I recently received such a good list of questions followed by photos that I decided to turn this readers entire email into a blog post that I think will help everyone, especially on the heels of my last post about clean vs. dirty colours. First, here’s the fundamental lesson we learned from the last post I wrote: Most of the time when we’re blaming the paint colour or the lighting as the reason the room doesn’t work (it’s too muted, it’s too earthy, it’s too clean, it’s too bright) the real reason, in other words, the first place you’d look if you were trying to determine what isn’t working about a room is this: DOES THE COLOUR RELATE TO WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE ROOM? So if you have a room that is bothering you. That is the first place to look. We all want to make it about the lighting, or about the paint colour, why? Because it’s easy to change the paint colour in a room, but as I’ve said many times, paint cannot do all the heavy lifting. And sure, we can change the lighting for a slight improvement, but will it transform the room and suddenly give it the look and feel that’s missing? Will it magically make the paint colour now relate to the room if it doesn’t already? Not likely. We have photoshopped the following rooms so you can see first hand that what I’m saying is actually true. And the other thing that is kind of cool about all these fixes is that most of the time, the correct paint colour can be found in my curated collection of large paint samples. So if you are a stager, colour will transform your spaces more than anything else, ESPECIALLY, when the homeowner is NOT prepared to do much else. Then, if you’re stuck, all you have to do is start pulling out my curated collection of large paint samples that practically choose the colour for you. I am not a stager, so I would appreciate comments from real estate agents or stagers here, but my take on what would be the best neutrals or colours to paint a house to sell would be CURRENT COLOURS. So, if the majority of buyers right now want LIGHT and close to WHITE, then you should go as light as you can. If a colour is necessary to bring a space to life an a neutral won’t do it, then choose a colour that is CURRENT. Okay, here is Jennifer’s email: First, please know that I have all your ebooks, read your blog and have even created my own paint deck with your recommended...

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Staging for a Cozy, Minimalist Look Real estate agents often have to work with either barren rooms or sloppy, overstuffed spaces. But what’s truly attracting the most buyers right now is a deft balance of tidy austerity and a comfortable, lived-in feel. Share Facebook Twitter LinkedIn April 1, 2017   by Barbara Ballinger While decluttering a listing before putting it on the market will help sellers keep their homes cleaner and get a head start on packing, this practice also helps the product that’s for sale shine through more clearly. “Staging isn’t about decorating, but putting a room and its architecture in the best light,” says Chicago-area designer and stager Paula Winter. Watch for these signs that you’re tipping the balance too far in one direction. Too intimate: Yellow; rich, dark colors; and textured or faux Tuscan-painted walls Elaborate window treatments Family photos Floral or oversized patterns Every wall covered with art Too contrived: Orchids or other fussy plants A set table Matching furniture sets Nearly empty shelves and storage Cookies baking in an oven during the open house But stagers also caution against stripping too much away, which can make a space feel stark and uninviting. The happy medium is instead a modern, minimalist look that permits buyers to imagine how their furnishings may fit in spatially while exuding warmth from some carefully added accessories. Staging, once mostly for vacant homes or high-priced listings, is now more widely used. Meridith Baer, who stages more than 140 properties a month through her eponymous California firm, says the practice can help increase the sales price and decrease the listing time for homes. The Real Estate Staging Association pegs the average time on the market for homes sold after staging at 21 days, an estimated 90 percent less time than unstaged properties. Bear in mind that different generations have slightly different design tastes and tolerance for clutter or spareness, as do buyers in different geographic markets and price points. “Many in the greater Los Angeles area have been asking for a more minimal look, but in Orange County and Northern California, high-end properties still reflect a rich layering that shows a well-lived, well-traveled life,” Baer says. Here are five recommendations to strike the right balance. 1. Set the stage. It’s called staging for a reason. The idea is to set the mood in the same way that a theatrical backdrop does. Think of how to use furnishings and accessories to tell a story about how a buyer may live there. You want the listing to look modern and gender-neutral to show a home’s bones, not to remind buyers of an antiseptic hospital or laboratory, says...

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