Home Staging 101

Years ago I came up with the tag line, Workin’ With What Ya Got.
I am sure someone will/is in the process of/already has stolen it because I don’t know how to copyright anything.
I don’t even know if I used copyright correctly in that sentence.
I made it up because that is something I have been doing my whole adult life when it comes to decorating.
Using what you have around your house in other areas to spruce up places that are boring.

I learned this from my mom and my grandma.
They were the original HGTV.
It really only started out because I am cheap.
I don’t like dropping lots of money on decor.
Because as much as I love to decorate, home decor, like fashion, can be trendy.
And trendy = expensive.

So in order to not spend a lot, I look for classic stuff.
Things that won’t be dumped at a Goodwill next year.
Except for chevron.
I plan to keep that going until I my kids are birthing babies, if I can help it.

When I first started this blog, I wanted to eventually start my own business of doing home staging.
Then I looked online and saw how much classes to become a “professional” stager cost.
I spent less on my Associates Degree in Science.
So I let that dream die.
Fade into the sunset on a horse.

I just enjoyed blogging, decorating on the cheap, meeting cool new friends and writing about my adventures.
Through the almost four years I have been doing this, I have meet some AMAZING blog friends.
I used to call them blog friends but now they are just friends.
Because you don’t call your friends you meet at the supermarket, grocery store friends or the friends you met at your child’s school, PTO friends, right?
And through these friends I have gained more confidence in myself to do many things.
One of such things is staging homes.
Without a 5,000 dollar course.
But Workin With What I Got.

Apparently, my blog is just as good as using a portfolio according to my friend Lisa.
And watching my friend Β JenΒ  run her own business has given me courage to say I can do this too.
So I am slowly preparing for when both my girls are in school full day by getting my crap together and merging both my blogging life and my real life.
Because I love writing about life not just decorating and I want to somehow keep doing that for the rest of my life.
But I also want to find something that helps pay the bills that are coming our way….think medical bills, college, braces, LIFE.

So through two of my friends, I am starting out on this kind of scary venture.
My friend Jen is moving this spring and needs to get her house on the market within the next week.
So I went to spend the day with her and her boyfriend George and helped them work with what they had.
AKA- Staged their home for the visitors their home would be receiving.

Here are the before’s:


I wanted to take that fireplace home with me.


family room staging

The light in this room is AMAZING.


family room staging

But the flow wasn’t really working for the realtor.
So this is the thing, the whole rotten thing:
When you are trying to sell your house, you can’t really “live” in it anymore.
Because let’s face it, Β it isn’t your house any more.
So when your realtor tells you do move things, take down things, throw away things: LISTEN.
She/he knows what sells and what doesn’t.
Jen and George totally listened to their realtor and were cool with letting me take over a little but I know she had some reservations.
It’s all good, we worked together as a team and this is what we came up with.


family room staging

We moved the couch originally in this room to the living room.
This chair was also in the living room but we moved it in here to create a little reading nook.


family room staging

The only thing we bought was the tangerine throw to add a “pop of color”.
Which is George’s new rap name, by the way.


family room staging

So this TV originally was floating on this wall all by itself.
But I loved the cabinet that was originally in the living room here:

living room staging

Now the TV looks like it is part of an entertainment center!


family room staging

We moved the sectional over from the living room where it didn’t fit properly.
Now it fits perfectly into the curve of the room.

The next room we worked on was the living room.
Here is what it looked like before we got to work:

living room

Ignore the boxes, one went to me the other went to Goodwill.
The perks of staging are the hand me downs.


Living room before

A great Ikea sectional but it overhung into the hallway which made the space look even smaller.


Living room staging

The lonely cabinet that went under the TV in the family room.

So here is what we did to make it flow better:


Living room after

There is the couch that was in the family room and we brought up this coffee table that was in the basement.



Living room staging

This cool chaise was in the family room but it looks so much better in this corner of the living room.


Living room after

I love how this turned out and it looks like what people expect a living room to look like.

Here are the side by side’s!


Family room staging


Living room staging

I know it took a little adjustment for them and the kids to get used to but when the house sells in days rather than months, it will all be worth it.
Who wants me to come to their house next??
I will totally wear the tiara.
And maybe a tutu.

UPDATE- Jen and George’s home sold in one week!Β 

26 thoughts on “Home Staging 101

  1. Shannon from Deepest Worth

    It looks great, Kari (and Jen)!
    If I was ever, EVER going to move again, I would give you a call.
    I love how you are always changing things up. I'm more of a put it there and forget it kind of decorator.

    1. Kari at A Grace Full Life

      Maybe I will come move your furniture around the next time we get together.
      I will bring the pie.

  2. Just Jen

    So bummed I didn't send you the picture of you wearing the tiara IN the room for your blog! We love it, and couldn't thank you more for the help. I spent $80 on things for 2 new rooms – 2 baskets, a throw, 2 candles and a holder and it makes such a difference! I can't wait for the realtor to see it tomorrow! xoxoxo

    1. Kari at A Grace Full Life

      That picture might have to go on my staging business cards.
      I can't wait to hear what she says!

    1. Kari at A Grace Full Life

      Maybe tomorrow, instead of going OUT to lunch we should have a picnic IN your house!
      And shake things up a bit.

  3. Lisa Noel

    OH Kari….this rocks. Like Good Housekeeping (or whatever the current really fab magazine is cuz I'm totally clueless)

  4. tugey2

    Just another example of your decorating genius. I have always felt that when you stage your house like this, you don't want to leave it anymore.

  5. WoodsofBellTrees

    I am new here, but I know you will be successful in your venture! I love the before and afters! Great job!

  6. Melanie

    Great job, Kari! I looked into home staging a year or so ago, too. And like you, couldn't believe the cost for the classes. Ain't happening. I haven't had the opportunity to stage someone's house yet, but in the meantime, I've been helping my mom with some decluttering and rearranging of furniture.

    1. Kari at A Grace Full Life

      Thanks Melanie!
      Yes, it is pricey.
      I don't think anyone really needs a class.
      You either got it or ya don't, in my humble opinion.