Monday, January 21, 2013

Four Simple Ways to Add Style to Your Home Staging

Elegant, fashionable, luxurious, distinctive, smart. These are the kinds of words most people use to define the word “style.”
 
But, when we're talking home staging, the word style means something a little different.  

Stylish home staging happens when something unforgettable sets your home apart. 

It happens when some unique quality becomes almost palpable.

It happens when something makes people respect your home.

Stylish home staging is like stylish dressing. It doesn't depend on trends or what’s current. It's about what looks and feels good on a visceral level. It's about people's gut reactions to your property.   

If you suspect your home needs an infusion of style, but you’re at a loss about the how to add style, today’s your lucky day. Here are my four simple ways to add style to your DIY home staging.

1. Add Something Unique

Generic furnishings are safer when staging a home on the market.

But when everything is generic, ho hum takes over. In the staged home, mass marketed furnishings are safe because the manufacturer or the store have already researched to discover what the market wants, or they've actually created that market.

Once your home is staged to appeal to the masses, it's safe to add a few exclamation points. Do this by adding some unique furnishings.

Maybe it’s a hand-decorated dresser or an exotic bedspread you brought back from Mexico.

Maybe it’s a Windsor chair painted red instead of the customary black.

Maybe it’s a gallery wall of dog portraits, or a driftwood-framed mirror.

Ask yourself, "What do I have that no one else has?"

If you have doubts about some of your home staging being too quirky or distracting, limit these touches to just that -- finishing touches. It's best if the basic infrastructure that conveys with the house -- walls, doors, fixtures, appliances, and built-ins -- stay with current fashions. Home buyers do not want to paint over your chartreuse walls and replace all those cute unmatched doorknobs.    

“Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.” -- Gore Vidal
This hand-painted chest is a statement piece. It says that the home was
decorated with taste, love and attention. Photo: Porte Italia via Decorating Diva. 

2. Mix Opposites

Picture a sleek chrome and glass table surrounded by shabby chic chairs.

Or a fluffy rug in front of your leather sofa.

Or Lucite lamps on an antique wooden desk.

When you pair old with new, or ornate with simple, or black with white, or formal with informal, you’ve created style! Just the way a gal dressing herself in a bomber jacket and sequined top does, combining seemingly disparate elements brings style.

If you don’t trust your eye to do these kinds of combinations, copy something you’ve seen a decorator do online or in a shelter magazine’s editorial pages. No need to reinvent the wheel.
Never fear mixing styles. In this bedroom, a formal chair sits on one side  of the room
 but a much more casual wicker loveseat sits at the foot of the bed. Photo: BHG 

3. Simplify

Here’s one path to high style that’s easy. Just clear out the clutter.

Get rid of the small stuff.

Decorate with large items. That includes upholstered pieces you want to sink into, pillows at least 24 inches square, drapery panels more than twice the width of the window, oversized table lamps on well-proportioned tabletops, man-sized art, and supersized floral arrangements. Nothing ditzy! 

If you find clearing out clutter robs you of essentials, like remotes, reading material, cooking supplies and toiletries, cluster them into containers or tuck them into cabinets, ottomans, handsome wooden boxes, or covered baskets. You can do this!

“A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”  -- Antoine de Saint-Exupery
“Do it big, do it right, and do it with style.” -- Fred Astair
Simplifying the right way: This sleek sofa and a pair of matching campaign chests
help the room look clean.  And the other furnishings
are kept to a minimum, using texture to keep it all interesting. Photo:hgtv

4. Experiment

I am a great believer in the “fooling around” approach to decorating.

What fooling around looks like is: you spend a hour trying different furniture arrangements in your bedroom, for example. You might switch out the pair of lamps for two in the living room, then stand back and study the result. You might test substituting a bookshelf for a nightstand. You might try the bed placed diagonally in the room. You might reverse the duvet cover for a different pattern.

There is plenty of experimenting you can do that doesn’t require spending money or making irreversible decorating decisions. Jump in!

Trust your eye to tell you what works. Maybe live with it for a few days. Tweak it some more. Have fun.

You'll find more advice like this in my $4.99 eBooks about decorating and staging your own home. I offer three -- DIY Home Staging, No-Sew Window Treatments, and Furniture Arranging -- all immediately downloadable.
“God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant and the cat. He has no real style, He just goes on trying other things.” -- Pablo Picasso 
Photo:   BHG.                   Top Photo: Megan Winters

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