Little Changes to Boost Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is the attraction a house draws with just a glance of the exterior from passersby. It is a crucial aspect of buying or selling a house because who would want to tour a home’s interior if they are already put off by the exterior? If your house is on the market, you can make little changes like the ones suggested in this article that will majorly boost the curb appeal.

By Caroline M. Carter, guest contributor

You’ll want to leave potential buyers with a great impression of your listing’s exterior, that is if you want to motivate them to want to see more.

But what do you do if the front entrance to a house looks dated, insubstantial and unwelcoming?

Change it.

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Photo courtesy: Caroline M. Carter/Done in a Day Inc.

What impression does this front door create for the potential buyer? Does it communicate value to the buyer? Is it worth their time to schedule a showing?

No. The front door currently presents as an unimpressive–utilitarian front door with a tarnished, pitted brass doorknob and mail slot.

With a quick trip to the nearest home improvement store, the updated entrance goes from drab to fab. A critical investment of $300 for new black paint and polished brass handset, knocker, mail slot and kick plate transformed this entrance and creates value in the mind of the buyer. It now presents as more polished and welcoming. It’s substantial, safe, secure and well-maintained.

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Photo courtesy: Caroline M. Carter/Done in a Day Inc.

As a result of this quick fix, the buyer will now assume that the interior of the house is worth their time to schedule a showing.

But wait, not so fast.

All doors are important. The basement door facing the main street of this same house is unsightly, insubstantial and creates confusion in the eyes of the buyer–where is the front entrance? What is this door and where does it go?

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Photo courtesy: Caroline M. Carter/Done in a Day Inc.

 A simple black painted lattice framed outer door with no handle creates a more artistic and secure looking distraction so the buyer instantly knows that it is not the main entrance.

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Photo courtesy: Caroline M. Carter/Done in a Day Inc.

 Here’s another simple, inexpensive way to spruce up the curb: Update the house numbers. In the photo below, we added a newly installed black plaque with 4” house numbers on the stone wall closest to the stairs to the main entrance. It’s visible from the street and leads buyers to the actual front entrance.

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Photo courtesy: Caroline M. Carter/Done in a Day Inc.

So, view your entrance and front door with a more critical buyer’s eye. Does it create a positive impression of perceived value? Does it compel the buyer to make time to schedule a showing? If not, it’s time to enhance it. First impressions count.

CarterABOUT THE AUTHOR: Caroline Carter is founder of Done In A Day, a full service home transition company in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Since 2005, her company has created The Perfect Listing® to stage the areas upper bracket houses to sell. She is recognized by the area’s top real estate professionals and educated sellers to be a leading resource to successfully navigating the transition process from house to home. To learn more about Carter, visit her website at doneinaday.com, or follow her teams projects on Facebook, Instagram, Houzz, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Source: http://styledstagedsold.blogs.realtor.org/2017/04/17/revisit-your-listings-curb-appeal-have-you-done-enough/?

Rearranging to Sell Your House

If you recently put your house on the market and don’t know what else to do to make it sell, consider doing things like rearranging furniture, de-cluttering, etc. You might not think about it, but the way your house is “staged” makes a huge impression on potential buyers. You can also add a fresh coat of paint to walls to spruce things up. Consider all the suggestions in the article below to get your house to sell fast!

By Patti Stern, PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

It’s hard to believe the early spring selling season is already upon us! This means that homeowners who haven’t prepared their homes to list now should implement some of the following PJ & Co go-to styling tips if they want to get their listing noticed and sold quickly when the market gets flooded in April and May.

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Living room staged by PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Remove clutter to maximize space.

Play up key features such as windows, hardwood flooring, walk-in closets, spacious cabinets and counters by removing clutter and personal items that are distracting to buyers. Enhance the size of a room or storage area by doing the following: Remove heavy window treatments, replace or cover carpeting with bright, modern area rugs, paint walls and dark trim in lighter neutral tones, and rearrange or remove furniture.

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Living room staged by PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Give each room a purpose.
Savvy buyers are looking for a house that will match their lifestyle and accommodate their needs. Therefore, it’s important to put yourself in their shoes and determine how a room should function instead of how it already functions for that homeowner. If along the way the owner had converted a living room into a game room (as shown in the photo above), you’ll need to take the space back to its original purpose. That may mean bringing back the sofa and coffee table that’s hiding in the basement so that the home doesn’t look deficient in any way.

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Family Room Staged by PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Freshen walls with neutral colors and artwork.
The perfect starting point for an instant boost is a fresh coat of neutral wall color, such as a warm grey or beige. It not only brings a fresh, modern feel to a space, but it also creates a backdrop that showcases the other elements in the room, such as the bright white trim, wall art, and furniture. It’s also a great fix after taking down dated wallpaper as well as for covering up imperfections.

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Family Room Staged by PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Use bright, modern accents for inviting style.
When possible, we like to add furniture with clean lines for universal appeal and complement beautiful bold accents that really bring a neutral room to life. And if the homeowner decides to keep their tired, worn or more traditional furniture, camouflaging with modern pillows, throws, rugs, lighting and colorful accents in geometric patterns, fabrics and finishes will create the warm, inviting vibe that today’s buyers are attracted to.

Don’t forget about curb appeal!
Especially after the cold winter months, it’s just as important to style the outside of your home to welcome buyers inside. Spruce up the yard, make necessary repairs, and update the front porch with cheerful accessories such as a fresh welcome mat, potted flowers, colorful throw pillows on a bench, and a floral wreath for the door.

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

PattiABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Stern, principal, interior decorator and professional stager of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, has been decorating and staging homes since 2005. She and her team provide turnkey, full service home staging and interior decorating to clients across Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts. She also developed an award winning staging program for luxury homebuilder, Toll Brothers. Her company has received Houzz 2015 and 2016 Awards for Customer Service. Stern has been featured in Connecticut Magazine, the Hartford Courant, Danbury News-Times and on NBC Connecticut and FOX TV. She is a regular contributor to REALTOR® Magazine’s Styled, Staged and Sold. For more information, contact Patti Stern at 203-640-3762 or patti@pjstagingdecorating.com

Source: http://styledstagedsold.blogs.realtor.org/2017/02/27/the-essentials-to-styling-your-home-to-sell-quickly/?

Don’t Make These Home Staging Mistakes!

If your house is currently on or soon-to-be on the market and you are choosing to leave it furnished or staged there are things you shouldn’t do. The article below suggests leaving out 5 specific types of props so your home appeals to everyone. Consider the points made when you are preparing for showings and open houses!

By Justin M. Riordan, Spade and Archer Design Agency

There is good staging. There is bad staging. I mean, like really bad staging. In an industry with no regulations, no standardized accreditation system, and tons of “hobbyist professionals”, one gets what one pays for. The problem here is not if that inexperienced or bargain basement stager will do a good job, rather if they’ll actually stop your house from selling, dead in its tracks.

It’s true; good, thoughtful staging can most certainly help a house sell for more money and in less time. Bad staging can bring the selling momentum of a great house to a screeching halt. The absolute best way for bad staging to kibosh your sale is to have it offend potential buyers.

Here are five potentially offensive staging props that could threaten your sale:

J_alcohol1. Alcohol. Alcohol is a common thing found in many homes. It can raise both positive and negative emotions in buyers. We aren’t too worried about the positive emotions on this one as nobody is going to walk into your house and say, “They drink Chablis, I drink Chablis, let’s buy this house!” That being said, a potential buyer may very well be uncomfortable or even offended by alcohol for various reasons.  They could be in recovery or alcohol could be prohibited by their religion. For any reason, a buyer could be offended by alcohol sitting in the living room, on the counter, or next to the bathtub (tacky) in what could potentially be their new home. Even worse is staging with two-buck-chuck and offending the connoisseurs.

J_tipi22. Thetipi (also spelled teepee or tepee). Cultural appropriation is a hot button topic these days. I’ve noticed a good number of home stagers using tipis in kids rooms and play areas.  I spoke to a friend who happens to be a Plains Native American to help me understand why the use of a tipi in home staging could be offensive. He explained that the tipi is a very sacred structure used for ceremonies and rites of passage and to use that sacred piece of somebody else’s culture to sell a house is less than thoughtful. It would be like using the pages of a King James Bible to wallpaper a bathroom, pretty but disrespectful. Whether you agree that using tipis is offensive or not, it’s important to understand that it may raise questions and emotions that are not related to “buy this house”.

J_animalparts23. Dead animal parts. These items are going-to-town, off-the-charts popular. Walking into staged homes all over the county is not unlike walking into an animal autopsy. There are pieces of the beast strewn on the table, tossed over the chair, laid out on the floor and even hung on the wall. Whether it is antlers, hide rugs, fur throws or pillows, these are all clearly recognizable parts of animals that were once alive and are now dead.  Don’t get me wrong, I love me some creepy dead animal decoration, but I know that I am not in the majority. Truly, it’s a very popular trend right now, but many of us are offended by it. A potential buyer might be vegetarian or vegan, an animal rights activist, or even just have a weak stomach. Needless to say, if your potential buyers are any one of these things and need to walk over the ripped-off epidermis of a recently murdered bovine, they might think twice about buying the house they actually love but can’t stomach the though of purchasing.

J_blowup4. Blow-up mattresses. Did you hear that? It was the sound of a blow-up mattress deflating. Or perhaps it was the sound of somebody crashing to the ground after sitting on a blow-up mattress, which was in-turn sitting on top of four 5-gallon buckets. It sounds an awful lot like a lawsuit, doesn’t it? Not only do blow-up mattress look like blow-up mattress (i.e. horrendous), they are unpredictable at best and dangerous at worst.  It’s a stager’s responsibility to demonstrate that a real mattress and box spring can get up the staircase and into that perfect bedroom your buyer had in mind.

J_woodart25. Word art. Do you really need a 3-foot tall E-A-T sign to get a buyer to understand that this room is the dining room? Shouldn’t the dining table surrounded by eight chairs tell that story that this is, in fact a dining room, designed for the specific purpose of E-A-T-I-N-G? Word art is fun, isn’t it? I always love to add one extra word or phrase to each one I see like “Life, Love, Family… Barf”. Ultimately, the staging should tell the story of how happy, successful, and fulfilled one could be if they bought the house. Word art is simply a lazy way to ineffectively send your message. (P.S. My favorite one so far? A big pink canvas that said “Dream Big” next to at toilet, with the lid up nonetheless. Ugh.)

When it comes to home staging, we all make choices. You can choose to simply pick the latest trends that you love and take the chance offending your potentially buyer. Or, you can make thoughtful selections that keep your buyer paying attention to the house and not the staging. Choices, darling… choices.

headshot_JustinRiordanABOUT THE AUTHOR: Justin M. Riordan, LEED AP is founder of Spade and Archer Design Agency, a home staging company with offices in Portland, Seattle and Palm Springs. As the creative energy behind Spade and Archer, Riordan fuses his formal training as an architect with his natural design savvy to create beautiful and authentic spaces for clients. Follow Spade and Archer on Instagram.

Source: http://styledstagedsold.blogs.realtor.org/2017/01/16/5-staging-props-you-need-to-stop-using-now/?

2017 Trends in Design Style

If you want to re-do areas of your home to get it ready to sell or simply keep up with design trends, then this article from REALTOR Magazine will be useful! As a new year has begun new design ideas and styles for homes have emerged. This piece will tell you what is most popular and on trend to be seen in homes across the country this year. Check it out!

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

The Modern Farmhouse is on trend in home design this year, according to a newly released survey by Next Day Blinds. We may have Joanna and Chip Gaines from the HGTV hit show “Fixer Upper” to thank for the surge in popularity of this rustic style.

This style can be channeled in a variety of ways, from planked walls, rustic sliding barn doors to mix-and-match fixtures, reclaimed wood tones, and black trim.

Here are some more findings from Next Day Blinds’ recent home design survey:

  • Men vs. Women: If it was up to men – and money was no object – they would invest in a new entertainment stand this year. For women, they’d choose to purchase a new kitchen table. Further, men tend to care more about the brand name of a home décor purchase than women do.
  • Neutral color palettes dominate: Nearly 39 percent of respondents say they prefer a neutral color palette for the interior of the home. Check out our prior post Beige Is Back And There Is No Blah About It
  • Millennial redos: Millennials are much more likely than baby boomers to update their home in the new year.

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Source: http://styledstagedsold.blogs.realtor.org/2017/01/23/the-number-one-design-style-for-2017-is/?

Fresh Paint Goes A Long Way

Whether you are putting your house on the market or just wanting to change things up, a coat of new paint really goes a long way. As times change, so does what is in style so be sure not to do anything too crazy if you want it to last a long time. The article below goes into details about how to choose the right paint color for any room in your house.

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Photo courtesy: Dunn-Edwards Paints

A fresh coat of paint is one of the easiest and most affordable home improvement projects to tackle prior to a home sale that can make a big difference.

Sara McLean, color expert and blogger for Dunn-Edwards Paints, offers some of the following tips on how to choose interior colors that will appeal to the biggest buyer pool:

Don’t go too monotone. McLean cautions on painting everything white or beige. The home might end up looking more like an apartment, rather than an upscale home. An occasional accent wall in a darker or complementary shade may add appeal.

Stick to earth tones and natural-based colors. Warm browns and milky tans – think latte. Light greens and blues are classy, and even some reds and oranges.  Warm grays are popular now, rather than cool grays, she says.

Take into account flooring. Lay the color chips along the flooring to see how well they pair together. Warm tones tend to look better with most hardwood. Whereas tile, terrazzo or carpet may make you want to opt for other colors.

Give a room life without getting personal. “Many people have a visceral reaction to bold colors and buyers’ first thought is that they will need to repaint,” McLean says.

Brighten up kitchens and bathrooms. Kitchens and baths work well with brighter colors that can help make them look fresh, clean, and inviting. In the kitchen, soft buttery yellows with slight brown undertones are popular and cheerful colors. “Olive and sage greens, make it feel garden-y and fresh,” McLean notes. ” If you don’t have a tile backsplash, create one with an eggshell or semi-gloss paint — either a solid color or with a decorative stencil.”

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Photo courtesy: Dunn-Edwards Paints

Try brighter color palettes in smaller rooms. Baths, laundry room, and powders may benefit from brighter colors because they’re smaller.  Oranges and reds are trending now and through next year, as well as teal and turquoise.

Test it out before you commit. “Once you have chosen a color, pick up a few samples and paint a section of the wall, near permanent structures like fireplaces, flooring and cabinetry,” McLean recommends. “Live with the samples at least a full a day to see them in all light sources. What looks light and bright in the morning, may look dungeon-y at night.”

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Photo courtesy: Dunn-Edwards Paints

Choose the right gloss level.  Flat, velvet or eggshell are­ good for interior walls, while a higher sheen looks pretty on trim and in kitchens and bathrooms. The higher gloss levels are easier to clean so they tend to be more ideal for high traffic areas.  Look for trim paint that is water based but with the upscale look of oil based.

Source: http://styledstagedsold.blogs.realtor.org/2016/12/26/how-to-choose-the-right-paint-color/?

Bring Back Bathtubs!

As bathrooms have changed over the years, it seems like bathtubs have become scarce. More and more people look for great showers with all the bells and whistles when buying or remodeling homes instead. However, as of lately, bathtubs appear to be making a comeback. If you are thinking about updating your house before putting it on the market, read why you should consider adding a tub to your bathroom.

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Photo credit: Karen Eubank, Eubank Staging & Design

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

The National Association of Home Builders has in recent years pointed to a dwindling interest in whirlpools in the master bathroom, but that doesn’t mean home owners are ready to banish bathtubs all together.

Sure, home owners have been swapping out built-in bathtubs with supersized walk-in, lavish showers.

However, now some home owners say they want to add the tub back in.

The National Kitchen & Bath Association noted a trend this year among remodelers incorporating more freestanding soaking tubs. Since it’s not built in, there is more flexibility in the placement of these tubs too. They can be placed anywhere from along a window to the center of the bathroom to even, in some cases, inside the shower.

Often times, the tub stands alone nowadays. Freestanding tubs are becoming a focal element in the bathroom, says Karen Eubank with Eubank Staging & Design in Dallas.

Source: http://styledstagedsold.blogs.realtor.org/2016/11/14/home-trends-to-watch-the-free-standing-tub/?

Staging Makes a Difference

If you have your house on the market and want to attract specific buyers, staging can make all the difference. First of all, staging a house in general versus leaving it bare will help prospective buyers better envision themselves living in that space. However, rooms can be staged in so many ways. This article shows the same space staged three different ways and how it completely changes the vibe of the house each time. Take note of what vibe you want your house to give and stage it appropriately.

By Saghar Setareh, CoContest guest contributor

How can you know the best style for staging a property? After all, you’ll need to satisfy home buyers’ various style tastes as well as make sure you’re showing the property in its best light.

Thanks to the power of the Internet, we wanted to see just how much the point of view in staging of properties can vary. We asked for designers to upload their take on one floorplan at the CoContest website. All designers staged the same room, but recreated it differently based on their own style and taste and interpretation of the client’s request in the contest.

The challenge: This modern apartment in Connecticut needed to be renovated, in a way to enjoy the artwork during the gatherings of family and friends.

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Photo courtesy: CoContest

Design 1: Classic Vibe

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Designed by Decolite Design

This room offered up a more classic appeal. The designer Decolite Design used a crystal chandelier for the main lighting, colonial furniture for the main living room, black chesterfield sofas with white armchairs, and a large, white rug. The artwork is also from the classic period. The pallet of colors is black and white, and a piano along the wall also helps to complete the look.

Design 2: Bold Artwork

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Designed by Marta Valence; Photo courtesy: CoContest

This designer Marta Valente above used bright and saturated colors in the artwork to compliment the two dark sofas and white and mustard color chairs. In order to add a more modern and industrial look to the space, a wooden table with metal legs was brought in. To complete this look, the wall has gray bricks and there’s a colorful buffet in stripes along one wall.

Design 3: A Modern Touch

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Designed by BIVIO Architettura. Paula Godoy & Celia Cardona; Photo courtesy: CoContest

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Designed by BIVIO Architettura. Paula Godoy & Celia Cardona; Photo courtesy: CoContest

Another designer BIVIO Architettura. Paula Godoy & Celia Cardona used very modern furniture from the late 20th Century, puffs, and large paintings to work as a separator. Texture is also used in the modern furniture and couches to match the abstract paintings on the wall. Low, coffee table and cushions are also part of this look. But the most distinctive feature of this project: The vertical bars that divide the living room in two separated parts.

These are only three design ideas from many, that present the property in three, completely different styles, made possible to imagine how the property would look like, with a convenient price.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Saghar Setareh is the Content Manager of CoContest, the first crowdsourcing platform for interior design and architecture online. She is an enthusiast about home decor and all forms of design.

Source: http://styledstagedsold.blogs.realtor.org/2016/10/17/view-the-same-property-staged-3-different-ways/?

Fabulous Kitchens

Whether you want to buy property to build your dream home from scratch or a fixer-upper that you can update to your liking, you need to put a lot of focus on the kitchen. The kitchen is often the busiest, most used room in the house so you should want it to stand out. This article showcases five beautiful design ideas that can serve as models for your own space!

The model homes of builders are known for showcasing the latest interior design trends in trying to appeal to home shoppers. So what’s trending when it comes to the kitchen?

PulteGroup’s Interior Designs Team is merchandising about 425 model homes in 2016. The kitchen is a big area that gets a lot of the design team’s focus too.

“Today’s home buyers are willing to spend more in the kitchen – from energy-efficient appliances to quartz countertops,” says Janice Jones, PulteGroup’s national vice president of interior design. “We continuously conduct consumer focus groups to best understand what they want in their kitchens and are constantly refining our kitchen designs and its elements to ensure it delivers on functionality, creative design and easy maintenance across all our buyer groups.”

Jones cites five kitchen trends in 2016 that they are reflecting in many PulteGroup model homes lately. These trends also can serve as inspiration for home owners planning renovation projects or wanting ideas for easy updates, Jones notes.

1. Contrasting materials

Materials are getting mixed in the kitchen. Contrasting colors and styles are combined to create a more unique space. For example, mixed marbles and metals in a space can help highlight gray wood tones.

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Photo courtesy of PulteGroup

2. Decorative lighting

Bold and oversized lighting choices are popular choices. “Decorative lighting is key in the kitchen and adds dramatic flair as well as functionality to the kitchen, especially over the kitchen island,” according to PulteGroup’s Interior Designs Team.

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Photo courtesy of PulteGroup

3. Transparency

Switch out some cabinet doors with glass doors. It can help you extend visual boundaries while also allowing home owners to display some of their favorite things and add more personalization to a space.

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Photo courtesy of PulteGroup

4. Storage

Home owners are always looking for more storage, especially in the kitchen. Double-stacked cabinets that extend to the ceiling can help maximize storage space.

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Photo courtesy of PulteGroup

5. More drawers, less doors

Having plenty of kitchen drawers can add more functionality in storage. Home owners are showing preferences toward more drawers over extra cabinets. Bold hardware can then added to the drawers to add more design appeal, PulteGroup says.

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Photo courtesy of PulteGroup

Source: http://styledstagedsold.blogs.realtor.org/2016/08/15/5-kitchen-design-trends-from-model-homes/?

A Playroom Can Enhance Your Listing!

If your home is on the market and you are looking to liven up some rooms through staging you should consider a playroom! A spare bedroom, corner of your basement, or den can make a great space for this. If your house is in a kid-friendly neighborhood and/or has the perfect amount of space for a family a playroom can showcase that. Get some design ideas here:

This post was contributed exclusively for REALTOR® Magazine.

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Source: http://styledstagedsold.blogs.realtor.org/2016/07/11/stage-a-cool-playroom-to-show-off-your-kid-friendly-listing/?

Bring some life into your home

One of the most underrated tools to help stage a home for sale is by adding some greenery and plant life! Adding some plants in your home, especially as a much needed contrast to the desert landscape, can make a much better impression on potential buyers. It can improve air flow in the home as well.

Styled Staged & Sold will be featuring staging professionals’ favorite staging accessories and props over the next few weeks. (Do you have a favorite? Submit your favorite for consideration to mtracey@realtors.org.)

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Photo credit: Michelle Boyle, California Chic Staging

Go-to prop: Fake tree or plant

Stager: Michelle Boyle, owner of California Chic Staging Co., Roseville, Calif.

Why I love it: “So many people use awful and outdated greenery in homes. Spending the money on really great greenery makes all the difference when creating a look and feel for a home. You want a fresh, modern piece to help accessorize the space.”

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Photo credit: Michelle Boyle, California Chic Staging

Make it work tips: 

  • Learn the difference between a “good” fake tree and a “not so good” one. Typically, the better ones cost a lot more, but not always. Scout out places like Home Goods or Target. Some types of trees and plants can pull off being fake versus real much better, such as succulents, grasses, and Boyle’s personal favorite – the fiddle leaf fig tree.
  • A great place for adding greenery in a home is large empty corners of a room, coffee and side tables, and in bathrooms.
  • Don’t overdo it. Use fake greenery sparingly, such as one or two pieces in the main living room and one in each room thereafter.
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Photo credit: Michelle Boyle, California Chic Staging

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Photo credit: Michelle Boyle, California Chic Staging

Source: http://styledstagedsold.blogs.realtor.org/2016/06/20/my-favorite-staging-accessory-greenery/?