Staging a house on a budget: Which rooms should you prioritize?

Not everyone can afford to stage their entire Washington D.C. home to sell. If money’s tight right now, should you just not stage at all?

No, there’s a reason that a third of realtors recommend all their clients stage their home, even when their home isn’t a difficult sell. It’s because staging your home is important for getting the most for your home as quickly as possible. Home staging….

  • Gets you a higher selling price (an average of 6.32% over the listing price)
  • Sells your home more quickly
  • Draws in potential buyers with beautiful online photos
  • Highlights the best of your home (and downplays anything less-than-ideal)

So while you shouldn’t shirk home staging altogether, you can decide to only stage certain rooms in your home to save money. Knowing which rooms to prioritize during the staging process can help you stay within budget but still get many of the benefits of home staging.

Here are my budget-friendly recommendations for staging your home to sell in Washington D.C.:

For tiny budgets – The first-impression rooms

Kitchen home staging in Washington D.C.

When potential buyers walk in, what are the first two rooms they see? These are the rooms that you should stage before any others.

For most homes, the first two rooms that potential buyers walk into are the living room and kitchen. However, your home might be different if you have a less common layout. For example, if your dining room is right off the front door, you should focus on that room first.

Even if the rest of your home is empty or full of your old furniture and kid’s toys, a wow first impression can make a big difference for how potential buyers value your home. (And because they’ll leave through the same door they came in, that beautiful first impression also becomes the perfect final impression!)

To recap, first impression rooms = the living room and kitchen (usually).

For moderate budgets – The most lived-in rooms

Master bedroom home staging in Washington D.C.

If you have some space in your budget after your stage your living room and kitchen, you should stage the rooms that get the most mileage. These are the rooms that people tend to spend the most time in, and so they’re often the rooms that people are most eager to see in a potential new home.

Across the board, these rooms are the master bedroom and the dining room. For homes that don’t have a dining room, you could choose a second living room, den, or first-floor office.

Because most of us spend a lot of time in the bedroom (and care about how it makes us feel), staging the master bedroom is an easy way to immediately add value to your home. To go above and beyond, you could include the master en suite bathroom with this room without a huge extra cost.

And staging your dining room means that the bulk of your first floor will be staged. As potential buyers move through your home, it’ll feel like it has a cohesive and appealing flow.

To recap, the most lived-in rooms = master bedroom and dining room.

For larger budgets – The whole home

Whole home staging in Washington D.C.

You know those HGTV shows where the final reveal is room after beautiful room, throughout the entire house? Imagine your home making that kind of satisfying impression on potential buyers. When buyers compare your home to others that aren’t staged (cluttered with personal, mismatching stuff or empty), the choice will be easy. That’s what staging your whole home does for you.

So, if you have the financial resources, I highly recommend staging your whole home. Most of the time you’ll get back what you spent many times over in the final sale price plus the cost you saved by selling quickly.

Other budget-friendly tips for home staging

If you’re looking for ways to get the benefits of home staging without breaking your budget, here are my budget-friendly home staging tips:

Contact Tactic Staging for home staging in Washington D.C.

Ready to stage your home (or, at least, part of it)? Contact us for a home staging process that’s affordable, personal, and simple.

Compass Concierge program: What if I can’t afford to stage my home to sell?

Compass Concierge helps you afford to stage your home to sell in Washington D.C.

If you’re moving, it’s probably going to be the most stressful and expensive undertaking of your entire year. That’s why staging your home to sell is a worthwhile investment—your home will likely sell faster and for more money, you’ll draw in qualified potential buyers with the images of each room’s beautiful design, and you can hand over the entire process to an expert.

…But it is an upfront investment. And sometimes, you just can’t afford it.

Fortunately, we’ve partnered with Compass Concierge, a program that pays for services like home staging for you and then recoups the cost from the sale price of your home.

Staged homes, on average, sell for more than 5% over the list price, which usually means tens of thousands more dollars that it would have sold for without staging. The cost of staging will only make a small dent in the extra money you get from the sale.

So, if you’re thinking of selling your home, check out the Compass Concierge program to see how it can help you afford home staging in Washington D.C.

Here’s how the Compass Concierge program works

1.  You—the home seller—check to see if you qualify for the program via their website.

To qualify, your property cannot be a short sale, in foreclosure, or in need of major structural renovations. You also have to list your home exclusively with a real estate agent with Compass.

2. Your Compass Concierge representative will assess your home and put together a plan for prepping it to sell.

Services may include more than just staging—such as painting, cleaning, minor renovations, and landscaping.

3. You will contract directly with service providers like TACTIC Staging, and Compass Concierge will pay the fees.

Just like you would normally, but you don’t have to foot the bill.

4. When your sale closes, Compass Concierge will send you an invoice for the total amount of the services.

There’s no added fee for participating in the program, and no interest added to your bill.

And that’s it! You walk away from the sale of your home with more money than you would have without staging.

What is Compass?

Compass is a real estate technology company. But for home buyers and sellers, you can think of the company just like a regular real estate brokerage firm. Most of the technology side of the company has to do with streamlining the process for their agents—not necessarily for homeowners.

Currently, the company has about 7,000 agents around the country in 13 different states.

Should you do the Compass Concierge program?

The program is designed for home sellers who want to stage or improve their home (so that it sells for more) but can’t afford to pay for those services at the moment. That means that if you can afford to stage your home on your own, then there’s no reason to sign up for the Compass Concierge program.

If you’ve considered staging your home to sell in Washington D.C. but thought you couldn’t afford it, then you should apply for the Compass Concierge program. You might just get everything you wanted!

5 steps to get your house ready for home staging in Washington D.C.

Tactic Home Staging in Washington D.C. portfolio example

In a city like Washington D.C., prepping the “bones” of your house before investing in home staging is well worth it.

Home staging is all about making your house seem like someone else’s dream home: well-maintained, sparkling clean, beautifully designed, and worth a lot of money. But though staging your home is the biggest part of creating a fantasy for buyers, home staging works most effectively when your house is a clean slate.

So, how do you get your family home ready for staging? How do you take a cluttered, lived-in home and turn it into the clean slate your home stager needs?

Luckily, getting your house ready for home staging is not that difficult or time-consuming. As a home stager in Washington D.C., there are five main steps I always advise clients to do before staging their home to sell:

1.   Pack up as much you can

Often, people put their house on the market before they’ve even thought about packing or sorting through their things. However, if you know you want to invest in home staging, you should start packing as soon as you can.

That doesn’t mean you have to pack everything in boxes right away—after all, you might still be living in your home while it’s on the market. But it does mean you should do the work of sorting through your things, getting rid of everything you don’t want to take with you when you move, and packing up all the items you don’t need daily. If packing feels like too daunting of a task, you should consider using the KonMari Method to pare down your items.

Clutter makes staging your home more time-consuming and costly. Eliminating clutter before you call a stager is a good idea.

2.   Make easy improvements to your home

You may not be in a position to remodel your home, upgrade appliances, or replace the flooring before you sell. However, everyone can make these easy (and inexpensive) improvements that help create the impression that your home is up-to-date and well cared for:

  • Paint dingy walls
  • Repair cracked tiles in kitchens or bathrooms
  • Clean grout in kitchens and bathrooms
  • Replace outdated light fixtures
  • Replace broken blinds

Just investing a couple hundred dollars and a weekend into making these minor repairs can mean the difference between a home that looks like it “needs work” and a home that looks well maintained.

Small problems like broken blinds can make buyers wonder if there is worse damage somewhere else.

3.   Deep clean your home

If your home is dirty or dusty, it makes buyers think that you didn’t maintain your home well (even though you likely did). Dirt or dinge can also be a distractor from the best elements of your home.

So, I advise clients to put in the time and effort themselves or hire professional cleaners to deep clean their home. Unfortunately, your average weekend cleaning isn’t going to pass muster with nosy buyers poking into every closet and peering into every corner. Here are some areas that routine cleanings miss:

  • Clean baseboards
  • Dust ceiling corners and ceiling fans
  • Sweep out the fireplace
  • Steam clean carpets
  • Polish floors
  • Vacuum or mop beneath remaining furniture

The last thing you want is for potential buyers to start thinking about how much the house needs a good scrub.

4.   Spruce up your outdoor areas

Did you know that 99% of realtors say that the curb appeal of a home is important for attracting buyers? If you’re investing in home staging, you need buyers to be impressed enough by the outside of your home that they make it inside to see your beautiful staging.

Sometimes staging will cover outdoor furniture for deck spaces and porches, but curb appeal goes beyond décor. Here are some easy fixes to make sure the outside of your home is worthy of the inside:

  • Paint your front door (especially if the paint is peeling or chipping)
  • Clean out your gutters
  • Rent a power washer to clean your walkways, driveway, and your deck or porch
  • Mow your lawn or weed flower beds
  • Make sure outdoor light fixtures are working, and if not, replace them
  • Clean the outside of your windows
  • Replace the mailbox and house numbers if they’re falling apart or dingy
  • Remove any personal lawn ornaments

And if you don’t have any landscaping or outdoor space at all? You don’t have to create a gorgeous green view overnight. Instead, just keep the focus on ensuring everything is neat, clean, and functional.

Prepping the outside of your property for staging doesn’t have to involve professional landscaping. Just keeping your yard neat and clean goes a long way.

5.   Last step? Call a home stager!

Your home has been cleaned, organized, and eliminated of clutter. The outdoor space has been made to look the best it can. Now, it’s time to bring in a professional home stager.

The home stager’s job is to take your “clean slate” and fill it with tasteful furniture, décor, and design that will appeal to the majority of buyers in your area (as well as highlight the very best elements of your home!).

Why should you invest in home staging in Washington D.C.?

There are many reasons why home sellers should opt to stage their home. And if the biggest reason is financial (you can expect to pocket about $24,000 more on the sale of a $500,000 home), the second biggest reason is peace of mind.

When you have a home stager on your team, you don’t have to be a salesperson for your home, explaining what makes your home great. The design will do that for you. Plus, staging your home allows you to relax, knowing that you’ve done all you can to get the highest sale price for your house.

Contact TACTIC Staging for a home staging consultation.

Real estate staging in Washington D.C. is becoming more popular. Which means it’s more necessary than ever.

The real estate industry has been making it clear that they believe real estate staging is worth the investment for their clients.

While, a decade ago, home staging may have been advised by seller’s agents only if the space was a little—well—odd, that’s all changed in recent years.

Let’s take a look at why real estate staging in Washington D.C. has become more popular than ever—and what that means for those trying to sell your home.

Real estate staging in Washington D.C. is more important than ever

Why has real estate staging become so popular?

Recent anecdotal reports suggest that the real estate industry is taking notice of the change in the popularity of home staging. Home staging is on the rise, even in super competitive housing markets like New York City, Los Angeles, and our own Washington D.C. But why?

It’s a growth cycle

Once home staging started becoming more mainstream… it became even more mainstream. That’s because as more and more homes on the market are staged to sell, those that aren’t staged start to stand out—in a bad way.

No one wants their home to be the one house in their neighborhood that’s up for sale completely vacant or stuffed with a decade’s worth of clutter. Competing against other homes that are tidy and tastefully staged with up-to-date, broadly appealing décor and furniture is going to be a challenge.

And this matters even in so-called seller’s markets (like the kind we currently have in D.C.). Your home would probably sell eventually because buyers are hungry for space. But would your home fetch the same price as a home that’s designed to create that “homey” feeling for potential buyers? Probably not.

A huge home-staging study conducted in 2018 found that 68% of staged home sold for 9% more than their neighbor’s un-staged home. For a $500,000 home, that’s an extra $45,000!

Plus, not staging your home when everyone else is means that your house will likely be the last to sell. It’s kind of like being picked last for the baseball team. Someone will eventually choose your home, but it might be because the house they really wanted was snapped up too quickly.

Real estate staging is important because empty homes feel clinical.

HGTV has raised expectations

Most people I know watch HGTV shows on the occasion—and many of them watch them religiously. In fact, Statista found that at least 25% of Americans in all age groups have watched HGTV in the past month. There’s something so satisfying about seeing someone’s home ownership dreams come to life.

An unintended consequence of America getting into home design is that buyers are expecting a TV-ready home. The most recent National Association of Realtors survey found that 20% of buyers were disappointed when homes weren’t as stunning as those they see on television. And a disappointed buyer is not going to get into a bidding war over your home.

Additionally, with the growing influence of interior design television shows (and platforms like Pinterest and Instagram), people are less likely to make the trek out to see your home if they haven’t been enticed by the glossy photographs online.

Drawing people out from behind their screens and into your home is where staging matters even more—after all, no one buys a home they haven’t seen in person. When a home is staged, buyers are 40% more likely to actually visit in person.

What does this mean for you, if you’re selling a home?

It means that the bar has been raised for home sellers. If you want your home to sell for top dollar, it’s worth investing in real estate staging.

One report estimates that every $100 spent on home staging is $400 more in your closing price. And another source found that staged homes in the ever-competitive seller’s market in New York City actually sold for $11,000 more than un-staged homes.

Not to mention, home staging moves your property faster. In 2017, the National Association of Realtors found that 62% of staged homes sold significantly more quickly than vacant or un-staged homes.

If you’ve ever moved before, you know just how critical an extra week or month of time can be. It can mean the difference between having the money and not having the money to purchase your new dream home before someone else bids higher. Or, it could mean paying two mortgages at the same time while you wait for your old home to finally sell.


Not convinced yet? Check out our home page for 8 Reasons to Stage.









Home Decor for IndieDwell Container Homes

Recently, we were asked to stage a home that was made from a repurposed, steel shipping container for the Housing and Urban Development Innovative Housing Showcase in Washington D.C.’s National Mall.

It was going to be a challenge to make this 900 sq. ft. home functional and homey for a family of four, but we jumped at the chance—not only because we love a challenge, but also because there’s a big, important cause behind this home.

IndieDwell, the company who built it, has a mission to make affordable housing units much more functional, beautiful, and healthier for the families that live there. Currently, most affordable housing for low-income families is filled with problems like poor energy efficiency, mold growth, and the presence of lead. IndieDwell’s homes are built to be energy efficient, which means they stay cooler in summer and warmer in winter, and they come with significantly lower energy bills. They’re also clean, modern, and surprisingly roomy for multiple people, finally giving many families that feeling of a real home without the cost.

The HUD Showcase was an opportunity for IndieDwell to get this cause and their homes in front lawmakers and national media. So the pressure was on to stage this home quickly and beautifully—so that everyone could see just how stunning these low-cost, IndieDwell container homes could really be.

You can tour the final design and home here.

Here’s how we staged this unconventional home:

We made it functional for families of four by balancing separate spaces with open concepts

Since these homes are made for families, it was important that each room feel like a private retreat for different family members. At the same time, we also wanted the heart of the home to feel as big as possible, which meant not cordoning off spaces with bulky furniture.

By ensuring that all the furniture in the shared spaces was pushed against the walls and angled toward a central, open space, we created a living room/kitchen/dining area that you were able to freely move around in without feeling cramped.

On the other hand, we gave each room its own specific function—like a nursery, master bedroom, or sitting area—so that there was plenty of privacy for families.

The floor plan reveals how Tactic Staging balanced open-concept home decor with private spaces.

We used light-toned home decor and neutral color to make small spaces feel bigger

We’ve previously written about how to make your small space feel bigger and more functional just by using sneaky home decor tricks. And using those tips for this home was especially important since at least four people would be sharing 900 sq. ft!

The key design choices we made were to keep colors neutral for the furniture and accessories while incorporating natural textures like leather, wood, and real plants. This way, the space could flow without visual interruption (seeming bigger), but it won’t ever feel sterile or boring.

Home decor experts know that light colors and organic textures are a surefire way to make small spaces feel bigger and homier

We made this home appeal to everyone with contemporary and warm home decor

The biggest challenge with staging a home is to choose decor and furniture that feels perfect for each unique space, is modern and updated, and yet appeals to most people. You want the home to feel lived in and inviting while still coming across as something of a blank canvas for potential buyers to see themselves making their own.

This shipping container added another challenge: How do you make a home that initially seems “temporary” really feel like a permanent home?

To give this home a permanent look, we chose beautiful artwork for each room and sturdy furniture. Artwork doesn’t take up any additional space or darken a small room, but it does add those punches of personality that make a room seem less empty. Meanwhile, sturdy furniture like a cozy headboard can add some weight to a room.

How do you make a home built from a shipping container feel permanent? Choose sturdy furniture and punchy artwork

We overcame the narrowness of the home by creating “moments” through home decor

A significant challenge of shipping container homes is that shipping containers are much narrower than traditional homes. So, we had to get creative to make sure that walking through this home didn’t feel like you were running the length of a shipping container.

One of the ways we overcame the narrowness was by finding places to create moments through design, breaking up the length without taking up precious space. For example, we added a charming, mid-century modern-inspired sideboard and eye-catching piece of art at one end of the long living space.

We created a charming corner at the end of the living space to break up the length, making the home feel less narrow

Ultimately, this project was a joy to design! We’re thrilled to have had the opportunity to contribute to the success of IndieDwell’s amazing mission for better, healthier affordable housing options. Even though we didn’t get to see the home before we designed it, the end result was better than we could have hoped for.

IndieDwell and their shipping container home picked up a lot of national media coverage, including an interview with the Housing and Urban Development secretary himselfinside the home!

If you’ve got an unconventional house or apartment in the Washington D.C. area that’s proving tricky to sell, contact us for a free home staging consultation.

How to Use the KonMari Method When Moving

As a real estate staging expert, I’ve had a first-row seat to the emotional stress my clients experience as they’re moving house.

Especially if you’ve lived in the same home for years, you’re likely feeling many things at once. You may be excited to move into a new place, sad to be leaving your memories behind, and overwhelmed with the looming pile of work that stands between you and your move.

All these conflicting feelings are why you should approach packing up your home with a system that was created to address the charged emotions that are tangled up with your stuff: the KonMari Method by tidying expert Marie Kondo.

Most of us begin packing up our homes with dread. We either pack slowly and painfully over months, or we grab a giant trash bag and whirl through our homes with a thoughtless frenzy. No one can blame us for doing this. But there’s a better way!

The KonMari method can improve not only the practicalities of preparing for your move but also the emotional aspects.

 Here’s how you can apply Marie Kondo’s six core principles for tidying up to moving:

1.    Envision your old home and your new home as perfectly organized

For Marie Kondo, envisioning your home decluttered and organized should be one of the first things you do before tidying. The goal is to inspire motivation for your task. This is even more powerful in the context of moving as you think about the fresh start that awaits you.

Plus, homes that are no longer filled with the remnants of the previous owners—and instead are staged by a real estate staging company with neutral décor and furniture—on average sell for 6.32% more than your list price. That can mean the difference of tens of thousands of dollars in your pocket. What could be more motivating than that?

So, before you succumb to stress thinking about everything still to be done, take a moment and just imagine how great it will feel to have your old home completely squared away and your new home organized.

Envisioning your new home organized is a great way to drum up the motivation for tidying and packing. Photo by Jeff Sheldon on Unsplash.

2.    Think of everything in your home as part of a category, rather than part of a room

A big part of the KonMari method is cleaning by category rather than location. When you’re moving, it’s tempting to pack up room by room so that you have that feeling of satisfaction when you finish a room.

But when you go by category—such as “papers” or “clothing”—you can get a birds-eye view of how many items in each category you have. Then, you can make a truly informed decision about what to keep and what to give away.

In addition, you will avoid the nightmare of trying to unpack boxes that include a nonsensical collection of items. Going room by room, you might create a box with the books that were on your coffee table, several candles, a throw rug, and a couple of couch cushions…plus some miscellaneous cat toys. This method makes for disorganized and inefficient packing. Going category by category, on the other hand, you’ll have neat boxes marked “Books” or “Pet toys.” Much easier to pack and to unpack!

Marie Kondo recommends the following categories for general tidying: clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous, and sentimental. When you’re moving, you should add categories to account for all of your things. For example, you could add furniture, appliances, décor, electronics, and lighting to her original list.

3.    Follow the KonMari Method order of tidying to avoid getting sidetracked by nostalgia

It’s impossible not to have an emotional reaction to packing up your home. Unfortunately, getting caught up in that forgotten photo album or an old journal can derail your packing efforts for the day.

That’s why Marie Kondo recommends leaving the “sentimental” category for very last. Do your best to ignore sentimental items as you pack, knowing that you will have time to muse over memories once everything else has been put into boxes.

Save packing sentimental items for last, so that you don’t constantly get sidetracked from packing. Photo by Julie Johnson on Unsplash.

4.    Give away items before packing the “keepers”

As you pile together all your items from each category, you may feel the pull to start packing the ones you’re “certain” you want to keep. But, as the KonMari Method dictates, you should finish giving away the items you don’t want before you even start organizing the ones you do want. This way, you know exactly how many items you’re keeping in that category—and you can judge if you should give away more before you pack.

5.    Even if you’re eager to be done, don’t be thoughtless in your packing

There is so much that you have to check off your to-do list before you can finally consider your move finished. Still, resist the urge to hurriedly separate items into “keep” and “toss.” The most revolutionary takeaway from the KonMari Method is to treat your things with respect and care.

Especially for those “miscellaneous” items, pick up each item and pause for a moment before deciding whether or not to keep it. Ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?” If it does, let yourself feel that joy, and then place it into the keep pile. If it doesn’t, feel good about your decision to let it go. This helps you gain a sense of control over the process of downsizing and reduces the stress that so often comes along with moving.

It may feel silly, but holding each item for a moment and asking yourself, “Does this spark joy?” before discarding or keeping it can help your packing feel meaningful. Photo by Giulia Bertelli on Unsplash.

6.    Finish packing before you put your home on the market

The KonMari Method advises committing completely to tidying for a full day or even longer so that you finish more quickly. When you’re moving, commit to packing and organizing by creating a deadline for finishing—before the last minute.

Too many homeowners drag on the transition process for months, essentially living between two homes. Or, they don’t give themselves enough time to properly pack up, not anticipating their home will sell as quickly as it does. Both scenarios lead to overwhelm.

Instead, commit to organizing and packing everything before a specific date. That way, you can plan for the next step—selling your home—accordingly.


Moving house is the perfect time to declutter and downsize your stuff. For many of us, it can be just the impetus we need to finally feel control of all the things we’ve accumulated over the years.

Hopefully, these tips for using the KonMari Method when moving will help you face the challenge of packing with less stress—and maybe even some joy.


All packed up and ready to start your new life in your new home?

Tactic Staging can help you get the highest sale price for your home with expert & tasteful real estate staging.  

Contact us for a consultation!

How to get the most function out of your small D.C. apartment

If you’ve ever wondered how you can possibly live comfortably in your tiny apartment, you’re not alone. During the past decade, rents have risen 28% for most cities, but spaces have shrunk nationwide.

That means that more people than ever before are living in small, urban apartments. In the Mid-Atlantic, the average size of a rental apartment is 877 square feet. That’s not exactly roomy.

Whether you’ve just moved into a small space or you’re trying to sell or rent out your smallapartment, there are some simple ways you can make it look and feel bigger.

In this article, I’m sharing my best interior design tips for getting the most function out of your small apartment.

How to make a small apartment look bigger

Keep colors neutral, light and consistent

Paint each room the same color, ideally a light shade like beige or eggshell. This way, transitions from room to room feel seamless. This is important because different wall colors for every room create a visual divide that can highlight how small each section of your apartment is.

For the same reason, choose accessories in a similar neutral shade. That includes rugs, throw pillows, blankets, furniture and wall art. And if you have the opportunity to update your flooring, opt for tiles or carpeting in a similar neutral shade.

Light-colored walls throughout your small apartment can make your space feel more open. Photo from Unsplash.

Hang mirrors on your walls

You’ve probably heard before that mirrors can make spaces look bigger, and it’s true. A few large mirrors in place of wall art can help your tiny apartment feel less cramped.

When possible, use mirrored doors for closets for a chance to incorporate a floor-length mirror in your main living spaces.

Add lighting wherever possible

Well-lit spaces feel bigger than dark rooms. Especially if your apartment has terrible natural light, you can install additional lighting to give your rooms some dimension.

This can include recessed lighting, undercabinet lighting and floor lamps.

Choose simple and organic-feeling furniture

Furniture pieces that have slightly round shapes can help your space feel more harmonious. Stay clear of loud patterns or complex designs. That’s because statement pieces can overwhelm a small space quickly.

I recommend choosing acrylic furniture—also known as ghost furniture. The minimalist style of acrylic pieces helps furniture disappear into the background of your small space.

Acrylic furniture, like this bookshelf, can make your small space feel light and airy. Photo from Pinterest.

Get rid of your drapes or curtains

If your apartment is tiny, you don’t want visually heavy drapes closing in. Plus, you want to encourage as much light as possible to come through your windows. Instead of drapes, invest in blinds for each of your windows.

How to make your small space more functional

Get furniture with hidden storage

In tiny apartments, you likely don’t have the luxury of spacious closets or cabinets. You can make up for this by choosing furniture that does double the work with hidden storage space.

For your coffee table, you could use a large chest with plenty of space inside. The same goes for end tables or side tables. When choosing a bed, look for frames with built-in storage underneath.

Install pocket doors

A pocket door is a door that slides to open. This can be a major space-saver for small apartments. You can leave your pocket doors open without compromising any space in an adjoining room.

Pocket doors slide into your wall, so they don’t take up any precious space! Photo from Pinterest.

Make sure your furniture is apartment-sized

Large furniture will only make your space harder to move around in. Instead, look for pieces that are slightly smaller than average, or that are designed especially for small spaces. For example, choose a full bed instead of a queen or king and small sofa chairs instead of a full-sized couch.

Build shelving for extra storage

Common opportunities for out-of-the-way shelving include underneath the stairs, above your bed and above the sink in your bathroom or kitchen. You can use shelving to replace floor-standing furniture like end tables, side tables and even dressers or countertops.

Get drop-leaf tables and desks + stackable chairs

Drop-leaf furniture has sections that can fold out. This means you can make your surfaces bigger when you have guests. Add folding chairs that are easily stackable to save space in your kitchen or dining room when you’re not using them.

Drop leaf tables can hang flat against your wall when not in use. Perfect for small kitchens. Photo from The Kitchn.

Be organized & reduce your stuff

In small spaces it’s important that every item has its place, because you just don’t have room for clutter. In addition, every item should have a clear purpose. You don’t have space for things you don’t need or clothes you’ve outgrown.

Home organization expert Marie Kondo advocates for organizing by categories like clothing, books, papers and sentimental items. Pick each item up and evaluate how you feel—if it doesn’t “spark joy,” then discard it.


How to deal with common small space challenges

Challenge #1: You wish your apartment had an additional room

You may want another room to use as a home office or guest room, but your small apartment leaves little opportunity for building in an extra room.

Instead, you can opt for using permanent or temporary room dividers to give guests or yourself some privacy. If your apartment has high ceilings, you can construct a mezzanine floor, which is like a loft, to serve as a semi-private office or bedroom.

Adding a mezzanine floor to your apartment gets the feel of a separate bedroom or office. Photo from Pinterest.

Challenge #2: You don’t have space for a dining table

A lot of small apartments have a kitchen and living room, but no proper place for a dining table. Many people don’t want to eat dinner on their couch every night—and they also don’t want to have a table in the center of their living space.

If this is your situation, you should look for a wall-mounted drop leaf table. This way, your dining table can be tucked smoothly against your wall when not in use.

Challenge #3: There’s no place to store bulkier items

Not everything you need has a daily function. For example, you have some extra pillows and blankets on hand for guests, or you want to store your big winter coats away when the weather gets warmer.

When you simply have no additional storage space, you can use vacuum bags to reduce the size of your clothing and bedding. Then, you can easily tuck it under your bed or at the back of a closet.

Challenge #4: You don’t have a closet

Especially if you’re trying to sell or rent out your small apartment, having no bedroom closet can be a deal breaker for many buyers and renters. It’s best to be proactive about offering an alternative that won’t take up too much precious space.

I recommend installing an open rack and shelving unit. In addition, a tall bookcase could serve as shelving for accessories or shoes.

Not having a bedroom closet can be a deal breaker for renters or home buyers. Stage your home with open shelving to proactively offer a solution–and save your sale! Photo from Pretty Designs.

Above all, focus on natural light, organization and function

Each space is unique, so you should experiment with the strategies I’ve included here to determine what’s best for your small apartment. You might even come up with your own ways to save space.

If you’re finding it overwhelming to know where to start, when it comes to small spaces, there are three guidelines you need to remember to guide every decorating decision: encourage natural light, be very organized and opt for functional pieces over purely decorative.

If you’re interested in staging your small apartment to sell—fast—contact us for a consultation.

10 Elegant Winter Decorations (Not Christmas) Ideas

To Get Your Home Ready to Sell in Winter


Cold weather interior decorating involves so much more than just putting up an artificial Christmas tree and tacking some lights around your house.

If you’re putting your house on the market this winter, you are probably well aware that winter is the “worst” time to sell your house. Why? Bad weather in many parts of the country (yes, especially Washington D.C.) discourages people from venturing out to showings. Plus, just like in the fall, people tend to be busier than they are during the warmer months, leaving them less time to think about a big move.

But the cold temperatures also provide a great opportunity to show potential buyers the cozy, warm home your house can be for them. After all, what says home more than a roaring fireplace, flickering candlelight and just a hint of Christmas?

10 Elegant Winter Decoration (Not Christmas) Ideas


1. Focus on the fireplace.

Arrange your living room seating to face the fireplace, and then decorate the mantel. You can do Christmas décor here if you’d like, or you can opt for a more winter-neutral style.

 I like adding a couple of large hurricane candle holders and candles, and filling in the space between with white and green fresh flowers like Poinsettia, Paperwhites or Amaryllis. Flowers not your style? Fresh garland is always an easy, elegant solution, or you can choose a few of your favorite crystal vases and fill them with pine cones, dried fruits like lemon, orange slices and pomegranate, or fresh cinnamon sticks.


2. Skip the religious décor this year.

There’s no way of knowing what your potential buyers will be celebrating this time of year, and you don’t want to risk alienating them. Instead of a prominently placed menorah or nativity set, a beautiful arrangement of flowers and greenery would do the trick. Check out these neutral Christmas decoration ideas by Traditional Home for more inspiration.


3. Make sure your Christmas tree isn’t overwhelming.

Plenty of people, especially families, love hunting down the biggest tree they can find and then spending the weeks leading up to Christmas piling gifts underneath it. But when you’re trying to help potential buyers envision your house as their future home, an imposing, cluttered Christmas tree can look jarring. Just for this year, go for a smaller tree than usual—and definitely make sure there is space to easily walk around it.


4. Include soft, snugly fabrics.

Update your pillows, throws and rugs to be extra-cozy. That means plush fabrics, faux fur and velvet. And don’t forget about a well-placed fleece or wool throw.



5. Be sparing with scents.

It’s tempting to pull out all the stops when it comes to wintertime scents. A bowl of potpourri, an evergreen-scented diffuser in every room and all your candles—why not? However, when it comes to scent, less is actually more. All that’s necessary to create a delicate scent throughout your house is a couple of your favorite, scent-complementary candles. You don’t even need to light them; just open the lid and the scent should naturally disperse.


6. Keep your windows clear.

Something about the winter season makes us eager to decorate our windows (maybe it’s nostalgia for frosty windows on a cold winter morning?). There’s a lot of “Christmas window decoration” advice out there, usually involving wreaths. But… when you’re trying to show your house in its best light, it’s important that your décor isn’t blocking any natural light from getting in. So decorate your walls and mantels, but keep your windows clear.


7. Don’t forget about curb appeal.

Curb appeal (what potential buyers see when they first walk up) is incredibly important when it comes to selling your house successfully. And during cold winter months, it’s even more important, because more buyers than ever will probably be opting to search online before making the trek out to see the place in person. You want to be sure first impressions—both in person and online—are strong.

Winter outdoor decorations don’t have to be complicated. A simple, tasteful wreath on the front door can do a lot to make your house feel alive and inviting on a cold day.


8. Choose an elegant color palette.

 Don’t go overboard on green, red and silver or gold. Too much “Christmas color” can end up looking tacky. Additionally, your winter décor should highlight your existing décor, fitting in seamlessly.


9. Make your dining table stand out with a beautiful centerpiece.

The dining room or kitchen is the heart of the home, where many people spend most of their time indoors. Therefore, including a truly stunning centerpiece can help this room feel put-together and homey. I like to use fresh greens like cedar, magnolia, olive leaf and myrtle, as well as candles and fruits such as pomegranate or apples. Check out other natural, DIY winter centerpiece ideas on Pinterest.


10. Add luxury and light to your space with mirrors.

As the days get shorter and darker, winter interiors must rely on more than just a strand or two of elegant Christmas lights to feel warm, airy and filled with light. It might sound silly, but incorporating shiny objects and mirrors into your decoration can really boost the impression of size and light in your space. Not to mention, it’s a great way to infuse a sense of luxury into your house, which means potential buyers feel your house is worth more.


Selling your house in winter in D.C. might be more challenging than when the temperatures aren’t freezing cold, but strategic decorating can help you transform your dark winter hideaway into a contemporary, cozy and inviting space for potential buyers.

If you’d rather leave the decorating to the professionals, contact us for a hassle-free home-staging process to sell your home (even in the winter!) fast.

5 Simple Steps to Stage Your Home for Fall in DC

Fall can be a tricky time to sell your home in Washington, DC. People get busy with school and work and the weather becomes less conducive to a stroll around a new neighborhood. There’s something about the sense of urgency in the air and the declining temperatures that make many of us want to hunker down and snuggle up, not uproot our lives and move into a new place.

That’s why staging your home in the fall season is one of the best things you can do to make your space feel immediately cozy and welcoming to potential buyers. In fact, autumn gives you plenty of opportunity to tap into the magic of the season and use it to sell your home.

Here are five simple steps to staging your home to sell in the fall

Put extra effort into curb appeal. As leaves begin to fall off the trees surrounding your house, the exterior is left exposed and bare. You’ll want to be sure your house still looks warm and inviting from the street.

  • Clean up your yard. Rake the leaves before showings and get rid of any unwanted weeds. Add fresh mulch to flower beds.
  • Make sure everything looks fresh and new. Stain your deck or porch, and get a new doormat.
  • Add autumn-inspired plants and décor around your yard, front porch, or stoop, like pumpkins, mums, bold foliage plants, and fall flowers.
  • Amp up the cozy. Consider adding outdoor walk up lights to make your home instantly feel well-lit and inviting.
  • Don’t forget about your outdoor entertaining spaces. While it might be getting colder, it’ll still be warm enough to use your outdoor spaces until November in DC. Redecorate for fall with a new outdoor rug and throw pillows in warm colors.

Warm up your indoor spaces. People looking to buy in the fall are eager to make their new house or apartment feel like a home right away. Careful attention to decorating details can help make your house feel like the cozy home they were envisioning. (Check out our Pinterest and Instagram for more fall decorating tips.)

  • Bring the bright fall foliage indoors. Place an herb basket in the kitchen, display cheerful red apples or another favorite fall fruit or vegetable in a bowl on your dining room table, and arrange fresh fall flowers (some of our favorites are chrysanthemums or helenium) in vases throughout your house.
  • Emphasize your fireplace if you have one. It’s getting chilly, and you don’t want people to skip over your gorgeous fireplace! Make sure it’s clean and the mantle is well decorated for fall.
  • Use organic textures to make your home feel comfy and move-in ready. Use natural-feeling accessories like textile rugs, and place soft fleece or wool throws over your sofa. Light candles to change the ambiance of a room. Green, orange, and brown accents with warm neutrals are stylish and seasonal.

Aim for sun-soaked spaces. With daylight hours waning, it’s important that you let in as much natural light as possible into every room.

  • Let there be light. Open shades, curtains, or shutters in every room.
  • Get clean. Remove old window coverings and clean your windows.
  • Add mirrors in smaller rooms to create the effect of a larger, well-lit space.
  • Replace outdated light fixtures with new airy designs that mimic soft, natural light.

Infuse comfort into the smallest details. The illusion of high cost and comfort can be achieved without big renovations, simply by choosing luxurious-feeling décor.

  • Think bling. Shiny elements, like silver and gold, reflect light and create the illusion of an expensive interior.
  • Make the master bedroom feel lavish. Layer beds with silky or furry fabrics.
  • Create a spa atmosphere in the master bath. Display plush towels in the bathroom, along with mirrored trays with perfume and candles.

Paint over dirty or unconventionally colored walls. This is a good thing to consider when selling your home in any season, but it’s especially important during the fall, when buyers don’t want to do a lot of work themselves. Neutral palettes allow your autumn decoration to stand out and feel warm and inviting, rather than jarring.

For more easy and on-trend tips for staging your home to sell, no matter the season, or get inspired by following us on Pinterest and Instagram!