When preparing your home to sell, it’s easy to overlook the potential additional living space you can create right in your backyard! Creating a welcoming outdoor patio or deck area is a great way to add “mental” square footage in a buyer’s mind. In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors’ 2017 Profile of Home Staging report, 63% of buyers ranked staging outdoor spaces as “important” or “very important.” Lack of entertainment space often prevents people from fully enjoying their backyard, but with a few staging tricks, it’s easy to transform your patio into an appealing, relaxing space for yourself or potential buyers.
- Clean up. It’s hard to imagine oneself entertaining or relaxing in a grimy, dirty space. Start fresh and get rid of all the pollen, cobwebs, and insect nests that have accumulated. Break out the power-washer, if necessary, or just hose everything down. Wipe down existing furniture, light fixtures, and fan blades. Toss out moldy, mildewy cushions.
- Create seating. If you’re limited on space this may be a little harder, but even a bench or a couple of comfy chairs will help communicate a message of relaxation to guests or potential buyers.
- Add pillows. This will instantly make your porch more fun and cozy. I highly recommend using longer-wearing “weatherproof” fabrics (I have cushions covered with Sunbrella fabric, and I love them. They’re out all the time and never get gross.).
- Plant. You can’t overdo it when it comes to flowers. Whether they’re hanging in baskets, blooming on bushes, or sprouting in pots, flowers add a feeling of luxury and have a strong draw on potential buyers.
- Consider a rug. Not all spaces can accommodate one, but a fresh, clean rug can definitely pull a seating area together and create a cozier vibe. Make sure you use a rug that’s labeled for outdoor use.
- Eat! Love of good food can always bring people together so if you have the space, add a dining area as well! For small areas, a bistro table with a couple of chairs and a nice pot of flowers work well. If you’ve got an uncovered patio area, use a table with a large umbrella to provide plenty of shade and show potential buyers that outdoor dining is no problem!
With the right touches, you can transform even a tiny patio into a little oasis of nature. If you’re selling your Katy, TX home and need a little help staging your back patio or other rooms in your house, contact the HSR certified home staging professionals at Three Bears Home Staging, and we’ll help you get started!
Title photo credit: “Decorating Ideas For Your Patio and Conservatory” by www.wickerparadise.com is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Gallery wall we installed for a client in the Rice Military district.
Whether it’s decorating a new space or staging a home for sale, hanging art can be a stressful challenge. Sometimes it’s hard to put your finger on exactly what doesn’t feel right, but often the issue is either art that is disproportionally-sized for the space or art that’s been hung too high. But fear not! We’ve compiled a list of helpful tips, along with a Magic Formula for nail placement that will alleviate the stress of hanging and arranging artwork.
Common sense disclaimer: This is not intended to be a cure-all answer for every single art-hanging situation you may have in your life. While it’s been our experience that these tips work in many houses we’ve staged, they may not work in all situations.
- Gather your tools. A tape measure, a level, a hammer, maybe a drill, and the appropriate hanging hardware are necessary for most jobs. Heavier pieces may require more than a simple nail. Floreat hangers and Monkey Hook picture hangers are two of my favorites for hanging large art and both leave minimal damage to walls.
- Use chalk to make marks on the wall — it comes off SO much more easily than a pencil mark!
- Since eye level is a bit of a generalization (even within a single household “eye levels” may vary considerably), many art galleries and interior designers recommend using around 5 feet from the floor as the centering point for artwork. This is a bit lower than where many people naturally tend to hang their artwork. Choose your midpoint (I like 60″), and stick with it. Keeping a consistent midline for the art in your house will create a more harmonious, cohesive feeling throughout the house. One exception: When you’re hanging art over a sofa or a headboard, don’t hang it more than 12” or so higher than the furniture. Keep the art visually connected to the furniture not floating high above it.
- When hanging multiple pictures, treat the entire grouping as one piece of art. Whether it’s 2, 3, or 4 pieces, lay out your arrangement (I usually do this on the floor) to find the center point of the entire cluster and build out from there.
How to Figure Out Where to Put the Nail in the Wall
- Measure the height of the entire art piece (X) and divide by two. This will give you the center point of the art.
- Add 60 inches.
- Next, measure the distance between the top edge of the art and wherever the nail will sit (a hook or the lip of the frame). If you’re hanging a piece that uses a hanging wire, pull it up as taut as possible and measure the distance from that point to the top of the art. We’ll call this distance “Y”.
- Subtract Y from the total amount you calculated in Step 2 to find the exact number of inches from the floor where you’ll need to hammer in your nail.
I know it looks like algebra, but this formula is actually pretty simple and it WORKS for hanging art “just right!”
For example: For a 36-inch painting where the nail hook/stretched hanging wire is 3 inches below the top of the frame (see our example), you should place your nail in the wall 75 inches from the floor so that the artwork’s center will be at 60 inches. Using the steps above, you can see that we calculated 36 inches (length of the art) divided by 2 is 18; add 60 inches to get 78. Then subtract 3 inches (see Step 3), leaving a total of 75 inches, the distance from the floor to where you need to hammer in the nail.
A Few More Tips
- Keep spacing uniform between individual pictures in a grouping, only a couple of inches apart, for a more cohesive look.
- Remember scale when selecting artwork to hang over furniture. Your picture or art grouping should be roughly 2/3 the width of the piece of furniture.
- Step back and take a look at your arrangement. Nudge, scoot, adjust as needed.
If you still need help getting your artwork “just right,” Three Bears Home Staging can help! Call us at (832) 377-0785 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.
As 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!
First 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
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.
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.
Beds 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! **UPDATE: Learn even more secrets for staging a bedroom in our new book, Just Right! Easy DIY Home Staging, now available on Amazon and iBooks.**
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
- 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).
- Apply the fitted sheet as usual.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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!
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.
- 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!).
- 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.
- 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.
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
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!
- 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.
- 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!
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.
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!
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
Decorating 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.
- 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.
Do 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!