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Home Staging or Decorating Tips and Tricks – Part 3

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Part 3 + 3 More Tips

Today is the last post in the Home Staging series on a small budget.  You can click over to the first two posts in the series – Staging or Decorating Tips and Tricks Part 1 and Part 2 to see more.

Unlike the staging shows on HGTV where there is a $1000 budget or larger to buy new rugs, art, and furniture – in real life – when there is a much smaller budget – staging requires  some creativity and the backbone to  Edit, Edit, Edit – and then Edit some more. It requires you to look at every single item in the home with a new eye – one that can see what will make the most of the structure or the features of the home and find where it will have the most impact and remove the rest.

I am happy to say that the house that I have been showing you received a great offer yesterday making the homeowner extremely pleased.  Only four days on the market.  If you have ever put a house up for sale you know there is nothing more stressful than having to keep the house all neat and tidy while you are trying to live in it.  You never know when a Realtor is going to call letting you know they will be bringing a prospective buyer by in a half an hour – Eeeek! Moving can be one of the most stressful events in our lives right after dying and getting married.  I try to help homeowners make it a less stressful experience.

Kid’s Rooms

Before Bedroom 1

What kid’s room should look like when the house is a home,


but once it becomes a house that has to be sold – bold and bright paint colors need to be neutralized.



Yes, it is the same room!  Just painted with Benjamin Moore Powder Sand OC-113 as were all of the other kid’s bedrooms in this house.  I moved the curtains from another room, but decided to leave the rods alone – more work to patch the holes than to just leave the panels a bit short.  The IKEA shelving units were moved to the opposite wall where they would have more impact when prospective buyers walk into the room.


Before Bedroom 2
See the curtains I used in the room above?  They used to be in here.  My daughter has those beads in front of her closet in my home. This is a typical teen’s room.



I removed the beads from the closet and replaced the door, de-cluttered and neutralized the colors. The white curtains are from IKEA and were used as a valance in another room.  I moved them into this room to use as panels.  The art above the bed was from the downstairs foyer.


Before Bedroom 3

See the swag valances?  Moved into the room above.



Painted, de-cluttered, and pushed the curtains to the sides of the windows so more light comes in and shows off the big windows.


Tip #1

You might be saying to yourself right about now – that’s A LOT of painting!!!  When  I worked in display – I painted A LOT!!!  and I mean A LOT!!!  I traveled from store to store in the region I worked with other display co-workers. This tip is how we saved ourselves some time each night when we were ready to call it a day.   Don’t bother with washing rollers out every night if you are going to be using the same color paint the next morning.  When done for the day – clean your brushes, but leave the roller in the rolling pan. Slip a plastic grocery or department store bag over the tray and tie the ends into a loose knot or use a twist tie to close.  Press the bag over the roller and any paint in the tray to get the air out.   You want the bag and the roller and paint surface to be touching – form fitting.  The next morning you will be ready to go.

Tip #2

When painting decorative trim and molding and dipping your brush straight into a paint can – do as Martha does.  Place a rubber band around the open can so you can wipe the excess paint off the brush and not the side of the can every time you dip.  This keeps the can’s lip clean – no build up of paint to have to clean up.


Before Master Bedroom

This room didn’t need much, just some de-cluttering.  I moved the white chaise in the corner to another room.


Stuff we all have on our bedside tables and dressers, but when staging a home for sale – it all has to go.  No little dinky junk on surfaces.



Used my ice cube trick from Part 1 of this series to remove the dents.


Before Master Bath



This room needed an accent color – easily added with a floral arrangement that was out in the hall.  The blinds – all the way up to let the light in. There is a beautiful view that needed to be highlighted. I also removed  the bath mats, toilet lid cover and mat that goes around the base of the toilet.  I left one mat in front of the sink.  You want to show the fixtures and flooring – tile in this case – not hide them.  All personal hygiene stuff has to be hidden or at least neatly organized in an under sink cabinet.


Before Bonus Room

All spaces need to be given a label or purpose. This is a long narrow room and the bed was removed to be placed into Bedroom 1.  It could have been made into a storage closet, craft room, or nursery.


I created a sitting room in the space. I moved the chaise from the master bedroom, a  table from bedroom 2, and a lamp from the other bedroom. I found the pretty throw in the linen closet, a valance that I had taken down from the kitchen sunroom accents this space.  A  tea cup and open book placed on a tray create appeal and say to prospective buyers that this is a place were they can get away and enjoy a bit of peaceful solitude.


Before Basement

What most basements with kids look like.



Moved the sofa so it would not block the flow around the basement.  Removed the clutter, and simply organized the video games to make the space look more appealing to buyers.


Before Basement Workout Area

All the clutter was taken to a large basement storage area. The ping pong table went to a neighbor.  I only left a few pieces of the gym equipment out to suggest what the area could be used for.



One of the challenges that most homeowners face when staging a home, is what to do with all the stuff that is being edited out.  This homeowner is lucky to have a huge storage area behind the double doors on the left in the photo below.  I just piled everything in there very neatly.  For homeowners with no extra storage space they can use the garage and neatly pile things up there. No garage?  Then ask a family member if they would take some items temporarily. For homes with lots of stuff – a storage unit called – Pods can be rented and kept on site. It is like a portable room that can be loaded up with stuff – left on the property or taken to a storage facility.  This allows you not to have to load and unload again into a storage facility.


Basement Bar Before

This area of the basement was an empty unused space. In staging, every space needs to show a purpose or it needs to feature the lifestyle that one could envision having if they bought this home. In this case I chose to feature entertaining.

How-to-home stage-a-basem


There were 5 kitchen island stools upstairs, the island looked more spacious with only 3. I moved the extra 2 down here to this basement bar.  A glass pitcher on a tray with a pretty cloth and a pair of stemmed glasses found in kitchen cabinets simply says you could entertain here.  I found crates of old record albums in a storage closet. I chose a few and hung them in an eye catching fashion with thin bank pins.


Tip # 3

Remember the bank pins I used to hang art on walls in my first post in this series.  I also used another type of pin to securely hang unframed items to walls invisibly and without leaving major damage behind. I buy them at the dollar store.  They have beaded ends and are very thin as they are made for dressmaking.


You could use those cool 3M sticky Velcro hangers – but they are way too expensive when you are hanging a lot of items.

Push a pin into the album cover first so that the end sticks out of the back just a little and then position the cover on the wall and hammer or press it in using your fingers – but only halfway. You will be surprised how easily the pins go into sheetrock.   Use wire cutters to clip the excess pin flush with the album cover. You can give the cut pin end a light tap with the hammer to make sure it is flush.

When it comes time to remove – you gently pull the unframed item straight off, leaving the cut pins in place.  Remove them with a pair of needle nose pliers.    This is how we attach signs and fabric covered Fom Cor walls in the display trade.  That kneadable eraser putty stuff that is sold to hang objects without making holes dries out too fast and is not a sure thing for anything that weighs more than a piece of paper.




The outside of this home was well maintained. I just added a few pots of flowers on the back deck and by the front door to greet prospective buyers.


That is it for now, but I will continue this series every now and then to share the tips and tricks that help me stage houses and decorate my own home in an attractive, easy, and cost effective way.

 Priceless Staging tips for selling your home. You only have one first impression to sell a house, get it right the first time.

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  1. Keep it up so that we would get such as beautiful tips like this article. I think it is ultimate guide for a home decoration and I think it is best article about it.

  2. Great post!!! Interesting how everyone’s perceptions are different. My first choice is a totally empty house. Then I can really picture what it might look like if I lived in it.Thanks!

  3. Loved this series, Diane! Thanks for doing it. Would love to see more on this line when you have a free moment (as if!!!). I admire your taste and the breezy style you affect. I also admire your thorough execution and follow-through. I’m also enjoying your flash-back to how you began blogging. Very interesting and informative. Thanks for all of it.

  4. I love all of your suggestions. We are in the beginning stages of getting our house ready to sell. I have a question about privacy. We live in a townhouse and all of our window look at the other townhouses. Our living room looks into the neighbors bedroom and vice verse, our deck slider looks into the neighbors dining room. We put up a trellis on our deck for that but the other neighbor next to us doesn’t have anything up so the only option for any kind of privacy is to close the curtains, which most of our neighbors do. How would you handle the privacy issue along with letting in the light when you are trying to sell. Thank you for your suggestions!

  5. Wow! What great ideas. I just purchases a Home Staging business, and will definitely incorporate some of these ideas. I wish we were partners:)

  6. Guiding people about home staging is not the simple job but your article with the title of “Home Staging or Decorating Tips and Tricks” in my opinion is the best source for them to follow. You rightly answer those who have the question that how to prepare home to get maximum price. Especially photo presentation idea is the unique one. Thanks Diane

  7. That is really fascinating, You’re an excessively skilled blogger. I’ve joined your rss feed and look ahead to in
    search of more of your wonderful post. Additionally,
    I’ve shared your web site in my social networks

  8. This article series has been so helpful! In fact I’ve notebooked quite a few of your decor ideas, and showed your fab bathroom transformation to my husband.
    We will be spending the next few months preparing our home for resale – it’s cluttered and has a very personal style. Sometimes it’s hard to judge what depersonal and neutral SHOULD look like. Thanks also for the paint colors. I’d love to learn more about good color and fabric (window and bedding) choices for staging.

  9. Diane, You are brilliant at what you do. Thank you so much for sharing. I am looking into starting a staging business and you have inspired me!

  10. Love this! So informative and helpful. I especially liked: this is was a real living space looks like and what to do with it. We are putting our house on the market soon and I was at a stand still on how to make my daughter’ s room more presentable. Excellant advice, Thank you. -Ana

  11. I love love following your blogs. All ideas are fantastic.
    I am learning so many new ideas.. Thanks for sharing it all.
    I love the colors too on the wall.they look rich and awesome.
    I would love to paint my house with same colors. Pls pls pls share the color / paint name…looks like a wheat or taupe color…. I will be on my way to the store….
    Lotsa lov,

  12. My sister is a decorator, painter, furniture restorer and used to sell real estate she has shared a lot of tips. I love hearing as many tips as possible. I unfortunately inherited the clutter gene so I’m having an organizer come in to help me out. Thanks for sharing all these great tips. I especially liked the ice cube method or removing dips in the carpet.

    1. Hi Katherine-

      I think more more people tend to accumulate clutter than the opposite. I love the way my house feels after I de-clutter and organize it, the problem I think we all face is after we de-clutter we have to have a plan to keep it that way. My rule is if I bring something new into my house – something has to go out. This way I don’t have unused piles anywhere in my house. It is a nice feeling being clutter free. You will probably learn lots of great tips from the organizer you are going to work with.

  13. Hi Diane,

    I loved this series, and all the cool tips. Thanks so much for sharing!


  14. Congratulations on your hard work that sounds like it has paid off for the sellers! As I read through your post, it brings back memories of how I used to do those tricks when I lived in an apartment I had totally forgotten about them since being a homeowner and staying put. That is a lot of work you did, I hope the homeowners helped you move stuff. I hope this quick sell gets you more and more business, you are really great at it. Oh, and happy belated Mother’s Day.

  15. Love, love, love your idea using a rubber band! How great is that?!
    I have been looking to add some color to my outdoor “room” with pillows.
    This is going to do the trick. Right now it’s beige and black but in a few days it will have some COLOR!

    Great segment on staging and all your tips and tricks!

  16. Wow!!! Fabulous tips:)
    I do think it depends on the type of home you are selling and the type of buyers you are trying to attract.
    I sold a home for a nice profit and the biggest reason she bought the home was…..the way I decorated it….stronger colors and all!!! In fact, she asked for several of my wall decor items and the roman shades to stay with the house!! I was so proud that she loved my style!!!!
    Thanks for this fabulous series!!!!!!! You are so talented:)

    1. Hi Heather-

      When a home is decorated the way yours is – so happy and bright how could anyone not want it. :) Location is important, too and having the luck that a buyer suited to your home at the time it was for sale is ideal!!! Now in our current economy there are so many homes on the market – it is saturated. To get a property sold as quick as possible it has to shine and stand out in some positive way from the rest.

  17. Aloha Momma-la!

    I LOVE the paint can rubber band idea. The paint here is yucky and super messy so that would really help me keep stuff clean!

    <3 you

    1. Thanks Sandra- I enjoy doing crafts, too. I love creating things from nothing or turning something ordinary into something better with a bit of inspiration and DIY effort.

    1. Thanks Vicki-

      It was a nice house in an ideal location so that helps too, but having it look like a buyer can move right in is a huge factor for buyers.

  18. That was wonderful, thank you. I really appreciated seeing the pin trick up close: that really helped. You know, my mother has been hanging things on her walls for ever with straight dressmakers pins and I’ve always given her a hard time for it. Guess I’ll have to take it all back, now!

  19. Diane- It looks great! You did a wonderful job and I KNOW how much work in involved…been there, done that! Kudos, girl! Hugs- Diana

  20. Thank you so much for the gret tips. I can’t wait to try the rubber band around the paint can.

    1. Hi Traci –

      I am such a messy painter and this trick keeps me neater. I can always put the lid back on the can without having to clean the can first when I do this.

    1. Thanks Joy-

      It would be nice if we all had the budgets to create the major transformations they do on TV – as they do look wonderful. I am happy to know that my tricks and tips have helped you. I plan on continuing the series from time to time – perhaps with a smaller home with tons of stuff – they are more challenging.

    1. Thanks Tracie – Realtors hire me the most as they don’t want to be the bad guy telling the homeowner what they need to do – they give it to me to do.