Tips for Safer Home Showings During COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

The coronavirus outbreak naturally has many of us in the real estate business on edge since so much of our business involves face-to-face interaction.

While avoiding direct contact with others is obviously the best way to ensure the safety of agents, buyers, and sellers, it may not always be possible. There are some precautions that can be taken to minimize the risk if agents or clients do host an in-person showing. Feel free to share the infographic below or download a free PDF version here.


The National Association of Realtors (NAR) encourages agents to be open and honest about the risks of an open house during this time. Recent guidelines released by the trade association ask that agents “Assess the risk based on your specific location, and direct your clients to local and state health authorities for specific information about the severity of the risk in your area.”

NAR also recommends using alternative marketing tactics, like virtual and video tours. Consider asking your brokerage what alternative options and technologies you could use during this time. Three Bears Home Staging even offers online home staging consultations (virtual Walk and Talk Consultations) to clients everywhere. It could help both you and your community at large stay healthier in the long run.

Stay safe. Be well.

Our Favorite Neutral Home Staging Decor Finds on Amazon

Did you know that rooms that have too many personal items, too much furniture, or even too much “color clutter” can actually make your home appear smaller, more cramped, and less inviting to potential buyers?

In other words, when it comes to staging your home for sale, your home should be what’s on display — not your stuff. Your decor should serve as a beautiful background palette that allows buyers to envision the lifestyle they want…and transition from the logical decision to visit your home (because it fits their size/location criteria) to the emotional decision to make an offer (because they can “see” themselves living in that home)!

So how do you do it without creating a space that feels sterile and empty?

One way is to incorporate neutral home decor pieces that add texture, warmth, and interest to the space. These pieces should serve as highlights to the architectural features of the home, not as the focal point themselves. To help you get started, take a look at these neutral, budget-friendly home decor finds available on Amazon that can complement almost any space.

neutral home decor amazon
neutral home decor

BIRDROCK HOME Round Pouf Foot Stool Ottoman, a beautiful way to add texture (and additional seating) to a room.

neutral home decor

Longhui Bedding Fringe Knit Cotton Throw Blanket, brings a decorative element to any sofa, couch, bed, recliner or sitting bench.

neutral home decor

Ledger Modern Accent Table Lamps Set of 2 are an easy way to update a bedroom or living room end tables.

neutral home decor

Versanora VN-L00007 Romanza Tripod Metal Legs LED Floor Lamp; Home buyers love light, bright spaces, and this modern design will give your space an updated vibe.

neutral home decor

Trvone Round Mirror 32″ Large Wall Mirror will double the light and visual depth in a small room, making the space appear larger. Perfect for hanging above a fireplace or in an entryway

neutral home decor

Ailsan Hand Woven Tufted Throw Pillows Cover helps add a little texture and brightness to a dark couch or bedding.

neutral home decor

Tiffasea Decorative Throw Pillow Covers make a great statement piece on your couch or bed.

neutral home decor

nuLOOM Natura Collection Chunky Loop Jute Rug; Rugs aren’t always a good idea when staging a home for sale, but this beautifully textured jute rug can really pull a space together.

neutral home decor

Enrico 2220 Root Wood Small Bowl is a beautiful accent to a coffee table or open shelving.

Home staging doesn’t have to be expensive and over-the-top, but it does have to show potential buyers that your home could be theirs. If you’re having trouble figuring out where to start, we can help! Three Bears Home Staging offers Walk & Talk Consultations that provide immediate, one-on-one feedback about exactly what needs to be done right away to prepare the home for the quickest, most profitable sale! For clients outside the Houston area, we offer Online Home Staging Consultations. Give us a call at (832) 377-0785 to get started or contact us here.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


[KATY, Texas], February 13, 2020 – Three Bears Home Staging of Katy, Texas has won a Best Of Houzz award for Customer Service on Houzz®, the leading platform for home renovation and design. The 7-year old home staging consulting firm was chosen by the millions of homeowners that comprise the Houzz community from among more than 2.5 million active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

The Best Of Houzz badge is awarded annually, in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design awards honor professionals whose work was the most popular among the Houzz community. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including a pro’s overall rating on Houzz and client reviews submitted in 2019. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognized with the Photography award.

A “Best Of Houzz 2020” badge will appear on winners’ profiles as a sign of their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

“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, author of Just Right: Easy DIY Home Staging and founder of Three Bears Home Staging.

“This year’s Best Of Houzz awards go to an incredibly talented and service-oriented group of home remodeling and design professionals, and we’re proud to highlight the winners on the Houzz website and app,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “This award is particularly meaningful as it reflects the sentiment of the millions of homeowners in the Houzz community who are hiring home professionals for their projects across the U.S. and around the world.”

To see Three Bears Home Staging’s Houzz profile and read customer reviews, visit:

About Houzz Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow, Tel Aviv and Tokyo. Houzz is a registered trademark of Houzz Inc. worldwide. For more information, visit

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When to Use a Rug in Home Staging (and When Not To)

Joel Coen’s cult classic The Big Lebowski weaves together a fascinating story of kidnapping, chaos, and bowling as Jeff Bridges’s character, The Dude, faces one adventure after another in the search for his rug.

THE rug.

The rug “that really tied the room together.”

As The Dude sagely noted, a favorite rug can really bring all the elements of a space into harmony. A good rug adds interest, defines the space, helps absorb noise, and creates a sense of warmth.

Used improperly, however, rugs can really distort a potential buyer’s perception of your home when staging for sale. From being a simple trip hazard to posing a major distraction, some rugs really just work better for staging when they’re gone.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a few pointers to keep in mind when deciding whether your rug should stay or go when staging your house for sale:

  • Rugs on a carpet are a BIG no-no when it comes to home staging. Buyers tend to think you’re trying to cover up stains.
  • If you or anyone else has smoked in the same room as the rug or if you have pets who’ve had occasional “accidents” on the rug, just remove the rug completely. No matter how well you think you may have cleaned that rug, there’s a really good chance it’s still holding odors. Even if you can’t smell it, there’s a decent chance your buyer will.
  • Just because a rug was expensive/imported/hand-knotted by magical elves/has all your favorite colors does not mean it will do you any favors when it’s time to sell your home. If the rug is damaged, stained, stinky, missing fringe, or too taste-specific, roll up that treasure and put it into storage for now. Invest a few bucks on a less expensive rug that will do a better job showing off your home.
  • Stick with textures and neutrals when using a rug for home staging. Sisal or shag rugs are great options and look good in MLS photos.
  • Area rugs (typically rugs at least 5’ x 7’ or larger) in living rooms usually look best when the front legs of the furniture are anchored on the rug. A standard 8’ x 10’ rug works well in most living rooms.
  • Small rugs should be REMOVED from the house when staging your home for sale. Having runners, doormats, and other small rugs lying around can feel cluttered to buyers and interrupts the visual flow of the house, especially in your MLS photos. Buyers want to see the condition and quality of flooring — show them! It’s also worth noting that smaller rugs can present a bigger trip hazard for some buyers, so play it safe and take them out.
  • Bath mats are gross to potential buyers. And to be fair, having a bunch of strangers walking on your bath mat in their dirty shoes should probably feel gross to you as a seller. Keep your bath mats for stepping out of the shower safely, but stow them away in a cabinet or closet when photographing your MLS pictures or showing the home to buyers.

If you’re still confused you can use the handy flowchart we’ve created especially for you, dear readers. You can also contact Three Bears Home Staging for a Walk and Talk Consultation or an Online Home Staging Consultation to get our feedback.

The Dude abides…

Home Design Trends for 2020

Happy New Year! While much of our focus may be on refreshing our personal lives, our homes deserve a little attention too. Just as with every new year, our list of 2020 home design trends reflects what is gaining popularity: some of it’s inspiring, some feels way over-the-top, and some of it is old-becomes-new-again.

Design trends and fads can be a tricky thing when selling your home. Though home staging tends to focus on neutralizing strong design choices in order to create mass appeal, home sellers should consider giving a nod toward current trends when possible and removing styles that may feel dated.

With that said, here are a few up-and-coming home design trends on the horizon for 2020 (including SOME that actually work for home staging).

  • Beige is back. Most professional color sources are in agreement that beige walls are making a comeback. Although white is still at the top, beige, greige and other warmer hues are creeping back to the top of the list of preferred wall colors, while grays are steadily declining.
Photo by Barnes Construction Group via Houzz
  • Warm, earthy colors. These saturated hues and jewel tones, like chocolate, olive green, saffron, and wine, continue to grow in popularity as the cooler-toned palettes are seeing a progressive decline (although upon re-reading the list of sample colors I mentioned, it’s possible that I’m just hungry).
  • Dramatic print wallpapers. Bold designs and even pattern matching (having the same pattern fabric and wallpaper) is becoming more common. This is NOT a route you should go if you’re staging your home for sale, though, as it’s simply to taste-specific to appeal to a large number of home buyers.
Photo by Sarah & Ruby Design Studio via Houzz
  • Bold powder rooms. Looking for a small space to experiment with that dramatic wallpaper? Powder rooms (also known as half baths) are a popular choice! Navy blue is another super popular statement color popular with homeowners, especially in powder rooms, leading Sherwin-Williams to name Naval (SW 6244) as their 2020 Color of the Year.
Photo by Black Knight Group via Houzz
  • Antiques and meaningful pieces mixed with new treasures. Layering past and present souvenirs and handmade pieces that tell your story and reflect your space are also seeing a rise in popularity as homeowners strive to create a space that truly feels like home. Again, NOT something you should do for staging (buyers don’t care about your personal stuff…or they may care too much and find it a distraction), but this is a beautiful trend for redesign.
Photo by Martha O’Hara Interiors via Houzz
  • Natural accents. The texture and visual warmth of linens, wicker, grasscloth, rattan, and rustic woods are seeing a resurgence in popularity.
Photo by OMNIA Group Architects via Houzz

What design trends have you noticed gaining traction in your area? Let us know in the comments!

Want a little help putting a design plan together for your home? Check out our easy, affordable e-design services.

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 — for clients outside the Houston area, we offer Online Home Staging Consultations as well. We’d love to help!

DIY Holiday Simmer Scents: Make Your House Smell Great for the Holidays!

You know we love simmering potpourri recipes (read our posts about Simmer Scents for Autumn and Summer). Today we’re sharing our holiday simmer scents recipes! They’re a simple, cost-conscious way to make your house smell warm and comforting for the holidays using fruits and spices 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 super light and clean, a great way to make your house smell welcoming to anyone who visits this holiday season!

How to Do It

Add ingredients 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 your holiday simmer scents! 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).

holiday simmer scents

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

  • Rosemary sprigs, vanilla, orange peel

Watkins All Natural Original Gourmet Baking Vanilla, with Pure Vanilla Extract, 11 ounces Bottle, 1 Count (Packaging May Vary)

McCormick Cinnamon Sticks, 8 Ounce (Pack of 1)

Frontier Whole Juniper Berries, 1.28 Ounce

Once again it should probably go without sIt 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 miniature slow cooker, uncovered on the “Low” setting. We like this one:

Crock-Pot 16-Ounce Little Dipper, Chrome

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 winter and need more tips on how to freshen up your home,  Three Bears Home Staging can help! Contact us here set up an initial consultation!

These products have been independently selected because I like them. Some of the links on this blog are affiliate links, meaning, if you choose to click on a link and make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you and is paid 100% by the merchant.

Our Top Recommended Cleaning “Must-Haves” for DIY Home Staging

When it comes to selling your home, cleanliness says a LOT to your potential buyers (so does dirtiness, for that matter).

Home buyers are some of the most judgemental visitors that will ever darken your door (and understandably so, right? — they’re trying to decide whether they want to invest thousands of dollars in your house). They perceive a clean, tidy home as well-maintained, cared for, and generally more appealing. A home with dirty floors, mildewy showers, and dusty air vents are major turn-offs and red flags that can sabotage the sale.

This toilet does not scream “PLEASE BUY ME!” to a potential buyer. This toilet tells buyers to “Run away or proceed with extreme caution.”
Image by mattv10 from Pixabay

Not sure if your home is quite ready for showings? Ask yourself this: is my bathtub clean enough that a complete stranger would feel absolutely comfortable soaking naked in it?

This bath tub says, “Buy me! Relax and unwind, right here, right now!”
Image by MikesPhotos from Pixabay

Be 100% honest. If the answer is no, you’ve got some work to do.

But fear not! Three Bears Home Staging is here to help! We’ve put together a handy shopping list just for you of our favorite cleaning products when staging your home!


Just click the button below to download a free PDF shopping list with clickable links. These products are FANTASTIC for tackling even the grossest spots as you’re preparing your home for sale — which will ultimately help you attract more buyers and sell faster and for more money!

Need a cleaning check-list for home showings? We’ve got you covered there too! Take a look at our blog post on how to keep your house clean for home showings.

Don’t sabotage your sale with a problem you can easily solve BEFORE you list your home! The right cleaning products are a small investment that can net a huge return when selling. What are some of your favorite products for keeping the house show-ready when selling? Share them with us here! And if you need a little extra help, contact Three Bears Home Staging to schedule a consultation.

**As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.

Our 6 Favorite White Paints for Selling Your Home

Choosing the right shade of white paint can be a big challenge. It’s highly reflective so you have to consider the other elements in the room: accent walls, wood tones, bold furnishings, ceiling color, light bulb color temperatures, even the direction the windows are facing (and possibly what’s outside those windows)! White paint is also notorious for having subtle undertones lurking in it that tend to be magnified once they’re on the wall.

And in case you haven’t noticed yet, white walls are trending right now. Color popularity shifts about every 5 to 7 years, and with grays and taupes  starting to see a decline, white walls are on the rise.

Tip: If you’re painting your walls white, you may want to consider painting the trim, cabinets, and ceiling the same color but in different sheens.

When choosing a white paint for your home, start by picking up a few actual paper color swatches from the store (or get them from one of our Virtual or In-Home Color Consultations) to compare in your own home. Don’t ever make a paint decision based solely on a swatch you only looked at while in the store, online, saw in your friend’s house, or read about in a blog post!

OR you could make your life way easier on yourself and order re-usable peel-and-stick paint samples online! Check out SAMPLIZE. These paint swatches are far more affordable, easier to use, and kinder to the environment that traditional cans of paint. Plus, they offer paint samples in lines from Sherwin-Williams, Benjamin Moore, Farrow & Ball, and Home Depot. Here’s why I like them:

  • Your samples generally arrive in just 1-3 days.
  • They’re far less expensive than brushes, rollers, pans, and cans of sample paint.
  • No clean-up. No waste.
  • You can re-position and re-use them.

Click below to visit their website and order your samples:

My hope is that this blog post will help point you in the right direction and at least eliminate the shades that WON’T work for you.

With that in mind, here are a few of my top favorite white paint choices to use when selling your home:

  • High Reflective White, SW 7757 – High Reflective White is probably the truest, no-undertone white paint available at SW. It’s a really flexible color, not too warm or too cool, so it works great in homes that have a mix of tones. It’s the brightest white Sherwin-Williams offers with a Light Reflective Value (LRV) of 93, making it possibly a little too stark for kitchens and baths with white quartz or marble countertops. In the photo below, all cabinetry and wood work was done in Sherwin Williams High Reflective White SW7757 in a low lustre.

Kitchen contemporary-kitchen

  • Alabaster, SW 7008 – Alabaster is a great off-white that’s just a little bit softer and more subtle without being too yellow or creamy. The warmest of the four whites I chose, it works really well in homes with lots of earth-tones. Whereas many whites are used primarily as a trim color, Alabaster works just as well on large areas as it does on small. Because it’s still neutral with just a hint of warmth, it works especially well in rooms with a southern exposure (conversely, it may look a bit lackluster in rooms with north-facing windows). The walls and ceiling of this beautiful kitchen are SW 7008 Alabaster:

Lakeview | Orono, MN - Spring 2018 farmhouse-kitchen

  • Extra White, SW 7006 – Extra White is considered by many designers to be the white-est white in the SW palette. My personal opinion is that it reads a just little more on the cool side, making it a better choice for homes that feature grays, blues, silver tones, and espresso colored woods. As a trim color, it doesn’t pair up quite as well next to warm or earth-tones as maybe Alabaster or Pure White. Extra White is a clean, crisp color that works great for homes that have a more contemporary feel. In rooms with a northern exposure, the you may see a bit more iciness in the color whereas the light from a south-facing room may neutralize this effect (during daylight hours, anyway).

Lansdowne Road Hall Bath transitional-bathroom

  • Pure White, SW 7005 – Pure White is similar to Alabaster in that it’s a great neutral base with just a tiny hint of warmth. It’s a little more crisp than Alabaster and works really well in both warm- and cool-toned homes as a trim, ceiling, and cabinet color. It reads a little warmer in rooms with a southern exposure, while north-facing windows diminish that effect a bit. The perimeter cabinets in this stunning kitchen remodel are in SW 7005 Pure White.

Stunning Kitchen and Whole House Remodel - from "Outdated" to "Gorgeous"! traditional-kitchen

  • Chantilly Lace, Benjamin Moore OC 65Chantilly Lace is a crisp, clean white that has a little bit of an icy edge. It pairs well with cool-toned colors, particularly blues. It may look a little stark in rooms with a northern exposure. The walls of this gorgeous bathroom are painted in Chantilly Lace:

Main Bathroom traditional-bathroom

  • White Dove, Benjamin Moore OC 17White Dove is a softer, less stark shade of white than Chantilly Lace. It’s a classic versatile off-white that has almost a gray-brown undertone (not yellow or creamy). This paint works well with a variety of warm and cool colors without being too stark or bright and is a favorite choice for doors, ceilings, and trim. The cabinets in the photo below are painted in White Dove:

CC traditional-kitchen

If you’re having a hard time choosing the right color, let us help! The right color can transform a room! Let us help you reinvent your space with paint. Three Bears Home Staging has extensive training and experience with interior and exterior color consultations. Whether it’s for an interior or exterior space, we’ll help you create a custom color palette . Click below to learn more about our online Color Consultation services.

These products have been independently selected because I like them. Some of the links on this blog are affiliate links, meaning, if you choose to click on a link and make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you and is paid 100% by the merchant.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Our Favorite Amazon Staging Accessories

At Three Bears Home Staging, we know that empowering home sellers with the right tools and good advice will earn them more money in the sale and less time on the market — and research from the National Association of Realtors backs us up! Whether you’re a client who recently completed a consultation with us, a real estate professional who needs specific product recommendations or staging accessories for your clients, or a home seller just looking for some helpful staging advice, we’ve got you covered!

staging accessories

We’ve compiled a list of of some our most frequently recommended products for DIY home staging accessories, from the perfect light bulbs to realistic-looking faux botanicals — all available with one click from Amazon.

Free Download!

Just sign up below to download our specially curated FREE Favorite Amazon Staging Accessories e-design board with super easy, clickable shopping links to every single item on our board!

staging accessories

Once you’ve shopped for all these fun staging accessories, you’ve now got to figure out where to put them all. But don’t worry — we won’t leave you hanging! Take a look at some of our past blog posts for helpful DIY advice when it comes to home staging accessories:

Need more help putting your staging accessories together? Three Bears Home Staging specializes in positive, empowering consultations that help home sellers present their space in a way that sells faster and for more money. Our consultations are available in persona and online! Click below to learn more about our services or contact us here for questions.

These products have been independently selected because I like them. Some of the links on this blog are affiliate links, meaning, if you choose to click on a link and make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you and is paid 100% by the merchant.

FREE e-Design Board: Dorm Room Decor and Ideas

Oh, how I wish e-design had been a “thing” my freshman year of college (but as the Internet had just barely come into widespread use in 1995, e-design was not an option). My “dorm room decor” consisted of a cheap black comforter and sham on my bed with a single green chintz throw pillow and a framed Charlie Chaplin poster on the wall. Back then, my friends thought it was pretty fancy.

Nowadays though? Oh, WOW. Today’s dorm rooms are decorated to the nines, and thanks to online shopping options, college kids (and their parents) can outfit their whole dorm room in just a few clicks.

Moving Day is approaching quickly for those heading to college dorms, and if your decor sense is savvier than 1995 Vannessa’s and you’re hoping to turn those depressing cinder block walls into a stylish, comfy home-away-from home, you are in luck!

We’ve created three FREE downloadable dorm room designs—boho chic, glam, and university classic. 

Each dorm room design comes with a detailed click-and-buy Shopping List, so there’s no need to search for links. How easy is that? **Due to the ever-changing nature of Internet pricing/shopping, items may have changed price/availability since this post was originally created.**

Want something more customized to your taste? Choose one of our e-Design Plans to get started or fill out our online Design Questionnaire so that we can get some info about your personal style and get going on an idea for you specifically!

Moving is already a somewhat disorganized, stressful (and usually sweaty) situation —  make it a little easier on yourself by investing in an e-Design Plan from Three Bears Home Staging. Not only will you get a design plan for a beautiful room within your budget, but you can focus as little of your time and brain power on it as you want — and how great is that?

Have more questions about how our e-design services work? Click below!