Painted Kitchens

Sometimes you encounter a kitchen that is so ugly, no amount of accessorizing is going to cut it. However, often a fresh coat of paint in a pretty colour is all you need to breath new life into a drab space. Paint is affordable and relatively easy to apply. Simply pick a colour that co-ordinates with the other elements of the kitchen, prep and paint and you’ll have a kitchen that feels brand new.
A creamy bisque colour is a safe alternative to an all white kitchen.


Black and white is a classic palette. This look is sophisticated and never gets old.
Green is always refreshing. Paired with cream, it provides the perfect backdrop for the culinary masterpieces you would expect to be created in this kitchen.

Warm Up With A Faux Fireplace

Nothing warms up a room on a cold winter’s day quite like a welcoming fireplace.  However, it isn’t always possible to have a wood burning or gas fireplace installed where you would like to have one.  That doesn’t mean that you have to do without though.  Today,  fireplace manufacturers are very creative and are designing faux fireplaces that rival many of their traditional counterparts .  Today’s faux fireplaces are beautiful and functional and there are models to suit all design styles.

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Staging Tips For The Holidays

Thanksgiving is the kick-off to the holiday season and can be the perfect opportunity to dress up your home for the sale. With some thoughtful preparation and a “less is more” attitude, decorating your home for the holidays should be a cinch. Here are a few tips to get you through the holiday selling season:



Keep decorations simple.  Too many decorations or ones that are too garish will turn many buyers away.  A bowl of glass ornaments and a small decorated tree will be enough to help potential buyers imagine their own holidays in the house. A tree that’s too big or a room littered with decorations will make a house feel crowded – the opposite effect you are trying to achieve.



Limit outdoor ornaments.  A wreath and a festive urn or two beside the front door is a tasteful way to dress up a house.  Inflatable snowmen and blinking reindeer have no place in selling your home during the holidays.



Be mindful not to decorate with overtly religious ornaments. You don’t want to exclude buyers from other countries and faiths.



Scent your home lightly.  Birch bark, fir trees and cinnamon are welcoming scents in small doses.  You don’t want it to appear that you are masking an unwanted odour.  Also, many people have allergies and can be sensitive to overpowering fragrances.



Wallpaper Inspirations

Wallpaper is one of those design trends that come and go.  In recent years, wallpaper has really made a come back with more choices and broader applications than we have ever seen in the past.

Many people are reluctant to try wallpaper, especially if they have ever had to remove old wallpaper.  However, unlike the papers of the past, today’s wallpapers are much easier to remove.  Also, trendy applications are generally limited to one wall instead of an entire room.  So, today there are no excuses not to liven up your rooms with a pop of pattern!

Here are a few inspiring ways to use wallpaper:

1) As drawer liners.



2) A mural as a statement piece.



3) A single wall application as a backdrop for a gallery wall.



4) A modern powder room.



5) A pretty storage display.




Get Your Property Staged On Us!

PRES training home clients are ecstatic over the transformations in their home! We’re looking for homes for October 6-10, 2014.

During the 5 day PRES Staging & Redesign Training course, students are taken into real clients’ homes to apply the theory they learned in the classroom. Our training home clients are carefully selected by the PRES Staging trainer and owner, Colleen Mc Clure. What’s essential in the training homes is that there are at least 3 major rooms to transform, enough art and accessories to work with. Some homes may have more opportunity for learning proper furniture placement and others may provide the perfect opportunity for teaching the ‘art of hanging art’. Whether we are staging the home to sell, or transforming the home by redesigning it for living the outcome for the client is the same – they LOVE the transformation!

In this home the client was struggling with how to make everything she loved look good together. When you are redesigning the home for living it’s important to transform the home by using as many of the client’s things as you can. Having said that not everything goes back into a room once we start building it back up using our 10 Step Secret Formula!

The Living Room BEFORE:

Living room is overcrowded with furniture and too many things - lovely as they are.
Living room is overcrowded with furniture and too many things – lovely as they are.

The Living Room AFTER:

So much more room to breathe. She still is surrounded by all her french treasures but now we can breathe!
So much more room to breathe. She still is surrounded by all her french treasures but now we can breathe!

This is her testimonial which says it all…

When I walked in my home all I could say was “Wow!” I was taken aback immediately by the sense of being welcomed into my own home, stunned by the spaciousness and a feeling that the rooms can breathe again. With styled shelves, walls complimented with art, properly placed furniture and treasured items beautifully displayed, it became the space I wanted it to be. If you want your home staged or redesigned invite PRES Staging program in the door because you won’t be disappointed!

If this is something you are interested in participating in let us know by going to our PRES Training Home Page. Just click on this link Criteria to Qualify as a Training Home  or simply fill in the contact form here.  We will be in touch soon!

*Sorry, this offer is only for home owners in the Lower Mainland BC.

Why does home staging have some an impact on what attracts buyers and has them making offers on a property?

In preparing for my ezine this week I found a really interesting article posted in the Chicago Tribune called The Art and Psychology of Home Staging written by a Ph.D. graduate who became intrigued about the underlying psychology of staging. She and her fiancé were moving across the country and he was putting his house up for sale in Ann Arbor Michigan. Their stager, Kathi Persutti worked with Andrea to come up with a survey which received about 450+ responses from home stagers.

It’s an interesting article and I have included some of my own responses which are not necessarily what other home stagers think! This is an excerpt from it:

Q: What did they think was the most important thing?

A: The No. 1 in importance (6.55 on a 7 point scale) would be to remove personal items from bathrooms, such as used bars of soap, razors, toothbrushes, etc.

While I totally agree with the removal of personal items, I wouldn’t list the items in the bathroom as being of most importance. To me this is actually more about creating ‘s p a c e’ so that energy flows more easily and is not stopped in one area. Decluttering plays a big role in getting the property ready for selling.

Q: Why do you think it would be that specific thing?

A: I got this sense that the theory coming through in these answers is that people don’t want to feel that the house they’re buying is lived-in — that other human beings are shaving and brushing their teeth in it. They don’t want to imagine that other people are inhabiting the place we want to buy.

I wouldn’t agree with this. I don’t think people mind knowing someone else has lived in a home but what I think they do want is to get a sense that the home is clean and cared for, and that would translate into less maintenance required when they move in. There are definitely home buyers who will only move into a home no one else has lived in, but I don’t think it is a high percentage of buyers. It also translates into less time, money and energy that the home seller will have to put out after they move in if the home is clean and updated.

Q: Other surprises?

A: The No. 2 concern was that home sellers should use rooms for their intended purpose, that the dining room should contain dining furniture and not be used as an office. It surprised me that buyers would be unable to visualize a space other than the way it already looks. Like with walls painted in really bright colors. I guess buyers will get hung up on that, but it’s a cosmetic thing that could be easily changed, though it does affect their decisions a lot, according to stagers.

I totally agree with this for 2 reasons. The majority of people are not good at space planning and being able to imagine what their belongings would look like in a space. FUNCTION is always first in home staging for selling, and redesign for living. In staging it’s all about making it easy-peasy for the buyer to ‘get’ what they could do in that space.

The wall paint colour is a totally different subject. First and foremost the home needs to appeal to the sellers’ target/niche market. It’s unlikely that many buyers are looking for bright, colourful walls in the home they buy. I still believe in going neutral with the wall colour and bringing in bright trendy accent colours with the accessories – it’s so easy to do. (See photos below) Having bright unappealing paint colours just translate into more time, money and energy for the buyer to change them.

Q: Did your fiancé do a lot of staging to his home to get it sold?

A: Oh, yeah. His house was painted bright, intense colors, and we were told to make them very neutral. So we repainted, and it took a long time. We did a lot of things. When the pictures of it came out online, our friends said, “How come it didn’t look like this when you were living in it? That place looked gorgeous.”

In fact, we moved him out of it and he moved into my tiny apartment while the house was on the market because we didn’t think we could keep it as perfect as we thought it had to be.

There are 3 good points here.

1) I talked about the reasons we paint in neutral colours.
2) As home stagers we hear this comment all the time. Why don’t   people live this way in their home? Because they don’t know how and they   never hired a professional to do it for them. Sellers could have a   professional PRES home stager create that same look for them when they move.
3) I know you do need to keep the home looking good for showing   and yes, some people are able to move away. But if not, and there is a family   living there I suggest taking photos of the way the home stager wants it to   look and each time there is a showing, bring out the photos and do your best   to make it look good. Stay focused on your goal of selling quickly and for   top dollar – that might keep it neat.

Q: Did the house sell?

A: It did. It took about five months, and the average in Ann Arbor at that time was about six months.

Yeah home stagers do it again!

EMOTIONS: I want to mention ‘emotions’ here as they come into play sometimes in a big way and sometimes in a smaller way when a home seller is selling the home. It’s important for everyone to be aware that the seller can feel really super fantastic about selling, or they can feel really super depressed that this is going on. It’s important for the realtor and the home stager to be 100% committed to the success of selling this home. The calmer the realtor and the home stager are, the better results they can get for their seller.

Do You Know Your Company’s Core Values?

It is not uncommon for small business owners to have occasion to doubt their value. It is natural for us to have ups and downs in business. During the ‘downs’ we often feel undervalued. The intention of this post is to give you a few tips on how to remain positive in your business even when you feel momentarily and monetarily undervalued!

It is really important to understand what YOU value in yourself and your home staging business. You need to know how you equate your ‘value’ to your ‘worth’. I often hear complaints like this from graduates of PRES staging and redesign training programs – my clients just don’t see the value of the work I do; why don’t they want to pay me what I am worth; why are they telling me what to do when I am doing the staging, etc. It is very common to associate ‘value’ with ‘worth’ in terms of money and not realize that this is only one part of the equation.

In researching the word ‘value’ I came across an article that talked about Aspired Values and Functional Values. See which ones resonate with your and your company’s values.

ASPIRED VALUES – WHAT you aspire to have FUNCTIONAL VALUES – HOW you attain aspired values
  • Achievement
  • Beauty
  • Contribution
  • Freedom
  • Health
  • Love
  • Partnership
  • Recognition
  • Spirituality
  • Wealth
  • Accountability
  • Autonomy
  • Competency
  • Creativity
  • Fairness
  • Flexibility
  • Honesty
  • Knowledge
  • Organization
  • Team

How Do You Stay Positive When You Feel Undervalued?  

A stager recently had an experience where she felt her services were being undervalued when a staging job went sideways. She had to ask herself why it went sideways and momentarily doubted that she should charge the monetary fee she had quoted. Eventually she realized that SHE was actually devaluing her expertise and came to her senses by asking herself some questions and talking honestly with the client.

You may find yourself in a situation where you are quoting for a staging job and the prospective client is not valuing your skills and talents. Here are a few things that might help you stay positive about your value and your worth regardless of the situation:

  • Look at everything that you bring to the table - you may be new to the home staging business or you may have been in the business for awhile. Regardless you have many talents and skills you bring to the table along with the investment you have made in learning your craft. Make a list of them along with your core values. Have them handy in your moments of doubt.
  • Ask yourself is this ‘fair market value’ for my work  - you know if you are charging a fair price for your services or not. If  your charges are fair then do not justify them. This may not be the right  client for you.
  • If something does go sideways how can you straighten it  out – breath, step back and think about what needs to be done to get back on track with the job. Perhaps it means making an adjustment of the original services offered, or revisiting the client expectations.
  • Keep open and honest communication flowing - while you may think your business is about staging homes, it really is  about relationships! The only way to create and maintain great relationships is with open communication. When you are in the midst of feeling doubt think about the value you know you are giving to this client. Let the client know what they receive from working with you. Great relationships are priceless and lead to more business opportunities.

The real bottom line comes down to you valuing yourself. The only way to really achieve what you want in your home staging business is to honestly look at our Core Values and see if they equal your True Worth. If they do, then stay the course, if not, revisit them until they are in alignment with each other.

Why You Need To Use FACTS + INTUITION For Your Business Decisions

Throughout our lifetimes we constantly have to make decisions both personal and professional. Some of our decisions are based on facts, some on emotions and some on what is often called our ‘gut feeling’. Interestingly enough there is a brain-gut connection so we do make decisions based on what our brain tells us to do and also what our ‘gut’ tells us to do.

We also use our ‘intuition’ which is often referred to as ‘hunches’ to make decisions. According to a variety of sources intuition is described as:

  • The act by which the mind perceives the agreement or disagreement of two ideas
  • Quick and ready insight
  • The act or process of coming to direct knowledge without reasoning or inferring
  • A way of knowing, of sensing the truth without explanations
  • Intuitive messages often do not come with any logical reasoning to support them
  • Hunches acquired by listening to your inner dialogue

As an entrepreneurial home stager, you will be faced with many decisions in your business and your personal life that will contribute to your success.

So before you make any decisions ask yourself if it is the right decision for you at this time. Base your decision on facts and what your intuition tells you.

1. What are the facts that support you in this decision?
This is where your logical mind comes into play. Do up a Contrast Sheet where you put your objective at the top of the page and create a column for the PROs and the CONs of this decision. When you do this exercise you will quickly see which is the better decision. Then just do to another check, use your intuition to see if this ‘feels right’ for you. If not, dig deeper because just one idea on the PRO side may outweigh all the other reasons on the CON side.

2. Use your intuitive mind to assist with your decision.
All of us are born with ‘intuitive muscles’ but most of us do not use them until we realize what they are! A technique that can help you develop those muscles is by being quiet, sit with your dilemma, and just allow ideas to pop up into your mind. They often seem ludicrous when they first come to us, but over time, they may be exactly the answer that you are looking for.

3. Notice if you are making a ‘FEAR-based’ decision.
All ‘fear-based’ decisions are negative and based on lack of some kind. As a small business owner you will find that your business goes up and down. And the down usually means that money is not flowing abundantly as you would like. You may decide to do a job just for the money even though everything in your gut is saying you do not want to do it but…but…but… You might be working with a client or a partner who is just not a fit for you but…but…but… Listen to these thoughts in your mind and make your decisions based on what feels good to you.

Home Sense is the BEST home decor store for home staging!

I encourage PRES home stagers to build their inventory with Home Sense decor. It’s affordable and it’s trendy and if it doesn’t work you can always exchange it for something else. I am definitely not saying that the quality or the style from Home Sense is going to work with every home but for staging and adding additional pieces to the seller’s existing – it works!

Having been in the home staging business for over a decade now, I built my inventory by making selections from Home Sense that I knew would work in the majority of the properties I was staging. I have also gone shopping for my clients at Home Sense for staging their home for selling or updating the look of their home for living. When I have a client who is not style savvy I will take photos for them and then encourage them to get to that Home Sense store ASAP! I’m sure you have experienced the frustration of not buying something that you liked when you saw it and then when you went back…GONE! My motto now is ‘If I like it, I buy it and I can always return it.’

If you are just starting out building your inventory spending around $500 will get you some nice ‘small accessory packages’ that will bring you pure profit after using them just a few times. Many home stagers are fortunate enough to have rental furnishing stores in their area so they can rent the larger furnishings such as sofas, chairs, dining room tables and chairs, beds, dressers, etc. By doing this in the beginning you will be able to avoid storage warehouse costs. It might be something you can look at in the future as part of your growth business strategy.

Here are some of the purchases the home seller made so that we could update the look of her home for selling. We used 2 new sets of bedding and draperies for the master bedroom and the little girl’s room:

Home Sense cushions, throws, bedding, art, lamps, etc.

Canvas art from Home Sense – suits this casual lifestyle for selling.

Living Room ‘Before’ Staging

Not the best of choices for selling but it does work for them living

Living Room After with Home Sense Purchases!

Spare set of slipcovers refreshed the tired sofas while the new art and accessories updates the look of the home.

5 Steps to a Successful Realtor Office Presentation

Every real estate office has weekly meetings. Most often these are first thing in the morning but some do have lunch and learns. Industry partners such as stagers are invited to come and do presentations if what they are offering is seen as a value to the realtors. As a home stager you know the value of your services but not all realtors or home sellers do. So you need to be prepared with your WIIFM (what’s in it for me) when you make your pitch. As home stagers we are one of the best marketing tools that realtors can have whether they pay for our services (best case scenario) or the home seller does.

1. Call to Set your Appointment
You need to contact the Office Manager who arranges the weekly meetings. You can look on that company’s website for that contact name or phone the receptionist to find out who it is.
When you are making that introduction of yourself prepare a script if you are somewhat nervous. Let the office manager know the WHIFM (what’s in it for me). Tell her/him of your successes and what is unique about you. If you happen to know a realtor in the brokerage then ask them for a referral introduction to you because this will get you one step closer to making a connection. .

2. Keep your Presentations Simple
The length of time you will be given to talk varies from office to office. It can be as short as 15 minutes or as long as 45 minutes. Be prepared to answer questions and to talk longer if need be. Power point presentations are great for certain events, however in smaller offices I recommend keeping it more informal so you can connect more on a personal level.

Creating Simple Realtor Presentations:

  1. Introduce yourself and your company briefly through your credentials, training and experience
  2. Quote some statistics on staging homes you have done or do an internet keyword search for ‘staging statistics’ and you will be sent to several different sites
  3. Prepare a one or two page handout called ‘ 5 TOP Staging Tips’ – be sure to include great branding with all your contact information. Put this in a color folder along with your business cards and/or  post  cards
  4. Use large visuals such as the foam picture/story boards about 2’ x 3’ and laminate them (any print store will do these) of your Before & After photos. It’s best to have your best B & A photos so you can discuss what you did in the home using their existing furnishings and/or  rental inventory
  5. Have a Free Draw where each realtor is required to put their business card in a box/bag. You can have a draw for a ‘FREE’ home staging consultation or a ‘FREE’ home staging ½ day or full day job. This is all  part and parcel of your ‘List Building’ that will grow your business.

3. Have FUN Presenting
The realtors who attend your presentation are interested in finding out what you have to offer. You know you know what you are doing, you know you are a fabulous stager so set the stage for having some FUN and show them what you are all about. If possible come into the office early and make friends with some of the early birds. This will help when you make your presentation and they will support you more. You can always get a list of realtors in the office beforehand and make a point of seeking a few of them out. People will buy from you when they ‘Know You, Like You and Trust You’ – this is one way to accomplish them getting to know who you are.

3. Practice Makes Perfect
Many people have a fear of public speaking and the only way to get over that is to ‘do it’. If you have a lot of fear then practice, practice, practice or you might consider attending something like Toast Masters to become confident in your speaking ability. For most realtor talks you will have up to about 30 attendees so it’s most likely going to be more comfortable for you than giving a talk to hundreds of realtors. I used to do my own recordings of myself so I could see where I could improve and get the timing down correctly. If you can’t do that s just practice in front of a mirror and time yourself.   Because you have your props (story boards of Before & After photos) they can guide you through your talk more easily than just memorizing your words.

4. Follow Up
Follow up is key to your success. You can get the office listing of all the realtors in the office and since you did the Free Draw you have the attendee’s business cards in your box/bag. First step is to follow up by phone with all who attended and other active realtors who did not attend.  Second step would be to email them if you did not get connect with them by phone. Suggest getting together to buy them a coffee and give them your Introductory Offer to try out your services. This is all part and parcel of your on-going ‘List Building’ that you must do to continue to grow your business. Third step would be to send them a card – Thank You or Nice To Meet you card. If you are not familiar with the automated Send Out Cards system I highly recommend you check into it here and try them out. They are like an on-line Hallmark store but you can also send gifts along with the cards.

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