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Stagers are devoting more attention to outdoor spaces, says staging pioneer Barb Schwarz. Nearly 63 percent of residential architects said interest in outdoor living areas is increasing, according to the 2013 American Institute of Architects' Home Design Trends survey. Some of the most in-demand outdoor features include seating/dining areas, fire features, grills, and decorative water elements. Schwarz recommends carving out three spaces when staging a deck and yard: a dining area with tables and chairs; a cozy seating area, such as a group of chairs around a fire pit; and a peaceful retreat with gravel or stepping stones leading to a garden with a small table or a bench overlooking a water feature.
Stagers are creating lifestyle vignettes. Stager Donna M. Dazzo (Designed to Appeal) was bold with staging a game room in a high-end loft in New York City. She created a "scene" with games on a table, bright red and green accents and furnishings, and vibrant artwork to add life to an otherwise vacant, sterile room. Stagers might research an area to uncover distinctive neighborhood interests that could be incorporated. "We have to look at these trends and surveys and really research the buyer demographic for the home," says stager Audra Slinkey (Home Staging Resource). "Each little pocket has its own cultural appeal, and a stager needs to know that and work with current trends to create the vision."
All That Shimmers
Add some bling to your space. Silver, the flashier cousin to gray, is adding shine to interiors this season, according to the Paint Quality Institute's 2014 color forecast. Gold and titanium also are joining the mix. Metallics can make rooms more luxurious, from silver and gold trays, lamps, and metallic-framed art to oval-shaped mirrors and metallic detailing on throws and pillow fabrics. Warm gold and brass are making a comeback, mostly in small doses, such as a vintage gold-framed mirror, says Slinkey. Metallics offer shine that can lighten dark spaces, particularly when paired with glass, which has long been a stager's favorite accent. Stagers are adding more glass with tables, hurricanes, and lamps to accentuate the metallic shine.
One budget-friendly way to modernize a kitchen or bath is to paint the cabinets. A smooth, white finish can instantly modernize dark or oak wood cabinets as well as brighten up a space, says stager Patti Stern (PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating). The cabinet hardware also can make a difference, such as swapping out existing knobs for trendier chrome pull bars. Stern always uses a professional painter for updating cabinets. The cost is about $2,000 to $5,000, depending on the size of the kitchen and labor involved, she says. Still, the lighter color can offer a dramatic transformation to a kitchen at a fraction of the cost of just a minor kitchen remodel, which could average around $18,900, according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2014 Cost vs. Value Report.
Pops of Color
Nearly two in three home owners say they want more color in their home, according to Sherwin-Williams' 2014 National Home Design and Color Survey of 1,450 home owners. Stagers are using "movable colors" — bringing in on-trend color pops through toss pillows and small accents such as candles — to offer color that can easily be swapped out when sellers move out, Schwarz says. Paint companies have crowned purple hues the color of the year, and it's often being paired with other home accents in olive, turquoise, and light yellows. Blue accents are also hot, such as soft indigo, bright turquoise, and darker navy. Slinkey notes that there's a "navy comeback," as navy serves more as a neutral to decors, paired with everything from corals to yellows.
Lamps are a hot home accessory warming up interior spaces this season, adding artistic and mood-boosting touches. Lamps "create ambiance and the feeling of space, and also can be used to add pops of color. A rustic lamp or glass ceramic lamp can add texture and warmth to a space,” Slinkey says. Plain wrought iron lamps with ivory shades for table tops or floors can offer a modern edge to a room. So can table lamps with more flair, such as metallic or glass lamps that have colorful, patterned lampshades. Lighting is always part of Stern's checklist when staging a home because it can make a big difference to a space.
"Green" is a buzzword in real estate, and stagers are finding ways to reflect it in home designs. They're repurposing or recycling used items for home accents and bringing in more elements from nature, such as putting twigs in a vase. Repurposing antique furniture into hidden storage solutions is one of the biggest home organization trends, such as using an old trunk as a coffee table, according to the 2014 Zillow Digs Home Design Trend Report. Schwarz's favorite green staging accents are: twigs in a vase filled with clear or white marbles; wooden pallets used to create an accent tray or coffee table; and an old bucket with a flower bouquet to decorate the front porch.
To break up the monotony of a space, stagers are mismatching furnishings, fabrics, and colors. For example, non-matching chairs around a dining table can add more visual interest to an area, Slinkey says. End chairs may be swapped out for chairs in a contrasting style. Kitchen islands in a different color than the wall cabinets also is gaining popularity and can turn this kitchen feature into a focal point. Dawn Marie Templeton, broker-owner of Templeton Real Estate Group in Boise, Idaho, had the kitchen island in one of her properties painted gray to compliment the white cabinets. The gray island "grounds and warms the space," Templeton says. "If it were white, in this particular home, it might look too stark, too white, too bland, and too boring."
Carve Out A Truly Great Space
Designers are viewing the heart of the home in a more holistic way. Make way for "lifestyle spaces" that are in better sync with how people live today.
Simple Staging Tips for Inside and Out
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Make Miracles for Less
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Hire a Pro
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Get your most common questions answered about staging.