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staging your home


It is now mid-September, soon we will have had frost warnings, the leaves on trees are turning colour and falling, and fireplaces will soon find themselves useful. While most of us are excited for this amazing season, people in the real estate are preparing themselves because once the cold sets in, the number of buyers out there will start to sink.

While you still have time to prepare for the cold season, don’t waste these days and take advantage before the winter season sets in. Remember that no one would want to go home shopping when it’s freezing cold and everything is covered in snow!

One of the essential strategies to get a sale before the holidays is home staging, regardless if you’re using the help of a real estate agent or selling the house by yourself.

Here are a few tips to make your home look perfect this fall –


Maintain your yard

Rake leaves, trim bushes, and use seasonal flowers -Keep the house looking fresh! Always remember that the curb appeal is as important as the interior. It’s the first thing that your potential buyers will see. This about an inviting front door vignette with a wreath and maybe some pumpkins or a bench with some pillows.

Control back to school clutter

Back to school season can create clutter in your entry. Make sure to have a place for your backpacks, shoes and other items the kids need to grab before catching the bus. This can even give the new homeowners some great ideas too!


Keep it neat and simple

While Halloween and Thanksgiving are not religious specific, too much decorating can distract buyers. Remember less is more. This can be tough with children so don’t eliminate it completely but keep it subtle and stay away from the gore,  keep it cute and have it is specific areas and not every square inch of the house.


Use home decor that takes a cue from nature

Rather than ghosts, scary monsters or turkeys display pumpkins, hay and flowers. Nothing can scare away potential buyers like handmade scarecrows or frighteningly realistic gory Halloween decorations. A simple bowl of fresh apples or mini pumpkins as a dining centerpiece is simple but effective.  An empty corner that looks odd can easily be filled with a tall glass vases filled with tall sticks.  A door looks more welcoming when it is dressed up a bit too



Turn your fireplace on for showings to set the mood

A little warmth emanating from the fireplace evokes a welcoming atmosphere. A crackling fire says “welcome home”, as well as well-placed candles to complete that warm, snug room.  And in cooler months a fireplace will be on the minds of buyers, so make sure they can’t help but notice it!


Add pillows

Use furry throws pillows and texture in your home decor to create a cozy feel. Or, think about adding a splash of colour with pillows in fall inspired colours, warm colours can make any space look and feel inviting. Pillows are inexpensive additions to your home and knowing how to use them will surely bring a big difference.


The cinnamon effect

Remember to use candles, incense and other oils to infuse fall scents, like vanilla or apple cinnamon. No, you don’t need to bake a bunch of sugar cookies before the showing, but investing in a tasteful, subtle scented autumn candle will do just fine in eliciting that cozy feeling buyers want to experience when they walk into their future house.


Some simple fall decor ideas to stage your home for the season:

This wreath from Wayfair is a lovely addition to a front door or a front entry vignette – adding some seasonal colour and texture but still very simple.

Add a simple sign with a big message to your kitchen or fireplace mantle – this handmade sign from Roman Valley Farm is perfect!

An instant fall refresh to your living room with a set of 4 orange pillows – add some the sofa and accent chair (maybe even one on your bed)

Adding a landscape art piece is one of our home staging recommendations – it is calm and soothing and adds decor to the space.  This framed country side print from Minted is perfect for a living room or bedroom.


The fall is a beautiful time of year and buyers are still out there looking so be sure to take advantage of nature’s beauty and the feeling of the season to help sell your home!



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“We are selling our home and our agents wants to book our photos.  Should we have them done before or after we decorate for Christmas? Our house looks so beautiful with the tree up and the stocking hung on the mantle. We love it and we think others will too!”


Christmas is right around the corner and it is such a wonderful time of year!  Decorating is one of our favourite parts of the season, too – it’s festive and fun! But when it comes to selling your home, holiday decor presents more negatives than positives….and there are definitely buyers out there looking for their new home during the Christmas season, so you don’t want to turn them off!


We love the welcoming exterior – it’s seasonal but not over done.  But be sure not to leave it up too long….

What are the negatives of  seasonal decorating (for any holiday) while selling your home:


1. Distracting.

Yes, Christmas and other holiday decor is beautiful but it can really distract buyers from seeing the beauty and features of your home as they will be focused on the tree, wreath, lights, stockings and more…..and not the windows, layout …

2. Clutter.

Although we never really view or consider holiday decor pieces to be clutter when they are out on display they do take up room and can make a space look and feel cluttered and over stuffed.  Think about how much smaller a room looks with a 7 – 8 ft tree in it – it takes up space!

The most beautiful Christmas trees aren’t necessarily the largest trees!  Consider a smaller tree – you still have a stunning Christmas tree to decorate but it visually (and physically) takes up less room.

3. Dating.

Holiday decor can really date your online photos and make your home look like it has been sitting on the market a lot longer than it has.  Let’s say you have your photography done in early Dec with all of your decorating done.  By mid January these photos will already look dated and it will send the message to buyers (and their agent) that your home has been sitting even though it has only been 30-40 days.

4. Personal.

When you decorate for Christmas or really any holiday, it can be a very personalized touch to the space especially if you have family heirlooms, religious items and handmade ornaments and other crafts made by your children or grandchildren.  It personalizes the space and that can make buyers feel uncomfortable (or like they are just visiting) as they are trying to picture their lives and building memories of their own in this house.

So definitely have your photos take BEFORE you decorate.

When it comes to seasonal decorating before showings and open houses – really try to eliminate or at least limit the decor – for the same reasons listed above. But if you must decorate for Christmas while your home is on the resale market – here’s what we suggest.

We love the simplicity of this room’s Christmas decor.  It celebrates the season, it has a consistent colour scheme and style and it doesn’t over power the room.

1.  Do NOT decorate BEFORE your photos.

2. Do keep it simple and tasteful with a consistent theme (for example: mixed metallics or traditional green, white and red; or country or modern).  This year keep it simple by only bringing out some decor – the house shouldn’t look like Christmas town!

3. Do NOT keep the decorations up too long or too late. Or decorate too early either. Aim to have the decor packed up by Jan 4 (approx)

4. Do NOT hang up or display really personal decor such as family photos, religious items, handmade ornaments and crafts by children or grandchildren

5. Do keep it welcoming and inviting with a small vignette by the front entry and then some decor in main living areas (try to limit to a room to two, for example the family room as the main Christmas decorating space and maybe a few items in the dining room and/or formal living room – stay consistent with that theme)

Celebrate the season without going totally over board. Remember in your new home (the next one), you can decorate as early as you want and keep it up as long as you like and you can go all out!

Remember, when it comes to selling your home you really don’t want to drag out the process so follow the steps to get it sold quickly and next Christmas you can really make up for the lack of decor!

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“Our home is on the resale market, the kids love Halloween and they love to decorate the house.  Should we decorate for Halloween while the house is up for sale or not?”


It’s fun to celebrate the holidays with decor and kids love it too but you need to keep in mind that holiday decor can be distracting for buyers.


We definitely recommend staying away from religious decor as it could offend or turn-off some buyers and you never know who is coming to look at your home.


We also recommend you don’t go ‘over the top’ when it comes to decor for the holidays.  Decor can add a lot of clutter into a space making it feel and look cramped which isn’t a positive for buyers.  Plus really over the top decor can be a huge distraction – buyers want and need to see the true features of the home like the room sizes, natural light, beautiful kitchens, bathrooms and floors .



If you MUST decorate for the holidays, consider this:

1.  Do NOT decorate for the holidays before photos.  This will date your photos and they won’t show off the actual features of your home.


2. Do keep it simple and tasteful.  For Halloween, put up some simple pieces on the exterior.  Nothing scary or gory – if you are in a family friendly area this will work for the buying clientele.



3. Do NOT decorate too early and keep up the decor for a long time.  Think about decorating for the holidays just before and removing everything a day or two after the holiday – don’t decorate weeks early and keep it up for months.


4. Do decorate for the season.  So having some fall decor like pumpkins or fall wreath is neutral and welcoming but remember to keep it simple.


Remember once you are settled in your new home you can go all out for holiday decor so maybe this year just collect lots of great ideas!

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Decor Trends and Home Staging are really important when putting your home on the real estate market. A big part of staging your home is making it look current.  In the final steps of prepping your home for the real estate market you want to make it pretty, buyer ready and photo ready.  One way to do that is knowing what decor trends are out there and bring them into your home.  Since 95% of buyers are online first trying to find the home of the dreams…you need to make your photos stand out and attract those buyers!

1.  Outdoor spaces –

Assuming the weather is working in your favour – stage your outside.  Staging is about creating the vision of what life in the home would look like and including the outdoor living areas is critical! This staging trend is probably one of the most essential and we see so many sellers not have their outdoor areas staged. Remember a photo is worth a thousand words. 

Clean up the outside – rake, cut the grass, plant some colourful flowers, set up the patio and prepare it as though you have guests arriving any minute!


2.White Kitchens

Huge ‘trend’ now for home owners is light, white, bright kitchens! In a recent Houzz survey an overwhelming amount of respondents desired a white kitchen in their home. When the kitchen comprises almost 30% of the buyer’s decision (according to NAR – National Association of Realtors) a little more expense in this main area makes a world of difference in price!

Can’t replace the entire kitchen or paint the cabinets? Look at updating the back splash (or adding one) in a light tone, update the kitchen lighting to make the kitchen light and bright, paint the walls in a lighter tone and/or update the hardware.


3. Birds On Display

The bird in the pillow is just a taste of what we will see more of in the future. Whereas last year’s trend was the white porcelain deer head on the wall and horses, this year’s trend is sweet, little birds. Right now, birds are hot for spring and every spring we tend to see animals and florals pop into all decor. 

If you home is going on the market in the spring – think about adding some ‘nods’ to spring like floral, birds or any botanical elements. Currently, the hot trend is peacock but any bird in spring is up to date

4. Metallic accents –

Framed mirrors, art or brass bar carts add warmth and sophistication in any room. Metal accents add an element of shine to any room and they add some sophistication too.  Right now warm metals are hot like gold, brass and copper.  So think about adding a few touches of those in decor pieces, frames of mirrors, lamp bases even occasional tables.

5. Pops of colour –

Colour can help you stand out from the crowd.  Even a neutral space could benefit from a floral arrangement in bright yellow or orange.  If your home decor style can handle it, try adding some colourful pillows to the sofa or bed and a throw blanket.  Colours like yellow, orange and bright green are perfect for spring but coral, aqua and purple can also make a big impact when used in small doses.

6.Dual Coffee Tables

Placing two coffee tables next to each other to scale a larger space is a much better staging solution than just one. This is also a great way to add surface space to a small room.  Look for side tables, benches even stools (as long as they are the right height, 16″ to 21″) to be used as a coffee table


7.  Clear Tables, Chairs, Lamps and More

Glass has always been an excellent staging tool because of it’s reflective nature and ability to create more light in what would probably be a dark corner. Glass is great because it gives the surface space without the bulk.  If you are selling a condo or a smaller space – try a glass dining table and pair any style of chair you like.  It makes the room look nice and big and you still are showing off how to live in the space. Glass furniture comes in a variety of styles too, and price points!  You can use the ‘buddy system’ too so if you have a glass dining table add some glass elsewhere maybe a side table or in a lamp….


8. The Navy Comeback

Navy blue is making a come back in a huge way!  Navy just stole our hearts originally via patterns like chevron, ikat (see below) and floral  but now it’s really making it’s presence known as a “new neutral” that pairs well with yellow, turquoise, coral, chartreuse, wheat …almost all of the spring 2015 hues   that add pop to a space. Navy is one of those versatile colors that can work with bright or earth tone accents (just open your latest Pottery Barn catalog to see it with earth tones). If your space has a lot of neutral beige, cream or sand tones add navy for a rich contrast and timeless combination.

Photo from

Just a few tips and tricks can make all the difference…

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Experts say that staged homes sell faster and for higher prices than those that are not, and paint color is a low-cost but effective way of showcasing your home. The following home staging tips and ideas will help in guiding your paint color choices.


The colors potential buyers see when they enter your home should be neutral so that the buyers will not be distracted by someone else’s style. They should see the walls of your home as a blank canvas on which to project their own preferences and style. But “neutral” doesn’t necessarily mean white. Using subtle color can actually enhance the buyer’s experience, so repaint walls that have strong colors with rich neutral hues.

Some suggestions:

Benjamin Moore ‘Barley 199’, Benjamin Moore ‘Stone House 1039’ and Benjamin Moore ‘Providence Olive HC-98’

Update and Refresh

If your wallpaper has a distracting design or is outdated, remove it and add a fresh coat of paint for a more current, updated look. A low-sheen product will help reduce the imperfections on walls and ceilings. You can also use color to highlight the architectural details and features of your home.


Some suggestions:

Benjamin Moore ‘Carrington beige HC-93’ , Benjamin Moore ‘Shaker Beige HC-45’ and Benjamin Moore ‘Nantucket Gray HC-111’

Maximize Your Space

Light, clean, organized spaces appear larger. So clean and declutter, and give your walls a fresh coat of paint in a light neutral color to bring the room to life and make it seem more expansive. One home staging idea that can help expand your space visually: paint the moldings the same color as the wall, which gives an illusion of higher walls.


Some suggestions:

Benjamin Moore ‘Manchester Tan HC-81’, Benjamin Moore ‘Monroe Bisque HC-26’ or Benjamin Moore ‘Camouflage 2143-40’

The Grey Trend

Grey is a popular choice and like the beige family there are many choices.  Like all of the other tones – keep it light and bright.  If your property is furnished (so you are still living in the house – while you sell) this is a good choice only if your decor works with grey – otherwise keep it very neutral.  Some greys are warmer and others cooler so look at the other elements in the space to decide which route to go. Grey paint is a big draw for younger buyers – so it’s a good idea to discuss with your agent who they think the buyer would be.

Some suggestions:

Benjamin Moore ‘Revere Pewter’ HC-172, Benjamin Moore ‘Stonington Gray’ HC-170, Benjamin Moore ‘Gray Owl’ OC-52, Benjamin Moore ‘Silver Chain’ 1472, Benjamin Moore ‘Smoke Embers’ 1466 and Benjamin Moore ‘Nimbus’ 1465

Refresh Outside Spaces

First impressions are everything, so besides trimming your hedges and grass, be sure your front door and any fencing or mailbox posts are freshly painted. And because buyers love decks, porches, and patios, also make sure they’re freshly painted or stained.


Great suggestions for front door:

Benjamin Moore ‘Dinner Party AF-300’,  Benjamin Moore ‘Yorktowne Green HC-133’ and Benjamin Moore ‘Tate Olive HC-112’

A fresh coat of paint is beneficial for every home –

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When it comes to selling your home some upgrades are just not worth it in the end. We have been staging home for a while now and we love to meet with home sellers before they start any updates.  There are updates that are worth the expense – and some that aren’t. 


Your real estate agent can be a big help with understanding your competition and also the clientele moving into your area.  A home stager can help you with the presentation and the updates – we love to let home sellers in on what buyers are looking for and also the look that they are attracted to. If you are thinking of selling your home in the near future, take a look at these tips for improving the appeal of your home to buyers. 

Some upgrades just aren’t worth it, but for some there are huge benefits for you, the seller.


1.  The kitchen. 

Buyers are willing to pay more or at least asking price if the home is ‘up to date’.  the kitchen is the heart of the home and sellers will get their money back if they spend it right in the kitchen.  Even if you cannot totally gut it and put in an entirely new kitchen, you should put in certain upgrades like a stone counter top, hardwood or porcelain tiles on the floor, stainless steel appliances, and islands attract buyers.  A home with a current kitchen will get a lot of attention from buyers!


2.  Hardwood floors. 

Especially on the main floor, and if you already have hardwood check on the condition they may need a sanding or screening with a new stain or seal.  And if they are in really poor shape, replace them with hardwood.  Hardwood is popular with everyone – it looks great, it works with any style of decor, it’s easy to clean and it also works for anyone with allergies. Hardwood too expensive? Check out the laminate alternatives at your local hardware store.  You might be surprised to see how amazing the new ‘hardwood’ laminate looks – plus it wears really well so it’s perfect for busy households and pets!


3.  Master ensuite. 

If you have an ensuite and not all homes do, especially if they are in older neighbourhoods, be sure to have it updated.  If you can’t afford a full renovation job – try updating the fixtures from brass to chrome,a new low flow toilet, a new paint colour, new towel and toilet paper bars, and rain shower heads in the shower are easy fixes. If you don’t have an ensuite but you have a large master bedroom, look into using some of the bedroom and turning that into an ensuite even if it is a bit smaller – buyers are looking for ensuites.




4.  Upgraded lighting. 

New lighting can completely transform a space and make it look more current. Pot lights, pendants in the kitchen and contemporary track lights can make any space look brighter and more chic. A chandelier in the eat-in kitchen and / or dining room can add an instant impact.



5.  Landscaping. 

Don’t forget your exterior – it’s the first thing buyers (and their realtor) will see.  Keep the gardens maintained, grass cut and trees/shrubs pruned. Remove the weeds and add some mulch to really make the flower beds look manicured. Flower pots and boxes at the front entry add some colour and a welcoming feeling.


6.  Finished basements. 

Aren’t just a must with families.  A lot of couples buying their first place want a finished basement for various reasons – office, workout space, man cave etc…Try and make the basement look as livable as possible.  Paint, carpet, windows and lighting make a huge difference.  Keep it light and bright down there.  Ceiling height in the basement is very important so be sure to have a space that is high enough.



7.  Bathrooms. 

Like kitchens, no one wants to pay top dollar for a home that needs major improvements and bathrooms are a hot spot in the home.  If you can’t afford a complete ‘do over’ in the bathroom, look at adding new lighting, paint, shower heads etc…in the other bathrooms too. 



8.  Paint. 

You will get your money’s worth and more with a new paint job. In a home that has smokers this is a MUST.  Stick to neutral tones throughout the home – you don’t know what the buyer’s personal style will be. A fresh coat of paint does wonders – it’s an instant facelift making the home looks cleaner, bigger and brighter!



9.  Basic repairs. 

Not really an upgrade but important.  Leaky faucets, cracked tiles, unfinished projects in the home should be fixed before buyers enter your home.  It sends the message that this home was and is cared for and loved.  It makes buyers feel reassured and confident.




It’s really best to tackle these ‘to-do’s’ before hitting the market.  buyers notice these details and if the little things are not dealt with now this could mean your house sits on the market and /or your price keeps dropping…

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