Posts Tagged ‘staging’

Area Rugs: Tips for Selection and Placement

August 28, 2011

Area rug When I am staging a home for sale, area rugs serve many functions in a room:

  • Defining the area, for example, a seating or dining area in a large room
  • Adding pops of color to an otherwise neutral room
  • Toning down a room that has strong and bright colored furniture
  • Adding texture to a neutral colored space

When I am doing an interior redesign, in addition to the above, area rugs also:

  • Provide comfort underfoot
  • Provide physical warmth underfoot
  • Absorb the sound in a room

Area rugs come in these common sizes:

  • 5′ x 8′
  • 6′ x 9′
  • 8′ x 10′, 8′ x 11′
  • 9′ x 12′
  • 12′ x 15′

Here are some tips when buying an area rug:

  • If you anticipate lots of traffic and wear and tear, select a patterned rug which will show stains less than a solid rug.
  • Also, a wool rug is easier to clean than a non-wool rug.
  • The shape of the rug should mirror the furniture or the room size.  For example, a rectangular dining table should have a rectangular rug underneath.  But a round dining table should have a round rug under it.

Round rug

  • In a very large room, you can have multiple area rugs, but make sure they complement and coordinate with each other. They don’t have to be identical, and ideally, we wouldn’t want them to be.
  • The area rug should take up 2/3 to 3/4 of the floor space of an area with no furniture on the rug, for example, the foyer pictured below.  Otherwise the rug will look lost.  However, a small rug right in front of the entry door would be acceptable.

Foyer Rug

  • Don’t cover the entire floor with an area rug – leave 9 to 12 inches of the floor around the edges of the rug exposed.
  • While some designers feel that area rugs on a carpet are a no-no, others say it’s okay to do so.
  • I prefer to start with the color of the sofa before choosing a rug to complement it.  Others start with the rug first, and then choose the sofa.
  • Don’t use busy rugs with large patterns with a sofa or bedding that has large patterns.
  • Use non-skid pads when needed to prevent slips and accidents.  The pad should be a few inches smaller than the rug.

  • There’s always been a debate about furniture on and off the rug, but here is some guidance:
    • At least the front legs of the furniture should be on the rug
    • All of the furniture’s legs should be on the rug, ideally, if the rug is large enough.
  • Avoid placing the rug so that the traffic pattern would have people walking with one foot on the rug and the other foot on the bare floor. And avoid placing the corner of a rug in front of a door as people may trip.
  • In a dining room, make sure that the rug is large enough that, when a person is backing out of their chair, the back legs of the chair are still on the rug.  You can use 24 inches from the edge of the table to the edge of the rug as a guide.

Dining Room Rug

  • Be aware that in rooms with direct sunlight and hardwood floors, the area rug will create an outline when the floor color changes as a result of the sunlight.  Also, sunlight can fade a rug, particularly oriental rugs.
  • Also be aware of electrical outlets and vents in floors as well as the placement of rugs near doors which may not clear the rug.
  • In a bedroom, at least two sides of the bed should have the same amount of rug showing.

Bedroom with area rug

If you have any other tips about the purchase, placement or care of area rugs, please share them.

© Copyright 2011 Designed to Appeal, LLC.  All Rights Reserved.

About the AuthorDonna Dazzo is president and owner of Designed to Appeal, a home staging company serving New York City and the Hamptons.  Designed to Appeal helps homeowners and real estate agents sell homes quickly and profitably, by expertly creating an environment that buyers want to live in. Designed to Appeal also helps homeowners not looking to sell with interior redesign, which involves using mostly what the homeowner already has.  Donna writes frequently on home staging and interior decorating and design topics.

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Home Staging New York: Our Recent Stagings Beat 2009 Staging Statistics

March 8, 2010

I recently wrote that if you ever doubted that home staging may not be the worthwhile investment everyone on the West Coast seems to think it is, updated statistics show that it is.

Home staging is basically presenting a house or apartment in its best possible light so that it is attractive to the broad range of buyers, so much so, that when buyers walk into the space, they fall in love and want to live there.  Home staging is about selling a lifestyle, not a house.  If you put yourself in the frame of mind of someone marketing a product, you know that packaging counts.  It’s the same thing when selling a house.

A study by the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) of homes that were staged in 2009 revealed that:

  • Vacant homes not previously on the market before they were staged sold on average in 42 days
  • Occupied homes that were staged before they were put on the market, sold on average in 39 days

Our experience with recent home stagings support, and even beat, the vacant homes number.

We recently staged a vacant one-bedroom apartment in New York City.  Both the homeowner and the real estate agent were smart enough to realize it wouldn’t show well without some furniture in it, and without a few cosmetic updates we recommended (painting the built-in bookcase white, updating the kitchen appliances and hardware to stainless steel, and hanging a chandelier to define the dining area).

After the updates and the staging, the homeowner accepted an offer at full asking price 23 days after the staging!

In a previous blog, I reported on another recent staging that had a signed contract 15 days after the staging at close to the asking price.

While two recent stagings is certainly not a scientific sample, they do support the RESA statistics.

View the before and after photos in this 90 second slide show. 

Wouldn’t you be more likely to make an offer after the staging, than if you walked into this apartment before it was updated and staged? 

Home Staging New York: Top 10 Mistakes Sellers Make When Presenting Their Homes for Sale – Part II

October 30, 2009

Last week I shared with you the first five of the Top 10 Mistakes home sellers make when they present their home to prospective buyers.

To recap they were:

  1. Paint problems
  2. Dirty and/or worn carpeting and floors
  3. Pets and their accoutrement
  4. Personalized decor
  5. Dated or worn hardware and fixtures

This week I focus on the remainder of the Top 10 Mistakes.

Manfredi bathroom bef6.  Dirty, Cluttered or Untidy Interior or Exterior – Despite what sellers might think, buyers cannot see past dirt and clutter.  It’s extremely important that both the interior and exterior of the home, including the yard, be clean and tidy.  Kitchens and bathrooms need to be whistle-clean.

 IMG_1571 - cropped7.  Dated or Inappropriate Window Treatments – Anything dated in a home is a turn-off to a potential buyer and window treatments are one of them. If the drapes are from the early to mid-90s, chances are they are too heavy and too dated.  Remove them and replace them with panel drapes on a rod – inexpensive ones can be found at Target and JC Penney.

8. Bad Furniture Arrangements – Furniture that doesn’t highlight the room’s best features are doing the seller a disservice.  For example, a fireplace is usually THE focal point in a room, and the furniture should be arranged around it so that the eye is drawn to the fireplace.  Also, furniture should not block the flow of being able to walk through the room. It should not block being able to open a door.  Lastly, the furniture in the room should define the purpose of the room.  In the picture below, is this a guest room, an office or a game room?

pool table

 blocked windows9.  Blocked Lighting/Dirty Windows – Buyers treasure natural light and sellers need to do everything to maximize it.  Trim back or remove overgrown bushes and trees that are blocking the windows, clean the windows, open up the drapes, and even remove the screens while the home is on the market to let in more natural light.  For more tips to lighten and brighten a home, click here.

10.  Too Much or Too Large Furniture – Think LESS IS MORE!  Remember that the purpose of furniture when selling a home is to define the purpose of the room (e.g., dining room, not home office or children’s playroom) and to show what will fit where (e.g., king size bed).  It is not meant to show that you can provide seating for 15 in your living room and every seat has a side table to rest drinks on and the bedroom is large enough to hold 3 dressers. Also, the size of the furniture needs to be in balance with the scale of the room and the other furniture in it.

 cahn dining room

Also, check out HGTV’s 10 Best Kept Secrets When Selling a Home.

Copyright  © 2009 Designed to Appeal, LLC – All Rights Reserved

Home Staging New York: Top 10 Mistakes Sellers Make When Presenting Their Homes for Sale – Part I

October 24, 2009

Do you know the Top 10 Mistakes home sellers make about how they present their homes to prospective buyers?  And most home sellers also make the overriding mistake of believing that buyers “can see past this”. 

Well, it’s simply not true.  Only 10% of prospective buyers can visualize the potential of your home.  

This week I focus on the first Top 5 Mistakes.  I will share the remaining five with you next week.  And as you will see, ameliorating these mistakes costs little or none. 

yellow cabinets1.  Paint Problems – too often prospective buyers can’t get past the ugly shade of green that the house is painted or the purple in the bedroom. For both the exterior and interior it is best to stick to neutral colors, EXCEPT 1) you can use a bright contrasting color like red for a front door, and 2) DON’T use white on the interior walls as it’s stark and cold (it’s fine for trim and ceilings).  Paint issues involve both color and the condition of the paint. Paint is one of the most inexpensive ways to freshen up any space.  Walls and floors are the “bones” of any interior space and both should be in good condition.

dirty rug

2.  Dirty or worn carpet and/or floors – .as just stated, walls and floors are the “bones” of the house or apartment and should be in good condition.  If carpets are old, outdated and badly stained, it’s best to remove them.  Sometimes a beautiful hardwood floor awaits underneath. If not, replace with inexpensive wall to wall carpeting.  Hardwood floors in bad condition should be refinished.  You don’t want to give your buyer a mental checklist of repairs they need to do so that they either walk away or bid lower. 

dog3.  Pets and their “accoutrement” –  you may love your pets, but not every buyer will.  Leaving your pets in the house while it’s being shown is a BIG mistake.  Removing them but leaving behind pet bowls, kitty litter boxes, leashes and dog cages is also a BIG mistake.  Remove all traces of your pets including hair and odor. 

4.  Personalized Decor – displaying family photos, children’s artwork, trophies, awards, collections and your prized deer head on the wall does NOT allow the buyer to imagine living in your space.  Plus these items are also a distraction.  You want the buyers to look at your house, not your children’s baby photos.


outdated fixtures5.  Dated or worn hardware and fixtures – if floors and walls are the bones of the house, then hardware and fixtures are the “jewelry”.  Outdated or tarnished door handles on kitchen and bathroom cabinets, and outdated lighting fixtures and faucets are a turn-off to prospective buyers.  Replacing these can update the look of a bathroom or kitchen very inexpensively.  And don’t forget to replace scratched doorknobs on doors and broken or non-matching lightswitch plates. 



Stay tuned next week for the remaining five mistakes home sellers make when presenting their homes.

 Also, check out HGTV’s top 25 Real Estate Mistakes when buying and selling a home.

Copyright  © 2009 Designed to Appeal, LLC – All Rights Reserved

Home Staging New York: Lighten and Brighten Your Way to a Successful Sale of Your Home

October 16, 2009

When selling a home, it is very important that it be light and bright.  Buyers do not respond well to dark spaces. 

Here are a few home staging tips and tricks to brighten up your home: 

  • Remove screens from windows – this lets more of the natural light through
  • Wash the windows – seems to be common sense, but you’d be surprised at what a difference it makes!
  • Remove awnings from windows and over doors
  • Trim or remove overgrown bushes and trees that are in front of windows

IMG_2274 - cropped - 70FPR bdrm

  • Replace drapes with sheers where possible – sheers provide warmth and softness to a room but still let the light show through
  • Swap out low wattage bulbs for higher wattage ones


  • Keep all lights turned on during an open house or showings
  • Use uplighting in dark corners – either a tall floor lamp called a torchiere or a can light placed on the floor
  • Place wall and floor mirrors where they can reflect natural lightIMG_1005
  • Use neutral paint colors on the walls
  • Brighten up dark furnishings with throw pillows or a table runner in bright colors


Doing these simple and inexpensive changes to “lighten and brighten” when selling your home can reap its rewards – a 355% return on your investment, according to a Home Gain survey from 2007.

Copyright  © 2009 Designed to Appeal, LLC – All Rights Reserved

Home Staging New York – Realtors: Do You Have “But I Can Do It Myself” Syndrome?

October 8, 2009

This past week I made a couple of presentations regarding Home Staging to real estate agents at their weekly meetings.  In chatting with one of them after my presentation, he said that he usually does his own staging.  This can involve anything as simple as telling the client to declutter to as time-consuming as going shopping for new bedding.    When I asked him why he does this instead of hiring a home stager, he said “well, this way I don’t have to convince my client to spend money.  Also,  I can do what stagers do”.

So ask yourself, does this sound like you?

And if the answer is YES, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you want to tell your clients their home is untidy and has too much stuff in it?
  • Do you want to tell you clients to get rid of family photos and their prized collections?
  • Do you want to tell your clients that their home smells like a cat or a dog?
  • Do you know how to get a vacant home fully furnished and accessorized?
  • Do you have the time to shop for bedding, towels, knickknacks, etc? 
  • Do you want to spend hours deciding the optimal placement of furniture and accessories?
  • Do you really have the eye of an interior decorator or a home stager?
  • Are you comfortable recommending paint colors?
  • What do you do when the husband and wife don’t agree with your “staging” recommendations? Whose side do you take?
  • Is this how you want to be spending your time?
  • Do you think your client would appreciate you taking time away from marketing their home rather than leaving this up to a professional?

So the next time you think “But I can do this myself”, think about the fact that it’s the same as a seller thinking they don’t need a real estate agent to market and sell their home.  You know that you can do a much better job than they can because of your experience, knowledge and contacts, to name a few qualifications.

Hiring a home staging professional is the way to go if you want the job done right.

Related post: Homeowners: Do You Have “But I Can Do It Myself Syndrome”?

Copyright  © 2009 Designed to Appeal, LLC – All Rights Reserved

Home Staging New York – Homeowners: Do You Have the “I Can Do It Myself” Syndrome?

October 2, 2009

hammerMany homeowners whose homes are about to go on the market, would rather do it themselves than hire a professional home stager because they think they can, or they think they will save money. 

Either way, it’s best to leave it up to a professional.  While there a few things you can do to get the ball rolling, such as decluttering and packing away items you won’t use while the home is on the market, do you really know what to do and have the time to do it? 

Recently I did an estimate for a staging of a vacant apartment in Manhattan.  I was told by the real estate agent that the homeowner wanted to interview and get estimates from three stagers.

After submitting my proposal, I was told that the homeowner decided to “stage” the apartment himself. 

Here I thought my competition was the other stagers, but in fact it was the homeowner himself! 

While I understand homeowners’ perceived need to save money by doing it themselves, they really shouldn’t because they… 

…cannot view their own home through a buyer’s eyes

…cannot view their own home objectively

…are so used to their home’s flaws, they don’t see them anymore

              (I once had a client who completely forgot she put pink plastic over her smoke detector so it wouldn’t sound when she was cooking – meanwhile she passed by it every day on her way through the entry foyer!)

…don’t have a designer’s eye

…don’t have the expertise of a professional stager as to what needs to be done or not

…may not have the time or patience

…are already overwhelmed with looking for a new house and moving.

So the next time you are thinking of doing it yourself, stop and think about it and ask yourself: 

Do I really know what I’m doing? Is this how I want to be spending my time?

Related post: Realtors: Do You Have the “But I Can Do It Myself” Syndrome?

Copyright  © 2009 Designed to Appeal, LLC – All Rights Reserved