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Declutter, clean and warm up the bathroom

BEFORE: too much stuff left out, no luxury focal points

I’ve posted about making a bathroom more spa-like. Now let’s consider some details from that project. This master bathroom was one of 8 rooms that I staged in a day and half. During my 2 hour consultation I took photos and planned the staging. This is a lovely big bathroom and I wanted to draw attention to the big soaking tub and the vanity which is well-lit and nicely-made.

My clients followed instructions I sent about preparation, removing a lot of toiletries, cleaning cabinet drawers and neatening up. I did some more decluttering, added plants and accessories. Carefully arranged glass bottles and a narrow flower arrangement are reflected and sparkle in the very clean mirror. This is a busy family that need quick access to some things on the vanity surface. So, I used a basket from their basement storage for a lot of their small things, then covered it with a new hand-towel and soaps.

Staging an Historic Estate: how contemporary furnishings can reinvigorate a traditional setting

Staging the Library at the Fells Historic Estate in Newbury NH was a joy. I’ve always loved libraries and this one is full of light from French windows that look out onto Lake Sunapee and is lined with beautiful gilded panelling. Updating it for The Fells Christmas event necessitated, like most home staging projects, rapid work and attention to detail.

My advice to clients is often to remove and pack away 30-50% of the books on their crowded bookshelves, to open the shelves up and make the room look larger and I took my own advice. As this was a seasonal staging I only kept red and green books, turning the green ones into a fun take on a Christmas tree.

I imagined how descendents of the Hays family, who used to live at The Fells, would use the library and furnished it accordingly. This meant using contemporary furniture, removing the old favorites from the room and starting anew. The response from the public has been very positive, people who had thought putting contemporary furniture in this historic house was a bad idea, have been surprised at how welcoming the room looked and there has been much discussion about the way we can mix old and new to create a look that it at once modern but remains respectful of the room’s beautiful original features.

As you think of staging your homes, or ask me to come and advise you, remember that the size and color of furniture can profoundly change the way we understand the size of a room (covering a dark sofa with a light slipcover can transform a room) and positioning can draw people in or make them feel a space is closed off. I created two seating areas for this Library, drew attention to the fireplace and the French windows, and made two areas for working, using  a standing desk in one of them.


Want to have a go at doing it yourself? There are quick and inexpensive ways you can start to make your property Absolutely Fabulous.

Turn off the TV and spend a couple of evenings doing things that will help to sell your house. I only post tips that I have tried and tested in my own house, or those of my clients, and that have had positive responses from real estate agents.

Whether you do some of these things yourself or not, please get in touch. I will explain the process by phone and answer some questions and you can then decide to let me help you take the next steps towards selling your property.


On average, staged homes sell for 1-5% higher than unstaged homes while 21% of realtors stated that staging a home increased the dollar value of the home between 6-10%. The same report found staged homes sell faster. National Association of Realtors (NAR) “2017 Profile of Home Staging.”

Nationally, the cost of full staging is roughly 1% of the sale price while the cost of a consultation is a tiny fraction of 1%.

Typically, a price drop of $10,000 results in only $150 less for a real estate agent. So, when a property is not selling, dropping the price is pretty painless for agents. Why not keep the asking price the same, bring in a professional who has time to give you detailed advice, and then check the impact on buyers?

The cost of fully staging your home is usually less than a price cut for a property that has not sold after months on the market.

Staging costs are deductible as “advertising” expenses when you sell primary & secondary homes. Click for another reason to stage (2 of 3).



Staging a home makes it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home (according to 77% of buyers’ agents) “Realtors know how important it is for buyers to be able to picture themselves living in a home and […] staging a home makes that process much easier for potential buyers.” Staging positively affects a home’s value if the home is decorated to the buyer’s taste. So I stage homes so they are designed to appeal to the largest number of potential buyers.
National Association of Realtors (NAR) “2017 Profile of Home Staging.”

In the same report 38% of sellers’ agents said they stage ALL sellers’ homes prior to listing them for sale, while 14% said that they only stage homes that are difficult to sell. So, if you want to sell fast, stage first. If you’re property is not selling then stage it and relist it or stage it and ask your agent to show new photographs in the listing that show it after staging.

The first few minutes count! Reader’s Digest claims that “Most people decide whether or not they are comfortable in a property within the first few seconds of entering; and when they are looking for a home, that first impression is crucial to a quick, well-priced sale.” This is why every consultation with me begins with a discussion of the curb appeal and the entrance to your property.


To save money, would you wear old worn clothes to a job interview? Make your own wedding cake? My guess is that your answer is “no”.  So, why prepare your house for sale on your own?

The investment writer, Marjorie A. Cohen, says “The cost of staging by a professional […] can mean money in the bank for you. If staging helps you sell your home sooner (keeps it from being out there so long that people start wondering what’s wrong with it); if it saves you a month or more of carrying expenses; if it creates the kind of buzz that brings in offers above ask – your money is well spent.

As real estate lawyer, Ilona Bray says, “Even if your house is already in pretty good shape, you’ll inevitably find yourself working on basic things like choosing new paint colors, hiring workers, and shopping for the perfect table runner and fresh new doormat. The hours you’ll spend on these tasks add up quickly — while hiring a stager means that most of it will happen like magic, while you turn your attention to the numerous other things on your plate.”



The power points in my house were scratched, painted over and yellowed. In less than 5 minutes I updated the look and made the bathroom pop. Notice that these switch plate covers go over the whole power point area, so no need to replace the more tricky electrical part, just put this over the top. Just be sure to buy the correct ones, less than $3 each from Home Depot.



Most buyers loathe 1970s brass handles as they make houses feel dated. But who wants the trouble and expense of replacing all the door handles? No need! You can update the look quickly and cheaply. When I moved into my ranch house every interior door handle (and all the door hinges) were brass. I wanted a quick update without replacing all those handles. I also painted some of the wood doors white (a coat of BIN primer then three thin coats of white paint put on with a small foam roller and the doors entered the 21st century!)

I followed these instructions (though I skipped the primer step as you can see from the image below that the spray includes a primer). I updated my brass fixtures for the cost of some brushed nickel spray paint and a spray on clear varnish. Be patient, either remove the handles (very easy) or mask everything and spray lightly, twice.  As well as saving on new door handles, this saved me the cost of the labor for someone to change them.

It worked for all my bath fittings and a black light fitting too! Everything that I sprayed is holding up to everyday wear and tear perfectly which is also what the link says – handles are still great two years later.