Wednesday, 30 May 2012

"Tis the Season" - Seasonal Decorating

 My "happy place" in 
Prince Edward Island.

 When we hear the term seasonal decorating, we often associate it with a holiday celebration.  I would like to broaden your thinking about the term as I share with you some great ways to update your home decor depending on the time of year.

I just completed my "Spring Change Over" as I like to call it.  Every spring, I remove the dark, jewel-toned bedding, pillows and copper drapes from our master bedroom to a plain white quilted coverlet and drapes.  I accent with sand pillows and add light airy accents to the room.

The main walls in our master are a sage green colour so both looks work equally well.  Something to keep in mind when choosing a paint colour.  I love the summer fresh feeling when I enter the room and it brings me joy to welcome the Season of Summer into my home.  The space is calm and cool and the materials themselves are lighter for summer sleeping.

Then, after 5 months or so, I am ready to welcome the coziness of fall back into the space.  Bringing back in the warm, dark tones that are down to earth and reflecting our need to stay warm and cozy for winter!  

This way I have two looks in one year and it prevents me from getting tired of any one look.  I often perform my Spring Change Over when I switch my closets from winter to summer clothing.  It is very exciting to invite this widely anticipated season back into our family household!

Likewise, a few other rooms in my home get "seasonal updates".  I often swap out the textured furry pillows and throws for lighter summer fabrics.  Having pillow covers will allow for a quick change without replacing the entire toss cushion.  And you can even find pillow covers at the Dollar Store now!  

Then I add shells or other summer-like items to some of the centrepieces and switch up our family portraits for our latest beach shots.  I usually cut some fresh lilacs from the garden to bring the smells of spring into the house.  These Spring/Summer items are inexpensive or often free so why not display them to enjoy all summer long.

If we only get 4-5 months to enjoy this season, why not love it whether you are inside or out!!

  My husband's "happy place"
 in Cape Breton.

We are so lucky to share the best places in the world with our children.  Hooray for Summer!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Home Staging Tips

Home Staging 
As part of every Home Staging consultation, I write up a detailed report, room by room, of things the homeowners can do to improve their chances of selling their home quickly and for the right price.
Some clients hire me back to complete the staging process, but whether or not I return, the HOMEwork they finish before listing is imperative.  In a very stressful time, it is the detailed list of jobs to follow that keeps them on track.  No matter how daunting these tasks may seem at first, having a template clearly laid out makes it easier to do everything one project at a time.
The homes I see vary greatly, but there are usually a few constant tips that can help any homeowner as they are preparing to list their property:

Curb Appeal and Entrance:
Painting the front door a fresh color will draw the eye into the property and invite the potential buyer into the home.  Depending on the season, a few pots of flowers in a similar color will add that extra touch.  Walkways, yards, and flower beds should be clear of debris and as clean as possible.  Pressure washing is an easy way to give the entire exterior a clean appearance. 
As you enter the house, make sure shoes, coats and extra belongings are cleared away. Place a clean rug at the inside of the front door.  Allow space in the entrance for at least 3 people to enter comfortably.

Living Areas (Living Room, Family Room, Rec Room):
Look for a focal point to centre furniture around.  Focal points are often a fireplace, sofa with nice art above, or a large window.  Try to avoid making the Television the focal point in the room if at all possible.  The focal wall is often, but not always, the first wall you see when you enter the room.
Pare down any unnecessary items.  Pack away anything that you feel you could live without for 6-10 weeks.
Depersonalize by removing family photos, personal belongings, and memorabilia.  Keep a few key pieces of art placed accordingly in the room.
Collections and personal memorabilia are items you may hold near and dear to your heart, but they become a distraction to buyers.  Figurines or sport collections should be packed away until you move into your next home, where they can receive all the attention they deserve.

As in all rooms, only leave what you absolutely need.  Keep counters as clear as possible.  Remove any table clothes, runners, and tea towels.  Smooth surfaces allow an open and clean feeling.
Even if you have a small kitchen, do not leave extra storage containers in place.  A separate pantry or plastic cabinet in the corner only showcases lack of storage space.
Keep all appliances clean and decluttered.  All magnets and papers should be removed off the refrigerator.
Scatter mats throughout the home should be kept to a minimum.  Many items on the floor distract from the flow of the interior in both the pictures and during the showings.

Clean, Clean, Clean.
Remove all personal toiletries and place within easy access for daily use.  Plastic or wicker baskets full of your daily products can sit on the counter when they are in use, then placed in the hall closet or under the sink for a quick clean up for a last minute showing.  This is the perfect way to clean the bathroom with ease.
Place fresh white/neutral towels and shower curtain in the bathroom for that hotel/spa feeling.  Place towels on towel rack and fold a couple on the counter or by the tub.
Again, remove any scatter mats in here as well.  No toilet seat covers with matching mat around the tank please!!

Master bedrooms should also portray that hotel feeling as much as possible.  Furniture should feel open and fit in the room with space between each piece.  If this doesn't happen, you may have to move one dresser out for a couple weeks to make the space open and spacious.
Ideally, the bed should be the focal point in the room, and therefore, the first thing you see when you enter the room.  Sometimes, there is a window on that first wall.  If this is the case, dress the window and highlight this area as well.
Beautiful bedding and lots of pillows invites the buyer to feel comfortable and cozy in what will someday be their master suite.  Lamps and bedside tables that are an appropriate size for the room and bed plus a nice piece of art above the bed should give this room the impact it deserves.
Kids rooms are basically taken for what they are - Kids rooms.  Pare down any unused toys, clothes, etc.  and keep things as organized as possible.  Place furniture with a focal point in mind.  Depersonalize posters, trophies, etc.

Other Tips and Tricks:
Walls, floors and large surfaces need to be as clear as possible.  When there are too many photos scattered all over the wall or too many items on the counter, the viewer's eye rests on each individual item and does not take the room in as a whole.  This gives the impression of clutter to the viewer and is confusing to the eyes when looking at a photo online for the split second they peek at your listing.
Smelling great never hurts either.  Smoke, pet scents, and cooking smells are never an appealing way to enter anyone's home.  Fresh air and baking smells are the best ways to add an wonderful smell to the house.  After all, our sense of smell is the first memory trigger in our brains. You want their visit to your home to be associated with great memories!
Added touches never hurt.  Just don't over do it.  Drapes, cushion covers, and a few centerpieces in an  updated decor will be just the that little extra to make your house their home.

Good Luck!

Julie Boudreau