For many of us, the thought of the holidays and the usual deluge of activities like shopping, gift-giving, entertaining, parties, and unexpected company, can launch us into a full-blown panic attack! Arming yourself with a few tips to make your home holiday-ready, will help reduce your stress significantly; I promise. These recommendations will help update your home, and prepare it, so you can enjoy the holidays instead of dreading them.
1. Clean-up & Clear-Out - Before you even think about holiday decorating, take time to clear-out any excess “stuff” that’s been accumulating. For instance, if your dining room table & counters are anything like mine, they accumulate items throughout the year, that need to find a home. Either KEEP IT & THROW-IT AWAY or GIVE IT AWAY – to family members, friends or a charity. There are so many organizations that will be happy to have your gently-used items, especially in time for the holidays. (Community Aid, Salvation Army). You can even consign items and to make a little extra cash for the holidays! (Plato’s Closet, Hello Gorgeous, Making Sense. are good choices) 1-800-Got-Junk is great for hauling stuff away.
2. Make it a Family Affair, & Get the Kids Involved. Have your kids’ clean-out old toys and sort through “kid-related items” to make room for new gifts they will be receiving. If you have teens, encourage them to consign their belongings to earn extra cash. Kids are great at helping-out, when you give them specific chores and make it fun. So, turn on some loud music and get them to help. Believe me, having cleared-off surfaces and items put away (before the decorations come out) will allow you to begin the holiday season feeling less stressed-out. Plus, you’ll feel good that you helped those in need. So, pay it forward!
For Quick Decorating Ideas that will “WOW” your Spaces & your Guests:
1. Paint - The simplest way to make a huge decorating impact on your home is with paint. Paint color can warm a space, create ambiance, and set the mood. For instance, red in a dining room will invite conversation & re-energize the space. While blues & greens in a bedroom, office or bath, will invite relaxation and creativity.
2. Rearrange Furniture – This will give your room a whole new feel! Look at the space, is there a focal point (like a fire place)? Arrange your furnishings on either side of the fireplace, never blocking it. Consider arranging furniture in conversational groupings or around a gaming table to invite guests to play a game instead of use their cell phones!
3. Update Furnishings with a few Inexpensive Pieces that will serve duel purposes (e.g. chair and bed). These pieces will give your space a “comfy” feel, and give you extra space for overnight guests. Adding a few extra bar or counter stools in the kitchen will invite quests to visit while you are preparing meals or drinks. After all, the party always ends up in the kitchen, so be prepared. See my Houzz Idea Book: Great Staging Products for more product ideas. Other sources are www.Wayfair.com, www.BallardDesigns.com or www.grandinroad.com.
4. Change-out Pillows and Throws – These items are relatively inexpensive at stores like HomeGoods, TJ Maxx, Pier One, and Pottery Barn (The Outlet is in Lancaster, just saying). It’s a great way to give your home a new and updated feel without breaking the bank. Check-out my Houzz Idea Book: Great Staging Ideas
5. Add new Art Work – These stores are also a great resource for large canvas artwork. Or, you can try doing a gallery wall of family photos on 11X16 canvas. These can be inexpensively created at sites like Costcos.com, Wal-mart, Target, and Sam’s Club. Remember, if you are hanging photo frames on a wall, stick with frame choices in the same color (e.g. either all black, all gold or all white frames). Then, the photos inside can be any size, as long as, the frames are a consistent color/material.
6. When all else Fails, Call-in the Experts. For less than $500 you can hire a re-designer who can come in for 4 hours and help reconfigure your space; advise on paint choices, and/or recommend inexpensive purchases that will give your home a whole new look (and feel) just in time for the holidays. Then, take a deep breath, buckle-up and enjoy the holidays! For more information see www.carolynplummerdesigns.com And, have a joyous and blessed holiday season!
When it’s time to sell your home, not everyone can afford to: “Spend Money to Make Money” or can they? Did you know that buyers will formulate an opinion of your home within 7 seconds of seeing it? So, you must grab their attention FAST! And, did you know that a professionally staged home will sell in an average of 1-23 days, which is 90% faster than homes that weren’t staged? But, in the Harrisburg, PA and surrounding markets, homeowners are finding unique, inexpensive and strategic ways to stage without breaking the bank. Here are the rules:
1. Invest in a little help – Find a certified professional stager & have them do a consultation visit. ($175-$250) Trust me, this is worth it! The stager will spend 2-3 hours and will give you a detailed plan of action for exactly what you need to do to prepare your home to sell fast. They know what it takes to grab buyer’s attention and help create spaces that buyers will envision themselves living in, so they’ll make an offer. Leave this advice to the professionals!
2. Channel your inner “neat freak”, roll-up your sleeves, and start packing now – Anything that you can live without for a few months, start packing in boxes and placing in storage or in a shed. You must pack for move anyway, so why not start now? Also remember, less is more. Get rid of anything you don’t need by donating it to charity, or giving to family or friends. You’ll feel good to give to those in need and your house will look spacious, tidy and well-organized.
3. Clean, organize, clean, repeat! You will want to do a spring cleaning on steroids. Remember, buyers want move-in ready, clean, updated spaces. And, if you have pet, make sure to do a thorough deep cleaning on carpets & floors. Be sensitive to odors that may be invisible to your nose; & ask a stager for their opinion. They won’t be shy and will give great advice in how to handle eliminating orders. Hide all pet items during showings and take “Fido” with you! Buyers may not love your pet like you do.
4. Remember to organize and par-down closet clutter to give the appearance of tons of storage.
5. You NEVER get a second chance to make a 1st Impression – Invest in fresh mulch, fresh flowers, and possibly a fresh coat of paint for your home’s exterior and foyer/entrance. Stick to neutral paint colors and pops of color with flowers. Not only will your property look great when buyers walk in, it will instantly give the impression of a neat, updated and inviting property.
6. Focus on staging the rooms that will give the highest impact: The Kitchen, Living Room, Dining Room and Master Bedroom & Bathroom. You want buyers to emotionally connect to these spaces, so they envision themselves entertaining and living there. Try these suggestions: Set the table; create a cozy place to read; add new large coordinating sofa pillows and matching blanket. Blues and Whites are hot trends this year. Set-out a bowl of lemons, an orchid or coffee station on the kitchen counter. Consult with a stager on updated decor items that will have a huge impact on buyers. These items can cost less than $100 but have huge bang for the buck and will help you sell fast!
7. REMEMBER – Staging is tax deductible, so invest in a professional who can advise you on the latest tips, trends and updates that will sell your house fast and for more money! The rest, you can do yourself with a little elbow grease and some imagination. You’ll have lots of extra cash in your pockets, because your home will out-sell those who didn’t follow these hot rules of staging on a budget!
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