How to Make Your Home Feel More Relaxing

Many 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 and make your home feel more relaxing:

how-to-make-your-home-feel-more-relaxing
  • 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 harmony and make your home feel more relaxing. 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,” contact Three Bears Home Staging 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®

Three 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. You can get in touch with Three Bears Home Staging here.

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!).

  • 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 2019 for 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 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 e-design board*, inspired by this gorgeous photo from the Pottery Barn Fall 2018 Collection, 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! Whether you’re styling a table or trying to redesign an entire room, our e-design services are great for clients located anywhere!

*While Three Bears Home Staging will attempt to ensure that all retail product links are current in order to assist clients with purchasing design items, there is no guarantee that the furniture or accessories recommended by Three Bears Home Staging will be available for purchase at all OR within a specific time frame due to the ever-changing nature of the Internet.

Pottery Barn Inspired Fall Living Room for Less (with FREE Shopping List!)

I 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 living room that had appeared in the Pottery Barn Fall 2017 catalog. Like all Pottery Barn living room 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 Pottery Barn living 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!

Looking for something a little more customized to your taste? Check out our e-design services. We can create a design plan for clients anywhere using beautiful furnishings that are available online. And the best part? You can implement your design all at once or piece-by-piece as your timeline and budget allows.

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!

*While Three Bears Home Staging will attempt to ensure that all retail product links are current in order to assist clients with purchasing design items, there is no guarantee that the furniture or accessories recommended by Three Bears Home Staging will be available for purchase at all OR within a specific time frame due to the ever-changing nature of the Internet.

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 vignettes or tablescapes 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 and tablescapes 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. Take a look at the consultations services we offer and book yours today to 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

Should I clean out all of the cabinets, drawers, and closets so they’ll look bigger 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:

Cabinets Drawers Closets Look Bigger
  • 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 cabinets, drawers, and closets 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 home buyers 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? Contact Three Bears Home Staging to schedule a 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 (read our post about Simmer Scents for Autumn or Simmer Scent for Holidays), 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 summer simmer scents natural fragrance recipes are subtle, 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):


Watkins All Natural Original Gourmet Baking Vanilla, with Pure Vanilla Extract, 11 ounces Bottle, 1 Count (Packaging May Vary)
  • peel of 1-2 oranges and 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract (smells like a Dreamsicle!)
  • 1 sliced lime, fresh ginger slices, and a handful peppermint leaves (or extract, like OliveNation Pure Peppermint Extract)

OliveNation Extract, Peppermint, 8 Ounce

McCormick Coconut Extract With Other Natural Flavors, 1 Fl Oz (Pack of 6)
  • 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
summer simmer scents

It 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 summer 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!

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.

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 (take a look at this awesome illustration by Camile Moore Interior Treatments). 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.
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, helping it look bigger and feel 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, contact Three Bears Home Staging here to set up a consultation! You can also learn even more secrets for staging a home to look its best in our new book, Just Right! Easy DIY Home Staging, now available in paperback or for digital download on Apple Books and Amazon!

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

how to make a room look bigger

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

The Real Estate Staging Association,® or 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 2018. 

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 for the RESA Top 100 of 2018 and to be in the company of so many talented and inspiring people,” said Rhoades.

RESA CEO Shell Brodnax commented, “We are so excited to be able to honor the 2018 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.”

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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