How to Create a Cozy Guest Room for Holiday Visitors

blog-How-to-Create-a-Cozy-Guest-Room-for-the-HolidaysAs family and friends descend upon your home for the holiday season, it’s time to get your guest bedroom in shape to receive visitors! Use our helpful tips to make sure you have everything in place to make your guests feel at home.

  • Clean sheets. (Do we really need to point this out, you ask? Why yes, I think it’s important that we do. I was once a guest at a home where the sheets had dried dog vomit on them. Yes, the host knew…and didn’t seem to think it was an issue.) Put freshly laundered sheets on the bed the day before guests arrive and get points for being SuperHost.
  • Fresh towels. See above.
  • Extra pillows and blankets. Keep these easily available regardless of the season. People get cold at night and like to have options.
  • Alarm or clock. This may be especially handy for older guests or those who don’t use their smart phones as clocks. While you’re at it, be sure to have extra electrical outlets available for guests to charge their devices.
  • WiFi password. They’ll probably ask for it anyway.
  • Fan. Fans are a huge relief to people who tend to “sleep hot,” and some guest may just appreciate the white noise they provide.
  • Extra hooks. Space may be at a premium with extra people in the house so invest in a set of handy over-the-door hooks to help guests keep their clothes and towels dry and separate.
  • Blinds or light blocking drapes. This is a thoughtful bonus for guests who prefer to sleep late.
  • Bedside lighting. Guests who like to read before going to sleep will find a pretty lamp on a bedside table especially handy.

Don’t forget to add the fun stuff! Fresh flowers are a sweet touch, as are a few toiletries, like an extra toothbrush, soaps, or shampoos. You might even consider leaving a little tray with some bottled waters and healthy snacks for guests who may not feel comfortable raiding your refrigerator. The main goal is to provide a bright, clean, comfortable space that makes visitors feel relaxed and welcome.

If you need a little help getting your home picture perfect for the holidays or if you’ve been thinking about putting your home on the market, give the experts at Three Bears Home Staging a call to set up a Walk and Talk Consultation!

Bathrooms: Easy DIY Staging Tips

blog-bathroom-staging-tipsFirst impressions are especially important when it comes to bathrooms, an area where potential home buyers don’t typically spend a lot of time. We’ve outlined a few of our favorite tips for staging your bathroom (and some easy updates even if you’re not trying to sell your home).

  1. Keep it sparkling clean. Remove all traces of dirt and mold from shower doors and tiles. Get rid of rugs and fuzzy toilet seat covers, wipe down baseboards, sweep and mop floors. Dirt, hair, mildew and soap scum are major turn-offs for buyers.
  2. Remove clutter–even if it’s functional. Buyers don’t want to see your combs, toothbrushes, hair dryers, and toiletries stacked on the counter. Keep these personal items in a caddy to easily store out of sight in a cupboard when not in use.
  3. Add spa-like accessories. A few candles, decorative soaps and a beautiful plant (we like orchids) can help any bathroom feel a bit more luxurious. Avoid the temptation to use heavy deodorizers.
  4. Replace old bathroom fixtures with new ones. Sleek, modern fixtures can give your bathroom an instant facelift at a fraction of the cost of a complete renovation. Shop your local home improvement store for inexpensive cabinet hardware, faucets, shower heads, towel bars, toilet paper bars and lights.
  5. Add some high-quality plush towels that coordinate with the rest of the bathroom’s color scheme. Hide your “real” everyday use towels (just toss them in the in the dryer out of sight) when buyers are coming through and put out fresh clean ones — neutral colors typically work best for photos. To get a “spa-like” look, we recommend rolling up a few white hand towels to place on the counter or next to the tub.
  6. Keep counter wipes, glass cleaner, and paper towels handy in every bathroom for quick clean-ups. You never know when that call will come from a potential buyer who wants to tour your house!

Making a few budget-friendly changes can get your bathroom looking great for any target market. Need more staging tips for your Katy, Cypress or Houston area home? Three Bears Home Staging can help! Contact us here to schedule a Walk & Talk Consultation or call (832) 377-0785.

How to Stage a Bookshelf

Built-in shelves can be especially tricky when staging your home for sale. When they’re overflowing or crammed too tightly (as many of them are), they give the impression that there’s a lack of space. Use our tips to learn how to stage a bookcase like a pro!

Three Bears Home Staging

On this client’s bookshelf, we arranged items that were similar in type (books) and color (red vases) in a zig-zag pattern between shelves to keep a viewer’s eye moving over the entire bookcase and to provide balance.

  • Pack away 50% of what is in your bookshelf.
  • Remove any paperback books, as these appear less attractive and sophisticated than hardback books. Hint: Flip book jackets on hard cover books and recover books with the plain white side facing out. Alternatively, you can turn books backward so that the spine is facing the back of the wall and the page edges are facing out. Both methods create more visual uniformity on the shelf.
  • Vary the stacking of books, both vertical and horizontal.
  • Group accessories in odd numbers — usually 3 to 5 pieces
  • Push the books to the back of bookshelf to create more space.
  • Organize accessories from tallest to shortest, but try and keep books at even heights.
  • Add organic elements, like plants, wooden bowls, shells, or accessories with natural textures.
  • Arrange items that are similar in type or color in a zig-zag pattern between shelves to keep a viewer’s eye moving over the entire bookcase and to provide balance.
  • Use one or two large accessories vs. several small accessories give a more spacious feel and will generally photograph better. Using pieces larger than a grapefruit is a good rule of thumb.
  • Remove any family photos or accessories buyers can use to profile you (no references to your hobbies, interests, political or religious preferences) – when in doubt, take it out. *Remember, this pertains to staging — if your home isn’t for sale, you can make your shelves as personalized as you want!
  • Remove anything resting atop your bookshelves as it gives an already tall piece more height and disrupts the balance in a room.
  • Consider balancing a bookshelf on one side of the room with a tree on the other side of the room.

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Do you have a favorite tip or trick you like to use for staging shelves? Comment below! And if you need a hand staging the bookshelves in your Katy, TX home for sale, we can help! Give the home staging experts at Three Bears Home Staging a call or contact us here for more information on our services.

How to Make the Bed for Home Staging

How to Make the Bed for Home Staging

How to Make the Bed for Home StagingBeds are the focal point for most bedrooms, and your objective when staging it is to create a space where potential buyers feel invited to relax and would be comfortable sleeping. Think luxury hotel room!

To give your bed that layered, high-end hotel look:

  • Remove bed linens that are dated, worn, too bright or too heavily patterned.
  • Bed-in-a-bag options are an easy solution and available at most big box department stores. These sets typically include the duvet, bed skirt, pillow shams, sheets, and accessory pillows.
  • Opt for neutral color bedding, preferably solids or with minimal patterns. Not only does it give the room a more cohesive, high-end feel, it shows up much more favorably in your listing photos.

Steps for Staging a Luxurious, Layered Bed

  1. Iron the bed skirt and place it on the bed. I prefer a simple, tailored bed skirt cleaner lines as opposed to a fluffy dust ruffle (which can look too feminine).
  2. Apply the fitted sheet as usual.
  3. Apply the flat sheet next, making sure the “right side” of the flat sheet is down, facing the fitted sheet. Tuck in the sides, leaving a couple of feet untucked near the head of the bed (you’ll fold this back at the end to make the bed feel more inviting).
  4. Spread your bedspread or quilt across the bed, leaving the top edge about a foot away from the headboard. Now fold your flat sheet back across the top of the spread.
  5. Fold your duvet or comforter in thirds and spread across the bottom of the bed. Alternatively, you can place the duvet the same way you’d lay a bedspread/quilt in the previous step.
  6. Place your pillows in the proper order:
    • 2 Euro pillow (3 for a king) in the back against the headboard
    • 2 standard-size pillows next
    • 1 to 3 decorative throw pillows in the front layer
  7. Drape a blanket across the foot of the bed to add a little color or contrast

These are guidelines — not hard and fast rules for every bed. Play around with your options and find the solution that works best for your room and bedding. Making a beautiful bed may be a bit of a pain while you’re trying to sell, but it is a MUST for your listing photos and when showing the home. Show potential buyers just how luxurious and restful your bedroom(s) can be by making the bed look extra inviting! And if you still need help, contact Three Bears Home Staging to set up a Walk & Talk Consultation for your home before you list it!

 

Tips for Decorating Your Holiday Mantel

There’s no place cozier during the holidays than snuggled up next to a warm fire, even in sub-tropical Houston! Okay, so maybe some of us still have the air-conditioner running at the same time…BUT a festive fireplace is definitely a focal point during the holiday season. Decorating your mantel can be a challenge, so we decided to share a few tricks and tips to make your mantel merry and bright this winter.

  • Use layers. Overlap decor of varying heights to create a more cohesive design. A good rule of thumb is to use a large weighted piece at the back of your design (like a mirror or a piece of large art), then add candles or taller pieces, and finally some smaller filler decor or greenery in front.
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Photo via Whoovie

  • Balance your design by putting complementary decor opposite each other. Your display doesn’t have to be symmetrical, but the items should have similar visual weight, scale, or form. Try placing larger decor on the ends, while centering shorter items (and if that doesn’t work, reverse it!).
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Photo via MidWest Living

  • Simplify color. Use no more than three colors to keep your mantel from looking overly embellished. Since your fireplace is already a focal point, use muted lighting and colors to set the stage for your holiday display.
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Photo courtesy of Ideal Home via Brewster Home

  • Vary texture. Texture and shine add a big boost to a mantel with neutral color. Mercury glass and pops of sparkly gold or glitter add radiance and a little holiday glam.
  • Add a garland. Opt for simple color palette that has variations in texture for a classic holiday look. And make sure it’s the right length:  the dangling ends of the garland should only hang down from the mantel about 1/3 of the way to the floor.
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Photo via Whoovie

What tips do you have for holiday mantels? Share your secrets with us! And if you know someone who’s thinking of selling their home this holiday season, consider a gift of our DIY Home Staging Guide! It’s filled with lots of information on how sellers can sell their homes quickly and for more money!

*Feature image photo credit: www.personalcreations.com

5 Easy Ways to Style Your Thanksgiving Table

Whether your Thanksgiving traditions feature a formal, candlelit dinner table or a relaxed afternoon with football and feasting (or even somewhere in between), use a few of our holiday tips to help style a festive table that is just right for you and yours.

  • Add brightness and contrast to your Thanksgiving meal with edible garnishes! Surround your bird with fresh sage and citrus fruits. Sprinkle bright red pomegranate seeds in a butternut squash soup. Top fluffy mashed potatoes with fresh green chives. Make your meal look as good as it tastes!
Photo via foodnetwork.com

Photo via foodnetwork.com

  • Roll out craft paper for a simple, neutral runner or tablecloth. Decorate it yourself or invite guests to write messages–perfect for a kids’ table!

  • Brighten the mood with a little sparkle! Touches of gold and glowing candles add a beautiful bit of drama to your table scape.

    Photo by Pottery Barn

    Photo via Pottery Barn

  • Add natural elements, like flowers or a simple sprig of rosemary or thyme, on each place setting to make your table feel festive without being overly fancy.

  • Create super simple homemade place cards by tying name tags to mini pumpkins with a little twine. It’s all in the details!
Photo via Holly Mathis Interiors

Photo via Holly Mathis

 

If your home will be on the market this holiday season and you need a little help getting it ready, give us a call at (832)377-0785 or schedule a Walk and Talk Consultation with us here.

5 Tips for Staging a Media Room

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This beautiful room was pulled together by one of my clients after a Walk & Talk Consultation. The styling here really helps buyers visualize themselves enjoying “movie night” in the comfort of their own new home!

Media rooms are an especially attractive asset to high-end real estate buyers who expect luxury features in a home. Just like any other room, staging a media room well means creating a space that helps potential buyers dream about what life could be like in your home! Use these tips to show buyers your media room is the perfect place to hang out and relax!

  1. Neutralize paint. I tend to see an unusually high percentage of red media rooms in my consultations. Remember, the goal for staging is to create mass appeal in order to attract a greater number of buyers. While a thoroughly red media room works beautifully for many home owners, such a strong design statement will likely limit its appeal to potential buyers. Softer, more neutral tones promote relaxation and better allow a buyer to envision the space as their home instead of being reminded it’s still yours.
  2. Use vignettes. Vignettes are little groupings of props or decorations that create an emotional connection point for your buyers. They romanticize your home! If there’s a wet bar, set out a tray with a couple of empty stem glasses and a wine bottle. Setting a coffee table with (fake) popcorn and soda invites potential buyers to picture themselves relaxing in the home with a great movie!
  3. Hang oversized artwork. This is a great trick for media rooms that are devoid of electronics. Hang a large art piece in place of the screen for a touch of color on that giant blank wall. In the Houston area, local artist Stephen Scott creates large scale custom framed art and photography to complement your decor. Visit his site at http://artreka.com.
  4. Invite relaxation with plush seating. Add lots of pillows and a coordinating throw to create a comfortable space where buyers dream of unwinding. Hint: If you’re missing your red paint, throw pillows are a great way to add some pops of color back in to the room–and you can take them to your new house!
  5. Maximize lighting. Buyers respond best to “light and bright.” Media rooms, however, are typically dark and often windowless. Add a floor lamp, open windows, and turn on all lights during showings so that buyers can see all that this room has to offer.

If you still need a little help getting your media room just right, call Three Bears Home Staging & Redesign at (832)377-0785 to schedule a consultation. We’ll help you get your media room ready for show time in no time!

3 Easy Ways to Add Decorator Style to Your Home

blog-addstyleDecorating your home in a way that seamlessly combines style and functionality can be challenging. Regardless of how expensive the furniture or decor, sometimes our homes still seem to be missing “it” and fall short of the perfect rooms we see on HGTV.

One solution is hiring a professional home stager or redesigner to help rearrange your existing decor in a way that has more impact, making your home feel fresher and more modern. But if you’re not quite ready to have a professional come in, use these easy tips to add decorator style on your own.

  • Declutter. Many of live with too much “stuff.” When you have a lot of “stuff,” you have more to clean, more to organize…in short, you create more work for yourself. Having less clutter also helps re-direct the focus in the room to the things you truly love and/or use. Whether you choose to donate, sell, or haul it to the trash, SIMPLIFY your surroundings.Bed3-watermark
  • Add life. As any one of my clients can testify, I am a BIG believer in the power of plants in the home, both for staging and redesign. Plants and other organic elements — twigs, shells, natural wreaths, even really convincing faux plants — add character and warmth to a room and create an emotional connection for home buyers and home owners alike.
  • Neutralize…some things.
    Color has more impact when it’s used sparingly and not competing against other colors for attention. While it may sound boring, using shades of gray, white, or beige on the more permanent elements of your home, like sofas and walls, generally offers a lot more flexibility when it comes to decorating. Plus, it’s simpler and more cost effective to add color with throw pillows, art, and other decor…and swap out those touches of color for something else when your tastes change.

Living-2-watermarkDo you still need a little help getting your home “just right?” Contact the professionals at Three Bears Home Staging & Redesign in Katy, TX and we can help!

Drapes and Wallpaper in Home Staging

blog-Drapes-and-WallpaperStaging is 100% visual marketing. It’s about creating the most demand from the largest number of potential buyers. In most cases, drapes and wallpaper of any kind are extremely taste and style specific. To increase the appeal of your home with more buyers, we recommend removing wallpaper and drapes in most cases.

Most buyers will not appreciate the elegance of your custom drapes or the pattern of your wallpaper. Are you willing to gamble thousands of dollars in your hard earned home equity by waiting for that one buyer who can either see past those things or who loves them?

Common Home Seller Questions

“Are you saying I have bad taste in drapes/wallpaper?”

No. We’re not anti-wallpaper or anti-drapes when it comes to decorating. The home you live in and enjoy should be personalized! Decorating is not staging, though. Staging is about marketing your valuable product (the house) in a way that will statistically net you a higher profit, less time on the market, and fewer buyer objections.

“But the draperies/wallpaper were very expensive! Don’t they add value to the home?”

No, they don’t. Value is based on your square footage and comparable sold homes with similar amenities in the immediate vicinity. Drapes and wallpaper won’t alter the value. What they can do is increase or decrease the mass appeal of your home and the amount of time it sits on the market.

“I’m afraid if I remove the wallpaper it’s going to tear up the walls.”

It might, but guess what? Potential buyers will likely have the same thoughts. And they’ll add it to their mental list of projects to be updated when they move in, which reduces the amount of money they’ll be willing to pay for your home and the likelihood that they’ll even make an offer.

Occasionally, it is possible to paint over wallpaper, but this requires special prep (read tips from both Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore that detail the circumstances where this is possible). A qualified, professional painter (we can make recommendations) is often one of the best investments when preparing your home to sell.

“But my wallpaper/drapes are so cute/whimsical/classy/neutral! Do I really need to take them down?”

Yes. Buyers will see what you want them to see. With very, very few exceptions, wallpaper and draperies put limits on the potential buyers can see in your beautiful home.

“Buyers are going to decorate this house the way they want to anyway. Can’t they see past my decor?”

No, most can’t. Statistically, only about 10% of buyers will be able to look past personalized decor and visualize your home’s potential for their lifestyle. Most buyers want a home that’s move-in ready. That means instead of seeing all the beautiful potential of your spacious kitchen or bathroom, they’re going to see dollar signs and a room they need to spend time and money renovating.

“I’m not sure. Maybe I’ll just wait and see what kind of feedback I get after I put my home on the market.”

By waiting to remove things about your home that, most buyers typically find objectionable, you limit your market and risk sitting on the market waiting for that one buyer who can either see past the wallpaper or who loves it — an expensive gamble for most sellers.

If you need more help getting your home ready to go on the market, give us a call at (832) 377-0785. Our popular Walk & Talk Consultations provide home sellers the guidance and immediate feedback they need to get top dollar and a quicker sale!

Photo credit: tapetenpics via Flikr.

How to Fall in Love With Your Home Again

blog-Fall-in-Love-AgainWhether it was love at first sight or a whirlwind mental courtship of decorating potential, most of us felt a buzz of excitement the first time we saw our home. As with many relationships, time can take its toll on how we feel about our house. This Valentine’s Day season, rekindle the spark and fall in love with your home again with these simple tips:

  • Declutter and organize. Collect any extra clothes, nick-knacks, and home goods, and sell or donate what you don’t love or use. Deal with paper piles by filing or storing important documents and shredding outdated items.
  • Let there be light! Proper lighting affects mood and is essential to our sense of well-being. Open curtains or blinds and move furniture that may be blocking natural light. Add lamps or ambient lighting to darker spaces to create a soft glow and a cozy environment.
  • Re-arrange. Sometimes just moving the furniture around can change the energy flow of a space. Try something different and see how it feels. Ask for feedback from a friend whose taste you admire.
  • Add life. Plants are a simple way to add beauty and life to a room. If you don’t have a green thumb, try fresh cut flowers or Ikea has a great selection of beautiful faux plants that will do the trick.
  • Freshen up. Our sense of smell is incredibly powerful and is an important tool in creating an environment you love! Whether it’s the clean scent of a “fresh linen” air freshener or the nostalgic aroma of a cookie-scented candle, choose something that speaks to you. Tip: Based on current research, we generally advise home sellers against using any complex scents while the home is on the market.
  • Add personal touches. Feature pieces that you find beautiful or meaningful. Incorporate favorite pieces of art, treasured collections, or even cozy new throw pillows into parts of the house where you spend the most time.

Perhaps the best tip for recreating that love connection between you and your house is to cultivate a sense of appreciation. Nurture feelings of gratitude for the people or animals who share your home. Remembering to have a thankful heart for the shelter and space your home provides can help re-kindle that spark of love.

Do you need a little help falling in love with your home again? We offer redesign services and color consultations at affordable rates! Contact us online or give us a call at (832) 377-0785 to schedule an initial consultation.

Photo credit:  Elin B @ Nordic Touch, www.nordictouch.co.uk