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Category Archives: Home Staging

Staging your home for sale can be an important part of the preparation for selling your home. Statistics show that a home that is staged typically sells in a shorter amount of time than a home that is not staged.

Four Common Staging Mistakes

Four Common Staging Mistakes

😕4 Common Mistakes in Staging

The Most Common Staging Mistakes I See in People’s Homes –

As a Designer and a Home Stager I see a lot of things in peoples homes. I see homes in all price levels from a couple hundred thousand to a few million. There are a few design and home staging mistakes I see over and over and they are so easy to fix.


🛋Mistake #1:  Having all the furniture pushed back to the walls

Furniture pushed to walls


Even in a small room this is not always the best option. Usually something can be angled or pulled forward.

In a large room, the room actually looks smaller when all pieces are back against the walls. Plus, the room is not very cozy as the conversation area is too far apart.


Furniture pulled up away from walls


My advice is to move the furniture up and create a cozier conversation area. If the room is overly large you will need to split it into two sections.

It is okay to have furniture away from the walls. You can have it floating out into the room as long as it is anchored with an area rug, side tables and/or coffee table.

A tree or a sofa table and lamp can be added behind the furniture to draw the eye back and add height.

Pull chairs away from the walls when they are flanking a fireplace, don’t have them stuck back in the corners and touching the wall. By doing this you will actually draw even more attention to the the fireplace.


Chairs by the fireplace

Pulling furniture away from the wall is hard for many people to visualize or imagine. It is difficult to see alternatives to furniture placement, especially in your own home. You aren’t alone in this. That is why I am calling this a “common” mistake.

💡Mistake #2:  Not enough lamps

Ceiling lights do not replace the need for lamps. If you are selling your home lamps are needed to bring more light into a room, light up a dark corner and make a room cozier. Lighting from the lamps will also make a room look larger.




If you are not selling your home you need lamps to warm up a room, disperse the lightingthroughout the room and create more ambiance for entertaining.

As a general rule a living room or family room should have three lamps; placed in as close to a triangular position as possible. What a difference this will make!

As a side note, make at least two of the lamps ‘table’ lamps if possible. Floor lamps are great and are necessary in tight spaces but three floor lamps in one room is not the best.


Lamps in a Triangle


Table lamps on each side of a bed is the best way to make an impact and frame out the bed. Don’t have these lamps be too small. A secondary mistake, let’s call it #2B, is dinky little lamps by the bed. The more massive the bed the taller and beefier your lamps need to be.


Lamps by Bed

Mistake #3:  The absence of a coffee table.

A coffee table grounds the room and pulls it together. It provides the central spot of the conversation area. Besides being visually appealing it serves a purpose; it provides your guests a place to rest their beverage or for you to place snacks. It can even provide great storage within the table or hidden inside.


Coffee Table Crystal Bay


✔️A coffee table works even in a small area. A bench that is only 12″ – 18″ wide makes a great coffee table in a limited space or two cubes placed side by side also is a space saver.


Black Wicker in Sun Porch


If you have children and are worried about sharp corners, a large leather or upholstered ottomans is the way to go.

In my opinion a living area without a coffee table is an incomplete room. If feels as though something is missing and there is!


Coffee tables from ottoman

🖼Mistake #4: Artwork Hung too High

I see this all the time. Artwork most typically should be hung at eye level…..eye level for someone at about 5′4”. If you are 6′ tall the center of the artwork will be approximately shoulder level.four common staging mistakes

Artwork hung too high is kind of “hanging out there”. Pun intended 😉 . It isn’t part of the room when it is up in the rafters. You’ll be surprised what a few inches will do. The eyes come down into the room as the artwork becomes part of the room.

There are many instances where artwork may be hung even lower. An example of this would be if you have a chair with an accent table and a table lamp.

Artwork positioned in the nook of between the lamp and chair should be very low creating a vignette with the grouping.

Another example of of artwork hung lower than eye level would be on either side of a bed. You want the artwork to be part of the bedroom setting, not up high all by itself.

If you are uncertain where your artwork should be hung get someone to hold it for you and step back and take a look.

Don’t feel bad if you are making any of these mistakes. That is why they are “common”.

For more great ideas on how to finish off your space whether selling or staying, Rooms With Style Home Staging and Redesign can assist you.

Home Staging and Redesign Blog – Minneapolis / St. Paul, MN

A Guest Post from Shar Sitter

Thanks Shar for a Great Post! Really helpful tips and pictures for Sellers.

📚Additional Reading for Home Sellers:

🏡 Find out what your home may be worth

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Chris Highland
eXp Realty – 888-860-7369
Text Us: 301-401-5119

Enjoy more Articles and Inspiration on our Pinterest Board, Home Staging:

Top 15 Staging Rules For Home Sellers

Top 15 Staging Rules For Home Sellers

🏡What is the Value of Staging Your Home?

The Staging Industry has been evolving over the last 20 years, out of a series of experiences and practices. Some real estate agents offer staging services, believing it is a very important part of marketing a home. Some believe it works well in some markets and neighborhoods, but not in others. These top 15 staging rules are sure to help any seller present their home in the best possible light.

top 15 staging rules

Experienced stagers develop an intuition about staging principles, with what many believe is a subjective value to others in the real estate industry. The first objective and semi-scientific approach to measure the value of staging a home was a study from Duke University. Andrea Angott, Ph.D. , conducted a study which admittedly is a first attempt at empirically testing the theories of staging.  457 respondents rated a list of staging principles, with the reasons why the item was important. Ratings were made on a 7-point scale, from 1 = “Not at all important” to 7 = “Extremely important.”

Here are the top 15 staging rules with some practical suggestions:

#️⃣The top 15 Staging Rules:

🛀1. Remove personal items from bathrooms.

  • Used items like bars of soap, razors, and toothbrushes should be put away.
  • Common Reasons:  Many buyers feel these personal items are “disgusting”, add to the clutter, are too personal, and prevent the buyers from imagining the house as “theirs”. The bathroom is a very personal space and many buyers already feel uncomfortable. Putting away personal things helps increase their comfort level.
  • The same goes for bedrooms.

🍽2. Use rooms for their intended purpose

  • The dining room should contain dining furniture and not be used for an office, for instance.
  • Buyers can’t visualize things differently than what they see. They may not realize the intended purpose of the space.
  • Using rooms for other purposes can imply that there isn’t enough space.
Midcentury Living Room by Alameda Photographers Phil Bond Photography

🐶3. Remove evidence of pets

  • Food bowls, litter boxes, beds, toys etc.
  • Makes buyers worry about several possibilities:  lingering odors/contaminants/allergens/damage.  Buyers may imagine any of the above when none exist. Although it is hard for those of us who love our fur children to even imagine, the presence of pets can be off-putting to people who don’t like pets.

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💡4. Turn on every light in the house during showings.

  • A well-lit space is one of the least expensive, yet most powerful tool in staging. It makes the space look larger and creates a positive emotional reaction.
  • A well lit room also indicates there is nothing to hide.
Transitional Kitchen by Atlanta Kitchen & Bath Designers Rinehart Design Group Inc.
  • Make sure everything is clean, clean, clean, because the light will show every dirty spot!

🛋5. A house on the market should be furnished.

  • Empty houses feel cold, furnished houses feel warm and welcoming. Furnishings can make space seem bigger. The opposite can also be true, so be sure not to over-furnish. When you’re going to move anyway, it’s a great opportunity to start packing up while paring down at the same time.
  • Assume that buyers have no imagination. A well furnished room shows buyers how the room is used or how their belongings would fit in the space.

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👃🏽6. Remove garbage cans.

  • Trash cans are smelly, unattractive, and take up space. The presence of a trash can indicates there is no hidden space for it.

🖼7. Don’t have any personal photographs on display.

  • It’s hard for buyers to imagine the home as “theirs”. They may focus on the people who live there, rather than the home. Just like the personal items in a bathroom (or bedroom) photos can make them feel invasive.
  • Potential home buyers may be judgmental or biased. (and they might not even know it!)

⚱8. Remove art, collections or accessories

  • Especially attention-grabbing or personal items.
  • Buyers may evaluate and remember the art rather than the house. People can have a negative reaction to art or collections and transfer that to the house.
  • Valuable items should be removed for safe-keeping.

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🎨9. Paint all walls in neutral colors.

  • The smartest colors should be inoffensive, appealing to the widest population. This helps buyers imagine their own furniture and belongings in the room. Then they have less concern with matching their belongings to the walls and are free to imagine themselves in the space. Remember, neutral doesn’t have to mean white.

🍲10. Remove small appliances and kitchen clutter

  • Items like the coffee maker, toaster, etc. can add to the clutter on a kitchen counter.
  • Kitchen counters look bigger and neater without the appliances. It implies there is enough cabinet space, instead of too little.

✋11. Don’t have the back of furniture facing the entrance to a room.

  • It creates an unwelcoming, awkward traffic pattern, and interrupts the “flow”.
  • The arrangement of furniture can make a room feel smaller, unfriendly, or even too crowded. Striking a balance is the key.

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📖12. “Tell a story” with your staging.

Frederick Md Homes for Sale
Tell A Romantic Story
  • Put a breakfast tray with coffee mugs on the bed. Put candles on the bathroom soaking tub.
  • These small “mico-staging’ tips make a home feel warm and livable without being too personal. They allow buyers to make emotional connections with the house. All of these small vignettes can help buyers to imagine their life will be different in ideal ways if they lived there.

☀13. Let the Sunshine In

  • Windows should have sheer coverings or no coverings at all. You may even remove screens to let the maximum amount of sunlight in.
  • Sunlight is emotionally uplifting, makes a space feel bigger and shows off outdoor spaces.

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🕯14. Use scented candles, plug-in air fresheners, or potpourri.

  • The right scent can be warm and inviting, and mask unpleasant odors.
  • Note: many respondents to the study said that the smells should be subtle. You don’t want overpowering scents to speak louder than the house does!

👕15. Remove some of your clothes from the closets

  • Thin out the linens and items from storage closets. The same goes for your kitchen cabinets. Consider it pre-packing for your move.
Traditional Closet by Kailua General Contractors MOKULUA High Performance Builder
  •  Buyers want to know that all of their belongings are going to fit. Crowded storage spaces, no matter how large, leave the impression that there isn’t enough room.
  • Crowded storage spaces also leave an impression of untidiness. It’s always best to minimize negative impressions in any way you can, even the small ways.


‼Staging Works!

This study, although not scientific or empirical, is valuable in that it gets to the emotional and esoteric effects of each staging principle. When you see the effect on the psyche of the buyer, the value of correct staging is very persuasive.

Much of staging is creating the right appeal to as many buyers as possible. It involves a large amount of “suggestion”. These top 15 Staging Rules For Frederick Sellers will prove to be valuable when you get your home ready to sell.

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Related Articles:



Chris Highland 
eXp Realty
Frederick, Maryland
Broker:  888-860-7369

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Easy Updates for A Tired Bath

Easy Updates for A Tired Bath

🛀 Quick & Easy Bathroom Updates

If you’re thinking about updating your home, whether you want to sell in the future or not, the bathroom is a good place to start…it’s small. Whatever you are considering in the way of projects will cost less, and if the look isn’t quite right, you most likely can change it without great cost. Starting with easy updates for a tired bath will most likely get you motivated to tackle larger projects that might also be a little tired.

If you are preparing your home for sale the most important rooms to give some love are your kitchen and bathrooms. Most buyers will scrutinize these rooms, looking for updated features. The majority of today’s home buyers tend to want move-in ready. They aren’t looking for too many projects to face to make the home there own. Here are some easy steps to get started in the bathroom.

🖌 Painting the Bathroom Walls

Painting the walls is inexpensive and will provide an immediate change in the look and style of a room. Faux techniques are great to try in a small room like the bath, and if they don’t work, can be repainted the next day.

If you’re trying a new color and are unsure, the bathroom is a good place to start. A bathroom is a good place to try trendy paint colors this year, that go with your overall decor. A small dose of some colors goes a long way.

The “new neutrals” include subdued tones of many colors…neutrals go way beyond beige for today’s trends. Grey can serve as a neutral, allowing for bright-colored accents.

Important Note: Bathroom-formula paint should always be used to help prevent mold and mildew.

 🎨 Bathroom Ceilings

If you’re not ready to replace the bathroom floor, there is the next best option to consider… divert attention upwards. To get the look of old fashioned tin ceilings, there are several ceiling tile wallpapers available which are paintable. This textured wallpaper gives the impression of embossed plaster and will keep visitors looking up.

Ceiling TilesAnother option is a ceiling-sized stencil, some paint and crown molding, to create a one-of-a-kind ceiling space. Ceiling tiles and panels are also an affordable way to add style and interest.

Staying at ceiling level, a space-saving addition to consider is a narrow shelf over the doorway, just wide enough to hold extra rolls of toilet paper. A six-inch deep shelf can be supported directly on the door frame, held in place by a small bracket. You can use wall shelves to house decorative items that take up too much space on the vanity.

👣 Bathroom Flooring

Even with a new ceiling, the bathroom floor can’t hide forever. Wood floors are a popular option in most homes today, but homeowners shy away from wood floors in a wet environment such as a bath. Fortunately, it’s possible to have both the warm look of wood and the durability of vinyl today. Vinyl planks are available from most home supply stores and come with textured finishes that bathroom updates

Vinyl Planks – BobVila.comsimulate real wood. Finishes include oak, maple, bamboo and other exotic woods. Cost can range from $1 to $4 per sq. ft., and the small size of the room makes it possible to lay a new floor in a day or two.

If the vinyl floor is looking tired and worn out, a coat of paint and five to six applications of polyurethane can give a floor a whole new look. To do the job, first prime the floor with a specialty primer. You can use a stencil to mimic a tile pattern or to create a border.

One decorator has experimented with using brown paper bags to create the look of leather or stone on a bathroom floor. She suggests tearing off irregular pieces of bag, gluing them to the floor and topping with four to six coats of polyurethane.

If you have funds for something more, there are a number of manufactured wood products that are designed specifically for the bathroom. Ceramic, stone, porcelain and manufactured stone products are more affordable when you consider the square footage is small…it could be just the place to splurge!

See 2018 Bathroom Trends

📏 Small Changes in the Bathroom

Even a change as small as replacing hardware can give a bathroom a much needed lift. Toilet handles, cabinet handles, and door hardware Frederick Md Real Estateand towel racks can all shine brightly and give the bathroom some sparkle. Incidentally, If your bathroom is still sporting the 80’s brass look, you’ll certainly want to give it back to that decade!

You can even change the hardware and trim on a shower stall from gold to a trendier color, and without removing doors or other shower hardware. You can use 220-grit sandpaper, steel wool and elbow grease, for starters. Once the hardware has been thoroughly scraped, apply spray-on automobile primer. Metallic spray paint in black or another color goes on last. You can even use this technique for shower fixtures.

Simple things like a new toilet seat and faucets are relatively easy and inexpensive fixes. Along the same line, a new or refinished bathroom mirror will add focal interest, reflect light and won’t flush the budget down the drain.

💡 Bathroom Lighting

Lighting is a quick and easy update to accomplish. Any big box store will have a lot of contemporary light fixtures to choose from, at an affordable price. Keep in mind the various task lighting that is necessary in the bathroom and don’t be afraid to “light it up”.

Today’s decorating trends emphasize creating a spa-like atmosphere in the bathroom. With that in mind, you can certainly add a touch of glamour with a lamp or even a chandelier, if it fits with your decor and style. A small touch of luxury goes a long way in a room like a bathroom.

🚰 Painting Your Vanity

If your vanity is in good shape, but just a little dated, you can try your hand at painting it to give the bathroom an update. There are many ways to paint a vanity, depending on the material.

Chalk Paint is all the rage, and many find that it’s ease of use and the lack of prep required make it a great alternative. It’s relatively easy to get exactly the look you want, whether its an antiqued look, a shabby chic style, or a modern finish. You just have to make sure you use the proper top coat to keep the moisture at bay.

Check out my Pinterest Board for Chalk Paint Tips and Tricks:

Follow The Highland Group’s board Chalk Paint Tricks and Tips on Pinterest.



🧖 Updated Decor and Accessories

Fresh new towels and bathroom decor can make a big difference for such a small investment. You can quickly and easily breath new life into a tired bathroom with some shiny and bright candles, small artworks for the walls, and a stylish new soap dispenser set. Even a beautiful new trash can will add to the aesthetic!


Thanks to our favorite home inspector, David Goldberg, for an excellent guest article. It’s great advice for some easy updates for a tired bath.

David Goldberg –  Home Inspector

Reliable Home Services
ASHI Member #101584
MD License #29322

*          *          *          *          *
If You have a remodeling project in mind, contact us for a list of professionals we’re proud to recommend.

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quick and easy updates for the bathroom

Decorating Trend Forecast for Today’s Homeowners

Decorating Trend Forecast for Today’s Homeowners

Decorating Trends 2018

Whether you are thinking of selling your home in the near future and are looking for ways to update your home, or whether you’re going to stay put for a while, all homeowners enjoy staying in the know about decorating trends. The decorating trend forecast for today’s homeowners shows how home decor is increasingly influenced by our busy lifestyles.

Everyone wants to be comfortable in their nest, and that often includes decorating in colors and styles that reflect who they are. Whether you put a lot of thought into your decor, or whether you do a quick makeover, whether you use what you have accumulated over the years, or whether you love to purchase an entire new look, this decorating trend forecast has something for you!

🖼 Decorating Trend Forecast for Today’s Homeowners

According to Elle Decor, House Beautiful, Houzz, Ikea and, HGTV, we’re getting some relief from the obsession with grey in the coming year. We’ll be seeing a continuation of some of the recent styles and colors, including grey, if not so much of it. We’ll also see some new colors and combinations. Sometimes the first clue about next year’s decorating trends are seen on the runways of Fashion Week in New York! (For clues, ladies will be interested to know that Fashion Week in New York takes place every February.) Here are the trends to watch for:

🔹 Minimalism Gets an Update

 Minimalism has been a growing trend for several years. As our lives get more complicated, it seems we’re looking for our homes to be more simplified, less cluttered. Minimalism this year will be less structured and softer than we’ve seen in the past.

Simplicity in design is about mindful living and creating an environment to disconnect and recharge. Soft, washed neutrals, greens and pale pinks are examples of popular combinations that accomplish this look. Color palettes like these are all about swapping contrast for color harmony. It’s not so much about the perfect color scheme as it is about the organic blend.

🎨 Color Trends for 2018

Every fall many paint manufacturers and decorating gurus announce the Color of the Year for the coming year.

“Greige” became a popular neutral last year, as people have been moving from warm colors to cool colors over the last decade. Greige is a mix of gray and beige, and as it bridges the two colors, it tends to go with a variety of tones. Sandstone Tint (441-2DB) is Dutch Boy’s Color of the Year. This shade is part of Dutch Boy’s “Quest” palette, which helpfully puts together eight colors that coordinate nicely:
decorating trends 2018

Gray is still the most popular neutral shade. It’s classic and chic, and goes well with everything. It also works well with today’s simplistic styles as it is often considered calming. It also is agreeable to both genders. But even so, there are a lot of different gray tones from which to choose. How to choose the right gray? Debbie Gartner, a.k.a. The Flooring Girl, has written a nice guide to choosing a gray paint color, What are the Most Popular Shades of Gray Paint?

Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year is Red HotCaliente AF-290. With today’s minimalistic, simplified decor the trend, it makes sense to introduce vibrant colors to keep the overall look from being boring. Whether it’s the front door, the wall, the area rug or a dramatic mid-century modern chair, this red really pops. It’s versatile and fits with any style. And you don’t need a lot of it. (the following images are from Elle Decor)

caliente color of the year



Sherwin Williams Color of the Year is Oceanside, a deep jewel tone that is somewhere between teal and turquoise:

oceanside color of the year


Behr’s Color of the Year is a similar blue-green mash-up, but much milder. In the Moment, T18-15:

behr in the moment color of the year


Dunn Edwards is following suit with it’s own blue-green color, The Green Hour DET 544. (Quick nerd fact – It comes from turn-of-the-century Paris, when 5 o’clock became known as “The Green Hour” due to the popularity of the spirit absinthe.) According to Dunn Edwards, greens are trending all over the world in 2018. It would appear so from these three similar shades.

the green hour, color of the year


Black is the new Neutral in 2018. PPG Porter Paints color of the year 2018 is a faded black called Black Flame, a more elegant version of black. It’s really a sophisticated dark, dark charcoal that makes a great backdrop that beautifully highlights your furniture and other decor. Black is probably the most versatile color; it goes well with every decor style.

black flame color of the year


⚖ Neutrals in Today’s Decorating Trends

In modern decorating, neutrals are no longer just beige and white. Neutrals next year will include shades of green, as many people favor the eco-friendly feel.  pink and coral; lavender; clay; taupe; and pale blues and greens. .Grey is still the hottest neutral, according to House Beautiful. The combination of soft grey walls, charcoal doors or trim, and a whitish-grey ceiling is going to be very popular, and a good background for any color combination chosen for furniture and decor. Any light pastel is considered a neutral, especially blues and greens.

Neutrals are favored especially in larger purchases like cars, sofas or carpet. “For those big-ticket items, we’ll make the safer choice such as neutrals, from rich gray to camel,” says Emily Kiker Morrow, Director of Color, Style and Design at Shaw Industries. “We’re using trendier colors, like acid green or amethyst, as accent pieces.”

For lots of ideas and inspiration on how to decorate with these trending colors, check out Karen’s Pinterest Boards:


Follow The Highland Group’s board Oceanside on Pinterest.

Chalky Black

 Follow The Highland Group’s board Black on Pinterest.


 Follow The Highland Group’s board Green on Pinterest.

Red Hot

Follow The Highland Group’s board Red on Pinterest.


Color Palettes – As you can see, there are so many colors to choose from next year. Decorating trends for today’s homeowners are full of variety and choice, whether we’re talking about colors, styles, furniture, curtains or fixtures. It really seems that the color combinations are the thing to pay attention to if you want to update your home’s look. Whether you like bold colors, like Red Hot!, or soft muted colors, like The Green Hour, Simplicity and Minimalism are the modern aesthetic. No matter which way your decorating tastes lean, choosing the complementing colors is the key to having a winning look.


🎀 Fixtures and Finishes for Home Decorating in 2018

Style Trends .

  1. Simplicity – Scandinavian style is trendy now, as it is the epitome of simplicity. The trend  includes airy, spacious rooms, less cluttered and more straightforward. As our lives become more cluttered, we all seem to want our spaces seem to move the other direction. Hide-Away storage pieces are more in demand as more people are opting for smaller, but smarter spaces. .
  2. Mid-Century Modern – Thanks in part to the television show “Mad Men” this style has become popular in the last few years. It spanned a period of about 2 1/2 decades from the mid-1940’s to 1970. Many are attracted to the simplicity and clean lines of mid-century modern furniture, accessories and decor. A few iconic pieces can work well with any room. This furniture also mixes well with other styles, like today’s industrial looks..
  3. Hand-Made is in style, including crafts from other cultures. Recycling is big including crafty DIY decor.. A touch of hand-made will cross all kinds of styles. .
  4. Nature-Inspired – Natural elements are still a big part of modern decorating and will continue to be next year. Including plants, wood, stained wood, bone and horns, leather, baskets and natural stone,  granite, and marble is a trend that crosses all styles, from modern to vintage and everything in-between. Botanical prints, and large floral prints are in style for art, furniture, window coverings and even wall paper. .
  5. The New Modern – What we define as modern changes throughout the years. Modern decor includes a fusion of styles, including ethnic patterns, geometric patterns, rustic and natural elements, organic and eco-friendly touches, and the addition of hand-made items, especially items from different cultures. Eclectic is the New Modern..
  6. Geometric Design – Bold and subtle geometric patterns will be seen in wall paper, upholstered furniture, window treatments and rugs next year. One piece can really spice up a living space. decorating trends 2018
  7. Floral is Everywhere – Large floral designs on wallpaper, curtains, pillows. It’s huge!
  8.  Metallics – Golden, metallic hues will be seen a lot on all finishes, furniture, and appliances in 2018. Warm metallics like rose gold, brass, and copper provide a sense of luxe and are lasting.  These hues also pair really well with a wide range of styles and colors.
  9. Textures – As decorating trends toward minimalism and simplicity, many designers are turning toward adding lots of texture to create interest and keep minimalism from become boring. Adding elements like faux fur, baskets or rattan items, sculpted fabrics and rugs, wood, or even just multi-textured pillows are great ways to add interest. My favorite texture trend this year…
  10. Velvet – The fashion runways are full of velvet. a touch of velvet The same is true for design and decorating. Velvet is hot in 2018. Velvet is luxurious and you only need a touch of it. You can start with throw pillows to test it out. It’s also cozy, so go ahead and go big with a velvet couch or chair. Velvet is also a great way to add a vibrant color to your neutral backdrop.


🌷 Outdoor Rooms 

Outdoor Rooms Add Living Space. The trend to create comfortable, colorful and engaging outdoor rooms will continue in the near future. Today’s buyers are looking for homes that maximize living space in a smaller but smarter home. Buyers are looking for ample storage as well as livable floor plans. Outdoor rooms add living space without adding to the square footage. They are a “bonus” room that doesn’t need to be heated or cooled, and they don’t have to break the budget. See more inspiration on our Pinterest Board:

Outdoor Rooms

Follow The Highland Group’s board Outdoor Rooms on Pinterest. .

👣 Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood floors are still wildly popular, no matter what style your home is. Hardwood floors add value to a home, compared to many other flooring types. There are so many more choices than there were even a decade ago. Dark hardwoods have been surging in popularity for a few years. How to know which is the best choice for your home? My friend Debbie Gartner has all the info you need to not only make smart decisions about hardwood floors, but to best care for them.

For much more great information about choosing and caring for your hardwood floors, be sure to explore Debbie’s blog.

📚 Related Articles

🏰 Why Home Sellers Should Care About Decorating Trends

Getting your home ready for the market includes some very practical steps, like repairs and replacement of broken items and systems, lots of cleaning and certainly de-cluttering. But part of the process involves some psychology, the psychology of using decor to appeal to buyers.

Preparing your home to appeal to the largest number of buyers includes some smart and careful staging. Staging works well when you add elements of what is hot in decor. Small touches of the latest decor trends suggest to savvy buyers that your home is updated…and probably well cared for. Incorporating decorating trends may be just what is needed to make your home more salable.

Staging Your Home for Sale . If you are thinking of selling your home, consider a fresh coat of paint in some contemporary neutral shade from a contemporary color palette. A few touches of the new color palettes in the furniture, window coverings or occasional pieces, some touches of wood or trendy metals, and you can have a great new look that appeals to today’s buyers. Happy Decorating! .

Contact Us for Staging and Best Advice for Selling Your Frederick Home

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Chris Highland, Broker eXp Realty Maryland
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The decorating trends forecast was written by Karen Highland, blogger and licensed agent in Central Maryland.

Easy Ways to Improve Your Home’s Appeal

Easy Ways to Improve Your Home’s Appeal

Once you have gotten your home ready for the market, with all the necessary repairs and cleaning, once it’s staged and photos and video has been taken, some final tweeks might help put your home above the competition. Staging a home for sale has proven to be effective in making that home more appealing to buyers. Here are a few tips I’ve jotted down as we spend time with buyers looking at homes.

Easy Ways to Improve Your Home’s Appeal to Buyers

Making your home more appealing to buyers by paying attention to the “feels” of your home will pay off. What do I mean by the “feels”? Think about things that will appeal to the emotions and senses of prospective buyers:

1.  Make people feel at home. Choose a few areas of your home to pay special attention to in your staging:

  • Put a centerpiece on a brightly lit dining room table with attractive table wear, placemats  and napkins.
  • Fresh flowers are so welcoming. Plants are a warm addition to most rooms and also serve to clean the air. Even a simple bowl with blossoms is easy to do, and brings the beauty of the outdoors inside. flower arrangements
  • If you have a soaking tub or jetted tub, highlight it with pretty candles and attractive bottles of bubble bath. Play up the benefits of a spa-like experience.
  • If you have a cozy nook, turn on a reading light next to an armchair with an open book on the seat.
  • Thin out your closet of off-season clothes. Buyers want to know that storage is not a problem.
  • Dress your bed attractively with lots of comfy pillows. Make your linens non-fussy and not overly feminine.
  • Clear the kitchen counter except for some pretty canisters and an open cookbook. Again, buyers want to see space.staging tips
  • Keep the curtains open and the lights on to make the home bright. You may consider removing screens to let in even more light. Turn on all the lights at night, including the front walkway and entryway.
  • Don’t forget to decorate the outdoor rooms and create a welcoming area. Outdoor rooms add living space.

Make Your Home Appeal to All the Senses

2.  Keep all of the 5 senses in mind:

  • Make the home smell good by baking cookies or bread just before your showing. Use candles, but make sure they aren’t overbearing.
  • During the time your home is on the market, refrain from cooking with pungent ingredients, like curry and garlic. Odors can linger long afterwards, and can be off-putting to some buyers.make your home more appealing
  • Maintain a comfortable temperature for visitors. When your home is on the market, it’s not the time to worry about the electric bill. While you don’t want buyers to sweat while they tour your home, you also don’t want the rushing out to get a winter coat, either.
  • Keep the air dust-free by changing filters often. As the light is beaming through the windows, make sure that there aren’t wafts of dust floating and making people sneeze.
  • Accent the season with flowers and wreaths in Spring, a basket of pine cones in Winter, Fall foliage in vases, etc. Find ways to bring the outdoors in no matter what the season. Natural elements are appealing and comforting.
  • Keep quiet, relaxing music playing in the background during a showing.

Make Your Home Appeal to A Buyer’s Imagination

3.  Help buyers imagine themselves living in your home.

  • De-clutter. This will go a long way in helping buyers to envision their belongings in your home.
  • De-personalize. Remove most of your family photos and personal items. The buyers will feel less invasive as they tour your home.
  • Keep pets out of the way and put away food and pet supplies. Some buyers are allergic or not animal lovers.
  • Put away personal bathroom items. De-personalizing private spaces can be challenging, but results in helping a buyer feel more comfortable.

Related Articles: Getting Your Home Read for the Market, Getting Your Home Ready Part 2, 15 Staging Rules, What are the most Important Things to Do to Ready My home for the Market?

The Highland Group
eXp Realty
Frederick, Md 21701

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Using Fresh Flowers to Stage Your Home for Sale

Using Fresh Flowers to Stage Your Home for Sale

Tips for Fresh Flowers

Homes for Sale in Frederick Md
Many real estate agents recommend staging your home when you put it on the market for sale. Showing the home in it’s best light, highlighting the stand-out features, and showing buyers the best use of your space…all these are benefits of staging. Using fresh flowers to stage your home will add a touch of luxe.
[We have several resources with great information in our Staging Category]

Using Fresh Flowers to Stage Your Home

Frederick gardeners, you know you’ve had enough of the drab days of winter when you find yourself out in the yard, in the dark with a flashlight scanning the beds, in search of the first hint of green pushing through the thawing crust of earth. You know you are making the most of the bursting of spring when you keep your garden clippers next to the door…any opportunity to bring in the beauty.

My friend Barbara is a Master Gardener in Maryland. She has provided me with a super list of flowers that would be perfect to arrange and display in your home, whether you’re staging and selling, or just want to enjoy the beauty of fresh flower. Flowers make your living spaces so friendly and welcoming, and add a touch of luxury.

Here are some of Barbara’s best tips to get the most out of your fresh flowers:

  • Spring bulbs are best when they get a simple dunk in a vase filled with cool water, kept fresh with a teaspoon of household bleach and a pinch or two of sugar.
  • Change the water every few days—or sooner if the water looks murky. The best method – rather than pulling the bouquet from the vase to change the water, simply hold the vase and flowers under the tap and flush till the water in the vase is clear.
  • Use clippers — not scissors. Scissors will crush the stems and impede the uptake of water. Be sure to strip away all foliage below the water line. Warm water perks up wilted flowers; hot water (110 degrees Fahrenheit) stands up floppy stems. And if you want to triple the shelf life of your bouquet, tuck the flowers in the fridge or a cool corner of the cellar (40 degrees Fahrenheit) for a good six hours before putting them out for show.
  • Branches and very thick stems do best with a vertical snip to soak up more water.

It doesn’t matter whether you cut them straight from the garden or pick up a bunch at the supermarket or your favorite flower shop. However, if you do cut from the garden, it’s best to cut in the morning, once the dew has dried. That’s when the stems are at their sturdiest, and filled with moisture, giving you the best chance for a longer show.


When to harvest: When most of the flowers on the stem are open.
Vase life: 7 to 10 days.
Special attention: These beauties need nothing but a quick snip and time to inhale their lovely scent.

Grape hyacinth (Muscari)
When to harvest: When blooms are half open.
Vase life: 5 to 7 days.
Special attention: None. That’s what I like!



NarcissusWhen to harvest: When fully open is best, though it’s lovely to have a spectrum of buds to blooms.
Vase life: 6 to 9 days—if you precondition (see below).
Special attention: Narcissi ooze a toxic sap, keep away from animals and babies; to keep from knocking off other blooms, pre-soak in cool water about six hours before adding to your mixed bouquet. If you have room, tuck in the fridge for the pre-soak. You don’t need floral preservative, but be vigilant about changing the water.


A little Mythology:  Narcissus, of Greek mythology, was the son of the river god Cephissus and the nymph Liriope, known for his unmatched beauty. He was proud of his beauty and had disdain for those who loved him. Nemesis, the goddess of vengeance, noticed this behavior and attracted Narcissus to a pool, where he saw his own reflection in the water and fell in love with it, not realizing it was merely an image. Unable to leave the beauty of his reflection, Narcissus drowned. The flower grew in his place.


When to harvest: When entire bud is flush with color.
Vase life: 6 to 10 days.
Special attention: Curious bloomers, tulips will grow one to two inches even after they’re cut. So keep that in mind if you’re designing an arrangement and scale matters. Also, tulips will bend toward the sunlight, so be sure to twirl the vase often, unless you want leaning blooms.


Ranunculus or Buttercup


using fresh flowers in stagingWhen to harvest: As soon as buds show color.
Vase life: 5 to 7 days.
Special attention: None.

There are different varieties of Ranunculus, some full of petals, like peonies, some are petit with as few as five petals.

Fun Trivia: The Princess Bride  was Robin Wright's first film, playing Princess Buttercup, after acting in the soap opera "Santa Barbara" for four years. The film is number 50 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies".


Sometimes called Corn Lily.
When to harvest: As soon as you can see a touch of color on some buds.
Vase life: 10 days to two weeks, even longer.
Special attention: None.


peonyWhen to harvest: Once the bud is showing bright color, and petals can be seen.
Vase life: 5 to 8 days.
Special attention: As soon as you cut, place stems in warm water to increase water uptake. Be sure to shake off ants before bringing these perfumed beauties inside.




Also: evening stock and night-scented stock
When to harvest: When half the flowers on the stem are open.
Vase life: 7 to 10 days.
Special attention: If you remember to keep recutting the stems, you can add an extra three days to the vase life.

Virginia Bluebells

Virginia BluebellsWhen to harvest: As soon as a few bells are open.
Vase life: 2 to 4 days, at best.
Special attention: A six-hour stay in the refrigerator is essential if you want these beauties to last past the next morning. They’ll do best if you trim either all the leaves, or all the flowers, going with one or the other on each stem.



Fresh flowers add beauty and aroma to your home, as well as a welcoming touch. For more inspiration: A favorite resource many gardener’s turn to is Suzy Bales’ Garden Bouquets and Beyond. These bouquet suggestions are full of flowers that are built to withstand sleet, snow, raging winds and whatever springtime in Maryland brings. Sturdy flowers that don’t require too much primping and fussing are perfect for a busy homeowner… and for the home seller.



Thanks Barbara, for your expert help! Contact Us for more tips on selling your Frederick MD Home. 201-401-5119.

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A Neutral Color Palette in Home Staging

A Neutral Color Palette in Home Staging

Staging Your Home For Sale With Neutral Colors

“Paint Your Home in Neutrals” … Good advice for staging your home for  sale. What is a neutral color palette in home staging? Before you get a mental picture of your entire home painted like the desert sand, consider the idea that “neutral” isn’t limited to white and beige.

a neutral color palette in home staging
A Neutral Color Palette in Home Staging

After consulting with home stagers for several years, I’ve picked up some basics about decorating a home to appeal to buyers. The colors potential buyers see when they enter your home should be neutral so that they won’t be distracted by your personal style. They should be able to picture their own belongings in your home.

Using neutrals can mean more than white and beige, there are many subtle colors that can enhance the look of a room, and thereby enhance the buyers experience. Rich neutral hues can include many tinted soft colors, like these Benjamen Moore colors:neutral colors

A tinted neutral can add to the feel of a room in changing light. It can also play on the colors of your decorating themes.  A low-sheen paint will help hide imperfections in the drywall. The more glossy the paint, the more it stands out.

You can paint the moldings the same color as the wall to add to the illusion of height. Or, you can use color to highlight architectural details of your home. By painting the moldings a different shade, or a higher gloss, you can make them stand out.

Style and Color in Home Staging

Gray is the New Black

a neutral color palette in home staging

[Eclectic Living Room by San Juan Capistrano Closet & Home Storage Designers Tara Bussema]

Gray is a color that works well with modern decorating. Gray is clean, soothing, and appeals to both genders. According to color psychology, gray is the color of compromise and cooperation, an un-emotional color. It makes a great choice for a neutral shade when staging a contemporary space.

Gray walls are perfect to add a pop of accent color:

a neutral color palette in home staging

[Contemporary Bedroom by Other Metro Media and Bloggers Michelle Hinckley]


Sunshine Infused Neutrals

Colors infused with yellow, the color that evokes cheerfulness and hope, A Neutral color palette in home staginginclude:

  • Butter
  • Cream, Beiges and Barley
  • Lemon Sorbet – The Color of the Year for 2013 —->

Bringing Nature Inside

A Neutral color palette in home staging

[Traditional Kitchen by Odessa] 

Green hues are great for bringing a bit of the natural world inside. A blue-green shade can evoke a coastal or beach aura in a room. Blue and green hues are soothing and relaxing and are traditionally great for bedrooms.

Kitchens and Living Rooms can also benefit from a wash of green or blue. Sometimes a busy room can be calmed with the addition of blue or green tinted neutral walls.

a neutral color palette in home staging

[Traditional Dining Room by Little Rock Interior Designers & Decorators Cobblestone & Vine]

Playing with Energy

a neutral color palette in home staging

Red hues bring up the energy in a room. But painting in all-out fire-engine red is risky. Not very many rooms can handle this color, much less buyers. But you can use a tinted neutral to bring energy to a room. These rooms use a bit of the color, creating a peach hue that plays with the natural light, adding to the drama and energy:

 [Contemporary Bedroom by Other Metro Interior Designers & Decorators Mikel Irastorza]

The natural hues of wood features and stone fireplaces and walls can be enhanced by the subtle shades of neutrals painted on the walls.

a neutral color palette in home staging

[Traditional Living Room by Middletown Design-Build Firms Lancaster Craftsmen Builders Inc.]

Textured paint adds depth and richness to neutral paints that otherwise might appear flat. This textured paint is great in a small space, and goes a long way with a subtle paint shade.

a neutral color palette in home staging

[Traditional Bathroom by Silver Spring Interior Designers & Decorators Designing Solutions]

Additional Reading: Four Common Home Staging Mistakes

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