Staging and Style

Staging and Style

Hot Home Trend: Countertops Making Waves

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

The speckled, spotted styles of granite countertops that have dominated kitchen design in recent years are moving out of the mainstream. In fact, those brown speckled granite countertops may even start to now age kitchens.

Instead, countertops are blending in more to the kitchen design. A polished, solid colored countertop, like in all white or black, is trending. Or one design really growing in popularity lately: Veined countertop designs. These countertops feature soft waves that resemble the look of marble.

 

Check out how some of these countertops are blending in more with the design and creating a clean, polished look in kitchens.

Staging and Style

Staging Tip: Remove the Window Screens Prior to a Photo Shoot

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Besides a good window cleaning, there’s another way to boost your curb appeal and get those windows shining: Remove the screens.

Home stagers love this trick, and it’s taken straight from the film industry. Remove the outside screens on your windows in the front of your home prior to your home being photographed, or prior to an open house. Your windows will look shiny and clean.

After all, a window screen can make a window appear filmy and dark.

But whatever you do, don’t throw away those screens! Keep them in the garage, and don’t forget to reinstall them later. The new homeowners will most certainly still want those.

Staging and Style

5 Steps to Creating the Perfect Outdoor Living Room

Submitted by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI)

Photo credit: OPEI

1. Declutter & Clean
The first step to sprucing up the outdoor living room is to clear dirt and clutter from the space. Store lawn equipment, children’s toys, and pet play things in a shed or garage. Give the entire area a good scrub down, sweeping away dust and debris so you’re left with a fresh, clean canvas.

2. Invite the Outdoors In
Blending interior and outdoor living spaces helps the exterior area feel like an extension of the home, not an afterthought. Ensure blinds and curtains are open to the family yard, highlighting the outdoor oasis. Make certain the indoor and outdoor décor complement one another and use similar colors, materials, and styles both inside and out. It’ll help better connect the two spaces.

3. Create Cozy Sitting Areas
Create easy traffic flow throughout the outdoor living room, while offering a number of places for people to sit–at a table, around a fire pit, or in a cozy chair configuration. Also, offer some shade by using umbrellas or outdoor curtains to minimize sun glare and maximize visions of enjoyment in the outdoor living room.

4. Soften the Outdoor Space

Introduce a few soft design features into the outdoor area to create an inviting atmosphere. Rugs, throw pillows, and upholstered patio furniture are a few ways to accomplish that “cozy” feel. Ensure these items look fresh and clean and are not worn or dated. It’s relatively inexpensive to swap out new pillows and rugs.

Create outdoor ambiance by hanging string lighting, introducing a fire pit in the center of a patio, setting up a zen-like water feature, or adding candles, small plants and freshly-cut flowers to tabletops.

5. Use Living Landscapes
Nothing says “welcome home” quite like a beautiful living landscape, complete with flowering shrubs, trees, flowers, and other vegetation. Freshen up the family yard by weeding, mulching, and planting flowerbeds and pots with colorful flowers and verdant plants. Vases of flowers can also help bring life—as well as a pop of color–to outdoor tablescapes.

Staging and Style

How to Prep a Yard for Spring Buying: 5 Tips

Photo Courtesy: OPEI

By Kris Kiser, President & CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI)

As the spring selling season kicks into high gear, real estate and staging professionals can help their clients enhance their listings by creating an outdoor space that is attractive to buyers. The family yard not only can expand living space, it also reconnects families and pets with nature and provides a natural setting to reduce stress, improve memory, boost mood, among many other benefits.

Here are five points to consider:

1. Understand potential buyers’ lifestyle needs.
Determine how a potential buyer might use the yard, then plant accordingly. Does the yard need more shade for hot summer days? Is it lacking a grassy area for kids and pets to play?

2. Know the climate zone.
Help your clients select climate-appropriate plants that will thrive with minimal input. The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map indicates which grasses, shrubs, and trees are most likely to succeed in a specific location.

3. Plant for pets.
More families are including pets in their lives so consider animal’s needs when planting. Hardy grass withstands pet traffic. Soft, yet sturdy, foliage is a good choice for heavily-trafficked areas. See which plants are dangerous to pets by downloading the ASPCA’s list of poisonous plants.

Photo Courtesy: OPEI

4. Attract pollinators & wildlife.
The home habitat is also vital for pollinators (bees, butterflies, and birds) and other wildlife that rely on backyard plants for food and shelter. Planting climate-appropriate, pollen-rich flowers will help nourish pollinators, while creating a vibrant outdoor scene buyers will appreciate.

5. Stage the outdoors.

Showcase how the space will be used, including setting outdoor tables, having a barbecue grill set up, and other touches that show people can “live” in the space.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kris Kiser is the president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) and the OPEI Education and Research Foundation. OPEI is an international trade association representing 100 small engine, utility vehicle and outdoor power equipment manufacturers, and suppliers. OPEI is managing partner of GIE+EXPO, the industry’s annual international trade show and exposition. Prior to joining OPEI, Kiser, also an attorney, served for 14 years in senior management at two major, Washington, D.C. trade associations representing the automobile manufacturing and forest products industries. He was vice president of state and international affairs for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and vice president of governmental affairs for the American Forest & Paper Association. Learn more about OPEI: OPEI.org

 

Staging and Style

Staged to Sell: A Virtual Transformation

Photo Credit: VHT Studios / Chrissy Barrett

The real estate professional: Cris Grayson, broker associate at Baird & Warner in Glen Ellyn, Ill.

About the home: The five-bedroom home in Glen Ellyn, Ill., was built in 1975. The home has been meticulously maintained, and the homeowners had recently made some updates to the interior as well. It is listed for $569,900. Grayson wanted to make sure the online presentation of the home would appeal to the widest buyer pool.

Grayson’s tips:

  1. Don’t skimp on photography. Grayson places a high value on quality photography for her listings. She uses a professional photographer who is trained specifically on taking real estate photos through VHT Studios, a national real estate photography firm. A good real estate photographer will know how to capture a space from the best angles as well as the flow of the home, Grayson says.
  2. Show off the possibilities. Grayson also likes to use VHT’s Virtual Redecorate tool, which allows spaces to be virtually changed and staged for photos.

Here’s the kitchen “before” and then virtually staged “after.” See how it changes the look of the table area.

Photo credit: VHT Studios / Chrissy Barrett

Virtually Staged / Photo Credit: VHT Studios – Chrissy Barrett

Grayson also used virtual staging to change the look of the home’s family room. In its current state, the family room appears comfortable and cozy, but some buyers may be looking for a lighter, more modern look. Through virtual staging, the wall décor and upholstered furniture was presented in a warmer look in the photographs.

Photo Credit: VHT Studios / Chrissy Barrett

Virtually Staged / Photo Credit: VHT Studios  – Chrissy Barrett

 

  1. Re-cast the room’s purpose. In some cases, you may want to change the purpose of the room to appeal to a wider pool of buyers. In the upstairs of the home, Grayson and her VHT photographer Chrissy Barrett used virtual staging to transform a teen room into a young child’s room with a play space. They also presented it another way too as an office and reading or crafts room. Grayson labeled any pictures as “virtually staged” when they appeared online. The virtually staged photos appeared after a photo of the actual room.

Photo Credit: VHT Studios / Chrissy Barrett

Virtually Staged / Photo Credit: VHT Studios – Chrissy Barrett

Virtually Staged / Photo Credit: VHT Studios – Chrissy Barrett

The Result?

Days after the home was listed with the virtual staging pictures included, Grayson said they received an offer and were in negotiations with an interested buyer. Grayson has found that using virtual staging in her listings doesn’t just show potential buyers the possibilities of a space but also offers buyers a styling guide to use when they move into their new home and make it their own.

Have a home you recently staged that you’d like to show off here at Styled Staged & Sold? Submit your staging photos for consideration, along with three to five of your best spruce-up tips. Contact Melissa Dittmann Tracey at mtracey@realtors.org.