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Tip Jar: The How and Why to Staging a Home

865thompson2Today's guest post comes to us from Paul Benjamin, a District Manager at EZ Storage.

Today's selling market is rough. Though house prices are starting to rebound, the environment remains extremely competitive. Staging your home is an excellent way to help your house stand out, catch the attention of potential buyers, and ensure that it sells for a good price. Whether your house is vacant or still furnished, there are multiple ways to make your house look more attractive and inviting to as many potential buyers as possible. Read on to find out why you should stage your house and to discover some quick house staging ideas.

What are the advantages of house staging?

Staging your house helps it sell faster and at a better price. While house staging can't make your house sell at a price above its worth, it serves as a sort of insurance against the price of the house being forced below its worth.

Selling your house in the current economy means having to compete with similar houses which are likely priced lower than yours. Your house needs to be presented as attractively as possible- and to the greatest number of people.

Staging a house can be done relatively inexpensively (less than a thousand dollars!) and helps to neutralize a house. This is beneficial in eliminating quirks or specific stylistic choices that might put off some potential buyers.

Do you have an old bathroom or ugly carpeting? Home staging can also draw attention to a house's strengths while simultaneously downplaying its weaknesses. Staging a room to draw attention to a large bay window and away from old flooring is much cheaper than renovation, after all.

3 Quick and Inexpensive House Staging Ideas

1. Make sure your house is spotless from top to bottom: It sounds obvious, but many sellers underestimate the power of a de-cluttered house. Making sure that everything is organized and in its place makes a house look larger and more attractive, inevitably attracting more interest from buyers. A key to making a house less cluttered is to get rid of extra furniture; even if a house is spotless, an overcrowded room with one too many chairs or end tables in it will quickly make a house seem smaller and dirtier.

2. Re-purpose unused spaces: Taking empty or unwelcoming spaces and transforming them into usable, attractive rooms is an excellent way to add value to a home. Do you have a 'sewing room' that you barely use? Adding a well-placed book shelf or desk can instantly make a room serve dual purposes. What about a den that just seems dark and gloomy? Bring light in by adding an interesting lamp or a few brightly colored accent pillows-- or even draping bright fabrics on the wall. 

3. Lighting, lighting, and more lighting: As far as house staging ideas, this one is pretty easy. Brightly lit homes always look more welcoming and attractive. Make sure every room is carefully illuminated and potential buyers will automatically find it warmer and more livable. It's not a simple matter of making sure you have enough lamps in a room, however; increase wattage in already existing lamps and make sure the light isn't too glaring or bright; a mixture of soft and harder lighting is best.

Bottom Line: Home staging is one of the most inexpensive ways to up the selling price and appeal of your home. While it won't fix an old kitchen or outdated flooring, it can draw attention away from flaws to ensure as many potential buyers as possible find the house attractive. 

Put the house staging ideas above to practice and watch your home sell!


logoPaul Benjamin is a District Manager at EZ Storage, a self storage company serving the Philadelphia area for over 40 years.


Schedule a Free Proposal with Busybee Design Today and Get December Free!

We've worked with the experts at Busybee Design on many occasions and their work speaks for itself - schedule a free proposal for yourself or purchase a staging gift certificate for a friend or colleague - everyone deserves good design.


Fall Designer’s Tip: Go for the Glow!

Autumn is often seen as a time for reflection. During the fall months, people start thinking cozy and the nesting instinct kicks in. For those who want to make the usual décor changes to their home or add a seasonal touch for your  guests at Thanksgiving , here are several easy ideas to consider. If you're trying to sell your home during these colder months, the following tips can make your space seem warm and inviting.

Pump Up your Mantle with Pumpkins

Purchase  inexpensive little pumpkins or colorful gourds that can be placed all around the home, cascading down a stairwell or pitched in a row on top of fence posts surrounding the yard. Fall leaves come in a variety of beautiful shapes and colors. Bring them indoors! Prevent them from drying out by rubbing with a thin layer of moisturizer to preserve the color and texture. They can be used in a table centerpiece or along your Fireplace Mantle.

Create a Cozy Glow with Candles and Lanterns

Use white Pillar Candles of all different sizes to create a unique Candle Scape in the Fireplace, before it is too cold to light a fire. One idea is to use a knife or small melon scoop to hollow out the center of multiple mini-pumpkins (all the same color) and replace the centers with a small votive candle. Candles and tealights are inexpensive and can be found at Target and IKEA. Conversation between your holiday guests will flow more naturally with a dimmer, mysteriously lit space. Everybody looks best with a candlelight glow.

Lanterns are Subdued, Elegant, and Charming. They can be decorative or simple and can also be used to spice up Indoor or Outdoor spaces. They have fantastic “curb appeal” in the evening where it creates a warm, inviting glow that can light a walkway or steps leading into a home. Lanterns can decorate an outdoor deck, patio or walkway where flowers are dwindling. Lanterns can be purchased at local garden or home retail stores in your area.

This Design Tip is from Busybee Design. For more information on Busybee, visit their website and be sure to stop by the new Busybee Homestore and Design Center when it opens on November 12.


Busybee Design Prepares for South Street Landing


Busybee Design Prepares for South Street Landing

The Busybee Design Team is hard at work on their upcoming home design store on the 700 block of South Street. As the sign reads, they are planning a November 12 opening. If you RSVP to the Grand Opening, your name will be entered to win $100 towards design services.

The Busybee Homestore and Design Center will have a selection of retail items to shop from, with designers on hand to help you make some decor decisions that you can feel confident about. This includes rugs, furniture, lighting, window treatments, and custom upholstery. You can also meet with the experts here for your staging and interior design needs.

We'll have more details for you soon!


Busybee Design Transforms a Small Space

Busybee Design Adds Depth to a Small Space


ReStyle: From Cheap to Sleek

Cheap to Sleek from Voila Design

Give Voila Design a call today.
[email protected]

Read more about our Real Estate Collective with Voila Design!


Got $150? Get a New Fall Look with Voila Design’s Budget-Friendly Staging Services

Need a hand selling a home for less? Voila Design says hello to your budget this fall with their September Specials, guaranteed to spruce things up just in time for cooler temperatures.

We all know that going for a hair color change is the quickest way to shake up your style. Well, salon rats, this applies to home design as well. Snag a one-hour color consultation for $150.00 with one of the Voila coloristas will give any property a fresh feel.

Got an open house coming up? A Two-Hour ReStyle for $200.00 is the simple way to make some changes and get that property ready to show while your client is at work.

Pay some attention to those vacant properties with a Petite Home Staging for $1,200.00. This package will get you rental of furnishings and decor for living room and dining room, along with kitchen accessories and 12 digitally enhanced photographs to help sell your newly styled space.

Give Voila Design a call today.
[email protected]


Who Would Sell Your Home Faster: The Man Show or Martha Stewart?

If the female of the house is taking over with too much sugar and spice and all things nice... or the confirmed bachelor pad has the house looking more like a men's locker room than a stylish flat... both can be huge turnoffs for prospective buyers touring your home.  Tone down the lilac and lace, girls. And guys, a man cave is oh so passe!

Shoes, shoes, and more shoes

Walking into a closet that is deemed a danger zone because of precariously placed stilettos can be a real problem. Sure, the female you're showing a house to will turn to her partner and declare that the closet is just PERFECT for her shoe collection. She'll already be plotting a way to line them up according to heel height.   But the guy, on the other hand, will immediately look around the room and think "Great. There's no room for my sparse belongings."  If you are an admitted Shoe Monster, consider storing your shoes with some organization - try these shoe stacking bins from the Container Store - BEFORE showing your home to prospective buyers.

Don't over-do the fluffy decorative pillows, floral patterned tableware, or dust-catching collectibles.  This isn't your grandmother's house!

Managing the Modern Man Cave

We've witnessed several styles of man caves over the years. We're all familiar with the traditional dank basement or garage with tools and broken-objects-never-fixed. Then there's the sports "lounge" with pool table and mini fridge accessorized with empty beer cans and nacho crumbs.  This also takes on the form of video game den with various controllers strewn across the floor and a shrine of energy drinks.  Well, these days, the modern man cave is a geek's technology retreat, complete with wild servers and multiple monitors, spare hard drives, blinking lights and the sound of machines lightly humming.

CB2 Cube Shelf
If this sounds like you or yours, you might try switching to wireless devices, such as a wireless keyboard and mice, or a wireless monitor, to minimize unsightly cords. Run your speakers through the wall like a high end home theater.  And as for the camera and phone accessories and the video game controllers, keep track of it all with a media rack such as the Coop Tower or the Wire Cube Shelf.

Otherwise, you're limiting the potential of your property to attract those searching for something that's beyond a bachelor pad.

[image of pillow from, image of cube shelf from CB2]

For more advice on home staging, check out the 21 Designer Tips that Sell Houses from Voila Design.

Read more about our new Real Estate Collective with Voila Design!


Top 10 Reasons to Stage Your Home for a Quick Sale

Why Stage

For more advice on home staging, check out the 21 Designer Tips that Sell Houses from Voila Design.

Read more about our new Real Estate Collective with Voila Design!


Want to Sell Your Home Fast? Go Both Ways in the Bedroom!

somers bedroom masculine accents

the somers team side tableI have 2 buckheads hanging in our new bedroom (masculine) and those 2 fancy side tables (girly). Just how did we arrive at this compromise of tastes?

Going Both Ways.

Mixing feminine and masculine furniture or decorative accents simply works in the way that opposites attract. Mixing it up in  the bedroom keeps the look fresh and memorable to buyers who are touring your home. Neutral does not have to be mind numbing and dull. But giving your room a look that plays to both sides makes it more versatile and appeals to a wider range of potential buyers. The manly man won't be turned off. The girly girl won't wrinkle her nose. And vice versa, as we know it often goes. The couple that's searching for the home that grows with them? They'll see the middle ground in a space that goes both ways.

the somers bedroom after

For more advice on home staging, check out the 21 Designer Tips that Sell Houses from Voila Design.

Read more about our new Real Estate Collective with Voila Design!


21 Designer Tips that Sell Houses from Voila Design

1) An easy way to spruce up your home after spring-cleaning is to refresh your accents!  By spending around $50 (or more if you like!) you can give your space a whole new look, switching out accent pillows, vases, and accessories.  Try having one color scheme for winter, and another for summer!

2) Tape is your friend! For a pick-me-up in any room, try using painters tape and a level to make stripes at various widths and paint in pops of color on otherwise boring white walls.  If you’re feeling really creative, try making stencils from rigid card stock and taping the stencil securely to the wall then paint over, move, and repeat.

3) For a child’s bedroom, try using a dark-colored flat paint (try Benjamin Moore Salamander 2050-10) as an accent wall, and install a short run (about 12” or so) of grooved molding at a low height (about 2’ high). Get some white chalk, store it on the top of the grooved molding, and allow your child to express their creativity on the wall!  Wipe clean with a damp sponge.  To order a sample can, go to!

Home Staging  bedroom

4) Odd numbers are most pleasing to the eye. When installing artwork or photos on the wall, group your frames in 3’s, 5’s, or even 7’s if you’re feeling spunky!  Various sizes of frames/art create an interesting pattern that appears as one complete installation.

5) When you feel overwhelmed by the amount of ephemera in your home, remember, “less is more!”  Tame down your knick-knack collection by removing items that are the least special to you and donating them to an organization.  For items that you love, but would love to keep safe, wrap in bubble wrap and store them in a box in an attic or garage.  When family members want to know where all the gifts are that they gave you, a simple “oh, that darn cat knocks everything over!” will suffice.

6) Arranging furniture can be tedious, but the circulation of your space can affect your mood!  Remember, there should be only one focal point in a living room-- fireplace, television, or something else.  If you have two, then either separate them into two rooms or mount your TV above the fireplace.  Arrange furniture around the focal point in a way that allows guests to converse without shouting, creating a more intimate space.  For large rooms, keep the furniture off the walls so that passers-by are not interrupting conversations or views.  This will also help to create alternate spaces in one larger room.

7) Choosing colors that match is hard.  Instead of attempting to coordinate shades that go well together, why not go back to that trusty old rainbow that you colored in the first grade? Every 4th color is a complementary color, so any shade of that color will work.  Lets do an example!  Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Violet:  violet is complementary to yellow, green to red, and so on!  Any color next to another on the rainbow will also look great.  Think of them as sisters, they look a little alike but not quite exact- try pairing shades of yellow and orange.  Any color not on the rainbow, use the in-between color as a guide (example-teal and rust).  Or you could always just call Voila Design ;)

Home Staging

8) Want inspiration for your next renovation?  Look through any magazine for ads that speak to you, rip them out and take color/shape/style inspirations from that! You might not realize that you wanted a Moroccan-inspired bedroom until you see what graphics inspire you!

9) An easy way to give your kitchen a face-lift is to get new hardware!  Many modern cabinets don’t have knobs or handles, but why not? A trusty drill and some matching knobs and pulls from any home goods supply store (Lowe’s, Home Depot, or even Target) will make your kitchen look fresh in no time!  If your style is more eclectic, try using a variety of different styles of vintage or antique knobs for a funky uplift.

10) To make a room seem taller, install curtain rods as close to the ceiling as possible, and get your curtains longer than your window (e.g.: if you have 7’ ceilings get 7’ curtains if possible).  The curtains will create a columnar effect and give the illusion of higher ceilings!

11) When trying to sell your home, make it more marketable by keeping the furniture low-key and neutral, accenting only with accessories in bright colors.  This will help buyers to visualize the space with their own belongings and move you to a faster sell!

12) If you are advertising a large kitchen as a selling point, make it the most important room!  Remove magnets, art, etc. from the refrigerator, keep the counter free of clutter, and try putting in some plants to give it a really fresh feeling.

Home Staging

13) When selling a small space, you don’t want potential buyers to be turned off by a crowded room.  Remove as much furniture as possible, leaving only a few key pieces in each room to give the potential buyer the impression that the rooms are more spacious.  In addition, be sure the walls and ceilings are painted a light color, as dark colors tend to make spaces seem smaller.

14) Warm colors (such as golds, yellows, oranges) are more inviting than cool tones (such as greys, blues, purples), so when selling your home consider using warmer hues to draw in potential buyers!  Whether it is playing up the tones in a wood floor, accenting a wall with a warm color, or simply accenting a space with inviting accessories, the difference will be apparent when your home sells in a snap!

15) The yard is just as important as the interior when you are selling a home.  The porch is the gateway to the yard!  Not only should your yard be well groomed, try putting colorful flowers and outdoor furniture on your porch to create an inviting space before potential homebuyers even walk inside!

16) Old, ugly wallpaper can be a reason in itself for a homebuyer to turn away. If your budget allows, have the wallpaper removed and replace it with neutral color paint.  You may have to shell out a little more cash, but it is possible that the home value could increase, leaving you with more bang for your buck.
17) Try using chalkboard paint (or any dark flat paint) on your pantry door.  This would allow you to use the door for grocery lists, reminders, and notes to spouses on a whim!

18) Can’t afford original artwork?  Head over to the craft store and buy some blank canvases and some acrylic paint and get to work.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t feel artistic, abstract is in!  Try planning out shapes and lines with pencil then painting over them, or just let the brush guide you wherever!

19) This may be a no-brainer, but before you sell your house, have a steamer come in to clean your carpets and wax/polish your hardwood floors.  It doesn’t hurt either to take a peek under those carpets to see if there is hardwood hiding underneath.  A clean house is a sold house!

20) Accent walls are fun, but too much color can be off-putting to a buyer.  Tone down crazy colors with neutral toned paint and leave extra paint cans for the buyer in case they need to match it!

21) Have you moved out completely, but still want your home to look inviting to potential buyers?  Try investing a little cash into simple items such as curtains/blinds, mirrors, greenery, and other accessories/small furniture to make your home seem more like a home and less like just a house.

Read more aboout what the Somers Team and Voila Design can offer you with our Real Estate Collective:

Philadelphia’s First Real Estate Collective Offering a “one-of-a-kind real estate package”


Phone: 215.253.6818