PANTONE color of 2017 – GREENERY!

The PANTONE name is known worldwide as the standard language for color communication from designer to manufacturer to retailer to customer.  The Pantone Color Institute announced their pick for 2017.  

” A refreshing and revitalizing shade, Greenery is symbolic of new beginnings.”

Greenery is a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s green revive, restore and renew.  Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of Greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.”

Everyone will begin to see Greenery more and more in fashion, magazines, on commercials and in all advertising.  It will become a familiar feeling.    We want to use Greenery in our staging to invoke a memory to the future home buyer.  We want them to remember this home.

You want the home to be mostly neutral with touches of color. Never overdue one single color in a space, it will overwhelm and give an unfavorable look.  Remember, you are trying to sell the home, not the furniture.  Greenery is nature’s neutral.  It is trans-seasonal and will blend well with neutrals, pastels, brights, metallics and even the two 2016 colors of the year, Rose Quartz and Serenity.  So no need to replace all of the accents and artwork that you have, just add in a few new ones on trend.  Make a room pop by using a cream couch and a Greenery pillow.  Revive a room with an artificial plant or potted grass.  You want that future home buyer to feel as if they’ve just walked into a page out of their House Beautiful Magazine.  They dream of buying that home.

Final thought…Greenery is the color of Hopefulness.  Rejuvenation.  Fresh New Beginnings.  Letting go of technology and reconnecting with Nature.  We all know what kind of world we are living in:  uncertain and stressful.

We could All use a little more Greenery in our lives.



2016…Hello 2017!

Another challenging but great year has passed, 2016!

It started off quick…we were staging and they were selling fast!

Spring brought many new adventures for me.  I traveled alone to China, Vietnam, and Malasyia to begin creating my own furniture line.   A main challenge in staging is furniture.  It is often difficult to obtain quick enough and have a variety of pieces that will work in every home.  Staging furniture needs to have an inviting neutral look and appeal to the masses.  I often need to travel to several vendors to find what can work.  The fabric may be great but the arms too rounded.  The back is bulkier then id like to see…

So I set out to create my own funiture line…

Our spring home market was amazing!  We met so many wonderful people.  Working side by side with the teams it takes to sell a home is inspiring.  So many buyers reach out to us to commend our staging, saying it is a factor into how they chose their new home and where can they purchase the items for themselves.

Summer hit us with a Bang!  It was so completely crazy busy from spring into summer that I can’t even remember certain points to write about.  🙂

The hustle and bustle of fall Parade of Homes kept us on our toes!  I feel grateful that I have had the opportunity to work with several builders and that they find my work be an added attribute to their portfolios.  Even though we stage many homes for the Parade of Homes each year, we remain in taking pride in every individual home that we stage.  We understand that selling your home can be stressful.  Emotional.  We take pride in understanding the attachments the homeowner has.  You build memories, children grow, life happens in your home.  As we stage each and every home that we do, we always say, “This is where we make a house a Home”.

I cannot even begin to describe our commitment to every home that we stage…the Kariel team and I are humbled by every single opportunity that we are given.


Final Thought…XO…

“There’s something about having people around you giving you support that is –

it’s motivating, and once I got that support from people then I believed I could do anything.” – Prince


Book Shelves, by Susan Adair

When selling your house, making book shelves look great is an important element to the overall look. They may be either built in or free standing. Here are some tips:

  1. These are not for storage in the strict sense. So, no cardboard boxes with flaps!
  2. Lots of designers divide the shelving unit into visual grids when dressing it. This can help you to keep things looking balanced.
  3. Keep books to the front of each shelf. That way they are not hiding back in the shadows
  4. Vary the heights. Some books can stand up, some on their sides. A piece of sculpture, a pitcher from your kitchen cupboard or a picture frame can keep things interesting. Stay away from personal photos.
  5. Layer. A framed picture can stand up at the back of the shelf and a few books in the front that don’t hide the whole frame.
  6. Repeat elements. An element can be a color or maybe you have a collection of pottery or glass. Three items can be defined as a collection, so don’t get carried away! A few of these things can enter into the mix.
  7. A simple way to create a great look is to stack all books on their sides, a few on each shelf. Done!
  8. Small things will “read” as clutter, so fewer, larger items will look and photograph better.
  9. No books? Sculpture or glass or pottery can dress shelves beautifully. Stay away from tiny items.

Limit the color palate. Above all, stand back once in a while and make sure the whole thing looks balanced. One item per shelf is often all that’s needed. Have a little fun with it. Seemingly little details add up to help buyers fall in love with the house!

Your friendly staging consultant, Susan


Not All Stagers Are The Same

Staging is quickly becoming a mainstream career.  Home staging wasn’t even heard of twelve years ago when I staged my first home.  A real estate agent friend of mine living in California told me how they staged there, and I thought I would be good at it.  I mentioned this to another real estate friend who soon found me my first home to stage.  I now do it more then full time.  About 1200 homes last year, and this year will be even more.

With all of the television shows discussing or showing staging, I no longer need to explain to people what it is I do.  Most just comment on how fun it must be!  It really is a very fun and satisfying career, but also very hard work.  Which brings us to this topic, that not all stagers are the same.  I run across many stagers that charge a large amount of money for not so great furniture.  Some even buy from craigslist.  In fact, my operations manager was selling his 10 year old used furniture and was contacted by three different staging companies wanting to purchase it.  All I could think was, “Nooooo”!  Staging is to give a home that updated look, not to just decorate it with any old couch or chair and some throw pillows.  It is super important that the stager you choose has a portfolio of their work.  You want to know that all of the furniture they use is their own.

Now, I am not saying not to choose a stager that is new to this business, just be clear on your expectations.  You should expect that they provide unused furniture and are willing to purchase a special piece if your home needs it.  Do they offer a wide variety of accessories,  understand furniture placement for every type of home, have the knowledge of the best lighting to show your home at its best.  Are they willing to make your home be important.  To stop the car on the road because they can’t drive any further and trudge the rest of the way through deep snow just to get the photos of your home so they can stage it correctly.  (as I actually just did today.  No joke)  🙂  …and all of the other subjects that I touch on in my blogs.

Lastly, I know that your neighbor, family member, or friend may have a strong opinion on how your home is staged, but let your stager help you with the final look.  Value the unbiased opinion of a stager on the final layout and decoration.  We see thousands of homes every year and want yours to show its true potential.  It does not need to scream “You”,  it needs to show how that awkward space or small room can be used.  How an older home can look fresh, or a smaller one look large.  Remember, you are not decorating the home that you plan on living in, you are having it staged to show off its best potential and features to its future owners.

Final Thought…Pick a stager that is committed and passionate enough about their career/business to have acquired the knowledge and tools to stage your home properly.

Lighting Up the New Year!

Lighting within your home is very important, especially in a vacant home with no overhead ceiling lights.  The most important element to lighting is that it is balanced and casts no shadows.  Using a 60 watt bulb is usually best, but a 75 watt may be better in a really dark or extra large room.  After Furniture placement, make sure the lights are kitty-corner from each other and not all on one side.  If they must be on one side, then consider placing a floor lamp across from them to create the desired balance.

It is much darker during the winter months so light your home as much as possible.  It will create welcomeness and warmth, instead of feeling scary and unfamiliar.  Some rooms may have just one dim ceiling light, this could be a good opportunity to add table or floor lamps.

Lighting is also important for photos.  Walk through each room to see if the light looks balanced.  Does it feel warm and inviting?  Take a picture with your phone to see if there are shadows.  If the light is unbalanced, it will show a flash to one side of the room.  Have you noticed in homes online that are not lit properly look dark and dingy.  You may not be able to see in a corner, or distinguish room from room.  You want to highlight each room so the potential buyer can see everything that your home has to offer.

Final Thought…  “A good intention, with a bad approach, often leads to a poor result.”  Thomas A. Edison

Foyers, by Susan Adair

Whether large or small, grand or modest, the entry to your home says “Welcome! Please come in!” It’s the introduction to all good things to come.

When I was teaching little kids, I would get down on my knees or sit in a small chair and look around my classroom so I could gain a better perspective into how things might look to my students. Was there too much stuff on the walls? Were there zones for different activities? Were there calm spaces? You get the idea.

I think it’s a good idea to do the same thing as you enter your house. You certainly do not have to get down on your knees, but try looking at the foyer, actually the whole house, through your buyer’s eyes. What does it say? Does it invite you in?

The entry may be just a small wall space inside the front door, just enough room for a few hooks to hang a cool hat, a scarf or umbrella and a small mirror to reflect light and let you check out your look when coming or going. It may include a grand stair case with space for a chair(s) or settee and a beautiful table or chest. Or it may be something in between. Whatever the size or style, the message is the same. “Welcome!”

Here’s one idea for foyer table dressing:

  1. Start with a mirror or a piece of art and lean it against the wall or hang it above the table top.
  2. Add a lamp toward one side, preferably the side farthest from the door so it doesn’t interfere with your sight line.
  3. Place a couple of books on their sides next to the lamp
  4. Top the books with a container of branches or flowers.

What does your foyer say?

If you have a great idea, I would love to hear it!

Your friendly staging consultant, Susan


First Impressions, by Susan Adair

“We are selling our house.”

“We are staying until it sells.”

“What do we do to get it ready? “

What’s the old saying? You only get one chance to make a first impression!

Many sellers live in their homes during the selling process. And let’s face it, we all know we tend to get used to things in and around our homes and pretty soon we no longer notice the weeds in the shrubbery or the rusted light fixture. Besides, we usually come in the garage or back door, right?

This is where your friendly staging consultant comes in! The ultimate goal is, of course, to sell the house. So, what are the steps you need to take? What things do you need to do to make it photograph well from the outside? Those all-important photos make up your 1st showing. These photos bring people to the front door.

Let’s start with that first impression. Here are some key questions to ask:

  1. Is the paint in good shape and clean? Yes, houses get dirty too.
  2. Are the rain gutters clear? No “gutter gardens!”
  3. Is the exterior light fixture in good shape? Is the light bulb pretty? Hint: florescent light bulbs are not pretty. Sparkling, clear glass bulbs are.
  4. Are the shrubs trimmed? Is the mulch in good shape?
  5. How about some potted plants or winter arrangements on the front stoop or porch?
  6. Does the porch have some inviting seating?

If all your answers are “Yes” you are on your way to a great first impression!

Your friendly staging consultant can give you some specific ideas to bring your buyers to your front door and all the way in to fall in love with your house!


Wall Paper, Paint, Wood Paneling Oh My!!!

“What were they thinking?”

We have all thought this Exact thing looking at interior paint color choices.

Now this is where you have the choice…do you make a simple change, or leave people with this frightful, poor color image.

Paint is an important key factor in neutralizing a home.  Having bright or dated color is very distracting and unpleasing to potential buyers.  Neutral, light colored paint can freshen up up any room.  A neutral color will offer continuity and consistency throughout the home.  It will have the buyer seeing its potential, not its sudden and drastic wall color changes.  I recommend a flat finish paint because it hides imperfections and provides easier touchups.  As mentioned in my previous blog, Preparing Your Home for Sold, Chintz and Revere Pewter are smart color choices.

The dreaded wallpaper is a must to remove!  Many sellers do not want the hard work of removing it.  Well, neither does the potential buyer.  Wallpaper can be a deal breaker.  If  you choose to leave the wall paper,  you could be significantly reducing your selling profit.  A possible buyer is not always looking for a home that needs updating.  There have been many improvements to wall paper and removing solutions over the years.  Many options are available to help you remove it safely, easily, and without wall damage.  Do not let a potential buyer pass your home by because of unpleasant and dated wall coverings…even if it’s Italian!

Wood paneling makes a lot of us cringe, but it may be a permanent wall.  A simple and inexpensive solution would be to paint it.  Creamy white tends to look best.  Use an oil based or a satin impervo paint, these will give it a natural appearance.  They lay thicker on wood giving it a richer look.

Final Thought…  Have your home buyer feeling…There’s No Place Like Home





By the Numbers, by Susan Adair

Preparing Your Home for Sold!

As mentioned in my Previous blog, Staging Can Show the Maximum Space in Every Room, you should be realistic about the space in each room and do a few simple things throughout the home to prepare for showings.  You should deep clean your home as if a snoopy, pickiest of picky family member is coming to stay with you!  All flooring and carpet should be cleaned and free from stains.  If it is deeply soiled or really old, you may want to look into replacing it.  Walls should be cleaned and freshly painted.  I suggest using Benjamin Moore Paint in chintz or revere pewter.  Wash all windows and make sure blinds or drapes are clean and working properly.  Buyers are usually concerned about the quality of windows, so they will be checking.  Vacuum vents and ceiling fans.  Here are a few suggestions for these specific rooms:

Kitchen – Clear all countertops of anything that is not needed for daily use.  Place mail into a drawer rather than out on the counter.  Vacuum inside of each drawer and place new drawer linings.  Keep refrigerator clear of photos and magnets.  Remove any expired items and keep only minimal leftovers, this will make it appear larger.  Make sure it is cleaned top to bottom and smells fresh.  Leave a Baking Soda Fridge-N-Freezer box in in the refrigerator and freezer.  It will eliminate odors.  Ninety percent of homes are sold with refrigerators and everyone will look in them!

Bathrooms – Scrub bathroom from top to bottom.  Clear all countertops and toilet tops of miscellaneous items.  Remove all medications and valuables and store in containers that only you can access.  All towels should look fresh and clean for each showing.  Keep shower products and bathing accessories in small bins that you can bring in with you when you shower and remove for showings.  Update any hardware that is broken, loose, or missing.

Bedrooms – All bedside table and dresser top items need to be tucked away.  Place them in small containers and keep under the bed so that they are easily accessible by you.  Hang all clothes in a closet, do not leave a robe hanging over the door or the bed.  Never leave out anything of value.

Closets – Everyone wants to see the closets they may possibly own, so yes, they will look in them.  They will either see how much stuff you have, or how much room they could fill with heir own things!  Remove and pack away all of your seasonal items.  Having the hangers match looks very organized and is extremely pleasing to the eye.  Do not forget to paint the insides of the closets when you’re painting the home.

According to a recent study, eighty percent of buyers said storage is one of the most important items on their checklist.  Go through every closet, cabinet, drawer, and nook and cranny in your home and get rid of anything that hasn’t been used within a year, or put it in storage!  Think of it as pre-packing for your new home.  Getting a storage unit outside of your home is usually the easiest way for this transition.  It frees your home of excess items and gives it the feeling of more open space.  Space that potential buyers are looking for.  That way, after your home sells, you are already half packed.  For your showings each day, wipe down all counters and surfaces, turn on lights, and open all of the blinds and curtains to brighten up your home.   Dark and dirty spaces will turn away a potential buyer.

Learn more about measuring the proper placement of your artwork, rugs, drapes and more in Susan’s upcoming blog post, By The Numbers.

For additional help with flooring, painting and other home services, head to my website, Kariel Staging & Decor .

Final Thought…  Preparing your home in this manner could make the difference between Sold or Sitting on the market!