Using Decorative Trays: Tips for Home Sellers

blog-table-tray-decor-tips-for-home-sellers

Accessorized table trays are a hot decor trend that looks good in just about any style house. They offer additional storage, come in a variety of styles and textures, and add more dimension and interest to counters, tables, and other surfaces.

As a bonus, they’re also an amazing staging tool for the home seller who is living in the home while it’s for sale. Used as a marketing “hook,” trays are an effective way to draw a buyer’s eye to features you want to highlight, like a gourmet kitchen island or spacious bathroom countertops. But the best part is that they’re super easy to move! Just pick it up when you need to use the space, and put it back in place when you want the room to look decorated.

But using trays efficiently as a decorative accessory or as an organization tool takes a bit of finesse — sorry, Susan, you can’t just toss all your magazines and candles on there and call it a day. We’re sharing a few of our tips on choosing the right tray for the job and how to accessorize it so that it doesn’t end up as a cluttered catch-all.

How to Choose the Right Table Tray for the Job

  • Determine how you’ll use it. If it’s going in the office to organize papers, get one that’s no larger than a standard letter size to prevent pile-ups of other junk in the same spot. Trays for the kitchen should be food-safe and easy to clean, typically ceramic or acrylic. You may want a bedroom tray large enough to hold jewelry, loose pocket change, or even a lamp.
  • Think about your home’s style. Select a tray that complements the other decorative elements in the home. Galvanized metal trays are popular choices in homes that feature a farmhouse look. Hardwood trays are a great traditional choice for many homes, while clean lines and metal accents look nice in more transitional style houses. Mirrored trays are an elegant touch for bar areas and bathrooms.
  • Get good quality. Trays are available in a wide variety of price points, but make sure it has comfortable handles and is sturdily built. For a tray that may be moved around a lot, make sure the edges are high enough to keep things from slipping off when you move it.
breakfast-in-bed-1158270_1280

Home sellers can even use table trays anywhere to spark a buyer’s imagination — this one is a great marketing “hook,” encouraging buyers to envision themselves enjoying breakfast in bed in this gorgeous bedroom.
Image by ErikaWittlieb from Pixabay

Tips for Accessorizing Table Trays

  • Use bigger trays for bigger tables or ottomans.
  • Mix height, texture, and color.
  • Add in sculptural pieces, like a pretty knick-knack atop a stack of books.
  • Follow the “rule of three.” Odd numbers feel looser and more relaxed when it comes to decorating — a dish to hold your remote controls, a larger decoration like a simple plant or a beautiful tall candle, and a smaller decorative object to add a bit of fun interest.
  • Avoid overfilling the tray with small pieces. It makes the decor look too bitsy and cluttered.
  • Layer in pieces that are a snapshot of your personality. Table trays are a great place to show off a collection. ***Note: This bullet point only applies if you’re decorating for YOU. If you’re staging your house to sell, keep the decor neutral and avoid any nods to politics, sports, religion, or culture.***

Are you getting ready to sell your home and in need of more tips for a faster, easier, more profitable sale? Contact Three Bears Home Staging to set up a consultation!

Title photo credit p_kennedy123 from Pixabay.

4 “Kiss of Death” Phrases I Hear Home Sellers Use Before They Even List Their House

blog-kiss-of-deathThe vast majority of my home staging consultations are positive experiences. Even clients who are initially terrified hesitant about meeting with a home stager start to relax as we work through the process together, and they begin to understand that my goal is directly in line with theirs: sell the home fast and for more money! I meet with homeowners who are preparing for happy moves due to promotions or growing family, sad moves due to divorce or layoffs, and a hundred other reason in between, but almost all homeowners I meet are motivated to get the house sold, willing to put in a little effort, and open to diplomatic suggestions.

And then there are some who are not.

There are some who are still on the fence about selling. Some who are really out of touch with how the current real estate market operates. And, every once in awhile, someone who leaves me wondering why they even called me at all. These clients typically utter at least one of the following “kiss of death” phrases and will invariably sabotage their home sale before they ever get started…

  • “I’m going to sell it myself.” Maybe you don’t want to pay commission fees. Maybe you had a bad experience with a real estate agent in the past. Maybe you’re one of the statistical few who can make it work. But there are lots of GOOD, professional, qualified real estate brokers and agents out there who are worth every penny of their commission. They have access to services and market knowledge that you may not. Get recommendations, do your research, interview agents, and hire one who’s a good fit for your needs.
  • “I’m just going to leave this wallpaper/raggedy carpet/hot pink dining room like it is. Whoever buys the house will want to change it to their own style anyway.” After 15 years in marketing and PR and another 6 years as a professional home stager, I can tell you without hesitation that most people can’t really “see” beyond what’s in front of them. Only about 10% of home buyers can visualize the potential of a home. By leaving your home unstaged or failing to make simple updates and repairs before you go on the market, you leave the advantages of your home overlooked and left up to the buyer’s imagination. Not to mention the fact that most buyers drastically inflate what it will cost to make those changes or repairs…and will take it off their offer price.
  • “We’re going to price it high so that we have room to negotiate.” Listen: the same strategies that work at a garage sale or on an episode of “Pawn Stars” do not necessarily apply to real estate. Today’s buyers have access to a LOT of information. They know when something is priced well and when it’s not. They don’t care what you owe on it, or how much you invested, or how much you think it’s worth. Setting a price that’s inline with other comparable, recently sold homes in the neighborhood creates demand and interest and has buyers chasing YOU.
  • “Well, I don’t know if I want to make all these changes. If it doesn’t sell, then I’ll have to live with all this neutral paint/rehang my old curtains/put all the family photos back. Maybe I’ll just leave it like it is and see what happens.” No. Just…no. I can almost guarantee that if you go into a sale with this attitude it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Commit to the process and put in the prep work. If you’re not willing to do that, maybe you need to seriously re-examine whether or not you’re truly ready to sell your house (for some people, that emotional connection is still just too strong).

Preparing for a home sale is a BIG task — physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially. Take some of the burden off your shoulders by going all in and surrounding yourself with a team of professionals who can help you make sure your house is accurately priced and staged “just right.” Need help getting started? Just give Three Bears Home Staging a call and we can point you in the right direction.

Title photo credit: Image by Robin Higgins from Pixabay

Home Sellers: How to Keep Your House Clean for Showings

blog-how-to-keep-your-house-clean-for-showingsWhen your home is on the market, it has to be “show-ready” with very little notice.

Home buyers are extremely judgmental (and really, shouldn’t they be? They’re evaluating whether to spend thousands and thousands of dollars, for Pete’s sake). Whether it’s a fair assessment or not, most buyers tend to perceive a neat, clean house as one that has been well-maintained and likely has fewer problems. A cluttered, dirty home triggers the exact opposite reaction.

Savvy sellers keep dirt and clutter at bay daily so that when a real estate agent calls and wants to show the home, it’s ready to go. Check out our tips to help you get the job done quickly and (hopefully) without losing your marbles:

  • Reduce and simplify. Not once in all my years of staging homes and hundreds of consultations have I ever walked into a home that didn’t need to “simplify and reduce” on some level. Buyers will view your personal treasured possessions with a very impersonal eye, and the “stuff” that makes your house feel like home may distract a buyer from seeing the beautiful bones of the house.
  • Focus cleaning efforts on the main areas of the house: living room, kitchen, bathroom, and master bedroom. Stand in the doorway of each space and figure out what jumps out at your eyes first — start there!
  • Clear kitchen and bath counters and wipe clean. Hide away any appliance you don’t use every single day. In the bathroom, keep daily essential hygiene products in a storage container you easily slide under a cabinet or into a linen closet.
  • Do a daily “clutter sweep” of the house before heading to bed to put things in order. Keep a few baskets or bins around the house to scoop up and hide things if you get a last-minute showing request from an agent.
  • Manage the paper clutter, like bills and junk mail, as it comes in — don’t let it build up!
  • Share a bathroom. If you’ve got more than one in your house, consider having everybody just use one when possible to keep the others nice and neat.
  • Reach out to a professional home staging company, like Three Bears Home Staging. We have lots of tips and tricks we can teach you to keep your on-the-market home more manageable by working smarter, not harder.

To help you out, we’ve put together a FREE downloadable Cleaning Checklist for Home Showings to make sure your house will sparkle and shine for every visit from a potential buyer.

 

Keeping your house spotless while it’s on the market can be an incredibly stressful, but a little daily maintenance can go a long way toward making the process more bearable. What are your tricks for keeping the house show-ready when selling? Share them with us here! And if you need a little extra help, contact us at Three Bears Home Staging to schedule a consultation.

12 Ways to Keep Your House Smelling Fresh All the Time | ThreeBearsHomeStaging.com

12 Ways to Keep Your House Smelling Fresh All the Time

12 Ways to Keep Your House Smelling Fresh All the Time | ThreeBearsHomeStaging.comThe smell of your home makes a huge first impression on visitors — sometimes even more powerfully than design style or cleanliness. The right smell — which is sometimes a lack of smells — gives the impression of cleanliness and comfort, making potential buyers want to linger and explore the possibility of buying your house! Unpleasant odors have the exact opposite effect and will have buyers walking right out the door, sight unseen.

Here are our tips to keep your house smelling fresh and a few warnings on funky places you may never have thought to check.

  1. Open the windows. Even if it’s just for a couple of hours, this is a great way to get rid of stale odors and cooking smells.
  2. Take out the trash. Does this one really need an explanation? Garbage stinks. Empty it often, especially if your home is on the market.
  3. Don’t smoke. My dearly departed grandmother smoked like a chimney and firmly believed that a good heavy spray with a can of potpourri-scented Glade air freshener hid all evidence of her smoking in the house. My friends, I hate to break it to you…but this does not work. Cigarette smoke (all kinds) is an odor that clings and lingers in textiles, carpet, and even paint, despite thorough cleaning. Going outside to smoke is definitely a better option, but unless you’re smoking out there naked, understand that the odor will still cling to your clothes, which will be coming back into the house and into a laundry hamper where they’ll likely sit for a day or two. This odor is often difficult for smokers to detect, but trust me — non-smokers will still smell it, and this is a big turn-off to many potential home buyers.
  4. Run an air purifier. Not only do they reduce smells, they help reduce pollen and dust in the air.
  5. Remove mothballs. When I visit a client who’s using mothballs in a closet or garage, I can tell almost instantly by the distinct, pungent camphor fragrance. The next thing that immediately pops into my mind is “What kind of pest are they trying to thwart — Snakes? Mice?” Your buyers will head down this same train of thought! Find a different method of pest prevention while your home is on the market, and lose the mothballs.
  6. Seal up spices. If your family likes to use particularly pungent spices for cooking, keep them sealed in plastic baggies or storage bins to contain the fragrance.
  7. Use an essential oil diffuser or wax melt warmer. Both offer gentle, continuous pleasing fragrance that’s a little safer than the open flame of a candle. BUT if you’re putting your house on the market — seller beware! Some fragrances can work against you! Read our blog post on Scents That Sell.
  8. Fire up the crockpot. If you prefer a more natural way to add fragrance to your home, check out some of Three Bears Home Staging’s recipes for crockpot/stove-top simmering potpourris using ingredients you may already have on hand! We have suggestions for both summertime fragrances and autumn-inspired recipes.
  9. Sprinkle baking soda on carpet. Baking soda is inexpensive, natural, and a proven odor absorber. To use it, clear rugs of as much furniture as possible and sprinkle baking soda liberally. For best results, leave it for at least a couple of hours or even overnight (sprinkle right before bedtime) to allow it to fully absorb odors. Then vacuum it up and toss it out.
  10. Be vigilant with pets. Obviously we can’t just get rid of our fur babies, so how do we deal? Keep pets clean, brushed, and bathed as often as possible. Launder their bedding frequently. Clean up any accidents IMMEDIATELY to avoid odors setting in. Regularly vacuum carpet and furniture. Empty litter boxes as often as possible (I mean really, you can’t overdo the litter box cleaning).
  11. Deal with shoe piles. Like many people, my family removes our shoes before entering the house, not only to reduce the amount of dirt that gets tracked in but to reduce the amount of bacteria that comes into the house (yeah, those same shoes I used to walk around in a public restroom? They do NOT need to be schlepping through my house). Consequently, the area where shoes pile up can get a little funky. Periodically, spray shoes with an odor eliminator to get rid of the smell. Another trick? Use a little dry shampoo to absorb stinkiness.
  12. Clean the disposal. Garbage disposals and sink drains are notorious culprits for hidden odors. To safely clean your blades without the use of harmful chemicals, pour a couple tablespoons of salt down the disposal, add five or six ice cubes and a few thin slices of lemon (or lemon juice if you’re worried about the rind clogging things up). Run the cold water, then turn on the disposal and let it grind. Continue running water for a minute or so afterward to flush out any remaining lemon particles. Once everything is safely turned off, give those hard-to-clean rubber flaps around the opening a good scrub as well (these can get SUPER funky).

What are some of your favorite tricks to keep the house smelling fresh? Share them with us! And when you’re ready to sell and need a little objective feedback on the fragrance in your home, give Three Bears Home Staging a call at (832) 377-0785 to set up a Walk and Talk Consultation.

How to Make Your Home Feel More Relaxing

blog-relaxing-homeMany of us live our lives navigating a fast-paced world, balancing our time between being at the office, sitting in a carpool line, fighting with technology, or burning up the highway. Often the chaos and disorganization inside our homes is a quite natural result of all the frenetic energy we’re bombarded with on a daily basis.

But what if it didn’t feel that way? What if, when you stepped through your front door, you felt tranquility and peace? Our homes should feel like a relaxing oasis away from the chaos and frenzy of the outside world — a peaceful, harmonious place to return to at day’s end.

Here are a few tips we recommend to create a warm, welcoming vibe in your home:

  • Pull up the shades and open the curtains. Lighting has a profound effect on our mood, particularly natural sunlight. Keep window coverings pulled back as much as possible during the day and avoid placing furniture where it will block the windows.
  • Paint your space. Like light, color is a powerful tool when it comes to adding  energy or tranquility to a space. Natural colors, like grays or beiges or even soft blues and greens, create a move peaceful vibe. Bold, bright colors energize a space so limit those to only small pops of color in rooms where you want to establish an overall calm feeling.
  • Go green. Plants are natural air purifiers and can help remove toxins from the atmosphere, while fresh-cut flowers offer a pleasing fragrance and a soothing presence.
  • Reduce and simplify (a.k.a., declutter). This is one of the most straight-forward ways to create more harmony and relaxation in your home. If the task is too overwhelming, start with just one room (or even just one drawer) and remove items you no longer use or enjoy. For more detailed tips on how to do this, read our tips on decluttering. Big props to Marie Kondo for inspiring so many people with her book and Netflix special to finally do what home stagers have been recommending for years!
  • Keep it comfy. Group furniture together in a cozy, friendly setting. Textures that are both soft and visually soothing, such as fur or chenille, also promote relaxation.

How have you created a relaxed, positive vibe in your home? Share it with us! If you need a little help making your home feel “just right” give Three Bears Home Staging a call at (832) 377-0785 or contact us here. We are experts at helping home sellers create a welcoming, harmonious atmosphere in their home that appeals to an even greater number of potential buyers!

Three Bears Home Staging Wins “Best Of Customer Service 2019” on Houzz®

BOH-web-badgesThree Bears Home Staging of Katy, Texas has won “Best Of Customer Service 2019” on Houzz®, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The 6-year old staging firm was chosen for the fifth year in a row by the more than 40 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than one million active home building, remodeling, and design industry professionals.

“Best of Houzz is a true badge of honor as it is awarded by our community of homeowners, those who are hiring design, remodeling and other home improvement professionals for their projects,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “We are excited to celebrate the 2019 winners chosen by our community as their favorites for home design and customer experience, and to highlight those winners on the Houzz website and app.”

The Best Of Houzz badge is awarded annually, in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including a pro’s overall rating on Houzz and client reviews submitted in 2018.

“Houzz connects millions of homeowners with the best home professional for their project, and we are honored that our work has been recognized among the other talented staging and redesign professionals,” says Vannessa Rhoades, Three Bears Home Staging founder and principal.

A “Best Of Houzz 2019” badge appears on winners’ profiles to help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals on Houzz locally and around the world. Winners will be announced globally throughout the month.

To see Three Bears Home Staging’s Houzz profile and read customer reviews, visit: https://www.houzz.com/pro/3bearsstaging/__public

Home Design Trends for 2019

Home buyers are usually fairly predictable when it comes to what they want in a home: a clean, well-maintained space, lots of storage, rooms that are light and bright, and updated features. While much of home staging revolves around neutralizing strong design choices, it’s also important to give a nod toward current trends when possible and remove items that may feel dated.

With that said, here are a few up-and-coming home design trends on the horizon for 2019 (that actually work for home staging, too!).

home design trends for 2019
  • White walls and warmer neutrals. White is definitely the new “in” wall color, but a word of warning — it does NOT work in all rooms or houses. White walls work best in rooms that have TONS of natural light and have lots of neutral layers and texture. In most cases, white walls photograph a lot better than they look in person. If your home isn’t meant for white paint (and not many truly are), opt for a warm neutral. For specific color suggestions, read our blog post here. Design trends are moving away from cooler grays.
  • Mixed metal accents. Used in moderation (no more than 2 or 3 different metals), a variety of metal accents can make a room feel balanced and timeless. Rose gold accents have peaked, though, so start phasing those out.
Light fixtures are an easy place to begin experimenting with mixing metals!
Photo via Kitchen Home Design Kitchen Interior – Creative Commons Zero – CC0.
  • Light-colored wood floors. Light oak and birch are coming back in style. Home buyers gravitate toward an open, airy feel, and these more light-reflective floors feel comfy and lush.
Gorgeous light oak floors make this room look even more spacious and bright.
Photo via SM-Handcrafted Oak Chateau via miragefloors.com – CC BY 2.0
  • Quartz countertops. Solid surface counters are always a classic, popular choice with home buyers, but quartz has been edging out granite for the last few years in popularity. Quartz’s mix of stone and resin makes it super durable, yet visually similar to higher-maintenance marble or slate.
Quartz counters continue to rise in popularity this year.
Photo by Stonetopgranite [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons
  • Black and jewel-tones. This is probably a nice counter-balance to all the white walled decor that’s popping up. Doses of black (especially in kitchens and bathroom) add a great contrast and sense of sophistication to a room. Pops of teal, navy, and forest green in fabrics and decor also stand out beautifully against light, neutral walls.
Boho chic decor with it’s bright pops of jewel-toned colors is still hot in 2019.
  • Smart home appliances. The robots are taking over in 2019! Buyers are definitely interested in smart home appliances that integrate with the IOT and voice assistants, like Alexa and Google Home.
Smart home technology is definitely IN for 2019!

What design trends have you noticed gaining traction in your area? Let us know in the comments!

If you’re thinking of selling your home this year and need a little help making sure you’ve got a look that buyers will love, contact Three Bears Home Staging for a Walk and Talk Consultation. We’d love to help!

Create a Cozy, Welcoming Entryway for the Holidays

blog-entryway-farmhouse-holiday-hygge-1Having a home that exudes “hygge” — that safe, cozy feeling that makes you want to come in and snuggle up with a warm, fuzzy blanket and a steaming cup of hot cocoa — is something most of us strive for during the holiday season.

Whether you’re staging to sell or just decorating for your own pleasure, one of the first steps in establishing that welcoming vibe for your home is to create an inviting entryway. This space is literally the first impression people will have of the interior of your home and sets the tone for the rest of the house. And during the holidays, you want visitors (or if you’re selling, potential buyers) to feel your house is a place where they can relax, unwind, and feel at home.

entryway-farmhouse-holiday-hygge-IMAGE

For example:  We loved this cozy, farmhouse style entryway we found on Pinterest (despite my best efforts, I could not find the origin of this photo — if anyone out there knows, please contact me here, as I would love to give them proper credit). This entryway is simple, inviting, comfortable–full of “hygge” for the holidays!

Since we thought a lot of you would enjoy this entryway too, we recreated the look with another FREE Mood Board and Shopping List for our tribe– just click the button below!

Our Shopping List has direct links to every single item on the Mood Board, which means you can easily recreate this beautiful farmhouse entryway with just a few clicks of the button and have all of your decor items delivered right to your door. How simple is that?!

Want to take your design a step further? Our Mood Board even includes specific Sherwin-Williams paint color suggestions!

Whether your budget is big or small, we’re here to help you create a space you’ll love that’s “just right” for you!

How to Set a Thanksgiving Table Martha Would Be Proud Of (FREE Shopping List!)

Anyone who’s ever hosted a Thanksgiving meal knows that there’s a delicate balance between creating a beautifully decorated table and making sure you don’t burn the house down trying to figure out how to cook a turkey and 8 side dishes at the same time.

This year we want to help take a little of that stress off your plate — because Three Bears Home Staging is all about helping your home look “just right!” What if I told you I can give you the tools to recreate a Pinterest-perfect Thanksgiving table without spending a fortune? You’d be pretty excited, right???

Thanksgiving-table-from-ThreeBearsHomeStaging

Take a look at our Thanksgiving edition pre-styled Ready-to-Go™ Mood Board! Because I’m so thankful for YOU, dear reader, I’m giving you this board and shopping list, curated from a variety of affordable online retailers, FOR FREE — just click the button below!

After you download our board and shopping list, you can sit around in your PJs with a glass of wine and easily recreate this beautiful tablescape by ordering the items on the list right from your own computer. Delivered right to your door. No fighting the weekend crowds. No struggling to make sure everything matches. Just once and done, and then all your guests will wonder when Martha Stewart had time to pop over to your house and decorate the table. How great is that???

Remember, whether your budget is big or small, we’re here to help you create a space you’ll love that’s “just right” for you!

Pottery Barn Inspired Fall Living Room for Less (with FREE Shopping List!)

PotteryBarn-autumn3I looooove fall! I think it’s a combination of the changing weather (albeit slight in Houston), my birthday, and Halloween candy and costumes that make it feel festive. For years at our house, we’ve spent the last weekend of September/first weekend of October decorating for fall, firing up the pumpkin spice scented candles, then making Rice Krispie treats while we watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. It’s a good mood setter.

And then a few days ago while flipping through Pinterest, I came across a gorgeous room that had appeared in the Pottery Barn Fall 2017 catalog. Like all Pottery Barn designs, it’s perfect:  stylish and seasonally perfect, yet cozy and welcoming……

Image via Pottery Barn

It’s also a little pricey if you’re of a mind to replicate the entire room (that gorgeous PB sectional alone is over $5,600). And since the design is from an earlier catalog, a number of the items are no longer available. 

This is why e-design makes me so happy :-). Because I love making beautiful spaces (and I love the hunt), I re-created the look by finding budget-conscious look-alike pieces. The cost? I was able to replicate THE ENTIRE ROOM with quality furniture and decor for around $4,600 — that’s less than the sectional alone! Since this wasn’t a project requested by a client, I am happy to share my shopping list (with links to purchase any of the items directly online) for FREE — just sign up below!

 

I should point out that, unlike many bloggers, NOT ONE of the items in my shopping list is an affiliate link. Not that affiliate links are a bad thing necessarily, but it does mean that I don’t receive a penny from any of the sites you shop–I simply chose these items because they were great designs at great prices!

Remember, whether your budget is big or small, we’re here to help you create a space you’ll love that’s “just right” for you!