Happy Holidays!

Hello Friends!

I think I skipped November!  This time of year can get absolutely crazy, right?

For our family, we celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and then New Years Day (since we are Japanese) – so we decorate for one holiday,  take it down and decorate for the next – whew!  BUT … even through all the hustle and bustle, I have to admit, it is my favorite time of year!

It is cooler outside, so it is time to cuddle up with a warm blanket, a cup of hot chocolate (or Hot Toddy) and sit in front of a toasty fireplace.  Yep!  Even in Arizona!

I get very nostalgic this time of year, as I look around and see holiday decor everywhere – from reindeer, pinecones and snowflakes to candles and sparkling lights.  I love them and they make me happy!

I like to incorporate little holiday vignettes throughout my home.  They are almost like little stories scattered everywhere.  So, I thought I would share some of mine with you.

This is a vignette in my office – you can’t really tell from the photo, but it is very striking with the white porcelain deer and trees trimmed in shiny silver.

The trees and deer came from Target (a couple of years ago) and the adorable snowflake lights are from Pier 1.  The greenery accents of flocked pine branch with pinecones are from Michaels and the best part … if only you could smell them, are  Balsam & Cedar scented candles from Yankee Candle.

Super easy to put together and yet it just brings in the warmth of the holidays, don’t you think?  It doesn’t take much and you don’t have to put a ton of accessories together.  For example, here is a little arrangement on my desk.  Very simple – 2 silver glass trees and a globe – but look how sweet it is:

And one of my favorites – I have this one on my living room coffee table … I just love all the sparkle!  Again, not much to it – jar of ornaments & pinecones, lights, a tealight holder and a scoppio sphere all set on a silver tray from ZGallerie.

Decorating your home for the holidays should be fun and it doesn’t have to be stressful or elaborate.  The simplest groupings of a few holiday decor can bring in such Christmas joy!   Add lights (there are so many battery-operated kind to choose from too) and don’t forget to add candles … lots of candles!

Although 2017 brought some sadness to my life with the passing of my beloved Mother, I hope 2018 will be filled with Peace, Love and Happiness!

It has been such a pleasure blogging my first year and I look forward to many more posts next year!

I wish you all a Wonderful Holiday!
Enjoy your families!

Until 2018 ….

Happy Staging!

Step #4 – Accessories – A Necessity!

Hello Friends!

Today we are going to finalize our Steps in the Home Staging process!

Here is Step #4 – Accessories  

FINALLY  … my favorite part of staging – It is time to accessorize!  This is not only a super important step – but where your creativity comes shining through.  This step is where your home and all its furnishings come together, where the colors pop and when everything comes to life!

For my stagings, I typically have several vignettes throughout the home.  My base vignette settings are in the form of trio arrangements.  You can, of course, add additional pieces should there be gaps or if it just needs “something else” to make it complete.  Here are some examples of my vignettes:



As you can see, most of the vignettes are set in threes.  Here’s my typical setup:  I take one tall item (whether it is a lamp, candle or plant), a horizontal item(s) [for the bathroom it would be towels, otherwise it can be books, or decorative box, etc.] and your third piece would be a medium item that sits on top of the horizontal item(s) or an item that is a medium height to come between your horizontal and tall items – hope that made sense and didn’t make your head spin!

Let me show you an example of an arrangement I might do for a coffee table:  I would take a large tray, lay a few hardbound books, and maybe set on top of the books a decorative sphere or a small plant and then place a tall candle or lantern behind.  In the photo to the left, I did a tall candle, medium plant and a large rattan sphere:


Let’s try another:  On a nightstand arrangement – your lamp would be the tall item in the back and then I would place maybe a clock or something small and add a medium-sized item like a plant – and there’s your trio!  Pretty easy, right?


Of course, there are TONS of variations in doing this and there are no “set” rules.  This is just an example of how I like to start my base setup when I create a vignette for a nightstand, coffee table or maybe a side table in a staging.

One of my favorite places to create a vignette arrangement is in the kitchen!  You can have either a coffee, wine or maybe even a martini setting!  Here’s a coffee setup I did (this is a vignette with more than three pieces):  I took a large tray and placed a French press as my tall item, I then added two espresso coffee cup and saucer sets in front and then for my third piece I added a small bag of coffee – I accented it with a little plant and linen to fill that “gap” since the tray was so large.  See what I did though?  When you look at this – how do you “feel”?  A warm and cozy morning having a cup of coffee in your NEW HOME and/or NEW KITCHEN!  That’s what we want you to create – so when a Buyer comes in – that is what they feel!

TADA!  This is what Home Staging is ALLLLLLL about!

Now, let’s finish Step #4 by talking about the actual accessories you’ll want to use in your staging.  Whether you are staging a vacant home or your occupied home, you’ll need decor.  I’m sure you already know, there are a gazillion places where you can purchase home decor and accessories.  Besides stores like ZGallerie, Pier 1, Crate and Barrel or even Home Goods (where I am literally like a kid in a candy store!!), there are also online stores like Wayfair, Ballard Designs, Joss&Main and much more.  Truth is, some of my favorite places to find awesome decor is at consignment stores, flea markets, yard sales or even the local marketplace on your Facebook!  As they say: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” – so true, and since I like to restore things, it is also a lot of fun!

It doesn’t take a lot to update your occupied home, nor do you need to spend a fortune to do so, but it IS a necessity when staging.  My number 1 tip and key accessory would be pillows … lots of pillows!  In most homes, we actually USE our pillows and after several years, well – they tend to look worn.  So, whether you replace them from your couch, add them to your accent chairs or load them up on your beds, it is amazing how pillows can update your home while creating a warm and comfort “feel” to your home!

Other accessories that are great for updating are new and fluffy towels, candles and greenery.  When staging your home, believe it or not, it IS an art: you want to add accessories, but not too much; you want to add color, but not go crazy; and you want to bring in a style but not one that is too specific.  There is a definite difference between Home Staging and Home Decorating.

You now have a general idea of the home staging process.  Hopefully my ideas and information helped you understand the actual goal of staging a home.

Follow me and you’ll find in my future blogs more “in-depth” tips on home staging, lots more DIY projects and even some fun ideas for the upcoming Holidays!  See you soon, until then ….

Happy Staging!

Step #3 – Furniture For Your Home Staging – Too Much? Not Enough?

Hello Friends!

Finally, right?!  Well, I apologize for the long delay, so let’s get started …

Before we go to Step #3,
(since it has been awhile) let’s recap:

* * * * *

Step #1Declutter, Depersonalize, Sort and Pack
You’re moving anyways, so pack and clear the extra clutter!


Step #2Neutralize
Neutralize the walls in your home from a neutral color palette – remember bright colors and the task of painting deters your potential buyers.


Step #3 – Furniture For Your Home Staging:

There is a lot of confusion when it comes to how much furniture you should have in your home when staging it for sale.  Homeowners and real estate agents tend to think that the house needs to be filled with furniture to acquire that “lived-in” and “warm” feeling.  Not True!

When staging a home, typically less is better BUT not enough will appear too sparse.  Obviously too much furniture will shrink the size of any room, so it is important to not only use the right number of pieces, but also the right sizing of furnishings to match the dimensions of the room.  If your furniture pieces are too large, it will automatically downscale your living space.

For example, look at the photo above.  I could stage 3 rooms with all that furniture!  Whether it is your occupied home or a vacant home that you are staging, my rule of thumb is to have around 3-4 pieces of furniture per room.  Of course, there are always exceptions to every rule.  Living rooms, great rooms and master bedrooms tend to be larger and may require additional piece(s).  On the other hand, if your room is small, you can still stay within the 3-4 piece guideline, but you will want to use furnishings on a smaller scale to keep the room in the correct proportions.

That being said – let’s go over some rooms and my typical furniture contents when I am staging a home.

Take a standard bedroom of 10′ x 10′ as an example, I would place a bed (with or without headboard), a night stand and maybe a dresser w/mirror.  Simple, clean and classic.

When staging a dining room, I would typically have a dining table and chairs and maybe a buffet table.  Again, here is another exception to the rule – often times the dining table and chairs are sufficient when the dining area is a standard size of 11′ x 14′.

Most living rooms or great rooms are often on a larger scale and require additional furniture pieces.  I would stage a standard great room 18′ x 24′ with a sofa, coffee table, two accent chairs and a side table.  If you have too much more than that,  you may end up blocking the natural flow of walking traffic in the area.  This, unfortunately, may get interpreted from a potential buyer as not having enough living space.

Here is a vacant home staging that we did in Sun City West.  It was necessary to  incorporate a few extra pieces, since the size of this  living room area was much larger than the standard.  However, we still kept the flow of traffic open and uncluttered.

Of course, the placement and layout of your furnishings is the base of your home staging design, but it will be the accessories that you add in the end that will tie everything together and make the home literally come to life!

Those accessories include area rugs, lighting, trees, greenery, accents and decor.  Don’t forget comforters, throws and pillows … lots of pillows, which will give you the “POP” of color that will stand out from everything you have since been told to “neutralize”.

To summarize this Step #3, it is important to know the dimensions of the area being staged to determine the necessary sizing, placement and layout, and the number of furniture pieces needed to set your home for staging.  There is a fine line of too much furniture and not enough furniture.  When staging your occupied home, it may be necessary to put some of those extra pieces of furnishings into storage to create a spacious and model home look.

We’ll talk further in my future home staging steps about furniture placement, specific accessories, where to shop for them and what items give you the most “bang for your buck”!  Until then …

Happy Staging!



Step #2 – Let’s Talk About Color When Staging Your Home

Hello Everyone!

Can you believe this is my ONE month anniversary blogging? Time DOES fly when you’re having fun!

Let’s do a quick recap of Step #1, from my blog a couple of weeks ago,  before we go forward with Step #2 of the Home Staging process.

Briefly, we mentioned about getting the home decluttered by removing all “clutter” and separating them into 3 boxes (Goodwill / Keep / Toss).  We also mentioned about de-personalizing the home by removing personal photos, trophies, hobby collections, etc. and either packing or storing these out-of-sight too.

If you have completed Step #1 …  then, you are ready to go on to Step #2 which is all about color.

Let’s think about color for a moment …

You know, I LOVE lots of color in my home!  It makes me happy!  I have different colors throughout my home creating unique looks in every room – add some matching color decor and it becomes Pinterest-worthy!


When you are LIVING in your home, I think it is great to bring in all the colors that express your personality – why not? – it is YOUR “comfy” zone, your domaine! Not to mention the infinite number of colors you have to choose from, it is almost hard NOT to add color to your walls.


you have decided to SELL your home, and NOW it’s a whole new ball game!  A “Home Staging” Ball Game …


Your goal is simply to attract as many potential home Buyers as you can to come and view your home.  So along with your decluttering and depersonalizing of your home, the next step is to NEUTRALIZE your home.

Before this gets totally misinterpreted … I am not suggesting that you turn your entire home “sterile” like a hospital and paint everything white.  What I mean by “Neutralize” is to remove wall appliques, those neat vinyl quotes and sayings, outdated wallpaper — and if you went crazy and painted each room a different color …. well, it’s time to paint them a “neutral” color.  Below are some neutral color samples from Dunn-Edwards Paint.  As you may notice, neutral colors do not necessarily mean only beige or white.  In fact, gray is a very popular neutral color these days.

By “neutralizing” your walls, you are creating a clean palette for your potential Buyers.  It helps them to visualize a color THEY would like to see in the home.

Buyers may have every intention of painting as soon as they move in, but the truth is, bright rainbow colors or outdated wallpaper not only distracts the Buyers, but it actually scares them!  They look at this as additional $$ COSTS $$ that they will have to incur should they purchase your home.  Their thoughts are that they will either have to get everything primed and painted (which is a lot of work); or for outdated wallpapering, they will more than likely need to hire a professional to get it removed (which is very costly).  Believe it or not, this can and has been a deal breaker!

Here is a home that we staged and we suggested the homeowners remove the golf pattern wallpaper.



See the amazing difference?!  After being on the market for over 7 months, this home sold in 48 hours after we staged it!



So, you can hire a professional painting company to paint your home or get some pizza and beer and gather your friends and family and have a painting party. Either way, those few extra dollars that YOU invest, will result in your home selling quickly!

Once you have your walls NEUTRALIZED, you can then start adding some “pops” of color throughout the home with pillows, accessories, decor, plants, etc. – this is the part that will bring your home to life!

I hope this has been informative – Please send me your comments or questions – I would love to hear from you!!  Don’t forget to follow me on my blog as we’ll continue to Step #3 of the Home Staging Process next week.

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be starting a monthly newsletter in August – so be sure to enter your email address so you can start receiving more informative news.  Have a great week and . . .

Happy Staging!