Have you ever found yourself in a design rut? You know that feeling you get when your space doesn’t inspire you anymore? A few months ago, I started feeling that way about my master bedroom design.
Although it is a lovely space, I felt like it needed a bit of a refresh. The goal was to create a safe haven without breaking the bank. Spoiler alert... we did!
So get comfortable, grab a drink, and let me show you how you can transform your space with a good dose of creativity, ingenuity, and a little bit (not a lot) of money.
The design goal for my home has always been to create a peaceful and joyful space that inspires every day. I took my time curating design elements, and ended up with an intentionally decorated home. It turned out really well, but not perfect, especially not the master bedroom design.
The master bedroom, unfortunately, has been my least favorite room. Here’s a peek...
When we were building our house, a standard feature offered by the builder was incorporating beams in the ceiling. I was against it at first, because I felt like it would clash with my modern dresser and nightstands. (While my hubby has more of a traditional design style, I like a more modern contemporary style.) However, my hubby felt strongly about exposed beams, so I let Mr. Traditionalist have them.
After we moved into the finished home and used our existing furniture, the overall master bedroom design was simply off. I did not love it or feel inspired, and it wasn’t the safe haven I had in mind.
I knew that our master bedroom had tons of potential and that it wouldn’t take much to revamp it. It was all about being strategic with the design elements we chose to update. (The same advice I would give any client — strategy first!)
I have always wanted to have wallpaper as part of our bedroom design. Although I have never used it before on any of my clients’ projects, I was feeling a bit adventurous. After some research and hours browsing through many options, I came to the conclusion that the right wallpaper needs to be classic, timeless, and inspiring. (Wallpaper is really in right now, too.)
When I saw this Black Bird wallpaper in Z-Gallerie, I knew I had to have it! It’s dark, sexy, and beautiful. Plus, it is low budget, so there you go.
When it came to the dresser, I decided to go with the Playlist from Universal Furniture. It has oak veneers and a walnut inlay that complements the finish on the ceiling beams. It also looks good on the walnut-stained hardwood floor.
I love it… definitely the right choice.
My existing nightstands were from Liberty Furniture. The style works perfectly with the Black Bird wallpaper I picked. The color and finish... not so much.
What did I do, you ask? Chalk paint to the rescue! I found a matte charcoal tone that works well with the wallpaper, and then I painted it! (No, I don’t paint for clients, but if you need ideas, I can certainly give you some.)
I have to say, this was my very first furniture painting project, and I can’t stress enough how important it is to use the right tools, especially when handling chalk paint. You need a designated brush to paint, and a designated brush to wax with. The results were pretty good.
Okay, I admit that I was nitpicking here, but our bed frame’s upholstery was really bugging me, especially after we installed the wallpaper. They had these silver finish nail heads that now stuck out like a sore thumb.
By the way, have you heard that joke about lawyers charging you even for the time they’re taking a shower? Now, I kind of understand...
Once I noticed how much the upholstery clashed with the wallpaper’s vibrant gold pattern I kept thinking of ways to fix it. I didn’t want to buy a whole new bed just for that tiny detail. So, where did I get the best idea ever? While taking a shower! Go ahead, you can laugh.
My great idea was to replace those silver nailheads with gold ones. But do they sell nailheads? I took to Amazon, and soon enough, I found nailhead strips already lined up and ready to go! I opted for these antique plated ones.
Last but not least, I found some accent pillows at HomeGoods for only $49 each. They tie the whole room together perfectly! My hubby also had this Ralph Lauren bench that I had chosen for him a few years back when we were dating. So he brought it in, and guess what, I like it! I think it works beautifully.
Ta da! I can’t tell you how happy I am with our master bedroom and how it all turned out. The budget was quite low compared to a full redesign, but the results are amazing. I love coming in here now! Every room in my house finally feels like it’s right for us… and that feels priceless.
How about you? Are you ready to redesign your space? Let’s chat!
This total isolation in place situation has caused a lot of people to rethink their homes — and I bet you’re no exception. In one location, we’re now having to eat, sleep, work, be entertained, and do everything in between.
But to be honest, this isn’t so different from the way housing trends have been going lately. In the last year especially, we’ve seen buyers gravitating toward amenity-rich homes that “do it all.” After the current situation passes, I predict we’re going to see this even more.
I think we are all realizing just how much a supportive, comfortable home can change how we feel and live, and in the last month, I have personally found this to be incredibly true. Knowing it is one thing. Experiencing it yourself is another.
For about a year, I have lived in a 1300 square foot apartment waiting for my new house to be built. It felt like my family and I were practically on top of each other. And I’ll be honest with you… it was affecting me in a negative way.
Being crowded was part of it, but I’m a person who gets peace and joy from order and beautiful aesthetics — and it was not either of those things. (You know that sort of stretched, irritated feeling you get when you’re cramped and the situation is out of your control? That’s the one.) Safe to say, I was so looking forward to getting out of there.
I finally made the move at the end of February. I had a couple of weeks to decorate, get furniture in there, and make it both pretty and functional… and not a day too soon!
When the “shelter in place” order came in for Dallas, we were ready to go. And by go, I mean STAY, of course!
Since then, we’ve been so, so grateful to have our home during this time. One of my family members has the office on the 1st floor, and my workspace is on the second. We both have our privacy, ability to focus on work, and if we need some alone time (as all humans do), the option is there.
Overall, the house is supportive and functional. Peaceful and relaxing. And lets us do anything and everything we could dream up to do with this extended time in isolation.
THIS is the experience that buyers want these days when they purchase a home!
For this month’s blog post, I want to share some of the features and amenities that are making our home supportive and a place we love to be, even when under order. And it’s not just about beauty. Beauty and function should ALWAYS work together!
I bet this one doesn’t surprise you. Two allocated home office/work spaces have been revolutionary. In this day, having at least ONE home office is very important to buyers, two is even better. So many of us work from home (or will in the future), even if it’s just once per week.
It is not an understatement to say that natural light sells homes. Sure, your home buyer might not say that the natural light was the motivator of their purchase, but I guarantee that it contributed. Natural light promotes mental health, creates a feeling of being able to breathe, and makes the home look more spacious. In other words: windows.
In this blog post, I mentioned that many millennial buyers have pets and are looking for homes with outdoor spaces. But whether your ideal buyers are millennials or not, an outdoor living space is essential, and it doesn’t have to be fancy. Add a table, chairs, and inviting landscaping (if possible) and potential buyers are sure to be impressed.
Yes, ensuite bathrooms, and not just in the master bedroom. Can you imagine all of the families stuck at home right now with multiple children sharing one bathroom space in the hallway? Trust me, harmony at home starts with personal space.
Spacious kitchens are another amenity that sells homes. The kitchen is the hub of the home in today’s age, not just for cooking. Families gather in the kitchen, people entertain in the kitchen, and it’s become a place to enjoy, create, and connect. (See timeless and sellable kitchen styles here.)
Built-ins are important as they address the storage issue. It doesn’t matter who your ideal buyer is, they will NEED storage, and I’ve never met a person who said they had too much of it. It helps a house look well put together and in order… and an orderly house and environment translate to tranquility and peace of mind!
We get all the seasons in Dallas, and having a fireplace has made such a huge difference in how comfortable and supported we feel at home. I have really enjoyed it on the days when the temperatures have gone down. It’s a small thing that has such great mental health benefits!
Our homes are our escape from the busy world outside, and design is one way to bring those feelings of peace and calm into the home. Whether in the fixed elements of the home or in the decor, opt for soothing colors and patterns, such as nudes, warm grays, blues, and even greens.
Along with that large kitchen, for move-up to high-end homes, I also highly suggest having a large refrigerator or a freezer somewhere in the house. In a large home, the appliances should match. Otherwise, you’re not creating a space that supports the people who live there. And as we’ve all found out these past couple weeks — we need our homes’ support!
Another simple and completely satisfying amenity. For move-up to high-end homes, a reverse osmosis water filtration system is yet another way to elevate your offering (and sale price) and create a home that truly does everything your clients could want.
This one is less of a staple and more of a simple way to elevate your offering. Yes, I’m talking about a wine room or beverage fridge. As a wine lover (give me a Malbec any day), I can tell you that having a room/fridge feels luxurious and was worth every penny.
If you’re flipping or renovating a home for sale, it’s important to consider WHO will be buying the home and WHAT they are looking to get from it. Then you can design for those amenities and make it a property they won’t be able to resist. (And yes, this is where an experienced property designer is worth their weight in gold!)
If you have a property to design and renovate, and you need to hit the ground running as soon as the current situation passes, let’s talk.
YES, we did it again… we were just voted Best in Houzz for Design AND for Service!
These awards mean so much to me. First, it is rare for a home stager to win in a Design category and it feels darn good (though I’ve said it before — we’re not just home stagers!). Second, these awards are not one of those fake, pay-to-play type deals.
They’re earned on MERIT and the voices of the people we serve! Here’s how these accolades get dished out...
This award comes from receiving a large volume of positive reviews and ratings. For us, this means that our clients had a great experience working with us AND saw a high rate of success in the selling of their properties!
The Best in Houzz for Design Award takes into account how many times our project photos have been viewed and saved in “idea books” by Houzz users. As someone who designs and stages homes for SALE, it is extremely validating to see that our designs are so widely loved and appreciated. We must be doing something right! 😉
I’ll take happy client reviews any day, but these don’t just come from great service — it means they saw success! And by success, we mean PROFIT. Whether you’re renovating or staging a property to sell, your ROI is our #1 goal… and we obsess over it! A smart plan and great design is how we get there.
So, these project photos that are getting shared around and ooh’d and ahh’d over? None of them “broke the bank.: In fact, when you’re renovating to sell, it’s less wise to throw money at a property and far better to invest wisely where it matters.
Our priority is finishing on-time, on-budget, and getting you the most ROI possible. And YES, all of these good things can coexist with a beautiful design buyers will love!
Renovating for the first time (like anything you’ve never done before) can come with some questions. Will your renovation drag on? Will it be done correctly? Are you going to see some profit on your investment?
I would love to say that every new client who crosses our path is 100% confident in the process, but that would be unreasonable to ask. So, how did we get to all those positive reviews?
Communication. Kindness. Integrity. Excellence. All of these contribute to the trusting relationships we build with clients, and with them, incredible homes and... ROI!
So whether you’re a first time home seller or an experienced investor, with us, you’ll be in good hands. P.s. Sample a bit of the good stuff we're dishing out by subscribing to our newsletter below!
Instantly Improve the Perceived Value Does your home for sale have cringy or outdated kitchen cabinets? If they don't show significant wear, they are a good candidate for a paint-induced makeover. Remember, kitchens and baths are the main selling points of a home. Ensure that the kitchen, the heart of the home, is looking its best.
Whether you are the homeowner looking to sell or the agent who is handling the listing, the tips we're sharing today will help increase the perceived value of the house, which can result in a higher payoff.
Update old or builder-grade kitchen cabinets with high quality paint. If they are already painted, simply refresh their existing color. If they were previously stained, hire a professional re-finisher or take your time to learn the best way to paint your cabinets. Keep in mind that the cabinets must not show significant wear and must not be broken.
Make your cabinets look high end by painting a different color on the island or by creating contrasting upper / lower cabinets. (e.g. A tuxedo kitchen has white uppers and black lowers.)
When selecting new paint colors, choose a shade from the existing counter tops and / or back splash tile to ensure that the space still flows well.
To further accessorize, line the cabinets with a solid color shelf liner or simply remove any old shelf liners. Your cabinets should look fresh from the inside out. Don't hesitate to give them a thorough interior cleaning.
Lastly, swap out the cabinet and drawer hardware for something new and minimal. This can improve the aesthetic of the entire kitchen by leaps and bounds.
The way your home looks online matters. Ensure that your house gets the attention it deserves (and sells for a great price) by investing in quality staging and styling.
Paint the kitchen island a deep, bold color to make it stand out from the cabinets. Navy, black, or deep green are excellent options.
O: (214) 814 – 5967
Hardwood has long since been a hallmark in high end, quality homes. Its rich, earthy texture and natural beauty have made it a no-brainer, resulting in refinishing vs. replacing whenever possible to avoid the high cost of replacement.
However, hardwood has caused no small amount of anxiety to homeowners with children and pets. Because hardwood floors can be warped by excess moisture or noticeably scratched, they aren't always the best or most sensible option for busy households.
What is hardwood-loving homeowner to do?
Meet the Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP).
Luxury vinyl planks make for excellent flooring in every room, especially high-moisture areas like kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. The wood-like appearance of LVP adds warmth and character without succumbing to spilled liquids, heavy use, or frequent cleanings.
Quality LVP will last anywhere from 10-15 years, though could last even longer depending on how it is treated. It also doesn't need to be refinished - ever - and is available in a variety of faux wood species, including maple, oak, walnut, and hickory. Wide and narrow planks are available as well, making it easy to create a truly custom floor.
Ease of installation matters, even if you're hiring a company to handle the professional installation of your LVP flooring. The more convenient it is for the installers, the faster they will work and the more pleasing your final invoice will be. Happy installers make for good projects - trust us!
LVP snaps together effortlessly but does require some pre-planning, measuring, and cutting to ensure the joints don't end up all in a row (yep, just like hardwood). For best results, use an installer who works with LVP and hardwood frequently.
We never suggest that you get stingy when it comes to more permanent materials like flooring, but we also have to admit that LVP is a significantly smaller investment than hardwood. Happy accident? Not really.
LVP was developed to be an aesthetically pleasing, durable, and affordable alternative to hardwood. It ranges from $2-5 per square foot, while hardwood rings up the bill at $8-25 per square foot. Homeowners who opt for LVP often end up having more funds leftover for other luxuries, such as a curbless shower or elaborate back splash tile.
Faux wood and waterproof flooring are trending - and for good reason. LVP can often contain recycled PVC, which adds to its durability.
If you or someone in your home suffers from chemical sensitivities, be sure to treat your new LVP as you would any other building material, allowing it to off-gas in a climate controlled space.
O: (214) 814 – 5967
I have seen this trend recently where some stagers are advertising and claiming that they will stage your home - and because they own their own inventory - they will not charge you any rental fees.
As a professional home stager myself and as someone who is dedicated to running a successful staging and design business whose services will benefit many clients for many years to come, I wanted to write about this trend and clarify some things.
My goal and desire is that all you who are seeking staging services - where the stager claims they will use their props and inventory and not charge you for it - will be better educated in making the right decision that best addresses your staging needs.
First I would like to make you all aware of the fact that Home Staging is not a regulated business. What that means to you as a consumer and as a seeker of staging services is that anyone can put a shingle out there and claim to be a “professional home stager”, but that does not necessarily make them so.
For anyone to achieve the highly sought “professional” status in any field a few things need to take place. I read once that it takes an average of three years or about 6,000 working hours for someone to hone in their skill set in the profession of their choice.
It is a known fact that a lot of people who claim to be home stagers, stage on the side, and on the weekends mostly. Staging is not their full time profession.
Secondly, like with any other profession, on-going training and education is a must. There is absolutely no way around it, if anyone as a professional is set on providing stellar service and products to all their clients 100% of the time.
As an example of this I have committed to investing up to $5,000 a year towards on-going training as it relates to what I am engaged with on a daily basis and that is, staging, design, and renovations.
Since Staging is not a regulated business, on-going continued education is not required. That is not to say, it is not needed however.
Thirdly results always speak for themselves. Check out their on-line reputation, portfolio and results. Reading reviews from clients who have actually worked with them in the past would be a great thing to check out.
And as always be weary of stock photos used on ads and websites, as they are not reflective of what the stager can actually do or accomplish; rather they only speak to the fact that those stagers can pick a pretty picture, no problem.
A professional home stager, one who has done the time so to speak and on an on-going basis hones their professional skills is very well versed in things like, fundamental design elements, what makes a staging design stand out, what does not, scale, balance and symmetry, how the style of the home and the fixed elements in the home dictate how the home is staged etc. For those reasons I am also against verbal staging quotes, but I will have to write another blog on that and why you as a consumer should not fall for it.
Please realize that all those items I listed above dictate how the buyers will respond to your home. Why would you want to risk having the potential buyers focus on bad staging when they should actually focus on your beautiful home?
You are making the buyers experience of touring your home memorable o’right but it is not your sellable home they will be remembering I can assure you of that.
Case in point, check out these two homes below.
One belongs to the Tuscany brown trend which is no longer trendy now btw. This property was located in Prestonwood in Dallas and it sold in one week once it was professionally staged by Design by KETI and it relisted as such.
This other home which is located in Preston Hollow in Dallas belongs to the current Parisian gray trend. This home sold in two weeks after it relisted as a professionally staged home by Design by KETI.
Here are some other examples...
This condo sold and de-staged in less then 30 days...
This luxury Home in Lake Highlands sold in three days from being listed as a professionally staged home. It de-staged in less than two months.
This renovated home in Preston Hollow sold and de-staged in two and a half months...
Different type of props, inventory and color schemes were used to stage those homes as the fixed elements and the color scheme in the home dictate how the home should be staged.
For those reasons – so that you ensure that you hire the right stager for you, whose staging will add value to your home and not take away from it – some good questions to ask would be along the lines of their professional staging background and how much actual time do they dedicate to staging homes on a weekly basis and for how long have they done so.
Some people might excitedly say “staging is my passion”. Please understand Passion Is Not Enough.
Although there is nothing wrong with being passionate about staging, having the skill set to also deliver a top staging and design plan that will yield results and that is to sell your home swiftly and at a desirable price point, is of utmost importance.
Passion does not make you a professional!
For example, I love dancing. I am very passionate about it. Everybody who knows me on a personal level knows this fun fact about me.
And I exercise this passion of mine by social dancing on a regular basis. On occasion and when my schedule permits it, I will take a group class but that is about it. But IF I want to become a professional dancer however, I would need to dedicate a lot of time and money to it. I would need to allocate time in my schedule to take a lot of private lessons so I can hone my dancing skills, and be really good at it. I also need to practice what I learn during those private lessons, so that one day in the near future I would be able to call myself a professional dancer and make a living out of my dancing.
My point is having passion about something – even staging - is not enough!
Cultivating your passion by dedicating time and resources to it, will elevate you to a professional status in the field of your choice!
Now that you have a little bit of a background on what distinguishes a pro stager from an amateur stager, let me tell you the reasons why we charge rental fees when we use our own props and inventory to stage your home.
Let’s apply this to hiring a stager to stage your vacant home and you need not pay rental fees for props and inventory.
Although it appears you may be getting a good deal, in actuality you may be getting a really bad one.
It pays to invest more in the front end. When you pay a rental fee for props and inventory to stage your home, you are ensuring you are getting top of the line items that are on-trend, are ispirational to the buyers and in line with the architecture of your home. Since staging is nothing but packaging and merchandising, it is of utmost importance that the right props and inventory are used to package and merchandise your home in other words stage your home.
Please understand each added input/benefit (in other words, "free props and inventory") will lead to a decrease in the quality of what you thought the outcome of staging was going to be.
So you find yourself six to eight months down the road and not only do you not get the return on your initial staging investment, you suddenly find yourself losing money because of it. Those losses come in the form of several price reductions, and on-going mortgage, tax, insurance and upkeep payments and fees.
The quote from John Ruskin comes to mind:
“It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money - that's all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot - it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”
So I encourage you to pay for something better, all the time.
3.1 We charge rental fees when we use our own props and inventory to stage your home because not charging accurately for services provided is not a sustainable business model. Specifically such type of business model will drive the business and the business owner into bankruptcy in no time at all.
Let me explain this a bit further. The three basic components that make up a vacant staging price quote are: 1. Staging Design Fee, 2. Moving and Logistics/Packing/Unpacking Fee and 3. Furniture and Accessories Rental Fee.
The staging fee covers things such as putting together a staging design concept, selecting all the props needed to stage the home (things like furniture, accessories, artwork, and soft good, lighting), and packing and wrapping all such props and inventory, and then setting up on site as well as styling.
The moving fee covers the cost of moving all packed and wrapped props and inventory from the warehouse all the way to your house. And then from your house all the way back to the warehouse when your house sells and it needs to be de-staged.
If you have moved recently you know from experience that it is expensive to hire movers in Dallas. Our experience has been that when staging vacant homes – based on the scope of the project, the rooms we have staged and the distance of the house from our warehouse– moving costs can go anywhere from $700 and up to $2,000 on any vacant staging project.
And then there is the Furniture and Accessories rental fee. Please understand that there is a lot of money that goes into purchasing new inventory items on a regular basis. Inventory purchase and warehousing are two of the largest expenses any staging business has on their books.
We have a special formula in place when it comes to pricing out the rental fee for all items that are needed to stage your home.
What those other stagers are doing when they say “they don’t charge rental fees” is no different that you reaching out to some of the furniture rental companies out there and have them let you lease their stuff for free. I can assure you that will never ever happen. Why because they are a for profit business. An exchange of products (staging props and inventory) for dollars ( inventory rental fee) needs to happen.
That makes a lot of logical, business and financial sense.
Red flags should go up when someone claims they do not bill rental fees. Some valued questions to ask would be, where did they get their props and inventory, how much money they spent towards it, will they bring cardboard furniture to stage your home, are they bringing stuff they got on garage sales to stage your home, or is it their parents oversized peanut butter color leather sofa from the 80’s that will make its debut in the formal living room of your $900K home.
I am mentioning all those things because I have seen them actually happen over and over.
And last but not least do they have insurance for their inventory. And do they have insurance to be working at your home. Unforeseen/unexpected things happen all the time. And the smart and savvy business owners plan accordingly for such things.
At the end of the day – as a consumer myself – I would be reluctant to hire someone who appears to not understand the intricacies of basic pricing. In my head that is something that would raise flags related to their professionalism, knowledge of real estate and their skill set.
Since they are not capable of doing such elementary thing – meaning pricing their services correctly - I would wonder if they are capable of being a top notch professional who will provide top notch staging designs so that your home is packaged and merchandised the correct way, so that your home sells fast and for top dollar and so that you get your money’s worth and return in staging it the professional way by a professional stager.
…those are all my thoughts. What are yours? Please feel free to share your opinion on this. I would love to hear it.
And if you are set on working with a professional home stager to help stage your home the right way, we would welcome the opportunity to be of service. And because we care for results and we care that YOU turn a profit, we will bill you rental fees, not because we are greedy, but because it's a win-win for all parties involved, we are fair, and we are really good at what we do. 🙂
O: (214) 814 – 5967
In my quest to gaining more professional expertise better serve my clients, I attended the Specify Color with Confidence course taught by Maria Killam. Click play on this video to hear my thoughts about the course.
If you want to know more about color, check out Maria's Blog http://www.mariakillam.com/ Hope you enjoy it as much as I have.
Keti Abazi, Staging Designer and True Color Expert™
Owner and Creative Director of Design by KETI
O: (214) 814 – 5967(214) 814 – 5967
To invite Keti Abazi, to be a speaker at your meeting or function, you may contact email@example.com.
Your audience will find her presentations on Home Staging not only educational but also amusing, genuine and refreshing.