Wednesday, February 5, 2014


I LOVE when people send me photos asking for design advice, so thank you, Jennifer, for this lovely shot of your living room.  Jennifer asked for advice on "straightening things out" in her living room before listing the house with a real estate agent.  Her main questions…1.) should we buy new furniture? 2.) Should we paint? 3.) Should we hang curtains?  So, Jennifer, before I get to answering your questions, allow me to tell a little story.  My design business has evolved into quite a big staging business as more and more people decide to sell, especially in what appears to be an upswing of the otherwise depressed market.  While this can be an emotional process, no matter what the reason for listing, it is incredibly important to REMOVE EMOTION FROM YOUR PROCESS WHEN STAGING YOUR HOUSE!!!  Two years ago I helped a retired widow stage her contemporary home.  When I stepped into the project it had been sitting on the market for over a year with not bites, but many lookers.  The main complaint..the house looked like a retired widow lived in it, with dated colors, knick-knacks abound, and cat hair everywhere.  In short, it did not look worthy of it's $3.3 million dollar price tag and didn't appeal to the Baby Boomers checking it out. Among the many things I did to freshen it up, I suggested painting the faux-finished yellow walls in a simple off-white.  At the mere suggestion of doing such a thing, however, the homeowner spun herself into a fit of rage and frustration.  Why on earth would I suggest such colors, she screamed? "Off white" was never part of her design vocabulary, she explained over and over…after making her a glass of tea (in hindsight I shouldn't put a little something in that tea to calm her down) I explained to her, as I do to many..she wasn't selling the house to HERSELF.  It didn't matter what she liked, clearly potential buyers couldn't see past the odd colors and faux finishes to this homes true potential.  Well, we painted that house off-white and it quickly zipped off to new, happy owners.  So, Jennifer…back to YOU and your neck of the woods.  May I offer a little advice?
If I could grab the sofa, rug and chair as is and twist it around to face the fireplace, that would be a great start.  Place the chair where the bookshelf is, facing inward and the sofa facing the fireplace.  If you have a large piece of art or mirror, place it above the fireplace.  Because you only have one window on one side of the fireplace,  would paint the trim around that window the same color as the wall so it doesn't stick out as much.  Remove the bookshelf and, if you can, run to Home Goods or TJ max and buy an over sized wicker basket for all of the games and toys, and place it under the large picture window.  To balance out the space a bit and give the illusion of higher ceilings, hang a curtain rod as close to the ceiling as possible above the larger window (or two..see my blog from early December with a staging secret for inexpensive curtains and rods).  Grab a couple of inexpensive lamps from Home Goods, walmart or Target (or just new lampshades) and place on either side of sofa.  Good luck, Jennifer..send more pictures if you have them!