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???

Do you have a beautiful space you want to recreate for your home?

Three Bears does more than just home staging! Our e-Design Packages are super affordable, convenient, and ENTIRELY ONLINE, which means we can serve clients just about anywhere! And if customized design isn’t really in your budget right now, take a look at our Ready-to-Go™ Mood Boards for only $99! 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!

Do you have a beautiful room you want to recreate for your home?

Our e-Design Packages are super affordable, convenient, and ENTIRELY ONLINE, which means we can serve clients just about anywhere! And if customized design isn’t really in your budget right now, take a look at our Ready-to-Go™ Mood Boards for only $99! 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 Create Vignettes and Tablescapes for Home Staging

Vignettes, or “tablescapes,” are a powerful tool in home staging. They help set a vibe and sell a lifestyle. These decorative groupings of art or accessories act as a focal point or make a decorative statement. They’re especially useful in staging a home for sale because they can draw a buyer’s attention toward a positive attribute or help distract from less appealing features. Want buyers to notice the gorgeous granite countertops and chef’s island? Create a vignette! Need buyers to shift their focus from the noisy street that runs adjacent to your back yard and instead notice your spacious covered patio? Vignettes to the rescue!

Tips and Tricks

Good vignettes are simple, fit easily with the general décor of the home, and are not overly stylized. When creating a vignette for home staging, keep the following in mind:

  • Asymmetrical arrangements typically work better than symmetrical patterns.
  • Arrange items that are similar in shape or color, but vary the size. For best results with your listing photos, use accessories larger than a grapefruit to avoid a “cluttered” feel.
  • Mix in organic elements, like plants, wooden objects, shells, or accessories with natural textures.
  • 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 vignettes as personalized as you want!

Building the Vignette

One way to create a vignette is by arranging objects in a pyramid or triangular shape. Start with the largest or tallest accessory (this will be the top of the pyramid). Place it off-center at the back of your arrangement. Next, add additional accessories of different sizes to fill out the vignette, creating a triangle as you continue to build.

  • A lamp or a tall vase of flowers/greenery makes a great starter piece.
  • Group accessories in odd numbers — usually 3 or 5 pieces work best
  • Filler accessories should be around half the size of the starter piece.
  • Use hardback books to elevate shorter pieces.
  • Trays are a great way to anchor your vignette and are particularly useful in an occupied staged home when decor must sometimes be moved around between buyer showings.

Check out our super quick video tutorial on creating vignettes for home staging:

Need a hand? The home staging experts at Three Bears Home Staging can help you create vignettes that showcase the very best parts of your house for potential buyers! Call us today at (832) 377-0785 to set up a Walk & Talk Consultation and get started on the road to a faster, more profitable home sale.

DIY Simmer Scents for Summer: Make Your House Smell Great!

As we’ve blogged before, simmering potpourri recipes are an easy and inexpensive way to make your house smell seasonally fresh using common household ingredients and WITHOUT the use of harmful chemicals! They’re especially useful for anyone planning to put their home on the market soon — research shows that potential buyers can find overly complex fragrances too distracting. These natural fragrance recipes are light and clean, a great way to make your house smell welcoming to anyone who visits this summer!

How to Do It:

Cut up all your ingredients and add to a small sauce pan or pot. Add water until ingredients float. Bring to a gentle boil, then immediately turn the heat down to a low simmer and enjoy! Add more water as needed, typically about every 30 minutes (otherwise, you’ll end up with the smell of scorched food wafting through the house–YUCK).

Try these aromatic combinations (measurements don’t have to be exact so adjust according to your taste):

  • 1 sliced lemon, a few sprigs of lavender, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • peel of 1-2 oranges and 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract (smells like a Dreamsicle!)
  • 1 sliced lime, handful peppermint leaves (or extract), fresh ginger slices
  • peel of 1-2 oranges and 2 teaspoons of coconut extract
  • sprig of fresh rosemary, teaspoon of vanilla, lemon rind (also known as the famous “Williams Sonoma scent”)
  • 1 sliced lime, 2 teaspoons of coconut extract, half cup of pineapple juice (very tropical)
  • 1 sliced grapefruit, a few sprigs of lavender, 1 teaspoon almond extract

blog-summer-scentsIt should probably go without saying, but being the conscientious home stager that I am, I’m going to say it anyway:  don’t leaving anything burning on the stove unattended. Another (safer?) alternative is to simmer the entire mixture in a small crockpot, uncovered on the “Low” setting. Save the mixture in a glass jar in the fridge when you’re done (can last several days). Just reheat the next day to re-scent your home.

If you’re selling your home this summer and need more tips on how to freshen up your home,  Three Bears Home Staging can help! Call us at (832) 377-0785 to set up an initial consultation!

Transform Your Back Patio: Staging Outdoor Spaces

blog-outdoor-stagingWhen 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

 

How to Hang Art (and How to Figure Out Exactly Where to Put the Nail in the Wall)

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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

  1. Measure the height of the entire art piece (X) and divide by two. This will give you the center point of the art.
  2. Add 60 inches.
  3. 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”.
  4. 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.
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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.

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! **UPDATE: Learn even more secrets for staging a bedroom in our new book, Just Right! Easy DIY Home Staging, now available in paperback or for digital download on iBooks and Amazon!**

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!

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