Home staging tips; the master bedroom

Staging the master bedroom

We’ve all been told that kitchens and bathrooms sell homes and while that is still true, master bedrooms need thoughtful staging as well. Today’s buyer is looking for a master retreat and no matter what the price-point of your property, you need to make sure that this space feels calm, relaxing and luxurious.
To begin,
• Remove anything in the space that implies work, which means the exercise equipment needs to move out and the computer work space needs to be dismantled.
• Have a look at the floor; the only thing on it should be the furniture. Is the flooring in good shape or should it be cleaned or repaired?
• Be careful not to make the space feel small by having too much furniture in the room, a bed, two side tables and one dresser should be the most. If your bedroom is large you may be able to add a small reading area; when in doubt, leave it out.
• Have a look at the walls in the room; do you need to fill holes or make any repairs? Do they need a good wash or maybe a fresh coat of paint?
• Clear off dresser tops and side tables. Leave only lamps, an alarm and possibly a book.
• When you open the closet door what do you see? Does it look spacious and organized? Pack off-season clothing, rarely worn clothing, etc. Do the same with shoes, purses, belts and ties.

small master

Now what,
• Pack anything you don’t absolutely need. If possible, store these boxes off-site, maybe a friend or family member will let you store some boxes in their basement or garage. There are also many storage facilities that offer spaces for rent.
• Get rid of all the dry cleaner type hangers. Depending on price-point, replace with simple white plastic or wood. Hang everything facing the same direction and use nice storage containers to store items you can’t live without. Have these containers on the shelf – not the floor.
• Make the bed look as luxurious as possible, you can purchase a “bed-in-a-bag” at almost every bedding or big-box store and these quickly pull a room together. Be sure to use the bed skirt if it is a nice tailored one.
• Iron all bedding so that it looks nice and fresh pay special attention to the bed-skirt.
• Consider removing draperies and be sure to have the windows sparkling clean.
• Keep this room in top shape so that you will always be ready for a showing.

Stager tip

Keep a small duffel bag or backpack handy so that you can quickly pack up anything (jewelery,laptop/tablet, etc.,) before a showing. Take the bag with you when you leave.

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Lighting for selling and dwelling.

Although I’ve written before about the importance of lighting your property (see February, 2013) with our days getting shorter, I felt the need to write again.
If you have been in a store looking to replace some bulbs lately you’ve probably been faced with a huge array of choices and possibly been a little confused by all the new technology and terminology out there. We were so accustomed to purchasing lighting by wattage that the new CFL, LED and tube lighting terminology may seem frightening at first but, don’t despair, as I’ve found a handy chart to help you figure everything out!

Remember these two terms; wattage measures the amount of energy a lamp uses to provide light; la lumen measures the brightness of the light produced. Here is that handy chart I promised,


equivalency chart

Now that you better understand how lumen compares to wattage, let’s determine how much lighting you actually need in your rooms using these great tips from Ballard Designs


So, now that we’ve got all our lighting needs figured out, let’s revisit our needs when selling our house;

1. Be sure prospective buyers can find your property in the dark by having your house number lit up so it is visible from the street.
2.  Have exterior entrance lights on so prospective buyers can find your front door.
3.Realtors can be counted upon to turn on lights that are operated by a switch on the wall but will not usually enter a room to turn on any additional lighting so be sure to turn on all lights before a showing.

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My top 4 design trends for home staging

Wow, it’s hard to believe that October is over and November is at the half-way point! Over the coming weeks I’ll be looking for some additions to my staging inventory and thought I’d share with you what my TOP 4 design trends are.

1. While I’ll still be recommending the use of white metals for fixtures and hardware in the home, I’ll be looking for some warm metal pieces to add to my accessory selection. For fixtures and hardware, brass is still to dated looking for today’s buyer but the use of copper, gold and bronze in accessories will defiantly add a contemporary edge. I’ll be looking at decorative copper bowls and vases and will be changing out a few of the frames on my artwork to gold-toned ones.

metal mixing

metal mixing

2. Gray will continue to be an on-trend neutral. I’ll continue using it when I recommend changing out a wall color( there are just so many to choose from!)and I’ll be adding more bedding and towels in both pale and charcoal tones to my inventory. As you can see from the photos below, grey has many personalities; bright and cheerful, bold and contempory and subtle and luxurious.

Girls bedroom     Bright and cheery

grey bedding 3

3. Using colorful accents to keep rooms on trend and create flow in a house. As a stager, I want to create rooms that have interest and appeal as well as have each room visually flow from one to the next. We call this color tracking and accessories are the best way to develop this flow, I’ve already mentioned my planned purchases of a few warm metal pieces but I will also be looking for items I can use to track color from one room to the next. I still love the blue/green color family that has been so popular over the past 12 months. Items such as these fit well with my grey tones as well as the whites and beiges I often use.


4. I’ll also be adding a few more pairs of lamps suitable for both living and bedrooms.I’ll stick to fairly transitional styles such as these.

table lamps1table lamps2

I’ll also be adding at least two simple floor lamps for those smaller condos we have here. Once again, fairly transitional in style.


I’m really looking forward to searching for and then using my new inventory items. My goal is always to use as much of the home seller’s furniture and accessories as possible and only using my inventory when needed but being able to chose the right accessory quickly is just one of the reasons why Access Home Staging is quickly becoming the “go-to” staging company in Ottawa.

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My Latest Design Addiction

Ever since winning the furniture makeover challenge at the http://www.hiawathacottages.ca/design-contest.php it seems I’ve become addicted to making things over, re-purposing stuff and generally just trying to keep things out of landfill. I thought our projects for the challenge were really good…

old, broken rake

old, broken rake to

funky wine glass holder

funky wine glass holder Our fellow stagers loved our addition to the bar area of our deck.

design Hiawatha 297 and our wedding table and chair took first place!

As a home stager, I often see elements that need updating and the most common is lighting fixtures. Nothing dates a space more than shiny brass fixtures! New fixtures can be expensive so if you’re on a tight budget, up-dating the look of your fixtures might be all you need.

Nothing up-dates a fixture quicker than spray paint, to see a great example head to http://www.livelovediy.com/2013/01/decorating-our-master-bedroom-5.html now this blogger used Rustoleum spray paint and if you head to their website you’ll find lots of ideas and tutorials  http://www.rustoleum.ca/ you can also have a look at http://www.krylon.com/projects/

One thing that I found really exciting though was the fact that you can actually paint fabric. Thrifty Chair Makeover Annie Sloan Chalk Paint - artsychicksrule.com #chalkpaintThis chair looks awesome and if you head over to www.artsychicksrule.com you’ll discover how to do this and look at dozens of other transformations with paint.

I love staging houses so that they can sell faster and sell for the most money possible and I really love the challenge of helping people create amazing transformations using their own furniture and accessories (occupied staging). Researching painted furniture and accessories has given me a ton of new ideas that I can share with clients to help them stay within their budget but still create that “WOW” factor that home buyers are looking for.

If you know of any great DIY sites why not share them with me.

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Making the most of what you have to work with

The Hiawatha Cottages  design challenge really made the Access Home Staging design team think creatively: the budget was tiny, the cottage was pretty big and we hand limited time.

The TV room in our cottage was added to the original cottage at some time in the past and the addition was at a lower level requiring a small set of stairs that really cut into the usable space, there was also strange circle of plywood on the wall.

4004 Hiawatha Lane Battersea-small-020-Living Room-666x444-72dpi

The large chair was out of scale for the space and the circle just looked a little weird. We changed out the over-sized chair to a smaller one and by doing so actually allowed  us to use two chairs in the space which, in turn, added more seating to the space,

The circle couldn’t be removed so rather than try to blend it in we decided to actually create a focal point with it.

design Hiawatha 327  As you can see, we added a piece of art to our circle which had the same tones as the furniture in the space. We found our art in an unused “bunkie” on the property and it fit in our space beautifully.

So, when you are faced with a design challenge; put your creativity cap on and you just may come up with an idea that turns the challenge into something awesome!

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Staying on budget

While more and more realtors and home-sellers are seeing the huge benefit of staging a home prior to listing, everyone has a budget.  I have always prided myself on my ability to stay within budget on a project which is why I love doing occupied stagings. Working with what is already in the home, re-purposing, re-arranging, selecting items the home owner already owns and adding only a few on-trend decor items to create that “wow” factor in a home is a challenge that I truly enjoy. Given this information, you can understand how thrilled I was to be awarded 1st. Place Budget in the Hiawatha Cottage designs Challenge.

on budget award

One of the ways we stayed on budget was re-purposing items that were already in or around the cottage.

design Hiawatha 352 This photo shows how we turned an old wagon wheel hub into a one-of-a-kind (OK, we actually had two) solar light on the huge cottage deck. Not only did these cost us under $20 for the pair, we did not damage the hubs in anyway.

design Hiawatha 278design Hiawatha 331

Here you can see how 3 discount store canvases and a metre of fabric created a large piece of art that was used on a dark wall that we were unable to paint. The little bit of color you can see was accomplished with some colored pencils.

Having a budget doesn’t have to mean that you get less!

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Staying on budget

Our week at  Hiawatha Cottages  was a lot of fun and a lot of work,  with each cottage having  it’s own set of goals and restrictions it was a challenge for everyone. Access Home Staging  won the Chippewa cottage which  was the owner’s original family cottage which has been used as the wedding/family reunion location  due to it’s large size and beautiful lake views. Our challenges were:

  • do not paint the original pine walls or beams
  • do not do anything to the floors
  • change out the bunk beds to a queen bed
  • create more space for large funcutions
  • make all designs easy to clean as there is only a 3-hour period between guests
  • keep in mind that all designs will need to stand up to 12 weeks of rentals
  • complete the challenge with $300 and a gallon of free paint of your color choice

To this long list we added:

  • all painting must be done properly (clean, sand,prime,paint)
  • all projects must keep client safety a priority
  • all work must be done in a manor that allowed for very easy cleaning and very little, if any, up-keep

What a tall order for three people! OK, one day we actually had 4.

One of our projects added 35 feet of bench seating and a bar to the large deck

design Hiawatha 312

ready for it's first party!

ready for it’s first party!

Cost of this project, $18.00! We scavenged all the wood so our only cost was the stain, which was also used for the bench seating.

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