staging living room great room Ellen Kurtz

Stage to Sell: Make Your House Attractive to Buyers

Before I say a word about my latest stage to sell project, I wanted to check in and see how everyone is doing. These are tough times. And that, of course, is an understatement. So sometimes it feels weird to keep plugging along with my work and talking to you about design dilemmas and pretty houses, while all of this is still going on.

But I also know that a lot of people are looking for a dose of normal right now. I mean, when you are stuck at home, a little design daydreaming can absolutely hit the spot! Or at least, that’s the way it has been with me.

I also think a decent number of people are still taking on design projects. Or at a minimum, they are using this time to think about what they might do in the future, when times are less uncertain. 

wildwood stage to sell Ellen Kurtz
Staging Project by Ellen Kurtz Interiors

So the best way I know how to help my current and future clients is to keep doing what I do. Sharing my work on this website and on my social media pages is not only cathartic, but hopefully helpful to both me and you. 

I promise you, it’s not because I’m tone deaf to what’s going on. In fact, just the opposite! I’m with you guys, and going through the same ups and downs myself. 

So with that bit of explaining aside, I wanted to share a recent staging project of mine. I completed this one just before the coronavirus altered reality for so many of us. I guess you could call it my last dose of “normal”. Let’s take a quick tour.

Something Borrowed, Something New

This job was for clients who were looking to sell their house in Wildwood. They were still living in their home while it was on the market. So they wanted to find ways to make the space more attractive to buyers, without a major overhaul.

I’ve been eager to share this project because it shows how a stage to sell project can take many different forms. It all depends upon the client and their needs. 

In this case, the client was looking to stay within a certain budget. And that factor helped guide the direction of the staging project. Ellen Kurtz staging living great room

While I usually rent out my own furnishings and artwork when staging a home, these homeowners decided they wanted to buy a certain number of things themselves.

So they were hoping for input on those purchases, and also wanted to rent a few key pieces from my collection. They also wanted to make good use of their existing furnishings.

Yes, that’s quite a mix, and it presented a fun design challenge. But I think we came up with something that works really well and highlights all of the home’s assets. 

And again, it shows how there are many different “levels” of involvement you can choose from when opting to stage your home. 

Because I wanted to be budget conscious throughout, one thing I tried to do in every room was see what I could accomplish with a simple rearrangement of existing pieces. And while I say “simple,” it’s actually anything but — it takes a keen design eye to refresh a room in this way. 

But when it works, boy does it work. As I think it did here. 

before ellen kurtz staging

That initial design poke became my base layer, then I added extra touches as needed. 

So let’s go room by room, and see what you think.

Stage to Sell – A Subtle Difference

As you can in the “Before” and “After” shots of the great room, furniture layouts and arrangements truly do make a difference. 

Here, the client already had two chairs and a sectional that were attractive and in good shape. But because of how they were arranged, they were fighting for space and attention. 

To resolve this, I moved the sectional off to the side, to make it perpendicular to the fireplace and directly facing the two armchairs. Not only is this more conducive for conversations, but it also makes much better use of the space and balances the room. 

Then I added a rug to anchor everything and provide continuity. The ottoman, which the client already owned, also serves that purpose. 

Finally, I added a few accessories and pictures above the fireplace and between the cabinets.

Ellen Kurtz Staging Dining
Design by Ellen Kurtz Interiors

That’s really all it took. But it looks like a completely different room. 

In the dining room, we added a bit more “new.” The homeowner had sold her more traditional table and chair set on Ebay, so I offered some furnishings from my own collection.

My table and chair set is a little more modern, and has sleek lines and a crisp white fabric that brightens up the room. The console table and mirror pair beautifully together. And they balance out that crispness with a softer, more organic look.

Just off the kitchen is the hearth room. The client wanted to work with her existing loveseat and armchairs. So here again, all it took was some rearranging of furniture to add dimension and attractiveness to the room. 

I love the small prints and muted colors — this space is a breath of fresh air, especially with that view of the pond in the background.

hearth kitchen Ellen Kurtz staging
Design by Ellen Kurtz Interiors

As final touches, I helped the client find the perfect entertainment center, as well as a kitchen table set, to purchase for this space.

Stage Your Bedrooms As Well

In this house, the master bedroom is on the first floor. It is a visible and important room, so I wanted to make sure we took our staging wand to it as well.

We followed the same approach as elsewhere in the house: I rearranged some of the existing furniture and added a few new accessories and smaller pieces. And I removed a desk that just didn’t work with the overall feel of the room.

For the en suite bath, I recommended some new paint. And we also added a picture above the bathtub. 

In the walk-in closet (let’s all take a moment to ooh and ahh over the amount of space here!), I helped clear out some clutter and added a couple toss pillows for a bright accent.

Ellen Kurtz staging closet
Design by Ellen Kurtz Interiors

For the kids rooms and guest room, it was again just a matter of some subtle changes here and there. Overall, we achieved a tidier and more spacious overall look. 

In Conclusion

The moral of the story is a stage to sell project — just like all design work — doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition. I know you’ve heard me say that before, and I can’t say it enough. There are different levels of design work to suit every client, and every project. All it takes is a willingness to welcome a designer into your home. My feedback is always that — just feedback. 

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and for design daydreaming with me! Feel free to reach out with any questions. And stay safe out there.

kitchen hearth ellen kurtz staging
Design by Ellen Kurtz Interiors