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.

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

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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.
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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

 

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.