New Year-New Room

New Attitude

Now that you’ve put away the holiday décor, it’s the perfect time for redesigning your space, whether it’s one room or the whole house. Don’t go back to your tired old look just because it’s easy. You deserve a change and here are a few tips to make it easy:

Paint provides the most bang for the buck. I am amazed at how many homes still have mustard yellow walls. The Tuscan look has come and gone several times over. Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams have chosen shadow gray and poised taupe as the 2017 colors of the year. If you’ve already updated with these neutrals you are in vogue for the new year.


2017 Color of the Year

Gray tones remain strong. Sherwin Williams is a lighter tone suitable for walls or furniture. Benjamin Moore’s Shadow would be a fantastic color for kitchen cabinets.

Re-arranging furniture can provide a completely different feel to a room. Don’t forget to de-clutter while you’re at it. Everyone, myself included, tends towards ‘collecting’. Over the years, even if it’s only souvenirs from favorite vacations, the tchotchkes add up. After de-cluttering, identify a focal point and arrange around it. A focal point may be a fireplace or another architectural feature or it may be an appealing view of the backyard. Group furniture in conversation groups, not facing the television set.

If your flooring is dated consider a new rug. If it’s really dated, and you can’t change it, consider a large rug. Cover the entire floor leaving only 15 inches along the edges. No one will notice the ugly tile now.

Geometric rug and colorful pillows add pops of color.

This fireplace is quite the focal point of the room. Where’s the tv? The rug adds another design element. It is large enough to cover the dated orangey wood floors.

Swapping out accessories can change the entire look and feel of a space, especially artwork. Go big! Many people hang small pictures all over the place. One large piece of artwork is much more dramatic. Hang it at eye level, approx. 60 inches. There are a lot of jolly green giants out there. If you  have lots of small pictures that you love, group them together. Sometimes, creating this look is challenging. To fashion the lay-out, you may want to cut out paper templates the same size as your artwork. Try arranging the templates on your floor first; then, move on to the wall. Remember to use painter’s tape and wear your patience hat. This may take awhile.

An easy change is adding colorful pillows  to create a fresh new look. Finally, HomeGoods has pillows that aren’t seasonal. First it was Halloween, then Christmas. They will be beach-themed soon, so hurry in.

A few new accessory purchases can make a big difference. In staging, we often transform a dated interior to a more current style simply by replacing accessories and artwork. We’ll do this for you, too!

Colorful pillows can change the look of a room in no time. Blue yesterday, Gray today. It’s fun to change pillows seasonally.

Unity may be the single most important design element. A unified design scheme will flow from room to room making the house seem larger and more comfortable, less chaotic. Choice of color and style should be consistent throughout the main living areas of the house. Of course, kids rooms are often the exception and that’s okay. This too shall pass. Use your own judgement. Look over your design and ask yourself if everything belongs together. Choose furniture and accessories of the same style and repeat your accent colors in each room. If you plan on selling your home, this is especially important. When each room is a different color and style, the whole house appears choppy, and disorganized. Not a very desirable marketing plan.

And last, the most important rule of all…

Billy Baldwin, dean of interior decorators, sums it up best.


Don’t have the time or desire to do this yourself? We can help. Many interior redesigns can be accomplished in an afternoon for a very reasonable cost.

Please call us at 407-493-9177 or email. We look forward to a stylish New Year.



Interior design by Better Homes and Gardens

The ABC’s of Arranging Bookcases

Clutter is the number one issue I address while staging occupied homes. Most people simply have too much stuff. Trust me, I’m an authority on this. My grandparents were antique dealers so I have collecting in my genes.

typical bookcase before staging

Bookcases seem to be a particular problem. They collect all sorts of ‘stuff’, most of which could be thrown away. There is a point here, somewhere… say “NO” to clutter.


Apply the Rule of Threes for arranging a bookcase…1/3 books, 1/3 decorative objects and art, and 1/3 blank space, breathe!

This rule is only a guide, but it really works. Use it as your starting point.


bookcase by Up To Date Interiors

Don’t under-estimate the importance of the blank space.


When I’m staging a bookcase, I usually begin by emptying it completely. Then I add books back first, in a zig-zag pattern with the largest books at the end, moving down in size towards the center. For more interest, place some books vertically, others horizontally with something pretty sitting on top.

arranging bookcases on HGTV

Zig Zag the books. Put something pretty on top.


The books build the foundation. Now, you can fill in with your collections.  In Florida it’s especially easy to decorate using items saved from beach vacations.

beach themed bookcase by HGTV for Coastal Living

This bookcase by HGTV for Coastal Living offers a subtle nod to the beach.


If you’re not a shell-collector, it’s really easy to purchase coastal themed decor. The books with sea life covers are often available as sets at HomeGoods. Reader’s Digest Condensed Books (bottom shelf) are a great fill-in. These books can be purchased at the Seminole County Library-Casselberry Branch bookstore for 50 cents each. The place to shop when you’re trying to fill a large bookcase.

Of course, there are many other ways to organize your collections. By color…

IKEA storage bins and bookcase

This IKEA bookcase is not only affordable, it’s practical too. The bins offer lots of hidden storage. Well, mostly hidden.


Or go neutral by adding elements from nature.

elle decor's bookcase design

For a little excitement, consider wallpapering the back of the bookcase.

IKEA bookcase decorated for Women's Day by Eddie Ross

This is IKEA’s Billy bookcase styled by Eddie Ross for Woman’s Day.

Or simply paint it…

IKEA bookcase

Another IKEA bookcase, painted by Glitter Guide.

When you have two identical bookcases such as either side of a fireplace, they need to speak to each other. Marry the objects.

blending decor on multiple bookcases Not necessarily identical, but coordinating.

Three bookcases are especially challenging. It’s always helpful to use artwork since it takes up a lot of space and coordinating pictures are easy to find. Bookcases on either end somewhat duplicate one another while the center one is different, but  complementary. I prefer this look over a bookcase full of, what else, books. Much prettier and much more interesting, unless of course it’s in a library. I stage so many libraries?

Leah Hennen 's decorating tips for bookcasesNow it’s your turn. Think outside the box. There’s only one really important rule…

Your bookcase should reflect YOU.

Phoebe Howard decorates a coffee table for Southern Living

Heaven, Sky & Earth, An Easy Approach to Decorating

During staging school we were taught the Heaven, Sky & Earth principle of arranging table tops. This concept was so simple it stuck with me. You’ve heard the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle before, right… case in point. Heaven, Sky & Earth simply means you need three heights to your arrangement; the tallest item is Heaven, middle is Sky and the lowest object is Earth. Odd numbers of groupings work well together.

Arranging Accessories

In this example, the lamp is Heaven, the bunny picture is Sky, and the basket with books is Earth.



Heaven, Sky & Earth translates into Lamp, Flowers & Books, presented by Kerry Hanson Design. The dogs don’t count, but they are beautiful.


Coffee table with flowers

Books are my standard go-to item. Arrange them in stacks of 2 or more. Largest on the bottom. Top them off with something decorative.


Decorating coffee table

Keep heights low enough so you can talk with friends across the table.

Of course, a larger coffee table can handle more items. Sometimes I use a grid system dividing the table into four sections. A very simple approach is to add groups of books to each of the four grids. Trays make a good base layer to define a large horizontal space and corral the accessories. This is where an odd number of groupings usually looks best.

Coffee table with books and a tray.

Books and a tray, voila, you’re done.


The third and final element is texture which often translates into adding something from nature. It’s fun to make seasonal swap outs. In the summer you may enjoy fresh flowers, shells, or coral; whereas, Christmas balls or greenery would be more appropriate during the winter months. Another option would be something vintage or unique to start a conversation.

decorating a coffee table with flowers and books

Hydrangeas are blooming. It must be spring!


Succulents are an excellent option if you’d rather not deal with fresh flowers.

Heaven, Sky  & Earth

It’s pretty simple.


tiffany-eastman- labeled

The perfect combination of all three elements

And the most important tip of all… don’t forget to leave room for feet. Or beverages, preferably not at the same time.

B Staged does restyling. Let us create the perfect tabletop for you!



Christmas Decorations

A House Divided

No, it’s not Gators vs FSU, that’s too obvious. Well, maybe not so obvious this year… or last…or…

It’s dressy vs casual, neutral vs colorful, sparkly vs natural. I need multiple houses to decorate. Well, ‘need’ would be an exaggeration. Since that’s not happening, I’ve come up with a solution, at least in regards to Christmas decorating. Formal spaces get the bling, gold and silver sparkles. Fun spaces get the color, big and bold accents mixed with nature. Best of both worlds. Let’s tour the two dining areas in our house. There’s really three, but we’ll ignore the family room sofa for now.


I love the bling!

The dining room chandelier may be the sparkliest of all. Is that a word? If not, it should be. I like the sparkle so much I’ve left it up since last year. Sure makes Christmas decorating easy.

Can you find the birds?


Here’s one.


And the paper poinsettias.

And paper poinsettias.

And last, but not least, silver branches with berries.

Last, but not least, silver branches with berries.

All of these decorations were inexpensive and readily available. The birds and paper poinsettias are from HomeGoods. The silver branches with berries are from Lowes.

Our very own Christmas tree farm, trees of varying sizes and species.


DR buffet largest file

It even snowed!


The little houses throughout the dining room light up. This one is from Pottery Barn.

The little houses light up. This one is from Pottery Barn.

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If you like decorating for Christmas, but need some ideas. Who doesn’t? You may enjoy my blog, Christmas Decorations, Easy As One, Two, Three which provides step-by-step instructions for making Christmas snow terrariums and lanterns. A ten minute project that’s easy and fun.

You know I love dishes. The china cabinet houses white china mixed with silver platters, gifts from Grandma.

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Another light up house from Pottery Barn.

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The pink and green trees are new this year, a nod to baby Bri. I made this terrarium for her and had to have one for myself as well. Same way I Christmas shop, one for you and one for me. Works out quite well.

Bought too many trees. Couldn’t resist, they were 60% off at JoAnn’s.

IMG_5979large file

Ok, back to dishes. Here’s a neutral table setting for the dining room. Of course, we must have a traditional, red and green table. It’s in the breakfast room.


Now, Christmas in the kitchen, where we really eat.


We use these casual Christmas dishes for many meals beginning the day after Thanksgiving.

We use these casual Christmas dishes for many meals beginning the day after Thanksgiving. The centerpiece changes all the time. Sometimes it’s greenery, sometimes it’s a lantern, sometimes it’s actually food.

You may remember the placemats and napkin rings from my fall blog. The dinner plate is the Emma pattern from Pottery Barn. The patterned salad plates are from Target several years ago.

You may remember the placemats and napkin rings from my fall blog. The dinner plate is  from Pottery Barn, Emma pattern. The salad plates are from Target several years ago. Of course, we have more plates that mix and match, including solid green and solid red dinner plates, but I prefer eating off of white dishes. Don’t ask me…I just don’t like the color of my plate clashing with my food.

We laugh about looking across the table through the candles. It's like being in a wacky jail.

We laugh about looking across the table through the candles. It’s like being in a wacky jail.

Garland and snowmen swinging in the chandelier.

Snowmen swinging in the chandelier.

A napkin ring from Crate and Barrel circles the ‘candle’.

Snowmen are the unifying theme of the kitchen. The same little guys, plus big PaPa, are hanging out on the buffet.

While we enjoy both areas, we tend to migrate to the more casual spaces with our snowman buddies. Which do you prefer? Let me know. Either way, whether you’re sparkly or natural, have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Christmas Decorating

Easy As One, Two Three…Simple As…you get the point

I am obsessed with making snow globe terrariums and lanterns. It’s so easy and fun. Candles, lanterns and terrariums aglow everyday at 5PM.

This is a simple, ten minute project. It’s affordable too. So much bang for the buck. Staging for Christmas, who knew?

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Glass terrarium or lantern
  • LED Christmas lights, battery-powered with timer (don’t forget the batteries)
  • Artificial snow
  • Christmas decorations, your choice. I prefer little houses, snowmen and Santas.
battery powered LED lights with timer

Lights from Target


LED lights

Lights from HomeGoods












How to Do It, the One, Two, Three part…

  1. Clean the glass
  2. Turn on lights to the timer setting and add lights to bottom of container
  3. Cover with artificial snow
  4. Add decorations

Oops, One, Two, Three…Four

lantern with LED lights

This lantern is for baby Bri. You’ve heard of her, right?



The fluffy snowman is an ornament from Pier 1.


Repeat! because it’s kinda like Lay’s Potato Chips.

Snowman for us.

There’s only one tricky part. You have to do this at whatever time you want the lights to turn on because they’ll come on everyday at the same time. So here’s your new happy hour project.

Revised instructions:

  1. Pour a glass of wine
  2. Follow instructions above.

Love my little house with a yard full of Christmas trees. LED lights are hidden so the snow glows at night.


An aerial view.


Here’s a variation. The lights are above the snow for a whimsical effect.


It’s my favorite, a skinny-legged Santa.

And last, but not least, no lights. Just lots of tiny Christmas trees. One more for baby Bri.


Trees are from Jo-Ann’s. My first experience with pink Christmas trees. So much fun having a girl in the family…finally!


This one is a three minute project. Pour in snow and add trees. You can do it! So cute, so quick!


These all went to Bri’s house. Guess I’ll have to make a few more. You should too!

For Everything There Is A Season, Including Table Settings

I love dishes, cooking not so much, but I do love dishes. That’s why I change my table setting so often. Here’s a SUMMER look … long gone.


PicMonkey Collage2

I love my birds almost as much as dishes. They reappear most of the year, hibernate during Christmas. Do birds hibernate? I know Florida bears don’t!

For Halloween, I no longer decorate with spiders or skeletons. Our goblins are grown, so I don’t feel the need. I used to buy real pumpkins and gourds, but I got over that when they got squishy on my wood table. Now, I’m lazy, or smart, maybe both. I simply go to my stash and pull out the miniature pumpkins. They’re so cute and easy. Five minutes, presto, change-o.


Once again, the birds are front and center and coordinate beautifully with the pumpkins and the fall plates. The hurricane lantern is my other go to item. In the summer picture, it was filled with wine corks. I have extra if anyone wants some (and the collection is growing). Now, the lantern is filled with little pumpkins. The candle automatically turns on at 6, off at 11. Don’t you just love technology! That’s about as techie as I get!


Thank you Mary for the birdies. She has white ones. Another friend has yellow.


These fall dishes are especially fun because they are square. Who knew square plates could hold so much food! Warning… bumpy placemats aren’t wineglass friendly. There have been a few spills.



Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere, even in the chandelier.

Sadly, Halloween is over. Time to move on. Really I just want to use another set of dishes:)

Who’s coming to dinner?

These dishes are Vietri. Who can afford Vietri, right? $44 a plate isn’t happening around our house. But when it’s your birthday, special requests happen. Not the $44 a plate part, but a birthday trip to NC. Did I mention there’s a Vietri outlet in Hillsboro, NC.

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Is it crazy that I’m already wanting to decorate for Christmas. I’ll blame it on the stores.

Yes, it is crazy. Halloween and Christmas decorations are out at the same time. Guess Thanksgiving is going to be skipped this year. I do love the fall colors so fall it is, for now.

The Best Ever Project. A Nursery for my First Grandbaby, Briana.

How can you beat this project, especially since I had all boys. It’s a girl, hallelujah! So fun to decorate girly, so fun to buy girly clothes, but I have to admit that boy clothing and boy room decor has dramatically improved since my guys were small. Briana’s room was a blank slate, in a new house, which certainly makes the project easier. It’s a first, no clutter.

Mom loves Rifle Paper Company so our inspiration pieces were art prints from their botanical series. Now we have a color-scheme so we’re off and running, squealing all the way. This is so much fun!

PicMonkey Collage Rifle

Next comes furniture and bedding. Classic white furniture, not expensive, was chosen from buybuyBABY. Shout out to the delivery guys from buybuy BABY. They were amazing; assembled the furniture in no time while appearing to be just as thrilled as I am about my first grandchild. This furniture was a smart purchase because it converts to big girl furniture as Briana grows. The bed becomes a full size bed and the changing table becomes a dresser or console if the bookcase is stacked on it. So clever. Am I showing my age? All of you new moms out there think this is normal, but I’m still impressed.


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We totally splurged on the bedding because it was so perfect, simple, pretty and just the right shade of pink…or blush according to Restoration Hardware Baby and Child. Now we are really excited, we were squealing before, now we’re over the moon. It’s gonna be so pretty!





Of course, we can’t complete a room without some kind of painting project. The builder beige was a bit too warm so we opted for a light gray; sometimes it appears to have a hint of blue, sometimes a hint of green. It’s serene and not the typical baby girl nursery shade of pink!

Since Briana’s Mom and Dad have so many generous friends we were able to decorate with books, stuffed animals and purchases made with gift certificates. Wait until you see the little ones’ closet. She has as many clothes as I do. Well that would be an exaggeration, but she does have some pretty incredible dresses. I told you little girls are so much fun. I can’t wait…here’s her closet.







Now, for the really cute stuff. Filling in the bookcases, hanging the artwork and accessorizing the shelves.











I’m not a great photographer, but you’ll get a decent idea of how the room turned out. Speaking of photographers, Krystal Fabyan Ray and Michelle Stoker took Briana’s baby pictures. They’re both fantastic.

Love the pink pouf! It’s also from Restoration Hardware.












Nothing left to do, but love on baby Briana.

B1 circle crop




Weekend Warriors

What does Labor Day mean to you? Growing up in North Carolina, it was considered the last day of the year when it was fashionable to wear white. And, oh yeah, isn’t it a holiday from work? This year, Labor Day literally meant Labor Day, or make that Labor Weekend. I mean work your fingers to the bone labor, but it was worth it because Anna got a room she loves. She wanted a beach themed room and that is exactly what she got.

As is typical for many kid’s room, there were toys and stuffed animals everywhere. Did I say everywhere? Take a look.



Enough Toys for Every Kid in the Neighborhood. Anna Agreed to Share.

Anna was on-board with decluttering and donating some of her toys to other children who would appreciate them. We began by emptying everything from the room except the bed and dresser. Already the room felt so much bigger. As a general rule of thumb for staging, remove 2/3 of the content. Less is More!

While Anna sorted through stuffed animals, the B Staged team began painting her bed and dresser. The original pickled finish was worn and scratched; whereas, the bright, white Annie Sloan chalk paint created a more feminine look which contrasted nicely with her teal accent wall. In another blog, I’ll point out some tricks that can help you with chalk paint projects. Believe me, it’s not always a one coat project. And waxing is another story… so much fun, not!

Starfish and Sand Dollar Pictures from HomeGoods

By mid-afternoon, the first coat of paint was complete. Now, off to find the perfect coastal accessories which, by the way, isn’t easy when stores are full of Halloween pumpkins and witches. We were working with a $150 budget for purchases of furniture and accessories. HomeGoods came through with starfish and sand dollar pictures and a huge basket for what else, the stuffed animals. A ‘real’ nightstand would be better than her oversized bookcase but we had to be selective due to our budget constraints. In the end, Kirklands had a great shabby-chic nightstand, just the right size, just the right price $55, but wrong color, black. Why not add to our painting project!





Shabby Chic Nightstand and Sea Shell Lamp


Sunday, a day of rest…  not so much. There’s painting to do, and I’m on my own so it takes a bit longer. Monday arrives, “Wax on, Wax off”. Did I mention that I hate waxing. Chalk paint really absorbs the first coat of wax so two are a must. I have help today, so piece of cake… and now the fun begins.

STAGING, where we add the bling. The pictures go up over the bed and we shop the house for more beachy accessories. We also add a rope to Anna’s mirror and hang it from a boat cleat ($2 at Lowes). Anna and her mom have purchased a glass lamp, $30, perfect for sea shells. Luckily I keep a stash of shells, starfish, coral and other beach-themed decor items, as well as books.  Accessories are arranged and now, it’s time for the reveal. The perfect beach room for a ‘tween and it’s completed just in time for a burger and beer. It is a holiday weekend after all.


So Beachy. Take a look at the Before and After Pics.


So clean and uncluttered. Who doesn’t love a beachy room?



Check out the mirror hanging from a rope attached to a boat cleat.

Anna loves her new room!

















Home Staging: More Than Decorating

Of course, I want to add the “wow factor” to your home, but first and foremost, Staging is about condition. At B STAGED, our goal is to help you get the most money for your home in the shortest amount of time, and with the least investment on your part. Did I say condition? Let me say it again, a little louder… CONDITION.

Condition is the first element addressed in home staging for two reasons:

  • Buyers want a move-in ready home. Buyers who are willing to tackle a few home improvements will be expecting a drastically reduced price.
  • Buyers are looking for reasons to negotiate a lower price. Don’t give them that opportunity!

The illogical part of the equation is it doesn’t matter if your house is priced right. You may have already reduced the price to reflect the cost of new carpet; however, the potential buyer won’t see it this way. The buyer’s offer price won’t just drop by the cost of the repair; the price reduction will be considerably more- a time and aggravation component is subconsciously thrown in. Don’t let this happen to you. Maintenance is a seller’s responsibility, make the repairs.

my house

First impressions count! Don’t forget curb appeal. In a Zillow press release, curb appeal and home staging were named as the two best improvements for sellers.


Keep in mind, we’re not talking about remodeling projects. Unlike the scenarios depicted on HGTV, the cost of major home improvements generally isn’t returned dollar for dollar. Additionally, the budget is often exceeded and the time frame is always extended. Renovating the kitchen may help your house sell faster and for more money, but the cost will not be fully recouped and it will drastically delay putting your home on the market. A British saying comes to mind, “Penny wise, Pound foolish.” Completing major home improvements before selling would be pound foolish.

Let’s be penny wise. If your house looks dated, go ahead and spend a few dollars. You need to make a great first impression since the buyer will decide within a few seconds of entering your home whether your house has made the ‘short list’. The most bang for the buck is simply repainting.

Buyers love neutral. light and bright.

Fresh, neutral paint throughout makes a house seem cleaner, and larger, than bold colors -or- worse yet, a different color in every room. Carpeting is another biggie. Worn or soiled carpeting, especially pet stains, will negatively impact the buyer’s perception of the OVERALL maintenance of the property. If the sellers can’t bother replacing the filthy carpet, what else have they ignored? Other easy fixes are replacing dated light fixtures and fans, especially rusty outdoor lighting and fans with drooping blades, or replacing faucets, especially the brass ones from the 80’s. Don’t just replace the faucet. Get rid of the brass towel bar and toilet paper holder as well. Home Depot may be your best friend for a while, but it’s temporary. Believe me, investing a little money and elbow grease will pay off. Don’t let repairs be a deal breaker.


According to the Wall Street Journal, the biggest considerations when buying a home are price, location and condition. You don’t want to reduce the price; you can’t change the location; so that leaves condition as the biggest variable in selling your home quickly for an optimal price.