All About Shopping!!! How And What To Buy For Home Staging Inventory! (THSS S2/EP11)


All About Shopping!!! How & What to Buy for Home Staging Inventory // The Home Staging Show Season 2 Episode 11

Hi guys, welcome back to another episode of The Home Staging Show podcast! On today's episode, I'm going to share my top tips on shopping for inventory since I've been getting several questions about shopping recently. Shopping can be really fun but can also be very stressful. On today's show, I'll share tips on how to buy staging props and what to buy, as well as how to avoid common pitfalls for both homeowners and new home stagers. Here is what I talked about on the show today:

  • Prep before shopping
  • Where I shop for what
  • My top 5 tips for shopping for inventory

If you have any questions about the show, ask me a question in the show notes, or pop in our private Facebook group and chat with us. Have a fantastic week!



Timeless & Beautiful Home Design with Carla Aston // The Home Staging Show Season 2 Episode 10


Timeless & Beautiful Home Design with Carla Aston // The Home Staging Show Season 2 Episode 10

Hey guys, welcome back! It is great to have you and I feel very especial today because I’m recording today’s intro from Palm Springs while being on an astrology retreat led by Astrotwins, who are these two incredible twin sisters and astrologists and amazing human beings. I feel incredibly blessed to have these two in my life. I am more of a dabbler when it comes to Astrology, but it is nice to see old friends, make new friends and just being in a supported environment where we can candidly chat about business and life. I originally joined their first retreat last year in Tulum, Mexico, after just breaking up with someone, when I just wanted to go to Mexico with a group of woman. And it was actually really cool to learn about my chart and astrology. I was pleasantly surprised.

Timeless & Beautiful Home Design with Carla Aston // The Home Staging Show Season 2 Episode 10

I usually publish episodes on Wednesday mornings on our blog. So if you are listening to this on Wednesday, when this episode is published, it is also Veteran’s Day and November 11th. 1111 is a very auspicious number in numerology and astrology.

I know this all sounds very woo-woo and California hippie girl stuff, but I believe in mindset and the power of intention. This has happened to me time after time both personally and professionally. If you are selling the house, set the intention that you want to sell for top dollars, and then apply that actions to do so. So I want you to take advantage of this 11/11 day, and make a wish for yourself. Everyone can make a wish, right? No harm done.

I asked a numerologist Felicia Bender about the meaning of 1111. She explained that the date is like a manifestation portal. Every universal life-force you believe in gives you an opportunity to clean up the thought and manifest your thought on this day. Because whatever you believe in, it is going to magnify that energy. It’s like law of attraction in action. It is a very powerful day. So whatever you are thinking about, when you apply action, you can really magnify that results. Another suggestion is that be specific about what you want abundance in life for. You have to move the needle, stop obsessing about the terrible boyfriend and calling on the one you want. Here is Felicia's blog that goes in more in depth on this topic.

And the Astrotwins has an article about 1111, which you can find here. If you are interested in joining the twins for their annual Tulum, Mexico retreat, April 2nd-April 8th, go to

Anyway, let’s talk about today’s actual show. On today’s show, we are interviewing interior designer & blogger Carla Aston. I first came across her work when I was researching for a blog post and came across her blog. I love her approach on design and really making it work for her clients. I also love her work. She has a great way to pull rooms together to make them both functional and beautiful. On this show, we are going to discuss interior design, remodeling, finishes selection, color selection, and many other tricks and tools that make great looking and functioning rooms.

If you have been listening to the show for awhile and like the show, please take a minute to rate and review The Home Staging Show on iTunes. That will be super helpful because that will help other people to find this show and allow me to keep finding great guests and keep recording. Today’s show is brought to you by EcoJoe, the eco-friendly St Joseph statue home selling kit. In real estate, there is a tradition of praying to St Joseph for good luck, and we made an eco-friendly statue made with clay. EcoJoe is 100% natural, he won’t harm the earth. To find out more about the product, visit

Here are some of the stuff we chatted on the show today:

  • The design process
  • Kitchen countertop selections
  • Working with clients’ needs and future needs
  • Design rules
  • Process of pulling a room together
  • Biggest mistake when it comes to remodeling
  • Countertop finishes
  • Quartzite countertops
  • Expectations / must-know for homeowners when it comes to remodeling
  • Working with contractors
  • Biggest return on investment when it comes to remodeling
  • Color & finishes selection
  • Working with color tones
  • What are tones
  • Design inspirations
  • Big trends coming up in 2016
  • Design pet peeves
  • Go to styling props
  • The business of home staging and the growth of home staging industry



About Carla

Timeless & Beautiful Home Design with Carla Aston // The Home Staging Show Season 2 Episode 10

I've had my own business in The Woodlands since 2001 and now have the design studio of my dreams with a fantastic, supportive staff! We design all types of residential interiors for our wonderful clients, helping them create meaningful, beautiful, functional spaces to nurture their lives and loved ones.
Writing my design blog, Designed w/Carla Aston, has become my passionate hobby where I share my love of good design with others. Join in the conversation on my blog or follow me on my social channels to see what we're up to in the studio!


Connect with Carla






Also, Carla is currently writing some how-to design guides that will be referenced with her design philosophy tenets geared for the DIY-er and a new membership blog for her site for designers about business of interior design! Keep your eyes peeled for that.

Carla's Work

(Also mentioned on the show today)

Stage Your House Like A Pro Interview with DIY Home Seller Angie Roberts


Stage Your House Like A Pro Interview with Home Seller Angie Roberts // The Home Staging Show Podcast Season 2 Episode 9

Hey guys, hello from Napa valley! I am in Napa this week for our second annual retreat for stagers who are in the advanced level of their businesses and we are having a great time learning from experts and frankly my mind is exploding with ideas and more ideas about how to improve my home staging business. I think most Californians who are listening are also very thrilled about the rain yesterday. I feel like it’s been years since I’ve heard a thunderstorm. As you may know that we have a serious drought going on in California, so it was super exciting to see the rain. 

If you have been listening to the show for awhile and like the show, please take a minute to rate and review The Home Staging Show on iTunes. That will be super helpful because that will help other people to find this show and allow me to keep finding great guests and keep recording. Today’s show is brought to you by EcoJoe, the eco-friendly St Joseph statue home selling kit. In real estate, there is a tradition of praying to St Joseph for good luck, and we made an eco-friendly statue made with clay. EcoJoe is 100% natural, he won’t harm the earth. To find out more about the product, visit

Today’s episode for me is a very special one. I interviewed Angie Roberts, who is one of our students from our home staging course Stage Your House Like A Pro. She had successfully staged her own home and I invited her on the show to share her home staging experiences on how she pulled her house together, the challenges she had faced and what was her process like staging her home. I didn’t realize this that Angie had rehabbed homes in the past, so it was interesting to listen to her perspectives about getting her home ready for sale, the investment she had put in, the work they had done themselves. I especially love what Angie had shared about the pricing differences before and after staging. I always think this type of interviews are very valuable, especially if you are a home seller who is going to put your house on the market. I think it is incredibly helpful to hear others’ experiences and learn from them.  

On today's show, we talked about:

  • Angie's experiences with rehabbing houses
  • Why they decided to sell
  • What changed her mind about selling her house vacant
  • How Angie targeted her potential buyers
  • The differences in pricing before and after staging
  • Work she had done to stage and prepare the home for sale
  • What were her home staging strategies
  • What she did to prepare her home for sale
  • What was some of the surprisingly lessons that she had learned in this process
  • What were some of the challenges that she had faced
  • How her family dealt with the staging
  • Her tips for other home sellers who are thinking about staging their own homes for sale




Enthusiastic and energetic communications professional with extensive experience in publication management, college-level teaching and nonprofit board leadership, along with proven skills in writing, editing, graphic design, vector illustration, logo design, communication strategy and planning, web design, social media coordination, public speaking, sales and research. Science writer. Published author. Infographic aficionado. Avid reader. Dog and cat lover. NPR junkie. Beachcomber. I'm intensely curious about why people do the things they do, and I delight in taking apart complex ideas and presenting them in ways that nearly everyone can understand and enjoy.




Angie's DIY Home Staging Work

Haunted Real Estate, Ed & Lorraine Warren, And What To Do If Your House Is Haunted // The Home Staging Show Podcast Season 2 Episode 8


Haunted Real Estate, Ed & Lorraine Warren, And What To Do If Your House Is Haunted // The Home Staging Show Podcast Season 2 Episode 8


If you have been listening to the show for awhile and like the show, please take a minute to rate and review The Home Staging Show on iTunes. That will be super helpful because that will help other people to find this show and allow me to keep finding great guests and keep recording. Today’s show is brought to you by EcoJoe, the eco-friendly St Joseph statue home selling kit. In real estate, there is a tradition of praying to St Joseph for good luck, and we made an eco-friendly made with clay. EcoJoe is 100% natural, he won’t harm the earth. To find out more about the product, visit

This special episode is all about haunted real estate. Today’s show is also a bit longer than our normal show. We have 2 guests on the show today. The first guest is Susan Powell, who is a home stager based in Chicago and has worked with haunted houses in her staging. She will also talk about what she now carries in her staging toolkit now that she has come in contact with a few haunted houses. The second guest is a good friend of mine, Diana Mercer. She had worked closely with Ed and Lorraine Warren, who are the subjects of the movies The Conjuring and Annabelle. She has a LOT of crazy stories about haunting, possession and I also asked her to share advices if you are suspecting hauntings in your home or what to look for in a potential house that you are thinking about buying. She actually was an atheist, she is going to share the story of why she now is made a believer.

Here are some of the stuff we talked about on the show today:

  • Working in haunted homes
  • The differences between ghosts v. evil spirits
  • What are ghosts
  • When you see your dead grandmother or white apparitions appear vs. dark shadowy figures and foul smells
  • What may cause a ghost
  • #1 cause of bringing in evil spirits in your home
  • How Annabelle got started
  • Diana’s firsthand experiences and stories from working with Ed and Lorraine Warren
  • What to do with elemental and fairly harmless ghosts
  • Not every state has law that requires homeowners to disclose hauntings, so what should you do if you were a buyer?
  • The Amityville Horror
  • If someone got murdered in the house, does that make the home haunted?
  • Spirit photography




Guest #1: Susan Powell

Susan Powell

After graduation from PSC Susan started an independent full service interior design firm working in the residential and commercial world. Specializing in one-day makeovers or simply using what the homeowner already owns, Susan has been helping people reconnect and fall in love with their homes again - without spending a lot of money - which is her company's speciality. Another speciality of her firm is staging properties for resale. They do vacant homes using items from their inventory and rental or occupied. A house staged by Susan is never on the market longer than 90 days. As one of the founding members of Interior Stylist Network, she embraces their design philosophy of "celebrating the soul of your home."

Susan's passion is adaptive reuse and historical renovation. With the upsurge in real estate right now in Chicago former blighted neighborhoods are coming back to life. These old neighborhoods have amazing historical homes that people are rediscovering and reclaiming. She's happy to not only stage this awesome places, but she's there in the beginning discovering these once ornate gems, advising investors which ones to buy, and guiding a team of rehabbers to restore the old beauties, but with all the bells & whistles today's homeowner demands. After the house has been restored, she stage it and it sells. From there we move on to another.

Connect with Susan


Facebook: http://www.facebook/com/infocus-designs




Guest #2: Diana Mercer

Diana Mercer

Diana Mercer is a member of the new England Society for Psychic Research, founded by Ed and Lorraine Warren. She was an integral part of their ghost hunting team. Ed and Loraine Warren are the investigators for the stories for Annabel and The Conjuring and they were the first people to enter the Amityville Horror house after the possession.

People & Links Mentioned in Today's Show,
Plus Additional Resources


How to Do A Spooktastic and Elegant Halloween Dinner Party

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays because you can do a lot and get away with a lot. But it is super easy to go overboard if you are not careful and if you want a classic dinner party. Here are some of my top tips on making it elegant, rich and still spooktastic.

1. Pick a Color Scheme & Theme

A dinner party is awesome, but a themed dinner party elevates it to a whole new level. When I am researching for decor ideas for clients, I often look for images for the mood that I'm trying to achieve, and then I make a mood board. Once I have my mood board, I pick colors that I think will be great for the event. I will pick 1-2 central colors and then accent colors.

Here is an example I made for a Gothic Halloween:

Gothic Halloween Dinner Party Mood Board // How to Do A Spooktastic and Elegant Halloween Dinner Party // Staged4more Home Staging & Design

For this mood board, I wanted something that's really rich and filled with textures. I loved all the muted gold accents in the photos, so I wanted gold as one of the main colors. Black obviously is a must, I also chose a deep gray with a very subtle tint of blue. I am also very drawn to contrast between the matte, smooth surface v. worn textures.

2. Elaborate and Expand

Gothic Halloween // How to Do A Spooktastic and Elegant Halloween Dinner Party // Staged4more Home Staging & Design

Brainstorm ways to really make the ideas to come to life. Elaborate on your concept and really go in deep with each idea. Doing a mad scientist themed Halloween dinner? How about a cocktail with floating "eyeball" in blood? Surprising details like this can really make the scene! But the interpretation of that can go either way. It can either be very campy, or very elegant, like what The Happy Heathen did by using cut crystal glasses. I also loved that she built on the theme by layering different textures of moss, cob webs and gauze.  


Gothic Halloween // How to Do A Spooktastic and Elegant Halloween Dinner Party // Staged4more Home Staging & Design

The hardest part about planning is that you have a lot of ideas, and it can feel you are all over the place. Don't get flustered, that's part of the process. Stick with your color palette, add a lot of textures and details, that's how you can successfully build a beautiful event to remember.

4. Devil is in the Details

Gothic Halloween // How to Do A Spooktastic and Elegant Halloween Dinner Party // Staged4more Home Staging & Design

You probably have heard of this a million times, but it is worth saying, especially when it comes to event decor. Details will build atmosphere and take your party from good to great and memorable. As the dinner host, you want people to have fun and leave talking about your dinner party for days, right? Surprising details will do that. You can achieve that by surprising your guests by using everyday materials in surprising ways. I love what The Happy Heathen did here by using bandages as napkins. And her jars of bones specimens and mystery organs. How fun is that? 

5. Edit, Edit, Edit

Gothic Halloween // How to Do A Spooktastic and Elegant Halloween Dinner Party // Staged4more Home Staging & Design

I always say that styling is all about editing, and there are no other ways about it. It is SO easy to go overboard and come cross as comical or cheesy. When you are interpreting ideas, it is very easy to do an orange and black Halloween. Think outside of the box a little. There are many, many ways to play this. I love this mood board here. Just by using black and white and playing with textures, the mood board is equal parts elegant and spooky. I especially love the wreath.

When I first started to work on my Gothic Halloween mood board, I collected about 30 images that grabbed my attention. Then, I started whittle them down by first putting them all together in a folder where I can see the thumbnails all next to each other. I started picking out the ones that spoke to me more and then I started placing them in my grid. Once I started working on my grid, I could start seeing the board coming together and the concept started to emerge. Lastly, I worked the color palette, picking my favorite five colors to use. 

What do you think of my mood board? What kind of Halloween party are you planning? Tell me about your own spooktastic party in the comment section below.

Vintage Pieces in Your Home Staging Plus Other Stories with Texas Home Stager Karen Otto // The Home Staging Show Podcast Season 2 Ep 7

Incoporating Vintage Pieces in Your Home Staging Plus Other Stories with Texas Home Stager Karen Otto // The Home Staging Show Podcast Season 2 Episdoe 7

Hey guys, welcome back! If this is the first episode that you are listening to, the Home Staging Show is all about learning how to create a beautiful home, whether it is for selling or for living. On today’s episode, I interview a veteran home stager and a leader in the home staging industry, Karen Otto. She is the owner of Home Star Staging in Texas and she started her business around the same time I did.

If you have been listening to the show for awhile and like the show, please take a minute to rate and review The Home Staging Show on iTunes. That will be super helpful because that will help other people to find this show and allow me to keep finding great guests and keep recording. Today’s show is brought to you by EcoJoe, the eco-friendly St Joseph statue home selling kit. In real estate, there is a tradition of praying to St Joseph for good luck, and we made an eco-friendly statue made with clay. EcoJoe is 100% natural, he won’t harm the earth. To find out more about the product, visit

So I just love the way Karen mixes different colors and textures, as well as mixing in vintage pieces with her staging. She also uses materials and props in creative and unexpected ways, which we will talk about on the show today. We also chatted about business a little bit. I know sometimes, when home stagers get together, we can’t help it but chat business. But I think it is also important for you guys, even if you are homeowners who have no interests in ever owning a home staging business to hear the behind the scene stuff since then that gives you a better understanding and perspectives on what to look for when you are hiring a home stager, or if you are a new stager wanting to build a better business. Because that is important too. Great staging is not enough, you also have to have a solid business that fuels your passion and serves your purposes, on top of that, you are providing a valuable service to others and helping them sell their homes. We also talk about the design process of pulling a home together, sourcing and shopping, and the importance of getting a great photographer.  




Karen Otto’s love for all things “home” started when she was young and would rearrange her parent’s furniture when she got bored. She later found her niche in marketing and earned her degree at Florida International University in Miami, FL. In 2006 she cultivated her passion for “all things home and marketing” and channeled that energy into her company Home Star Staging, in Plano, TX. In that same year Karen earned her Accredited Staging Professional designation and is currently a RESA-Pro stager. In 2009 Karen became the Charter President of the RESA-Dallas Chapter served as the 2011-12 RESA-Texas State President and is currently the RESA’s Region 10 Vice President.

Karen’s passion has always been helping people and that translates whether working with clients, colleagues or peers within the industry. In 2008 her love for teaching and her expertise in home staging culminated in a Workforce Development Course she created for North Texas home sellers offered through Collin College in Plano, TX. The course is designed to help anyone understand the value and importance of staging a home for selling in any market. Karen believes an educated consumer is her best client.

An avid social networker, blogger, writer and speaker, Karen is a nationally recognized expert in the staging industry and is passionately committed to educating others about the power and benefits of home staging. Karen’s work, commentary, and writing has appeared on; HGTV’s “My First Sale”, FOX 4 Good Day Dallas!, the Dallas Morning News, North Dallas Gazette, “Do Your Own Home Staging” by Tina Parker, “Ready 2 Sell in 30 Days” by Karen Bernetti and Ann Anderson along with blog spots, Ezines and online publications around the globe.

Karen envisions herself as part of a contingent of home stagers around the country who are leading the way to make home staging an industry standard for every residential real estate transaction.


People & Links Mentioned in Today's Show


Design Process, Remodeling and Artwork // The Home Staging Show Podcast Season 2 Ep 6


Design Process, Remodeling and Artwork // The Home Staging Show Podcast Season 2 Ep 6

If this is the first episode that you are listening to, this show is all about learning how to create a beautiful home, whether it is for selling or for living. On today’s episode, I’m going to talk about the design process of pulling a home together and talking about artwork, which is something I think a lot of homeowners get stuck on. They are not sure what to put on their walls. So I’m going to talk about that today, and give you a few ideas on what to do.




You are listening to the Home Staging Show podcast, and this is Season 2, Episode 6! This is your host, Cindy Lin.

If this is the first episode that you are listening to, this show is all about learning how to create a beautiful home, whether it is for selling or for living. On today’s episode, I’m going to talk about the design process of pulling a home together and talking about artwork, which is something I think a lot of homeowners get stuck on. They are not sure what to put on their walls. So I’m going to talk about that today, and give you a few ideas on what to do.

Hey guys, welcome back! It’s another episode of my solo show. I’ve been trying to do more interviews, if you have a specific topic that you want to learn more about, or you have any ideas for guests, please leave a comment in the show notes, and I’ll look for some awesome guests.

It’s been a surprisingly busy season, normally this time of the year, things are winding down, but I am still seeing a lot of activities on the market. As many of you know, my staging company Staged4more is turning 10 in a few months, so definitely there are a bit of reflecting on the business and seeing how the directions will go for the future. We are definitely changing a bit of directions next year, and one of the major changes we started with is to give EcoJoe a little bit more love and independence from the staging company. For those of you who are not familiar with EcoJoe. In real estate, there is this superstition to bury a Saint Joseph statue for good luck in selling your home. You would bury a statue of Saint Joseph and pray to him for good luck in selling your house. We had designed and manufactured an eco-friendly version named EcoJoe, who is made with 100% clay. He is all natural and won’t harm the earth. You can find out more about him on our website at

I literally just finished redoing the EcoJoe website yesterday. It is still a work in progress, where I’m working on a private area just for the wholesalers, but it is coming along nicely. We are also planning to add more to the EcoJoe shop, to make it a more robust resource and webshop so we can provide helpful tips, products and courses to help people sell. That’s really the overarching idea behind everything that we do. As you know, I feel very strongly about the benefits of home staging and it’s become a mission to do more education on that.

So on today’s show, I want to talk about styling and decorating and pulling your house together. I was listening to this podcast, Elise Gets Crafty, where she interviews creatives about their work. On this particular episode, she was interviewing the husband and wife team bloggers behind Young House Love. They were on the show to discuss and promote their new book Lovable, Livable Home. If you are not familiar with Young House Love, it is a blog where a couple documented their process and how they remodeled their homes. They used to blog everyday and they DIYed a lot and documented pretty much everything. The blog then got turned into their first book, now this book that they are talking about on the show is their second book.

This particular show was more about how they wrote the book and their approach but I got pretty inspired listening to it, because I love their thought process and thought their philosophy behind the book was a very approachable way to design your home. It also just so happened that I was at a family event this week and I was surrounded by family members asking me design questions, specifically about empty walls, which is also something I see a lot of first time home owners and sellers struggle with. So I thought it would be a perfect time to talk about this. I also saw quite a few remodeled projects this week, so I want to chat about remodeling for a little bit, since we also discussed it with Michelle Finnamore in last week’s podcast interview. That was a great episode for both homeowners and home stagers. If you haven’t checked it out, definitely give it a listen.

So, the first thing I want to talk about is what is “perfect?” I think a lot of times, we have this idea in our head that we want our home to be perfect, our job to be perfect and our lives to be perfect. Well, I can’t really help you with the job and lives part, but I can help you with the home part. A lot of times, we don’t realize that design can be a long term game. But it doesn’t have to be painful like forcing yourself running through an entire marathon in one sitting. Design is really a process. It takes time to not only figure out what you want, it also take time to hone and grow your aesthetics. Your lifestyle will change as time change, so it is important to keep that in mind when you make design decisions. This is why I am a big fan of experimenting and playing. I think that’s probably one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned doing visuals at Anthropologie. Before building a full display, we generally draw out the concepts on paper, prototype it, like building a small scale one, and figure out how we can take this on a large scale and if it can be scaled. It is the same when it comes to design. What I really loved about what Young House Love people talked about was that they approach redoing and remodeling their homes in phases. You go from phase 1, like maybe something really small like changing the hardware, then repainting one cabinet, to changing out the entire kitchen cabinet, the higher level stuff. I like this idea a lot because this is a great way to make something that seem very daunting way more approachable. While you are walking yourself through the different phases, your skills and abilities will also improve and grow. Then the harder projects will seem less daunting to you then trying to tackle it head-on in the beginning. Think about it like playing a video game. Like Super Mario, the only video game I know how to play. You have to follow the levels and work your way up to save the princess. 

You also don’t have to make things perfect on the first day, but you can make it livable on day one. It’s definitely a process where you move from phase 1 to phase 2 to 3 and so on. Do things in steps like starting from changing hardware and then build upon that and play with different solutions. And I’d say definitely try before you fully commit. Like painting, I always recommend painting one corner first to test the colors then fully commit if that’s what you want. It’s the same thing about testing trends. There are a lot of cool DIY stuff out there, like you can paint your walls in an ombre. It may look awesome on Pinterest, but then you may end up hating living with it. So you never know until you do it. And through this process, it will also help you define what is perfect for you.

This same idea can also be applied to staging your home. A lot of time I see people get stuck because they feel overwhelmed. If you approach things in phases, it will help you digest it and break the tasks down. 

The second is your purposes. This sounds so like one of those new age books but what I meant is that what is this room for, how are you going to use it and how does this fit into your overall lifestyle. One of the things that really struck me about the interview is that the authors/bloggers from Young House Love really talked about laying out their book by purposes and different audiences. And I think that’s really important for you when it comes to your home design or your home staging process. Obviously for staging, it is different than you living there because staging is all about the buyers. You are selling a lifestyle to them and you want to make sure that your staging will highlight the lifestyle that you want to sell. For living, it is different. It is about you.

I want to chat about remodeling here really quick, since I was asked to do estimates for a few staging projects this week and I have basically seen a wide range of spectrum this week. I think it is great that you are remodeling your home, but if you know you will be selling the home down the line, you really have to think about the return on investment. One of the most painful mistakes I’ve seen homeowners make is that they over-remodel or select finishes that are expensive but are so disconnected with each other, you are not getting a great overall effect. When you remodel based on a very specific taste, the more specific that is, the harder it is to sell. I saw a house this week where they had textured accent walls with light speckles in them. That is a very specific taste that not everyone will appreciate. It was also difficult and expensive to update. So you have to also think about maintenance issues. Like the white marble countertop is incredibly popular, especially in interior blogs and magazines, but they can also be hard to maintain. I was on a photo shoot recently. The house was pretty well photographed. It just had a feature in Domino magazine before we were shooting for a book. The homeowner had a beautiful white marble counter top that just got finished. We were shooting a brunch scene where we had these glasses of juices. Because the acid in the juice, it left these rings in the countertop, even though the glasses were only there for about an hour. If you want to use finishes that are harder to maintain, these are the homework that you need to do to make sure that you can keep the finishes that you want. No matter what finishes you use, there will be a certain level of maintenance. Obviously, some are more and some are less. So when you make these type of decision, you need to think about how you can get the best return on investment, whether it is monetary or emotional returns. 

If you haven't listened to my interview with home seller Kirstie, check it out here. In her episode, she talked about her remodeling process and how it took them 3 years to stage, making the decisions for buyers but finding the whole thing to be well worth it, especially staging is not popular in their area.

This bring me to my third point, which is being thoughtful in your process. The thing is that the more homework you have done, the more you can manage your budget and timeline, and avoid disaster. You always want to make sure you have clarity on what kind of results you want to achieve. I say this to you because I learn this the hard way many times. I find that every time if I walk into the project blind, not knowing what kind of results that I want, it usually is a little bit of disasters. You don’t need to make crazy investments until you see your needs. You can always make bigger upgrades down the line, you don’t have to do it all at once. It is the similar process for getting your home ready for sale. If you are updating your home, research the current trends and make educated decision. Most of the time, you get most ROI from kitchen and bathroom remodels. Things that save a chunk on utilities bills, low-maintainence are usually the winners. And surprisingly, just because the project is expensive doesn’t mean it will get you higher returns. Actually minor improvements can get you more returns. According to Remodeling Magazine’s annual analysis of cost versus values, a quote unquote kitchen facelift, meaning painting, refinishing surfaces and upgrading appliances, will return more than a full redesign. 

So yeah, I would recommend really do your homework, find out what are the best ROI ticket items in your neighborhood, and invest your money wisely. So it’s like clothes shopping, you can get nice pieces at H&M or Zara that looks great but at an affordable price. But you really have to be selective and pick the ones that look expensive where the material looks quality. And make sure all the finishes that you pick will go together well and have style that last. Because I have definitely seen where there are lots of expensive things put together but don’t look great. 

My last point about remodeling is that you don’t want to be the most expensive one on the block. You want to make sure your remodeling fall within the neighborhood norm. Because when you are the most expensive on the block, first of all, there are no comps, so brokers may try to negotiate the price down since no one else has hit the sales price where you want to be before in the neighborhood. Second of all, the potential buyers may not be able to afford the asking price that you want where you can recuperate all the money that you had invested in your remodel.

Lastly, I want to talk about art, because this is something I feel like a lot of people are afraid of. One of the most common things I see with first time home buyers selling their houses is that I don’t see anything on their walls at all. I think when you are in your 20s, approaching your 30s, you are making a little bit more money, it is a great time for you to start collecting art. We are not talking about things we hang in the museum, like a Monet or Van Gogh, but something that you feel personally connect to.

My cousin Eileen mentioned to me that she didn’t know what to do with her dining room walls. She wanted to buy art but she feels like she doesn’t understand art and she wants to buy something that really connects with her. Which I really feel resonate with. I have collected pieces here and there. They are mostly not expensive things, but they are illustrations that make me feel good, that I personally feel connect with. I like a lot of illustrations type of works. You can buy something that is unique or mass produced. It doesn’t matter. Art needs to make you feel something. I feel happy and inspired when I look at the artwork that I collect. 

The other big thing about artwork is hanging them up. My cousin Amy has a pretty long wall in their living room. So it’s one giant long wall with a large sectional. It is often difficult and expensive to find one giant long piece artwork that will fit with the scale. When you hang your artwork, you want to think about how all the things on the wall, including the actual length of the wall, the furniture against the wall and your art relate to each other. The scale needs to make sense and that’s how the room will feel balanced. The most common mistake I see is usually either hanging art too high or the scale doesn’t work. To make the wall feel that you have filled it, you can do a grouping. One of the most fool proof ways to do that is that you can do cut outs. You can use butcher paper or something like that to cut out the size of the artwork and literally arrange them on the walls until you feel they look good to you. You don’t have to do artwork either, you can do decorative plates. I have this weird things where I collected plates and I would go to the sale section of Anthropologie and go through their plates on sales. I usually can find really good deals that way. And I put a plate hanger on the plate and hang them on the wall. You can frame kid’s artwork, beautiful wrapping paper, basically anything that has patterns, graphics and even magazine cutouts. I’ve also made my own artwork when I don’t have anything that’s the right size in my inventory. I once custom made these canvas and basically stretched patterned fabrics over them to use them as artwork. So there are tons of possibilities out there. You can definitely find a lot of great DIY tutorials on Pinterest as well. 

The thing is that whether you are living or selling your home, styling is definitely a process. Go through it one step at a time and definitely have fun with it. Through your experiences, you can figure out what works and what doesn’t work for you. 

So that’s it for today’s show, I hope you had enjoyed it and learned a few new tricks or two. And 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. This will help others finding our show and keep it going. 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 That’s it, have a fantastic week and happy staging! 

Home Staging Consultations & ROI - Interview With Top Toronto Home Stager Michelle Finnamore // The Home Staging Show Podcast Season 2 Episode 5


Home Staging Consultations & ROI - Interview With Top Toronto Home Stager Michelle Finnamore // The Home Staging Show Podcast Season 2 Episode 5

Michelle Finnamore has an amazing business, which you will hear about in today’s show. She is also one smart businesswoman. Michelle has a background in construction, so she brings in a lot of unique insights and knowledge about ROI to her home staging work. She has also done thousands of home staging consultations to date, so I’m super excited to bring her on the show.

Michelle's staging and design work has been featured on HGTV, Fox TV and CBC Radio One. Identifying the ideal client was a key factor in creating a home staging company that has attracted sellers and agents and led to her moniker of being named the Go To Girl when you are looking to sell a property.

She also has some very impressive accolades. She is





Photo credit:

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 or

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 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 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).



our website:


Twitter profile:



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?