth and coziness for your space.

Photo credits: Williams-Sonoma Home

What do you think of my five tips? Tell me your tips in the comment section!

Trello is My New Obsession

I recently went on a working retreat with a group of fabulous creative ladies in Maine, and one of them introduced me to Trello.

Isn't Maine gorgeous? We took a little field trip to Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse on the last day.

Isn't Maine gorgeous? We took a little field trip to Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse on the last day.

I've had an account forever, but never got into it. Now after learning and using it every day now, I am regretting not using it sooner. Here is what I like about Trello:

1. Super Easy to Use & Visual

I love anything and everything that allows me to drag and drop. I'm also a visual learner, so I appreciate that everything is at a glance. I at first did not quite get the cards & boards concept, then I realize it's basically the idea of index cards on a bulletin board (duh). 

2. Free & Pretty Robust

One of my big pet peeves is that the free version of a platform is this sad little thing that only allows you to do three things. But the free version is pretty robust and does the trick for me. I have wedding planner friends who use this to keep track of all their weddings. But since we already use 17hats, I'm using this for various other projects in our business that need to get done, like planning out content calendar and scheduling interviews for our Season 2 podcast.

I still use Todoist for my to do list, but I'm finding myself migrating more and more to do items over to Trello.

Related post: My Review on 17hats, 3 Productivity Tools that Keep Me Sane

3. Do, Doing, Done (Kanban)

Image courtesy of Trello.

Image courtesy of Trello.

I also love that it utilizes the Japanese Kanban productivity concept. It seems so simple and straightforward, but it is very effective. You basically move your cards from one board to the next: ideas, to do, doing and done. It is simple and fabulous.

4. Progress Bar on Your Checklist

Image courtesy of Trello.

Image courtesy of Trello.

I'm a super nerd when it comes to this and I'm completely obsessed with the progress bar. What I've done in my own workflow is that I set up a master template for checklists. Every time I have a new card, I can pull up my template of the checklist I want quickly. And I just LOVE having the progress bar on the checklist. It gives me tremendous satisfaction when I see that little sucker hits 100%. It's silly, I know, but hey, it works and it gets me excited to tick things off on my list.

5. Customization & More Uploads with Trello Gold

This is just me being a visual nerd, but I love Trello gold and I happily pay for it. You get a free month when you recommend Trello to someone (psss, use my referral link!). You can keep the default blue background, but Trello gold allows you to customize your background and upload 250mb per attachment, vs. 10mb per attachment for the free account. 250mb is quite generous and it is helpful when I am doing research for a blog or podcast episode. 

Do you use Trello? How do you use it? I'd love to hear some best practices!

2015 Retreat for Home Design & Staging Pros

Labor Day Special

Grab your ticket now for our November retreat/workacation/mastermind in Napa Valley wine country!

We also added options for local pros who do not need lodging.

How to Hang Artwork in Awkward Spaces

Hey, did you guys know that there is a discussion group that goes with our podcast? (It's free to join!) One of our group members Connie asked:

"I'd love some ideas on how to hang art on a wall that is not the same length as the furniture and has an ugly intake vent in full view! The kitchen counter starts and the lower part of the wall continues. Very awkward!"

Here is a photo Connie had posted.

How to Hang Artwork in Awkward Spaces | Staged4more Home Staging & Design
How to Hang Artwork in Awkward Spaces | Staged4more Home Staging & Design
How to Hang Artwork in Awkward Spaces | Staged4more Home Staging & Design

For the wall on the other side, where there is a vent on the wall. Here is a mock-up of my suggestion. The white space in the photo on the right is the vent. (By the way, these are not drawn to scale.)

I know there is a big old vent on the wall and it is unsightly, but it is part of the house. It's not like you can plug it up. I would recommend hanging your artwork or decorative accessories up as usual, but to the scale of wall and the furnishing around it. 

Awkward spaces are well, awkward. And it can be difficult to place decorative accessories or artwork. I see a lot of homeowners get stuck with this, and they usually end up with nothing on the wall because they are not sure what to put there. 

My usual recommendation is to play with different placements. You can cut out paper template and put them on the walls and see what you can do to balance out these tricky spots that you have. The mock-ups here are pretty basic, but you get the idea. The white space is the kitchen counter.

You don't have to do all the same size of art either. Play with shape and size. But basically you want to play with scale (how your artwork relates to the space and the furniture around it) and see if you can achieve balance. 

How to Hang Artwork in Awkward Spaces | Staged4more Home Staging & Design

I know there are installers who are very exact, but for me, I generally eyeball everything when I hang artwork. On job site, it can get pretty tricky with all the chaos. But I generally bring a variety of artwork in different sizes, especially if there are weird spots like this.

The other suggestion is to get decorative vent cover for your wall. There are lots of cool options nowadays you can find on the internet. Here is also a creative & DIY solution that I've found online where you can spray paint and use a door mat to cover the vent hole. Pretty cool, right?

photo courtesy of buzzfeed

photo courtesy of buzzfeed

What do you think about my recommendations? Do you have any other ideas for Connie?

Home Stagers! Early Bird Registration for the Retreat Ends This Weekend!

CALLING Awesome Home Stagers!

Have you ever felt that you are not growing fast enough or feeling STUCK in your business? Or you don't want to retire yet, but want to plan out your exit strategy when you are ready? 

I feel the EXACT same way. I also feel frustrated that there is a lack of conversations for stagers who have outgrown the beginner phase and ready to take the business next level.

That's why I created this retreat, where it is a half boot camp and a half mastermind. The Advanced Stagers' Retreat is designed for home stagers who have advanced in their businesses, who are passionate about their personal and professional development, and are motivated to continue building strong businesses that will reflect their unique styles and art, while building a community for other strong and ambitious women. 

The Early Bird Registration for this year's retreat is ending this weekend.

We are going to have SO much fun in Downtown Napa.

Will we see you in November? SAY YES!

For more info, visit our website: www.staged4more.com/asr2015

Announcing A New Webinar! What You Need to Know About Vacant Home Staging

Are you selling your home vacant and want to know how to approach staging a vacant home?

Join us for the free webinar!

In this class, you will learn:

  • The vacant home staging process
  • What I look for when I advise clients
  • Common home staging mistakes and how to fix them
  • Figuring out a styling & space plan for your home
  • Real life case study

There will be a free replay available for three days. Then the webinar will be available in the shop.

By the way, the last webinar about occupied home staging is now up in the shop! We did some more edits and added a bonus lesson & a new checklist with the ecourse! You can check out the new course here.

Are there other home staging topics you are interested in? Leave your course request in the Comment section below.

Home Staging Process with #30DayHomeStaging Challenger & Home Seller Kirstie Dempsey (30DHSC15)

Hey guys, welcome back to another episode of 30-Day Home Staging Challenge podcast! Today on the show, I'm interviewing Kirstie Dempsey, who is a stay-at-home mom and one of our #30DayHomeStaging Challenge home sellers. During the show, you will find out how the home staging process was for Kirstie, working with real estate agents and buyers' needs, and what is the number one tip she will give to other home sellers.

Pretty BIG Announcements

Today's our 15th episode! Today's episode wraps up our season 1. We will be back with season 2 after Labor Day Weekend with more episodes, guests and content. 

The second big announcement: As you know, we have a free 30-Day Home Staging Challenge email course that is tied into our first ten episodes of this podcast. After listening to the participants' feedback, we decided to turn that into a paid video course with more content, resource guides and insiders' tips. (You can sign up to be a beta tester here.)

Providing value is incredibly important for us. We feel that to provide the best home staging content out there, we need to make it a real course that will give more benefits to the students. So, the free challenge will be available for roughly one more week. The last day to sign up for the free email course will be August 15

We also have a Facebook group for you! If you are too shy to ask your burning home staging questions on the show notes, head over to our private Facebook group to ask your questions.

Thanks again for supporting this show since the very beginning! We will see you soon!




Home Staging Process with #30DayHomeStaging Challenger & Home Seller Kirstie Dempsey (30DHSC15) | Staged4more Home Staging & Design



Kirstie is a stay-at-home mom and style enthusiast. She has developed several fashion-inspired businesses and loves to use fashion as an influence while decorating her home. She and her husband recently remodeled their home and brought it from the 1950's into the current decade while keeping the idea of staging at hand to sell their home quickly. 



Finding a Home in a Market with Limited Inventory

  • Developing a relationship with a great realtor was key to finding a home in their price range
  • Communication with your realtor is critical to finding the right home
  • Trusting the vision her husband had for the home
  • Buying a house with good bones

Decorating & Updating for Home for Resale

  • Staging for buyers with lack of vision and imagination
  • The challenges of decorating for a potential buyer, rather than to your own taste
  • Putting yourself in the shoes of the buyer when staging
  • Understanding that buyers don’t always appreciate custom touches

Lessons Learned from the Home Staging Process

  • The advantage of having a great real estate agent
  • De-cluttering is a great place to start the staging process
  • Refining her personal style
  • How and when to separate personal style from necessary staging style
  • Incorporating pieces that are both functional and decorative
  • Choosing budget friendly materials for resale
  • Pricing lesson from the real estate agent

Home Staging & Decorating Tips

  • Surround yourself with things you like and enjoy
  • Antique stores and flea markets are a source for affordable pieces
  • Instagram and Pinterest are great resources for DIY home projects
  • Investing time and effort to update and stage your home will make it stand out from other homes in the market
  • Homes getting a facelift to keep up the change of times
  • Removable wallpapers
  • Easy decorating options for renters
  • Putting yourself in buyers' shoes
  • Remodeling with the buyers in mind
  • Using what you have to get the results that you want, DIY, not spending too much on the staging process
  • Not going overboard with staging

Real Estate In General

  • Real estate market in LA
  • Real estate market in Minot, North Dakota
  • Having a vision when you are buying a home
  • Doing a full remodel for the home vs. homes in the market who are not updated
  • Supply & demand of the real estate market
  • The fear of putting the home on the market
  • Personalization in remodeling can be tricky for resale

Resources mentioned in the show

Home Staging Process with #30DayHomeStaging Challenger & Home Seller Kirstie Dempsey (30DHSC15) | Staged4more Home Staging & Design






5 Clever Styling Tricks to Steal from West Elm Catalogs

5 Clever Styling Tricks to Steal from West Elm Catalogs | Staged4more Home Staging & Design

1. Creative ways to display artwork

5 Clever Styling Tricks to Steal from West Elm Catalogs | Staged4more Home Staging & Design

Artwork doesn't have to live in frames. You can hang artwork quickly and easily with a small nail and a bulldog clip. 

2. Make it conversational

5 Clever Styling Tricks to Steal from West Elm Catalogs | Staged4more Home Staging & Design

In our podcast, we talk about highlighting the main purpose of each room. In living rooms, it is all about entertaining and having great conversations.

3. Add some greens

5 Clever Styling Tricks to Steal from West Elm Catalogs | Staged4more Home Staging & Design

Greenery is a great way to breathe life into the room. It also has a calming effect and makes the room feel comfortable and welcoming.

4. Add a light

5 Clever Styling Tricks to Steal from West Elm Catalogs | Staged4more Home Staging & Design

In the recent Home Staging Consultation webinar, I talked about homeowners often may not have matching nightstands. This is a great solution if you don't have a matching nightstand. 

5. Put it in a tray

5 Clever Styling Tricks to Steal from West Elm Catalogs | Staged4more Home Staging & Design

Trays are not just for bed in breakfast. It is also a great catch-all and organization tools.

Photo credit: West Elm July 2015 Catalog

What did you think of these tips? Do you have any styling tricks to share? Share them in the Comment section below.

ps. Just curious... If we were to make a home staging or styling course, what would you want to learn more about?

3 Productivity Tools that Keep Me Sane

During our business planning meeting last New Year, my sister and I  made a very conscious decisions not to have any employees. That means that we have a very lean business operations, and as the business grows, our responsibilities grow without additional sets of hands and minds to help. That is when technology comes in handy and help us stay on track. Here are the top 3 productivity tools that keep me sane.

5 Key Objectives of a Home Staging Consultation (30DHSC14)

On today's show, I go over the 5 key objectives that I go through on every single home staging consultations. I also give you a behind the scene look on one of the consultations that I went on and what I recommended for the homeowners. This episode is a replay of one of our recent webinars. You can access the video here for free until 8/5.

Home Staging Consultation | #30DayHomeStaging Challenge podcast

A little bit of housekeeping, if you subscribe to the show through iTunes, we hit a glitch with the feed. To avoid disruptions of your subscription, hit subscribe again when you log into your iTunes.

If you have any suggestions for the future guest for the show, please leave a comment here. I'd love to hear from you! If you like the show, please leave a review on iTunes, Stitcher or Soundcloud. This will help me improve, help others find the show and help me bring on more amazing guests.





  • Access the full transcript from the course here
  • As a podcast listener, you enjoy 20% off on most items in our shop (except for live workshops and retreats). Just use the coupon code PODCAST during your check out.





Webinar Replay: What Professional Home Stagers Look For During a Home Staging Consultation


The free reply for this online webinar course is now over, but you can now purchase it in our shop. We added a bonus lesson and an extra cheat sheet for the course.

The audio portion of the course is available on our podcast, which you can check out here.

Calling All Seasoned Stagers!

Do you feel that there are certain aspects of your business that can use a bit of work? Are you looking to uplevel in your business? Do you feel that you work super hard but still don't feel like it's enough to grow and take the business to the next level? 

I feel the same way about my business. I've always wanted a more advanced education that is for stagers like me who have been in business for awhile and want to keep growing the business in a smart and profitable way. That is why I created this retreat. Join us for this year's Advanced Stagers' Retreat!

The retreat is half mastermind and half boot camp, where 16 home stagers from around the country get together and help each other grow. 

Head over here to check out the event! The Early Bird Registration will end on 8/15. VIP Registration is already sold out!

Defining Your Personal Style (Part III)

There are many ways to define your personal style. Since I'm a visual learner, I prefer visual tools. Mood board is a great tool to help you gain clarity about your vision and your directions. There are infinite ways to use a mood board! I use mood boards as a vision board, as a communication tool with clients, and as a brainstorming tool when I'm working on a styling project. You can pull mood boards for everything, planning a party, redoing a room, design a website, putting makeup on, dressing for a special occasion. The possibilities are endless!

Here are my top 3 tips on pulling a mood board together.

Creating Organization & Systems for Your Sale (30DHSC13)


The process of selling a home can be overwhelming and daunting. On today's show, I interview Virginia Maddan, who is an expert on organizing homes and offices that save her clients hundred and thousands of dollars and hours. On the show, we talk about preparing your home for sale, breaking down projects, common time management mistakes and tips on organizing.

If you have any suggestions for the future guest for the show, please leave a comment here. I'd love to hear from you! If you like the show, please leave a review on iTunes, Stitcher or Soundcloud. This will help me improve, help others find the show and help me bring on more amazing guests.

Creating Organization & Systems for Your Home Sale with Virginia Maddan | 30-Day Home Staging Challenge Podcast



A little bit about Virginia

Virginia Maddan is an efficiency expert helping entrepreneurs and small business owners put thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours back into their schedules every year.

She’s able to see the places in your business where you’re literally leaking time, energy, and money and quickly and efficiently solve those problems. She’s supported executives at some of the top technology firms in the Bay Area.

Preparing Your Home to Sell

  • Create a bird’s eye view to start
  • Move on big projects first
  • Use a management system you would use naturally – paper & pen, sticky notes, Asana, Evernote

Common Time Management Mistakes

  • Failure to build in buffer time
  • Expecting the best case scenario
  • Failure to be happy with progress v. perfection

Tips for Organizing Clutter

  • Start the organizing project before you buy the tools
  • Use blue painter’s tape to mark off spaces
  • Reduce additional steps by using open baskets and bins
  • Choose organizing products that are easy to use

Process to Project Management

  • Define the project and get to the root of the problem
  • Address the actual cause of the problem
  • Create a solution based on your habits
  • Make your organization system fit you

Connect with Virginia