"Staging" is that new buzzword that means improving a property's appeal by transforming it into a place that anyone might want. It's a brand new Interior Design "Specialty" that many of us have ALWAYS done! (& it will likely be a topic VERY soon). This blog is about "staging" for YOURSELF or changing things around, de-cluttering and buying (comparatively) little to create a new "look" for your home.
Money is scarce for nearly everyone, yet everyone can make changes to their nest for little cost and (probably) little effort. Friends and clients often call me to spend an hour or two to freshen up their homes. Once in a while, I actually get calls from someone I've done this for before - the stuff has somehow scooted around.
Workin' on it myself... unfortunately, I don't have "before" and "afters" yet.
"Tchotchkes" (objects, accessories):
Clear off your surfaces and put everything in one place, one surface, like a kitchen counter or a large enough table to sort things. Make areas for use, save, fix and save or donate (or toss). If I want to buy something now, I have to get rid of at least one thing.
Then, look around at the newly-empty spaces, take the "keepers" and try them out. Something will look good. It might be what was there before, and it might not. It might be a cluster of small items where a larger piece was, or vice versa. Sometimes it's easy, sometime it's painful. Some collections (I have Victorian salts and knife rests, and a collection of perfumes and they can only each be in one place) aren't too "change-able".
Framed photos fit in this category too. If you have them scattered about, I highly recommend clustering them in a few places. Also? Kids growing or grown up? Maybe it's time to limit the number of the old photos and get some new ones printed to frame. It's too easy to have phone pix. Quantity excluded, they can't compare with a good portrait or enlarged .jpg. (How about mounting a photo and not framing it? - see next topic)
PIllows!! If you want to add a splash of color and personality, get new pillows. Buy some at the many home stores or have some made. They can be luscious and expensive or quite reasonable. Mix up colors and patterns, sizes and shapes (bolsters, boxed, etc). Make sure to leave room for YOU on the furniture and don't make them too small or too firm (yes, you can get softer pillows that are not down-filled).
This is fun and the changes are even more visible. If you have a 6' sq. painting, it might have to "stay put". But photos, prints, posters, small and medium items are perfect for moving around. Change out photos for prints or cluster small pieces where a larger one was. Same tips as for the 3D things. "Good Art Won't Match Your Sofa" is the tiny print I have in my little art studio. Keep that in mind if you want to create renewed spaces. Colors can be opposites and look great. Neutrals and colors can work together.
I usually give things away. You give to many charities or can try selling at consignment shops. Not for me any more - I would prefer a charity use or sell the item and keep the money. If you're inclined, you can also sell at a garage sale, house sale, on E-Bay or Craig's List. OR, donate to the Art Center in Highland Park for their recycled art event each summer. It's so much fun to go to and I give to them very often. They take objects, even costume jewelry. Once in a while, treasures are donated. Quite eclectic and it's easy to buy as much as you donated, but at least someone else's old "stuff" is new to you! Other charities request "household objects" to resell.
Then, think of buying some new plants, too. Plants, books and photos make a house a home (to me). A small stack of picture books makes a great accessory item for a coffee table. Buy an inexpensive vase from a supermarket flower dept. or Target (they have a deal on $100.00 spent on home items now) to put somewhere: like near the front door, in the dining room, on an end table) and promise yourself to fill it often with fresh flowers. Every time you get new bouquet of flowers, that spot has a new look. I used my kitchen island for this in my old house; now it's' the far end of my piano.
Enjoy this process because it WORKS. You will feel, and your home will look, completely "refreshed". If you're intimidated, ask a designer for help. Ask if he/she will take on a small project like this. I got an e-mail today asking if I would do this for a client along with advising her on "staging" her house for resale. Absolutely! Immediate satisfaction! Cool!