Staging and Style

Staging and Style

How to Choose the Right Stain for Hardwood Floors

By Glenn Griffin, guest contributor

One of the most commonly asked questions people have when restoring their hardwood floors is: “Should I stain my floor?” That question is closely followed by: “What color stain should I choose?”

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Photo by Delaware Valley Hardwoods

Staining your floors is a major decision for three reasons: 1) Your choice will have a substantial impact on the overall look of your home, 2) You will be living with your color choice for a very long time and 3) Once the stain is applied, it’s expensive and time consuming to redo it.

On top of that, there is literally hundreds of colors, shades, and combinations to choose between. Choices, choices, choices!

That’s a lot of pressure.

Thankfully, choosing the perfect color for your wood floors isn’t too difficult. You just need to know the right questions to ask. Below we’ll go through some questions that will get you on the right track of deciding whether you should even stain in the first place, and if so, how to choose the perfect stain color for your home.

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Photo by Advantage Hardwood Refinishing

STEP 1: Can I and Should I Stain My Floors?

You have a choice of staining your floors or keeping them in their natural state. Some floors are perfect for staining, others not so much. Which way you decide will depend on your answers to the following 2 questions…

What type of wood floors do I have?

If you are fortunate enough to have an exotic or unique wood floor such as mahogany, cherry, walnut, or maple then most likely they shouldn’t be stained.

First, these types of wood already look beautiful in their natural state. Often, when homeowners stain their floors, they are trying to imitate these types of wood floors. Second, many of these exotic floors also don’t take being stained well due to the oils or tight grain in the wood. There’s a high chance you won’t be happy with the result. It’s much better to keep them unstained and enjoy their natural beauty.

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Photo by Tadas Wood Flooring Inc

On the other hand, you may have a more common type of hardwood floor like red or white oak.

Over time, some finishes — especially oil based finishes — turn oak a yellowish-orange look that often gets associated with your grandparent’s floors from the 1960s. Other newer water based finishes can have a washed-out look if applied to a natural unstained oak floor. If this is not the look you’re going for, or you want to completely transform how they look, then staining is a great option.

Luckily, oak floors are perfect candidates for being stained and take stain application extremely well when the proper techniques are used.

Is there any water or pet damage?

If you have previous damage on your floors due to an overzealous pot plant waterer or the last owner’s bladder-challenged pets, then you have a couple of options: 1) Replace the damaged areas, or 2) Stain the floors a darker color than the damage so it’s not as obvious.

If the water damage covers a large portion of the floor but it’s only surface damage and can be muted with a darker color, then staining is well worth considering. It will save you a lot of money compared to the alternative of replacing the floors.

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Photo by Advantage Hardwood Refinishing

STEP 2: What Color Should I Choose?

Because there are so many color choices, this step can get a bit overwhelming. There are many different suppliers and they all have different shades and colors. Some manufacturers, especially with hardwax oils, have pre-treatment colors that can be layered on top of stain, or under it, to provide an unlimited color palette. You will want to get some color samples from your flooring professional to see the range you can choose from.

Our suggestion in choosing a color would be to first ask yourself…

What decorating style do you have or want?

Having a specific taste in furniture or an interior design style in mind will be a huge help in deciding on a stain color. Will you be buying new furniture? If so, you will have some more leeway. If you are keeping your existing furniture, then you will need to find a color that works with what you have.

If you love rustic farmhouse style interiors, you wouldn’t stain your floors dark ebony or grey. It would completely clash with your rustic furniture. Mid-toned brown shades would be a better fit.

For a modern, bold sleek contemporary design style, rich red hues would be very out of place. Ebony, white, or one of the various grey shades would be much better suited.

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Photo by Tadas Wood Flooring Inc

The key is to find a color that highlights and sets the groundwork for the interior decorating style you’re aiming for. Remember, your floors make up a large area of your home and will have a significant impact on the overall design. You want something that not only grounds your room, but also blends your decorating style cohesively together.

Because many of us find it difficult to visualize these images in our heads, a great idea is to grab some home decorating, architecture, and interior design magazines for inspiration. There are lots of online resources for photos too, like Pinterest and Houzz.

Flip through them and find all the photos with your ideal interior design style. What have others, especially professional designers, done in similar situations to what you envision? What catches your eye? What can you see yourself living with long-term? Do you like the light, airy look and feel more drawn to a lighter colored shade? Or do you prefer the deep, bold look of a darker floor? Maybe something in-between?

When you find a color you love, save the photo and show it to your wood floor professional. They’ll be able to help you find out how to replicate it.

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Photo by Delaware Valley Hardwoods  

What if I can’t decide between 2 or 3 colors?

If you’ve narrowed your choices down to 2 or 3 colors then you’re well on your way to getting the perfect stain for your hardwood floors.

The next step is to have your floor professional provide some larger samples. He’ll be able to offer two choices: either put the stain samples directly on your floor (after sanding a section), or make you some large portable sample panels.

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Photo by Tadas Wood Flooring Inc

The benefit of putting stain samples directly on your floor is that you can see exactly how the final color will look.

The beauty of sample panels also is you can move them around the house and see what the color looks like in various areas of your home, around your furniture, against the kitchen cabinets, etc. Try to get your floor professional to coat them with the same finish system you will use so that the color isn’t distorted.

With either type of sample, you will be able to observe what they look like during various times of the day and in different lighting conditions.

Once you live with your samples for a few days, you’ll know exactly what color will be perfect for your home.

GlennGriffinABOUT THE AUTHOR: Glenn Griffin helps service based businesses attract and convert high quality leads with content and marketing. As an expert in hardwood flooring, he writes content for various flooring websites including Tadas Wood Flooring, Advantage Hardwood Refinishing and Delaware Valley Hardwoods You can see their work in the photos above.

Staging and Style

7 Secrets for Adding a Finishing Touch to Your Staging

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Photo credit: Blinds.com

By Katie Laird, guest contributor

When staging a home for an open house, you can transform a space from an unimpressive, run-of-the-mill property to one with a “wow” factor. But without a little extra attention to detail, even the most professionally staged homes can leave something to be desired. Don’t let staging efforts go to waste—advise your clients to put the finishing touches on their staged homes, and boost their chances of selling. Here is a list of seven often overlooked finishing touches that can make a home shine.

1. Switch the lights.

It may seem like a big project, but switching out ceiling light fixtures is actually quite simple. Replacing old or broken fixtures can add a polished look and make a home feel updated. Remember that during showings and open houses, all lights will be on, so buyers’ eyes will be drawn to them. Choose something timeless that will go with any décor. And don’t forget the switch plates – dingy or yellowed light switches can make a staged room feel incomplete.

2. Consider window treatments.

Your clients may hesitate to replace blinds or shades before they move, because they can’t take them when they go. But remind them that custom window treatments can add significant value to the sale price. The right treatments can add privacy, style, and even energy efficiency to the home. They’re also the perfect way to frame a professionally-staged room. During your showing, treatments should allow as much natural light into the home as possible. Natural light balances any overly yellow lightbulbs and provides a blank canvas for the buyers to see clearly.

3. Touch-up the paint.

A professionally staged home will have impeccable furnishings and accessories. But chipped baseboards or scuffed walls can undo that polished look in an instant. Advise your clients to go through the home with touch-up paint and get rid of the most obvious offenses. It’s a simple way to hide the home’s age, and keep potential buyers focused on the its best attributes.

4. Give the floors some attention.

Stagers may add area rugs, but their not to hide scratched hardwoods or stained carpeting. Recommend that your clients make the investment into buffing and deep cleaning the flooring, so the rest of the staging looks at home in the pristine environment.

5. Add a little life.

Staging companies may add artificial plants as décor, but the living variety are even more appealing. Fresh flowers and houseplants brighten dining rooms, entryways, and bedside tables. Go neutral white or use this as an opportunity to add a pop of color. Also, try bowls of fruit, hanging ferns, or a small window herb garden to avoid having to put fresh flowers out every week. Don’t forget to look outside and freshen up the flower bed with new blooms and/or add a few potted plants around the front door.

6. Remove personal items.

Another final touch to making sure the staging looks natural is to remove any overly personal distractions. Remove family photos and memorabilia. If your sellers want to leave the frames on the wall to hide nail holes, have them consider putting a nice landscape print or piece of scrapbook paper in that spot instead. This goes for art, too. Your potential buyers might not share your enthusiasm for turn of the century pop-art, so the best choice is to swap it out for something classic, or remove completely.

7. Don’t forget storage areas.

Stagers will give special attention to the main living areas, but storage spaces like garages, closets, and basements are also vital selling points that need attention. Potential buyers look for roomy areas where they’ll be able to fit all their stuff. If basements and garages are overcrowded, it might send the signal that the home isn’t big enough for the buyers’ needs. Sellers may benefit from renting a storage space to help declutter and make every inch of the home irresistible.

KatieLaird2016ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Katie Laird is a frequent public speaker on social media marketing, social customer care, and profitable company culture. An active blogger and early social technology adopter, you can find her online as “happykatie” sharing home décor, yoga, parenting and vegetarian cooking tips. Laird is also the director of social marketing for Blinds.com.

Staging and Style

Sherwin Williams’ Pick for 2018’s Hottest Color

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Oceanside_Sherwin3A rich blue with jewel-toned greens is forecasted to be 2018’s hottest color of the year, according to Sherwin Williams, which unveiled its 2018 Color of the Year choice this week. Other paint companies will be announcing their paint choices over the next few weeks.

Oceanside SW 6496 is a statement color. It can add a bold, attention-getting pop to wall colors, furnishings,  accessories, and even a home’s front door.

“Green-blues in deep values, such as Oceanside, respond to changes in light, which is a quality that creates intense dimension,” says Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams. “It is a tremendously versatile color, and harmonizes with other diverse color groups.”

Oceanside is reminiscent of a marine-inspired look. But Sherwin Williams says the color can be woven into practically any design style, from mid-century modern to Mediterranean, traditional, or contemporary. Sherwin Williams says the color is versatile enough to be paired with any number of other colors, from hot pinks, yellows to navy or sky blues.

For 2017, Sherwin Williams had selected Poised Taupe (SW 6039) as the hot color. The company has been pushing the brownish-gray hue into more color schemes this year. Sherwin Williams had predicted taupe to become the next “it” color base for many homes today, edging out the popularity of gray.

But for 2018, Sherwin Williams is returning to a bolder shade for its hot-pick.

“People today have a growing sense of adventure, and it is making its way into even the coziest corners of our homes,” Wadden says. “We are craving things that remind us of bright folklore, like mermaids and expeditions across continents. Oceanside is the color of wanderlust right in our own homes.”

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Photo credit: Sherwin Williams

Staging and Style

Add Some Pumpkin Spice to Your Autumn Staging

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

It’s pumpkin season and that means pumpkin everything — lattes, muffins, cookies, cakes, and, yes, even home décor. Home stagers are adding a little “pumpkin spice” to their decor, from the welcoming fall scent to pumpkin accents that inspire a cozy, autumn feel. Plus, orange can serve as a great staging color. The bold hue pops against a neutral backdrop.

Now, before you go all Trader Joe’s-pumpkin-explosion style, restrain yourself. Do not over-pumpkin your listing!

Try adding a few pumpkins to your listing’s front stoop and maybe a few orange accessories here and there. Consider even some pumpkin lattes and muffins to complete your autumn open house.

Houzz recently featured several ideas of how you can add pumpkin-orange inspiration to your décor, from orange velvet furnishings, towels, throws, and pillows to even an orange accent wall for those who want to commit on a bigger scale.

Here are some of our favorites autumn staging ideas to get you inspired to add some pumpkin flair to your listing.

1. Add some pumpkins to your front stoop. 

2. Try some pumpkin accents along the dining room table. 
3. Use some pumpkin flair to showcase the fireplace mantel. 

 

4. Add some pumpkins to your flower pots. 

 

5. Tuck mini pumpkins into your candle holders, and complement with orange accessories throughout the front porch.

7. Weave orange throughout a room in small doses to offset darker color schemes.

 8. Use shades of pumpkin for accents. 
This is a Pumpkin Cream accent wall (Pumpkin Cream 2168-20 by Benjamin Moore)

Staging and Style

Why You Should Stage a Cozy Fire Pit Area

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Fire features, like outdoor fire pits and fire tables, are in demand. The National Association of Landscape Professionals calls it one of the hottest landscape trends for the fall, based on a recent survey of 5,000 of its member landscapers.

These hot-spots can be a great way to show off the entertaining potential of your outdoor space. Set up a fire pit with a few outdoor chairs around it. You can even drape a blanket over one chair and add ingredients to s’mores on a table to finish off this perfect cozy fall scene.

Consider, taking a picture of your fire pit with the flames at dusk to even add to your listing photos to highlight as a selling point too. (A professional photographer may be best to get this picture so that the lighting is perfect.)

Check out these chic fire pit areas featured by designers at Houzz.