12 Ways to Keep Your House Smelling Fresh All the Time | ThreeBearsHomeStaging.com

12 Ways to Keep Your House Smelling Fresh All the Time

12 Ways to Keep Your House Smelling Fresh All the Time | ThreeBearsHomeStaging.comThe smell of your home makes a huge first impression on visitors — sometimes even more powerfully than design style or cleanliness. The right smell — which is sometimes a lack of smells — gives the impression of cleanliness and comfort, making potential buyers want to linger and explore the possibility of buying your house! Unpleasant odors have the exact opposite effect and will have buyers walking right out the door, sight unseen.

Here are our tips to keep your house smelling fresh and a few warnings on funky places you may never have thought to check.

  1. Open the windows. Even if it’s just for a couple of hours, this is a great way to get rid of stale odors and cooking smells.
  2. Take out the trash. Does this one really need an explanation? Garbage stinks. Empty it often, especially if your home is on the market.
  3. Don’t smoke. My dearly departed grandmother smoked like a chimney and firmly believed that a good heavy spray with a can of potpourri-scented Glade air freshener hid all evidence of her smoking in the house. My friends, I hate to break it to you…but this does not work. Cigarette smoke (all kinds) is an odor that clings and lingers in textiles, carpet, and even paint, despite thorough cleaning. Going outside to smoke is definitely a better option, but unless you’re smoking out there naked, understand that the odor will still cling to your clothes, which will be coming back into the house and into a laundry hamper where they’ll likely sit for a day or two. This odor is often difficult for smokers to detect, but trust me — non-smokers will still smell it, and this is a big turn-off to many potential home buyers.
  4. Run an air purifier. Not only do they reduce smells, they help reduce pollen and dust in the air.
  5. Remove mothballs. When I visit a client who’s using mothballs in a closet or garage, I can tell almost instantly by the distinct, pungent camphor fragrance. The next thing that immediately pops into my mind is “What kind of pest are they trying to thwart — Snakes? Mice?” Your buyers will head down this same train of thought! Find a different method of pest prevention while your home is on the market, and lose the mothballs.
  6. Seal up spices. If your family likes to use particularly pungent spices for cooking, keep them sealed in plastic baggies or storage bins to contain the fragrance.
  7. Use an essential oil diffuser or wax melt warmer. Both offer gentle, continuous pleasing fragrance that’s a little safer than the open flame of a candle. BUT if you’re putting your house on the market — seller beware! Some fragrances can work against you! Read our blog post on Scents That Sell.
  8. Fire up the crockpot. If you prefer a more natural way to add fragrance to your home, check out some of Three Bears Home Staging’s recipes for crockpot/stove-top simmering potpourris using ingredients you may already have on hand! We have suggestions for both summertime fragrances and autumn-inspired recipes.
  9. Sprinkle baking soda on carpet. Baking soda is inexpensive, natural, and a proven odor absorber. To use it, clear rugs of as much furniture as possible and sprinkle baking soda liberally. For best results, leave it for at least a couple of hours or even overnight (sprinkle right before bedtime) to allow it to fully absorb odors. Then vacuum it up and toss it out.
  10. Be vigilant with pets. Obviously we can’t just get rid of our fur babies, so how do we deal? Keep pets clean, brushed, and bathed as often as possible. Launder their bedding frequently. Clean up any accidents IMMEDIATELY to avoid odors setting in. Regularly vacuum carpet and furniture. Empty litter boxes as often as possible (I mean really, you can’t overdo the litter box cleaning).
  11. Deal with shoe piles. Like many people, my family removes our shoes before entering the house, not only to reduce the amount of dirt that gets tracked in but to reduce the amount of bacteria that comes into the house (yeah, those same shoes I used to walk around in a public restroom? They do NOT need to be schlepping through my house). Consequently, the area where shoes pile up can get a little funky. Periodically, spray shoes with an odor eliminator to get rid of the smell. Another trick? Use a little dry shampoo to absorb stinkiness.
  12. Clean the disposal. Garbage disposals and sink drains are notorious culprits for hidden odors. To safely clean your blades without the use of harmful chemicals, pour a couple tablespoons of salt down the disposal, add five or six ice cubes and a few thin slices of lemon (or lemon juice if you’re worried about the rind clogging things up). Run the cold water, then turn on the disposal and let it grind. Continue running water for a minute or so afterward to flush out any remaining lemon particles. Once everything is safely turned off, give those hard-to-clean rubber flaps around the opening a good scrub as well (these can get SUPER funky).

What are some of your favorite tricks to keep the house smelling fresh? Share them with us! And when you’re ready to sell and need a little objective feedback on the fragrance in your home, give Three Bears Home Staging a call at (832) 377-0785 to set up a Walk and Talk Consultation.

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!

Create a Cozy, Welcoming Entryway for the Holidays

blog-entryway-farmhouse-holiday-hygge-1Having a home that exudes “hygge” — that safe, cozy feeling that makes you want to come in and snuggle up with a warm, fuzzy blanket and a steaming cup of hot cocoa — is something most of us strive for during the holiday season.

Whether you’re staging to sell or just decorating for your own pleasure, one of the first steps in establishing that welcoming vibe for your home is to create an inviting entryway. This space is literally the first impression people will have of the interior of your home and sets the tone for the rest of the house. And during the holidays, you want visitors (or if you’re selling, potential buyers) to feel your house is a place where they can relax, unwind, and feel at home.

entryway-farmhouse-holiday-hygge-IMAGE

For example:  We loved this cozy, farmhouse style entryway we found on Pinterest (despite my best efforts, I could not find the origin of this photo — if anyone out there knows, please contact me here, as I would love to give them proper credit). This entryway is simple, inviting, comfortable–full of “hygge” for the holidays!

Since we thought a lot of you would enjoy this entryway too, we recreated the look with another FREE Mood Board and Shopping List for our tribe– just click the button below!

Our Shopping List has direct links to every single item on the Mood Board, which means you can easily recreate this beautiful farmhouse entryway with just a few clicks of the button and have all of your decor items delivered right to your door. How simple is that?!

Want to take your design a step further? Our Mood Board even includes specific Sherwin-Williams paint color suggestions!

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 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???

Remember, 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!

Remember, 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!