Countertop Updates for Home Staging

Granite? Quartz? Marble? Polished? Honed? Leathered? Lots of great information on types and variations of stone countertops at our recent RESA chapter meeting … Can I just tell you all again how awesome it is to be part of the Real Estate Staging Association’s (RESA) local chapter?   Our members meet monthly at various businesses that can support our home staging businesses, to advance our education and excellence in home staging.  Our recent April meeting was held at a local granite, stone, and marble company and it was sooooo awesome to look at all of the pretty countertop options!   Let me know if you’d like more information on RESA, but you can also check out their website here.

Now, on to the fun stuff … As you may know, many homeowners update their kitchens with stone countertops, often granite, and home buyers will be looking for these updates, especially in certain price-points in the market.  For example, let’s say you’re selling a home in the Atlanta area within the $250k-$300k price range.  If you don’t have updated countertops in your kitchen, you’re going to be losing out on pricing your home higher and selling it for more $$.  In this particular price range, I can provide recommendations for specific neutral-color granite countertops that won’t break the bank, but will be a great investment in selling your home for top dollar.  Contact me or comment on this blog post for more information!

Now if a home is selling in a higher price-point than what I mentioned above, I may recommend stone countertops (if the home doesn’t already have updated countertops) that would be comparable to what other homes in that price-point have been selling with and what those buyers will expect if paying top dollar.  It could be a higher-end granite, or maybe quartz or marble. Again, it all depends on the price-point and what those buyers are expecting.  I do my homework and research all of this for the home sellers, so let me know if I can help you, even if you’re not planning to sell for a while, but are in the process of updating your countertops.  It’s always good to consider resale value while preparing to enjoy your home updates.

Of course I must share all the pretty pictures from the warehouse tour during our meeting … there are so many beautiful options!

Meet Jennifer – our fabulous tour guide!

Applying a template to a slab for cutting!

A few popular options:


Leathered Granite – Interesting Texture!

Lots of “movement” on this slab!

View of all the pretty slabs and lots of options from various suppliers!



Please let me know if I can help you with preparing your home for sale, or with simply refreshing some of your spaces for living!

Decorating Intentionally By Piece

I recently received a question on my Facebook page about decorating a room piece by piece if you don’t have the budget to buy new items all at once.  The homeowner definitely wanted to be intentional about the items chosen for the space over time.  I’ve come up with some suggestions, and honestly I believe these can work whether you’re buying pieces over a longer or shorter period of time … so here we go … (and are any of you familiar with the song “Piece by Piece” by Kelly Clarkson – it is now in my head, lol!).

1.      Before buying anything for the room you are planning to decorate, create a Pinterest board (follow us here) on which you can save inspiration photos for the room.  Later, review the photos you’ve saved and try to find a common thread within the inspiration photos to help define the style you’ll want in the space.  Is it modern? traditional? contemporary? rustic? Farmhouse?  You get the picture …

2.      Consider what lifestyle you want to live in the space, i.e. what activities will occur in the room, or what is the planned function of the room?  Is it a family game room?  Will it be a home office, or a maybe a child’s bedroom?

3.      Next, think about how you want the room to feel – what adjectives would you use to describe the feelings you want to evoke in the room?  Bright and energetic?  Warm and inviting?  The words you decide upon are going to be very important as you will want any items added to the room to assist in creating those feelings in the room.

4.      Make a wish list of things you’d like to be in the room when it’s finished.  For example, if you’re creating a home office you may list:  desk, lamp, desk chair, bookshelf, guest chair, rug, drapes, accessories, 2 pieces of art, etc.

5.      Now here’s where the fun begins (at least I think it’s fun!):  Find a piece that will drive your primary scheme in the room (some designers call it a “lead item”).   This could be a piece of art, a rug, a pillow, fabric, drapery, etc.   This item should contribute to evoking the feelings you want to achieve in the room.  Here’s an example of an item that was the primary driver in the decorative scheme in my family room – it was the fabric for my drapery panels, which was also used for some of the pillows on the sofa and loveseat.

Once your lead item is decided upon and purchased, all other items purchased for the room need to work cohesively with this item, while also aligning with the style preference you identified in step 1, the functionality in step 2, the feelings in step 3, and hopefully on your list from step 4.




6.      The lead item purchased in step 5 is not necessarily a large furniture piece (although it could be).  Once you’ve identified your decorating scheme for the space from your initial lead item purchase, I recommend working to purchase the larger pieces next, such as the rug and/or furniture pieces.   It’s easier to add small decorative accessories and items later, once the big pieces are in place.   You can see in the picture above that I purchased a creamy beige neutral-colored piece for seating and here’s a photo of the rug which pulls together with the creamy beige color in the fabric and also seating pieces.

7.      Once you have the larger pieces in place, continue to add decorative accessories, art, etc, making sure to continually refer back to the initial steps to ensure the purchases are aligned with the plan, even if it takes you months to pull it all together.  Here are a few examples of items I added in my family room to coordinate with my original fabric inspiration – lamps, throw blanket, mirror, etc.


8.      Last bit of advice:  When you’re changing a space using these steps, I recommend most of the time choosing the paint colors last (if wall colors are changing) so you can coordinate the room color with the overall decorative scheme within the room.   My exception to this may be if the wall color itself is going to be the lead “item” in the room.  There are lots of things to consider when choosing paint colors, check out my previous blog post on that here (there’s a bonus worksheet available too!).

Hope this was helpful!   Feel free to reach out with any questions about redesign, and I always love to read comments on my posts so you’re welcome to leave a note in the comments section!

Lastly, I created a great worksheet in which you can type your information for your decorating project! You can then print and carry the completed sheet with you in your purse or wallet for reference on your project.  I thought this would be helpful since you will probably be shopping for this project over time and these details may not always be top of mind.  Enjoy!!

What is Redesign?

If you’ve visited my website previously, or seen the services offered on my Facebook page, you’ll see that I offer “Redesign” as a service.  I’ve found that many people outside of the “home decorating/staging” world are not familiar with this term so I thought I’d take some time to clarify what it means and also share some fun and exciting information on my trade discounts!

Redesign can be used interchangeably with “interior or home decorating,” “interior styling,” or “home styling,” but it is not the same as Interior Design.  A Redesigner (or decorator, stylist) is using paint, fabrics, furniture, and accessories to change the aesthetics of a space while normally working within the existing functionality of the space.   So now you’re asking yourself, “Huh, isn’t that what an Interior Designer does?” That is often only part of what they do. While I am not an Interior Designer, I am a Certified Redesigner.  I created this nifty grid to display the primary differences between the two:

Interior Designer Certified Redesigner/Interior Decorator/Stylist
Has an educational degree in Interior Design. A degree is not required, but a certification program has normally been completed.
Has studied people’s behaviors and creates optimal functionality of interior spaces including the shape of walls, floors, etc. Uses paint, fabrics, furnishings, and accessories to change the aesthetics of a space, while normally working within its functionality.
Often works with architects or developers to lay out walls and basic floorplans while keeping in mind:  local building codes, fire safety, accessibility, efficiency, functionality, and sound/acoustics of spaces. Works with homeowners to understand decorative changes they’d like to make in their home and provides them with expertise and suggestions to achieve those changes in the home.
Presents plans to architects, building representatives, or homeowners for review. May create a vision board, slide with pictures, or drawing with ideas for the space.  Seeks to use existing items in the home in new and different ways.
Oversees and/or completes implementation/installation of plans. Can help chose or suggest new decorative accessories, art, rugs, fabrics, furnishings, lighting fixtures, and cabinet hardware for the home.
Often the Interior Designer will also take on the role of Decorator after implementation of floorplan/functionality updates. May help client with shopping and installation of new decorative items.
Eligible for various trade discounts and often passes them along to their clients. Eligible for various trade discounts and often passes them along to their clients.

Hopefully that helps to clarify what I mean when I say I’m a Certified Redesigner.  So here are some more fun facts about Redesign and how I am equipped to help you make changes in your home:

·        I love all things home décor (did you read my blog where my love of home decor started in my childhood bedroom with a two-toned green shag rug??!!!).  I especially love to help you use what you already have to transform your home with an updated, fresh look.

·        I completed certification in Redesign through Home Staging Resource and I also belong to the American Society of Home Stagers and Redesigners (ASHSR).  I have access to continuing education and training by maintaining my membership with Home Staging Resources and ASHSR.    

·        I have an eye for décor, color, proportion, scale, function and space planning for optimal flow.    Blah, blah, blah – I know sounds kind of boring to most, but I love it!  Let me help you with ideas to update your space(s).

·        Best of all, as a Redesign professional, I have access to trade discounts at many popular home décor stores and I can pass along those discounts or wholesale prices to you when you hire me to provide Redesign services.  Here are some examples:

o   Pottery Barn, and all of their corresponding store chains (PB kids/teens, West elm, Williams-Sonoma, Mark + Graham, Rejuvenation, etc.)

o   Ballard Designs

o   Wayfair

o   Bed Bath & Beyond

o   Pier 1 Imports

o   Sherwin-Williams

o   Prosource Wholesale – Flooring, Kitchens, Bathrooms – check them out here.

o   Mirrormate – A great alternative to modernize mirrors, check them out:  Mirrormate.

o   AmericasMart  – I can purchase wholesale at many of the home merchandise showrooms, many of which are in Atlanta.

Probably not a big surprise, but I also love to shop for bargains at places like Homegoods, Kirklands, At Home, etc.  I’m an expert at finding items that will work in your space(s) while being conscious of budget.

OK, so can you tell that Home is My Happy Place!?!  I love to help people enjoy the spaces in their homes, whether they’re entertaining or to simply find comfort and retreat when they come home after a long day.   Hopefully this blog post helped to clarify what Redesign is for you.  I offer various service packages for Redesign, check them out here.  If you’re moving into a new home, this is also a great service for Realtors to recommend to buyers and sellers!

Choosing Interior Paint Colors

In this blog post, I thought I’d share some considerations when choosing interior paint colors (I’ll post at another time about choosing exterior paint colors).   As you probably know, paint is a great way to drastically change the look of a space and it’s relatively inexpensive compared to other renovation projects.   In the home staging world we often call paint “money in a can” because a fresh coat of paint, in the right color, will often result in a home being much more appealing to targeted buyers, which leads to a quick sale at top dollar – what a great Return on Investment (ROI)!    Here are some key things to consider when choosing paint colors:

1.      Inspiration Piece – Do you have an inspiration piece in the room(s) to which you’d like to coordinate the paint color?   Examples of this could be:   bedding, artwork, rugs, furniture pieces, countertops, etc.   Having an inspiration piece can be very helpful when choosing a color because it can provide a foundation for color-matching and choosing a color scheme; however, if you do not have an inspiration piece, paint colors can still be selected using some of the remaining considerations below.

2.      Fixed elements – You’ll want to consider the fixed elements in the room (i.e. flooring, cabinets, architectural features, etc) to understand if they’re more “warm” or “cool.”   If your kitchen cabinets are a warmer wood, i.e. “oak,” and they are going to remain in the space, you would not want to choose a cooler color such as a cool gray as it would not look and feel right with the warm oak cabinets.

3.      Northern/Southern/Eastern/Western exposure – You’ll want to consider if your home/room is north/south/east/west facing as the different natural light exposures cast a different color to your rooms, and it can vary throughout the day.  For example, if the direction of light is from the North, there will be a bluish cast to the light which will impact how the paint color looks on the walls.   You’ll also want to consider the artificial light choices (incandescent vs. halogen vs. fluorescent) as they will also play a role in how a color looks in a room.

4.      Light Reflective Value (LRV) – Paint colors are assigned a light reflective value which, simply put, measures a value of light that a paint color reflects.   Knowing a color’s LRV is helpful when coordinating colors or creating a mood.  For example, if you have a theater room in your home that you want to be darker when watching movies (vs. a light and bright room), you would choose a paint color with a lower LRV as it will absorb the paint color more vs. reflecting it.

5.      How do you want the room the feel? –  You will want to think of 3-4 adjectives to describe how you want the room to feel.  Do you want it to be “cozy” and “warm” or maybe “bright” and “energetic?”  Really think about the feelings you want to evoke when you’re in the room(s).  These adjectives/feelings can help point you in the direction of choosing colors that create those feelings in the room(s).  You would also need to ensure the colors you choose will complement the colors of the adjacent rooms, whether you’re painting them or not.

6.      Do you like the colors? – Last, but certainly not least, do your eyes go right to certain colors when you’re exploring paint chips or color fan decks.  What is pleasing to you?   A certified color consultant, like me, can help you choose colors that will work in a space, but ultimately the colors have to be pleasing to you since you will live with them after the walls are painted.    It’s important to remember that the colors will look different at various times of day based on some of the information I mentioned above.

Before I became a Certified Color Consultant, there were certainly times when I wasted $ on paint only to be disappointed with the final outcome on my walls.  I finally got smart and would purchase some samples to view on my walls before making a final decision.  I didn’t realize that there is a science to choosing colors for your interior spaces; I now love teaching people about the science of color and helping them choose colors that will work in their homes, whether for dwelling or selling.   Please feel free to contact me for more information on a color consultation.  We will have fun while choosing colors!

Also, if you’d like to receive a free worksheet to help guide you in choosing paint colors yourself or to complete prior to a color consultation, please subscribe to my email list below to receive your FREE worksheet!


Styling a Coffee Table Tray

Styling a coffee table can be an easy and inexpensive way to add some color and flair to your living or family room.   I like to use a tray to group decorative items on my coffee table; it’s easy to move if I need to use the entire coffee table space for some other purpose, such as placing appetizers, small plates, and napkins while entertaining.   Using a tray also anchors items that might otherwise feel like they’re unbalanced on the table.  I thought I’d share with you some easy tips to style your coffee table using a tray, and I’ve provided you with some examples on a video that I created while switching up my coffee table décor after the holidays.


1.       Place items at varying heights, I like to use high, medium, and low items (see below for groups of 3).   Items at the same height won’t be noticed.

2.       Use a group of 3 items/footprints on your tray, again one being the highest in height, one medium height, and one smallest in height.  Think of 3 distinct “footprints” on the tray, not necessarily just 3 items.  I also like to use books and magazines to give items height.  My video (see below) will give you some more specific examples.

3.      Choose some greenery to place on your tray.  If you don’t have a green thumb, you can use faux greenery; there are some that look very real in the home décor stores.   (Tip:  After cleaning dusty faux plants, you can spray their leaves with Pledge to help reduce dust.)

4.      Choose a tray and decorative items that will coordinate with your coffee table, for example:

a.      White or lighter neutral tables:   take a chance with bright colors such as orange, bright blues, yellow (of course be sure the colors coordinate with your colors in the room)

b.      Darker wood tables:  experiment with metallic and crisp white items

c.      Clear glass tables:  either of the above options, or any colors that coordinate with the room’s decor

5.      View your coffee table decorative items from multiple viewpoints.  Pictures in frames offer only one good viewpoint and are better suited for mantels or shelves.

6.      Try to include functionality in your plan, using decorative containers or baskets that group functional items on your tray, such as eyeglasses, remote controls, etc.

Please watch the video for more info, enjoy!!

Hope these tips for Styling a Coffee Table Tray were helpful to you, and that you enjoyed the video with examples.  These tips can apply for both dwelling in a home, or when staging a home for sale.

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