Home stager Kate Hart froze the first time the owners of a house she had de-personalized for a quick sale asked her to work her decorating magic in their new home.
She struggled for a reply and then it clicked.

Home stager Kate Hart froze the first time the owners of a house she had de-personalized for a quick sale asked her to work her decorating magic in their new home.
She struggled for a reply and then it clicked.
“You really can’t live in a staged home, but I understood the emotional appeal,” says the owner of Hart & Associates Staging and Design, Philadelphia. “What they really wanted was something that was simple, clean and streamlined.”
Many other staging clients have made the same request as the concept used for residential resale becomes alluring to the general population.
Staging, Hart says, involves lots of cleaning and removing of clutter and unused furniture. The goal is to let the house’s best characteristics stand out. Then decorate with a select number of color-coordinated accessories, including some fun props, like an unopened wine bottle and stemware placed elegantly on a beautiful tray in the dining room table.
Beyond the basics, Hart offers some tips to give older homes a more modern, staged look.
Tone it down: A staged home’s appeal, in part, stems from its neutral color base. Look around with a critical eye and determine if your paint color, wallpaper or carpet look dated. Also consider painting any dark woodwork or pine paneling, in addition to the trim.
Brighten the space: Brighten up a room with new light fixtures. Focus on the kitchen and dining room. Older kitchens may need multiple light sources, like a sophisticated-looking pendant light over the counter or island. Install halogen light fixtures under your kitchen cabinets to illuminate the counter tops. In the dining room, swap out the standard brass chandelier with an antiqued bronze fixture accented with decorative shades.
Focus on details: Staged homes surprise visitors with little details like stylish bathroom fixtures. Consider replacing outdated hardware and faucets with trendier nickel or polished chrome. And while you’re sprucing up the bathroom, invest in some new shower curtains and guest towels.