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Staging and Style

How to Create a Warm, Inviting Winter Listing

Patti image

By Patti Stern, PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

A Welcoming Curb Appeal

Maintain a polished look by keeping gutters clean and shrubs trimmed. Be sure to also remove any hazards by shoveling, sanding, and removing any ice or snow from the driveway, walkways, and sidewalks. To engage buyers on a gloomy day, keep the front porch well lit, use potted evergreens or berry branches, a wreath on the door, lanterns, and a seasonal welcome mat.

Simple and Elegant Holiday Decor

Do not overdo! Buyers want to see the home’s permanent features and a fireplace or window covered with too many ribbons and stockings will distract from key focal points. Instead, incorporate elegant finishing touches such as mercury glass votives and ornaments for some sparkle paired with candles, pine cones, berries and twigs.

Create Warmth With Lighting

Use modest lighting as an accent to create an inviting ambience. Scatter a few lightly scented tea lights in votives, candles in varying heights on beautiful pillars or lanterns and soft white string lights on the front porch, entry stairway or fireplace.

Splashes of Minimal Color

Too much traditional green and red can compete with existing decor and command a room’s attention. A couple of red plaid throw pillows or a red wool blanket draped on the sofa will add just enough festive pop. We also love using silver and gold paired with fresh, white seasonal flowers to complement freshly painted neutral walls that appeal to nearly all buyers.

Keep It Bright

With shorter days, let in as much natural light as possible by opening blinds and curtains. Make sure that all lights are working, light bulbs have been changed, and be sure that the property is well lit both inside and out for late afternoon showings.

PattiABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Stern, principal, interior decorator and professional stager of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, has been decorating and staging homes since 2005. She and her team provide turnkey, full service home staging and interior decorating to clients across Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts. She also developed an award winning staging program for luxury homebuilder, Toll Brothers. Her company has received Houzz 2015 and 2016 Awards for Customer Service. Stern has been featured in Connecticut Magazine, the Hartford Courant, Danbury News-Times and on NBC Connecticut and FOX TV. She is a regular contributor to REALTOR® Magazine’s Styled, Staged and Sold. For more information, contact Patti Stern at 203-640-3762 or

Staging and Style

Get Shopping! Black Friday Deals for the Home

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Are you looking for a bargain this Black Friday with home goods? Deals on household products and appliances are abundant this season. Need to add to your staging inventory or looking for that perfect housewarming gift for your clients? Peruse the ads to spot the best deals. has posted the ads for numerous retailers, from Target, Lowe’s, and more. offers some shopping tips for those in search of some of the best home good offers.  or housewarming gifts for clients during the week of Black Friday, including:

Go after small appliances for the kitchen: Some products – like toasters, kettles, pressure cookers, and more — may drop as low as $3. Look for such deals and their sitewide coupons at mega department stores like Kohl’s, Kmart, and Bon-Ton, according to

Scan sales on major appliances: If your clients are planning a kitchen remodel, they may want to act this week on big appliances. Stores generally offer up their best deals of the year for washing machines, refrigerators, and other household essentials during Black Friday week. Look for dishwashers as low as $250 from some retailers. Sears Outlet often carries some of the best appliance sales of the season, along with free sitewide shipping.

Stock up on cheap tools: Black Friday week may also be the best time to stock up on tools. Power saws may start at $20 and drills from $55. Check out major department stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot to snag some of the best tool deals.

Hunt for household goods: To outfit your home, suggests checking out Sear’s for cheap bedding offers and Kohl’s and JCPenney’s for more dinnerware and bedding deals.

Staging and Style

Home Trends to Watch: Adding the Bathtub Back In

Eubank_freestanding tub

Photo credit: Karen Eubank, Eubank Staging & Design

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

The National Association of Home Builders has in recent years pointed to a dwindling interest in whirlpools in the master bathroom, but that doesn’t mean home owners are ready to banish bathtubs all together.

Sure, home owners have been swapping out built-in bathtubs with supersized walk-in, lavish showers.

However, now some home owners say they want to add the tub back in.

The National Kitchen & Bath Association noted a trend this year among remodelers incorporating more freestanding soaking tubs. Since it’s not built in, there is more flexibility in the placement of these tubs too. They can be placed anywhere from along a window to the center of the bathroom to even, in some cases, inside the shower.

Indeed, the tub stands alone nowadays. Freestanding tubs are becoming a focal element in the bathroom, says Karen Eubank with Eubank Staging & Design in Dallas.

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Staging and Style

The All White Room. It’s a Trap!


Photo Courtesy of Spade and Archer

By Justin M. Riordan, Spade and Archer Design Agency

So… you’ve been seeing all those great staging projects, magazine covers, and television living rooms that look so pretty because they are all white. White sofas and white walls and white floors and white pillows and white tables … all white. And now you are thinking about going all white in your real life as well. Do yourself a favor and listen to Admiral Akbar: “IT’S A TRAP.” Don’t do it. Seriously, run the other way as fast as you can.

But then again I would give you the same advice if you were planning an all red room or an all black room. By having each and every thing in one room be all one color, you are proverbially painting yourself into a corner (pun intended). You would, for all intents and purposes, force your future self to stay with that one color forever, with your only way out involving a large investment in time, money, and energy.

With all these warnings, I see you are not convinced … that nothing I can say will steer you away from that all white living room or bedroom or office you have been dreaming of since early 2015 (since that was when they became hugely trendy, and oh, by the way, that trend will end in less than two years … but I digress). So I might as well tell you how to do it correctly.

All white rooms are sterile at best, but mostly white rooms can be warm and inviting. If something is not white, that is A-OK! Let’s say your floors are dark brown, that will totally work! We want to have some contrast with other neutrals to be sure that the whites pop out against them. (Please note this will work well with other neutrals like cream, beige, brown, grey, black, and sometimes gold.)


Photo Courtesy of Spade and Archer

When upholstering soft goods, consider slipcovers. The convenience of slipcovers is that they can be easily washed or (if need be) replaced. If you are way over the slipcover like I am, then you are going to need some super fabric. I would highly recommend an outdoor fabric manufacturer like Sunbrella. They make a number of beautiful soft, comfortable interior upholstery fabrics that are tough-as-nails.

Keep your whites varied, chalk white, decorator’s white, whipped cream, oyster, canvas, salt, bone white, snow drift. If all the whites in the room are exactly the same it will look forced and contrived. By mixing the whites together, it will look more natural, elegant, and easy.

Allow yourself to have pops of color. After a few months in your all-white room, you may start to get bored or frustrated and find that you need a bit of variation. It’s very easy to add one pop of color at a time (pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple). This can be done with a bouquet of flowers, a throw pillow, or a pair of sassy lamps. What you want to avoid is having more than one color in your white room at the same time. Remember, this rule does not apply to neutrals.

I wish you the very best of luck with your all white room, and in 2018 when you absolutely hate that room, you will hear my judgmental voice in the back of your head saying “Sorry ‘bout it!”


Photo Courtesy of Spade and Archer

headshot_JustinRiordanABOUT THE AUTHOR: Justin M. Riordan, LEED AP is founder of Spade and Archer Design Agency, a home staging company with offices in Portland, Seattle and Palm Springs. As the creative energy behind Spade and Archer, Riordan fuses his formal training as an architect withhis natural design savvy to create beautiful and authentic spaces for clients.