Archive for October, 2012

Home Staging Dos and Don’ts

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Anyone looking at home design photos on Facebook or Pinterest has seen beautifully designed rooms that use all of the elements to the room’s advantage. Most homes don’t look like model houses, though: we have photos on the walls, mismatched furniture in the living room, and kids’ and pets’ belongings strewn about. There are some definite home staging dos and don’ts to pay attention to when you’re trying to sell your house you want it to appear in the most attractive light possible. After all, home staging is the perfect way to achieve that.

While it’s usually recommended that you hire a professional interior designer or realtor for the home staging process, it can easily and effectively be accomplished on your own. Renting modern, luxurious furniture helps new buyers associate high end furniture with the house and imagine themselves in a high end lifestyle, encouraging them to make the purchase. The same cannot be said of your comfortable but outdated couch and mismatched easy chair, which potential buyers will have to look past in order to see the potential in your home.

Family photos can and should go into boxes and new furniture can be brought in temporarily, but what about things you can’t easily swap out?  The vast majority of the homes in the United States have at least one pet; when your home is on the market what do you do with Fido and Fluffy?

Enter the poorly-kept marketing secret that animals sell. Just watching one TV program is enough to see how companies use our adorable, furry friends to sell their products. Use this to your advantage! Don’t force the cat to leave her spot on the couch when the photographer comes through because she’ll give life and warmth to the room. Likewise, let the dog lay at the foot of the bed or the sunny spot in the kitchen. Just make sure the photos including animals are tasteful- no shots of the dog licking himself!

There are a few other animal-related don’ts to remember when staging your home to put it on the market. Taxidermy statues, animal trophies, and real or lifelike animal rugs should be removed from the home. Gaudy stuffed animals or an abundance of animal accessories (artwork, statues, collectibles) can be offputting. The key rule with home staging is to keep it classy and modern.

Image courtesy of Estately.

Getting Creative with Home Design

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

creative home decor

Trends have their place in home design and decor, but at the end of the day, getting creative with home design pays off – you’ll win curb appeal and elicit those oohs and ahhs from friends and neighbors.

Following a certain trend, if it happens to align with your own personality and taste, obviously isn’t a bad thing, but the homes people tend to mimic the most are the homes that say a little something about the occupants. We wrote a little while back that all-white rooms are the new trend in home design, but the aspect of all-white decor that makes them look so appealing is typically the one piece of flair in that room. Whether your flair is the bright pink easy chair slip cover, or the tangerine colored area rug, or the turquoise bar stools, these items stand out in an all-white room, giving the otherwise monochromatic space a lively personality while still looking clean and put together.

colorful area rug

Likewise, your home should have at least some elements of your personality: the antique yellow chest of drawers for the foyer, your hand-knitted coasters on the coffee table, or a glass cabinet to display your collection of coffee mugs from around the world let your visitors know they’re in your home. The truth is we don’t live in model homes, and we aren’t all professional designers (and usually don’t have professional designers working for us!), so we might as well learn to get creative with our home design. 

What’s your most creative home decor element? Tell us in the comments!

Images courtesy of House Beautiful and Desire to Inspire.

When To Decorate With Bold Colors

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Spice up any room with bold colors

There’s a solid trend towards decorating with neutrals, and all-white rooms are a bit of a thing these days. While there are many great benefits to using neutrals and keeping up a clean, monochromatic look in a room, a home with very little color can become depersonalized. Bring on the bold! Decorating with bold colors is as much of a statement about your personality as the clothes you wear (and if you’re the kind of person to wear all white or all gray every day then maybe this post isn’t for you). Color can add quite a bit of spark and creativity to a room – learn when to decorate with bold colors below!

Starting out with bold colors

Most people aren’t convinced to use bold colors until they see an example that they instantly love, such as a throw pillow in a vibrant orange or a set of glossy red cooking pans. Also, many people don’t have a clean slate to start from, having collected a mish-mash of different furniture pieces, antiques, and decorative pieces. Deciding to add bold color can mean making the decision to start phasing out older aspects of your decor and starting fresh. Put in new window coverings in a bright and bold color to start with. If you like that you can graduate to painting an accent wall or buying a slipcover and pillows for the couch. Add color to your home decor until you’ve reached a style you’re happy with.

Adding bold colors to an all white room

Perhaps the easiest way to begin incorporating color, or highlighting a color or decoration you particularly enjoy, is to prominently display a boldly colored item in an otherwise white room. For example, hang a brightly colored shower curtain in an all-white bathroom, pair a bold lampshade with a throw blanket in an all-white bedroom, swap out your bar stools for something a little more retro and you’ll get that vibrant look in any room. Bold colors in an all-white room stand out even more, requiring fewer items to make a statement.

Embracing boldness

A room can look just as great loaded with bright colors as it can with all neutrals, and when done tastefully will not hurt your chances of selling. Paint, obviously, is the easiest thing to alter should your tastes change or you decide to sell the home and rugs and throw pillows that can be removed and replaced are another great way to get color without permanently altering a room. Spice up your living room with a festive area rug and matching throw pillows, bold wall art, vases and containers in primary colors. Using complementary colors in the same room can be fun, too.

Images courtesy of HGTV, Carol GoldbergCountry Living

Snuggle Into Fall

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Get your home ready for fall, even if the weather has to catch up

It may be hot as blazes here in San Diego still (welcome to October in Southern California), but that doesn’t mean we can’t start dreaming of fall and all that it entails. Perhaps cool nights, crisp breezes and seasonal vegetables will encourage us to dust off our jackets once again. In the meantime  we can get our homes ready to embrace fall as soon as it decides to arrive. Ready to snuggle into fall?

One of the greatest things about decorating for fall is that the colors associated with the season can also easily be applied to any other time of year and fit in just as well. Those oranges and browns associated with autumn could be paired with cranberry in the winter, bright pink in the spring, and lime green in the summer for year-round decor that makes it look as if you’re constantly redecorating your home to stay on the cutting edge of design.

Decorate with food

Newsflash: pumpkins are food. We look forward to pumpkin pies and pumpkin carving in October, but pumpkins of all shapes and sizes can be used purely for decoration, and they last a long time! Visit a farmer’s market or pumpkin field for a greater variety of pumpkins; you’re sure to find white, multi-colored, and spotted pumpkins of varying sizes in addition to the traditional basket ball sized orange ones. However, pumpkins aren’t the only fall food that can be used in a decorative manner. Dried corn cobs (or just the husks), green apples, cinnamon sticks, squash and gourds, seeds, even wheat can be used decoratively throughout the house. Cooking items, like those copper pans in the back of the cabinet, can be displayed, too.


Fall is a great time to think about a fresh coat of paint on the walls. So many fall colors look great with different furniture items and traditional fall colors can add a much needed splash of vibrancy to a room. Accent walls in burnt orange are a great way to get into the fall painting spirit without making a huge commitment, while


While we may not have the urge to cuddle up into a cozy blanket when the temperatures are still nearing 90, soon enough we’ll be singing a different tune. Wash and dry your blankets to get them looking their best and fold them into a basket next to the couch or drape one over a chair. Having them at the ready will remind you that it’s fall and that cooler temperatures are right around the corner.


Home decor starts as soon as we arrive, not only when we walk in the door. Pay attention to the way the exterior of your home looks and add a few fall-themed decorations. Pick up some extra pumpkins for the front step, add a seasonal welcome mat or front door sign, turn on motion sensitive walkway lights, and if you have an oak tree consider letting the leaves lie where they fall. If you’re looking for some new plants to take the place of seasonal flowers, try cool-weather flowers or eye catching vegetables potted in baskets, pails, even hollowed out pumpkins.  Now is also the time to plant those winter vegetables and spring bulbs in your garden.

Non-visual decor

Fall isn’t just about the colors. The smell of fall is one of the most noticeable and enticing aspects of the season: pumpkins when they’re carved, baking pies, grilling squash, simmering cider, and decaying leaves. But the way things feel can also be a powerful reminder of autumn: wool socks, the crunch of fallen leaves underfoot, and being wrapped up in a soft and warm blanket.

Take advantage of the non-visual fall cues for decorating around your home. Leave the fallen leaves on the lawn and sidewalk for a few extra days, use spices in your cooking more frequently, pull out your most comfortable textured blankets and sheets, and place a few scented candles around the house. Your home will smell and feel like fall in no time.

Images from HGTV, Martha Stewart, DIY Network, Apartment Therapy