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!

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.

How to Make Cabinets, Drawers, and Closets Look Bigger When Selling Your Home

blog-cabinets-drawers-closets-look-biggerShould I clean out all of the closets and built-in cabinets and drawers when selling my home?

Ideally, the answer is yes — making these spaces as empty as possible will make them appear larger.

Practically, however, this is darn near impossible for buyers who will continue to occupy their home while it’s on the market.

So what’s the best solution?

Take a deep breath. Except for the Master Bedroom Closet (which does require lots of attention—for specifics, check out our new book, available on iBook and Amazon), in most cases it is ok to make cabinets, drawers, and closets what I call a “B-level priority.” This is because these areas likely will not be photographed or used to advertise your listing. As long as doors and drawers stay closed, they will not jump out as first impressions to potential buyers. And honestly, most buyers have much bigger issues to address than cleaning out a junk drawer.

HOWEVER…

Keep in mind that “plenty of storage space” is HIGH on the list of must-haves for most buyers. They will open closets and built-in drawers and cabinets while touring your home so it’s a good idea to appear spacious, neat, and organized. The more organized you appear to be, the more your potential buyers will view the house as “well-maintained” and view you as a conscientious home owner who took excellent care of a product they may now want to buy.

If you want top dollar for your home (and who doesn’t?), invest a little time and energy making these high-value spaces look their best and biggest by using these tips:

  • Reduce and simplify. Box up the holiday plates you only use once a year. Stop buying bottled water and toilet paper in bulk at Costco for now. Donate gently used clothes to a local charity or thrift store. The single most powerful thing you can do to make these spaces look bigger is to make them as empty as possible so start packing.
  • Get things off the floor. Whether it’s a scattering of shoes and luggage across the closet or a giant bag of dog food and stacks of canned drinks in the pantry, pick it up and move it. Emptying out floor space will instantly give closets a more open feel.
  • Invest in drawer and closet organizers. Available at home improvement stores and big box retailers, these little organizational tools can be very appealing to homebuyers and help streamline the look in places where the “stuff” must continue to exist.
  • Brighten up. Replace light bulbs with the brightest bulbs possible and clean the fixtures to make closets feel even larger. Need help choosing the right bulb? Read our blog post here.
  • Use baskets or opaque bins to organize/hide what’s left. Leaving items stacked on shelves or in see-through containers may be convenient for you, but it creates visual clutter for potential buyers.

Remember, just like a large bedroom packed with way too much furniture can look smaller, the same rule applies to cabinets, drawers, and closets — having them too full just makes them look littler. Invest the time now, BEFORE listing your home for sale, to make those spaces look their best. And while you’re at it…yeah, just take the plunge and clean out that junk drawer, too.

Need a little help getting started? Give Three Bears Home Staging a call at (832) 377-0785 to schedule a Walk & Talk Consultation, where you’ll spend up to 2 hours with a professional home stager and receive immediate, one-on-one feedback about exactly what needs to be done right away to prepare the home for the quickest, most profitable sale!

Photo credit: “DIY Drawer Dividers” by Dan Malec is licensed under CC by 2.0.

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!

How to Make a Room Look Bigger

blog-how-to-make-a-room-look-bigger

When staging a home for sale, you want the rooms to look BIG. Because despite the “tiny house” movement and recent trends toward minimalism, research still shows that buyers in almost all demographics want more square footage. So if you’re prepping your home for sale and dealing with a room that feels a little cramped, we have a few clever staging hacks that can help even the tiniest rooms appear more spacious.

  • Add light. Open the blinds and turn on all the lamps and lights, especially for MLS photography or when potential buyers are visiting the home. Eliminating dark corners makes a space feel bigger and brighter (which is what buyers want). Opening the curtains or blinds extends the feeling even further by connecting the space with outdoors.
  • Use light colors. It’s a pretty straight-forward color principle that most of us are familiar with: pale colors reflect light, whereas darker tones absorb it. Painting a room in a light color scheme will almost aways make the space feel larger.
  • Use mirrors. A well-placed large mirror can make a room feel twice its actual size. In many homes, mirrors are well-suited for specific focal points, such as over the fireplace or above an entryway table or a dining room sideboard. They reflect natural and artificial light, making a room feel brighter and bigger.
  • Simplify and tidy up. With less room to move and too many focal points for the eyes, a messy space or a room with too much “stuff” will feel tinier and more cramped.
  • Hang curtains higher. Hanging curtains as close to the ceiling as possible will make windows appear larger, walls seem taller, and leave the room feeling more spacious because the eyes will be drawn upward. And if you’re getting your house ready to sell, you may even want to evaluate whether you should hang curtains at all (spoiler alert: you probably shouldn’t).

    Image credit: Camile Moore Interior Treatments

    Image credit: Camile Moore Interior Treatments

  • Minimize patterns. Large swatches of busy patterns or bold prints (such as rugs, wallpaper, bedspreads, or couches) can feel fussy and cluttered. This is especially important to keep in mind if you’re staging a home for MLS photos (which tend to exaggerate certain patterns and colors). Instead, choose soft colors and subtle prints for a more spacious feel.
  • Remember scale and placement. The size of the furniture should be in harmony with the dimensions of the room. In other words, don’t try to fit a matching set of chunky, oversized sofa AND love seat AND chair into a small living room. No walkways or conversation areas should be blocked off by furniture size or arrangement.

familyBandA

The dark, chunky furniture in this living room felt a little dismal and closed off. For staging, we used lighter colored fabrics, glass, and a more open furniture arrangement to invite buyers in.

Creative staging can definitely help you get the most from a small room and help it appear more spacious without tearing down walls or breaking the bank. If you need a little help getting ready to sell your home and show it in its best light, give Three Bears Home Staging a call at (832) 377-0785 or contact us here to set up a consultation!

Title Photo Credit: AdrienVillez on Pixabay via CC0 Creative Commons.

 

Vannessa Rhoades Voted as One of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Real Estate Staging

June 1, 2018, KATY, TX — The Real Estate Staging Association® (RESA®) is pleased to announce that Vannessa Rhoades with Three Bears Home Staging in Katy, TX has been voted One of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Real Estate Staging. 

Vannessa Rhoades operates Three Bears Home Staging and has been a professional home stager since 2013. Three Bears Home Staging services Katy and the Greater Houston area. 

“I am honored, grateful, and humbled to have been nominated by my peers and to be in the company of so many talented and inspiring people,” said Rhoades.

“We are so excited to be able to honor the Top 100 Most Influential People in Real Estate Staging. The list can be viewed www.HomeStagingIndustryAwards.com. You can also view the finalists in all of the Home Staging Industry Awards categories. All of the winners will be announced at RESACON during the awards banquet July 26, 27, 28, 2018 at the M Resort in Las Vegas” said, Shell Brodnax, CEO Real Estate Staging Association.

About Three Bears Home Staging and Vannessa Rhoades

Three Bears Home Staging was founded in 2013 and provides home staging services for homeowners and real estate professionals. The firm specializes in Walk & Talk Staging Consultations for home sellers, providing detailed, objective advice for the fastest, most profitable sale. Three Bears Home Staging has received Houzz’s Best of Customer Service award annually since 2015. Vannessa Rhoades is an HSR Professionally Certified Home Stager, owner of Three Bears Home Staging, and author of Just Right! Easy DIY Home Staging.

About The Real Estate Staging Association® 

The Real Estate Staging Association® (RESA®) is the trade association for professional real estate stagers and redesigners. For more information on the real estate staging and the convention visit www.RESAConvention.com.  For more information about the awards please visit www.HomeStagingIndustryAwards.com. For more information about real estate staging, or to find a professional stager or redesigner call 800-201-8687 and speak with Shell Brodnax, or visit the RESA® Web site at www.RealEstateStagingAssociation.com      

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How to Stage an Entryway

blog-entryway-stagingThe entryway (or foyer or entrance hall, depending on what part of the country you’re from) is literally the first impression buyers will have of the interior of your home — making this space appealing is the first step in helping buyers establish a particular feeling about your house. As with all first impressions, buyers will form an opinion about your house within a matter of seconds — either positive or negative — that they will try to further support as they view the rest of your home. If that first impression is a good one, they tend to look for attributes throughout the home tour that will support those initial feelings.

So what’s the best way to stage the entryway when selling your home?

Be objective. This can be hard to do on your own so you may want to enlist the help of a friend, real estate agent, or (ahem…) a professional home stager. Take a hard look at your entryway. Is it inviting and easily accessible? Are you tripping over shoes and looking at a tangle of keys and dog leashes hanging on the wall? Do you need to create an entryway? 

Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Do you have a soaring ceiling or beautiful hardwood floors? How about a crack in the tile or an outdated light fixture? Identify the pros and cons of this space. What are some ways you can help emphasize your positive features to make them stand out and downplay your negatives?

Simplify and reduce. This area should be almost completely devoid of any untidiness. When in doubt, get rid of it.

  • Remove coat racks, shoe racks, key holders, leashes, etc. — basically any piece of furniture or decor designed to collect and organize the clutter of daily living.
  • Remove rugs and mats, at least for MLS photos and showings. They are a visual distraction and break up the floor space, making it look smaller. The exception: if you’ve got really awful or damaged floors and need a distraction.
  • Remove any items that allow the buyer to profile who lives there (i.e., religious icons, family photos, etc.) They create a distraction for buyers. 
  • Replace or update old lighting and door hardware. Again, simply spray painting them will sometimes do the trick (this won’t work for all homes). We like the color “Oil-Rubbed Bronze” by Rustoleum.  

Create a marketing “hook.” Use a few props and decor to connect with your buyers on an emotional level by staging a space that says life would be “just right” if they bought this house — clean, welcoming, uncluttered, organized.

  • Create a welcoming spot for buyers to envision walking in from a long day at work and having just the right spot to set down their keys and mail. Use a simple, low profile table with a large piece of art or a mirror over it to reflect light. Add a lamp for warmth.
  • A potted plant or a beautiful, fragrant bouquet of flowers smooths the transition for buyers by bringing the outdoors in. **Maintaining a fresh/living flower arrangement is hard for most sellers when their home is on the market, and it’s practically impossible to do in a vacant house. Instead, invest is beautiful realistic-looking faux plants.**

We love helping home sellers work with what they have to transform their entryways (and the rest of their home!) into a space where home buyers fall in love. If you’re getting ready to put your Katy, TX home on the market, call Three Bears Home Staging at (832) 377-0785 to schedule your Walk & Talk Consultation! And to learn more about DIY staging for entryways and other areas of your home, you can also check out our new book, Just Right! DIY Home Staging, now available on Amazon and iBooks!

 

Title photo by ZandersDirect  via Pixabay under Creative Commons License CC0

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