31 Days to a Staged Home :: Day 1, The Plan

Welcome to Day 1 of 31 Days to a Staged Home!

In this series, I have committed to sharing
one post a day for the whole month of October with you,
and I will be using pictures from the actual homes I've staged,
breaking down the steps into 31 segments so you can go from FOR SALE to SOLD!

 My name is Leslie, and I am a mom, wife, 
Certified Interior Decorator, Home Stager, and Professional Organizer.
I have been professionally staging homes since the mid-1990's, 
before it was even called home staging,
before HGTV's Designed to Sell and Sabrina Soto.

I can tell you that real-life home staging isn't completed in half-hour segments 
with a background crew on hand to paint, repair, and move furniture.
Real-life home staging involves a million tiny decisions and a million big decisions.
Real-life home staging is messy, tiring, dirty, and can be chaotic.
At least, it can be without a plan.
So here it is.

Here's what I'll be talking about:

  • Why you should NEVER list your home without staging it first,
  • How to see your home through "Buyer's Eyes",
  • Common staging mistakes,
  • How to make a good first impression,
  • When to hire help and when to Do It Yourself,
  • How to get a buyer to buy your home, whether they want to or not,
  • Room-by-room staging must-dos and better-nots,
  • Colors, fabrics, and accessories,
  • Lists of what to get rid of while staging
  • Lists of what to keep while staging
  • Nit-picky details, and
  • Day 31, which will be devoted to a Q & A post, so ask your questions each day in the comments!

Hope to see you tomorrow for Why Stage?

And now it's here, all the information from all 31 days of the series, in one book.
Just click on the book below to be taken to Amazon to get a copy for yourself or to share.

Happy Staging! Happy Selling!


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31 Days to a Staged Home :: October 1-31

I am joining Nester at The Nesting Place for her annual 31 Days Party!
This means that I will be posting one post for each of the 31 days in October.

My topic: Home Staging.

I am excited to share, starting this coming Monday!

See the posts I've already written on Home Staging HERE.

(Can you believe I'll be posting 31 days IN A ROW?!)
You might die from shock!

Stay tuned, y'all!

If you have landed on this page
and are wondering where to read the 31 Days posts,
click HERE to begin!

And now it's here, all the information from all 31 days of the series, in one book.
Just click on the book below to be taken to Amazon to get a copy for yourself or to share.

Happy Staging! Happy Selling!


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Finished: The Staging of Our Home (Master Bedroom Closet)

We are preparing our house for sale this year so we can right size next summer-ish.
Starting with the farthest room away from the front door, we are working our way
down and around the house, through each room to the foyer and out the front door.

A few weeks ago, I showed you our Master Bedroom closet HERE.

Here are some pictures that show the progression of this space up until now.

(When we first moved in, I used this closet to hold some of my staging props. Bad idea!)

I got a grip, and moved the staging stuff out to the basement, 
and delegated this space for clothes, shoes, and accessories only.


I asked y'all what you thought about attempting to do my simple version of this.

By using an antique jeweler's bench and a mirror, maybe I could make the
closet prettier. A basic builder's closet isn't very pretty, but since the closet is so large
(6 feet wide by 12 feet long), it was not cost-effective to upgrade the closet.
As a home stager, I know that the return on investment when selling this house 
in our neighborhood isn't really worth it.

You gals had lots of ideas.
And two of them that stuck out to me were to move these shoe racks 
to the back of the closet, and KISS (Keep it Simple Sister) by
"never minding" the addition of the dresser and mirror.
And after I gave it some thought, I decided that putting an antique mirror/dresser
in the closet with cheap wire shelving

So, I finished painting the closet Benjamin Moore's Palladian Blue HC-144
(which looks different in this closet with no windows than the paint swatch online),
moved a few things around, covered some boxes from Aldi with fabric, 
bought more cherry hangers, purged some more and declared,
"It is finished!"

(The terribly blurry picture makes the AFTER much more impactful, right?)




Hidden in the boxes above the clothing are extra bitty things and extra shoes, too.

If any of you are wondering if we do indeed typically colorize
and order our clothes by type, the answer is, "yes".
We like it like this, and getting dressed is easier when you can find
what you need.
We also love the floor clear.
(If you're staging your closet, your closet floors should be bare, also.)

The door below goes into our Master Bathroom and around to the Master Bedroom
which will also both be painted Palladian Blue. 
The antique chair is the only remaining chair from
my great-grandmother's dining room suite.

The gorgeous totes and the basket on the shoes shelf are gifts from Thailand.
Hyojin from Ansan, South Korea, and Khomchan from Bangkok, Thailand.
Khomchan's parents mailed us these totes and several handbags.
They are excellent quality, by the way. Buy Thai when you can!

The dotted and Pierre Cardin scarves are gifts from Hyojin.
I miss those kids, sigh. I think of them every time I walk in here and smile.

Until we list this home to sell,
I am so blessed to not only have a home, but to have clothing.
And not only am I blessed to have clothing, I am blessed to have
a big closet to put them in!

Custom closet cabinetry is wonderful, but not a necessity.
A chandelier, instead of a boob light in the closet is a luxury, not an essential.
I  am quite content with this simple makeover,
blue walls, wire shelving, and 10 pairs of shoes.

I have a home and that's reason enough to be satisfied.

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Top Organizing Bloggers Pinterest Board

Today is a day to PARTAY!!
 I have joined seven other bloggers that tend to love to organize,
over at Pinterest where we have created a board of a few of our favorite things:

The other chicks that will Pinspire you are:

Anna at Ask Anna
Becky at Clean Mama

You can click on either of the pictures above to be taken to the Pin Board,
or the picture below:

See you there!!!

P.S. To those of you that read my last post about taking a hiatus for healing, I need to tell you how good God is!! After a good cry and prayerful decision-making, I decided I need to keep doing what I love.
It is part of my healing. THIS POST lets the rest of you you know to what I am referring.


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Makeovers are Messy :: I Need a Designer

I hesitated to share this on my blog but, below my blog title, it reads: 
{makeovers of the heart and hearth}
and sometimes makeovers don't end in pretty, colorful, slip-covered dream spaces
with light-filled rooms and gleaming hardwood flooring.
Sometimes makeovers aren't perfectly organized closets
with each bauble placed just so, labeled and placed in orderly rows
for all to "ooh" and "ahh" over and to be Pinterested.

Sometimes makeovers require looking under the furniture
and dragging out the hidden rubbish which has rotted a hole in the floor 
because it's settled there too long.
Amidst the dust bunnies, old toys, a dirty sock, and a lone chocolate chip
reside secrets that life's foot has scooted under the chair in haste
before last year's Christmas party,
clutter that has been discretely tucked behind the couch,
that can no longer be camouflaged and that begs to be exposed.

Sometimes makeovers require digging everything out of those dark, dank closets
and spreading the debris and filth out over the floor
and sorting through each souvenir and forgotten trinket one by one.

My makeover doesn't involve paint and fabric swatches,
or pillows and throws.
This redesign involves my heart and useless knickknacks
that I have allowed to settle into each nook and cranny.

Recently I've had to make some decisions regarding my future
with my spouse, home, career, life.

It's a decision that was a choice according to the Word of God
(and one recommend by many wise counselor friends).
However, I have been judged, criticized, questioned, and abandoned 
by some of (or at least whom I thought to be) my closest friends.
I'm not too hard on those people.
I've forgiven them, actually,
but it's been painful.
Life's hit me in the face.
It's grabbed me by the wrist and twisted my arm behind my back
and forced me to look at myself and my mess,
the mess that others have left for me to clean up,
the mess that I need to let the others clean up for themselves.

It's held me firmly by the chin and held my face still, until I opened my eyes
long enough to look squarely into this mess that can no longer be overlooked.

I have long compared my heart to a home,
a sentiment that's proven to be true.

Ephesians 2:22 reads:
"And because you belong to Him, you too are being built together.
You are being made into a house where God lives through His Spirit."

My heart home is not mine.
It is His. 

My "before" picture is hideous.
I require a new layout, floor plan, and arrangement.

I am a designer, organizer, and homemaker, but I need the Master Designer.
I will willingly submit my mess to the sovereign Re-arranger,
the supreme Organizer, the superior Homemaker.

I believe that, what I have let fall into disrepair, He will rebuild.
I believe that He will restore harmony and order to this chaotic place.

I am positive that, with His help,
the walls will get patched, the rugs beaten clean, and the furniture moved.
Since my eyesight is poor, I'll need to hold up 
each cruddy trinket I find for Christ to scrutinize.
I'll wait for His look of disgust or nod of approval
to know if it is a trinket worthy of keeping or of tossing.

The KEEP pile will hold all truths reflecting His likeness:
love, redemption, grace, peace, and holiness.
The TOSS pile will be heaped with all delusions reflecting His opposite:
judgment, hatred, guilt, fear, worry, and sinfulness.

I'll hold open the trash bags as he fills it with the garbage that I've saved.
I'll call his 1-800-GOT-JUNK hotline, and the useless decor I have hoarded
will be removed and be tossed into the back of His dump truck 
and disappear down the street and around the corner, 
never to be seen again.

Most days, I don't understand the builder's instructions.
He is the only one who can make any sense of this blueprint;
after all, he is the one who drafted it.
I am confused by his methods
but I trust that He will see me through to completion.
He will make my heart home beautiful
in His time.

I probably won't be posting for a while.
I am on hiatus for healing.


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God has made everything beautiful for its own time.
He has planted eternity in the human heart,
yet they cannot fathom the work that God has done
from the beginning to the end.
Ecclesiastes 3:11

Imparting Grace at Richella's:


Armchair and Ottoman Slipcover Tutorial :: Including How to Make a Pattern

I bought this Hickory Chair Co. chair and ottoman at Goodwill for $35.
Shortly after that, I found 5 yards of $4/yard P. Kaufmann zebra fabric at Old Time Pottery.

Two years later...
I sewed a slipcover.
I'd say my to-do list is long, wouldn't you?

I have been sewing on a sewing machine since I was 13.
I am not fond of sewing clothes, but I love sewing curtains, pillows, and slipcovers!

Here's how I tackled this waiting-for-two-years project.

First, I had to wrestle (and almost popped off a fingernail! Ouch!) this skirt off, first.
The ottoman also had a flouncy skirt that needed to go bye-bye, 
and it took me about 1/2 hour to get them both off.

But, I did. I won the battle.

I used craft paper and pinned and then cut around 
every curve of 
every inch of 
every section of the chair.

Lay each piece as flat as you can get it and pin it and trim it.

I love using the paper because I can fold it and trim it on the folds
and it's more accurate.

I make the pattern as close to the dimensions as possible.
After I've pinned the pattern pieces to the fabric, I cut 1/2" out from the edge of the paper
to allow for the seams.

I laid the entire piece of yardage out on the cafe' floor,
and arranged and rearranged the pieces until they all fit,
making sure the zebra stripes were running horizontal.

Making the pattern and laying it out took two hours!

All the pieces are accounted for.

(Sorry if some of the pictures are fuzzy. I was not waiting another week for some
sunny days to finish this project so I could take better pictures. 
Two years was long enough. Wasn't it? Yep.)

After cutting out the pieces, I made cording with 3/8" cording.
I believe I ended up sewing 18 yards of it.

I cut millions of  2" strips out of the leftover fabric
and sewed all their short ends together.

I did this for a long while.
A really long while!

Then I sewed the cotton cording inside the strips for an even longer while.

I always start by pinning the piping at the top back part of the chair.

The front pattern side of the chair got pinned to one side of the piping,
and the back pattern side of the chair got  pinned the other side of the same piping.

Now it's right side out.

Now it's inside out.
And I pin the arm pieces to it, wrong side out.

And the arm pieces get gathered a tad so they curve the arm of the chair.

Take the slipcover off and sew the pinned area.
Turn it right side out, fit it back onto the chair.
Admire it.
Turn it inside out and pin another pattern piece to it.

Repeat until completed.

See? I don't have a fancy machine!
Just a simple, older, sturdy, portable Singer that was my grandmother's.

I used part of a painting tarp as the pattern for under the cushion.
No one sees it anyway.

I used velcro on my seat cushion flaps to hold them together.
I am also not fond of sewing zippers.

The ottoman gets its cover.

I trimmed off the selvage and added piping to the bottom.

I top-stitched all around the bottom, just 1/4" above the piping so it would lay flat.

So, Laura Ashley meet Ballard Designs.


I finished it at night and couldn't wait to get the long-awaited after picture.

It's now my cozy blogging and reading spot.

I am happy to have this project off my list!

The fabric is P. Kaufmann Sierra Skin.
I found it at Old Time Pottery for $4 a yard. I used 5 yards.
Ballard Designs also carries a similar design by the yard HERE.
(It's $38 a yard, though. I'd say I got a good deal!)

Do you sew?
If so, what?

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