After all the staging we did on our own, we were excited about having a professional stager come over and check out our house. Our realtor uses a stager as part of her service, so we gladly took her up on the offer. The stager was here on Friday, and we spent Friday evening and all day Saturday implementing her suggestions. I’ll probably spend most of tomorrow finishing up the list she gave us, and hopefully by Tuesday morning this place will be ready for the photographer.
In case anyone was wondering, I thought I’d share some of the ideas that the stager gave us. It was nice to have a fresh perspective from someone who does this for a living and hasn’t grown accustomed to what our house looks like. I’m glad that she came over after we had spent the last four months sprucing up our house – can’t imagine how long her list would have been if she had stopped by in January!
The first thing she mentioned was that we needed some color. We tend to favor neutral colors, and we had gone even more neutral with getting the house ready for the market. But apparently we had things looking a little too beige. She recommended some red for the living room – a painting, throw pillows, and a decorative piece on the coffee table. She also said we should move our end table into the guest bedroom and have just the chair, couch, and coffee table in the living room. We had already cleared a ton of stuff out of that room, but she wanted it even more empty.
In the kitchen, she had me take down my homemade utensil holder (two strips of wood with nails in them – very fancy!) that I had put on the wall a few years ago, and put a picture in their place. Taking down the utensil racks damaged the wall a bit, so I had to use drywall mud to fill the damaged areas and then repaint. But it does look more open and classier without my utensils hanging on the wall.
Our guestroom had dark green trim, although the rest of the house had freshly painted white trim. Not surprisingly, she suggested we paint the trim to match the rest of the house. We did that yesterday, and the guest room does look a lot better with the white trim.
Our guest bed and our own bed just had regular pillows and pillowcases – no shams, no decorative pillows. She recommended that we get shams and dress the beds up a bit. Her recommendation was black and white in the guest room (we have a black and white print on the wall over the bed in that room) and reddish hues in our room.
She also suggested that we move some plants, clear out the closets (glad she didn’t see them three months ago, before I cleared them out the first time…), and paint our dining room chairs. Our chairs were very faded and chipped, so they were due for a paint job anyway. In addition, she suggested we paint a green mirror frame black, to update it a bit.
There were lots of other suggestions, but these are the ones I remember off the top of my head (she gave us a two page list). So far, we’ve painted the bedroom trim, painted the kitchen chairs and the mirror frame, cleared the closets so that they look like they belong in a Martha Stewart book, and thoroughly cleaned our crawl space. We also did some shopping.
She recommended that we buy a bunch of stuff. Pillows, artwork, centerpieces, pillow shams, etc. All smallish things, but the prices could really add up if we were to buy everything new. I had never shopped for throw pillows before, but we went to a few stores on Friday nights to check them out. The cheapest throw pillows we found were ten bucks each, at Target. Some that I saw were $50 each. For throw pillows. Obviously not happening. At those prices, it was going to cost us five hundred dollars to get through the list we got from the stager.
So we headed to our trusty thrift stores. For a total of $45, we ended up with six really great throw pillows (including one with a cover that was handmade in Thailand by a womens’ empowerment group, and still had its fancy tags on it), five bed pillow shams and pillows go go in them, three regular pillow cases, some beautiful crockery to go on display shelves in our kitchen, a vase, black wall sconces, and a few other small things. We borrowed some artwork and a couple of pieces of nice china from my parents, and a neighbor gave us some additional pillow shams.
Once again, our thrifting ways saved us a lot of money. It was fun to go to the thrift stores with such a specific list – sort of like a scavenger hunt. And amazingly enough, we found nearly everything we needed, at only two stores. Our house is looking much better already.
Our experience with the stager was great. She gave us really great ideas – the sort of thing that I wonder why I didn’t think of myself. It was really helpful to have a fresh perspective, and I liked that a lot of the ideas she gave us involved rearranging and/or painting stuff we already had, since that’s an inexpensive way to go. Now we just have to finish checking things off the list she gave us… I think I can, I think I can…