Saturday, August 15, 2015

No Swag Here!

Whew! We've had a super busy summer helping agents and homeowners get their listings sold. It's been so busy, in fact, that I haven't updated the blog since March. Since this rainy Saturday morning has put a stop to my outdoor plans, I suppose it's the perfect day for some virtual housekeeping.

I've said before that our job could be labeled an exercise in extremes. When we get called in to consult on a listing, generally we find one of two conditions exist. Either the owner has too much stuff and we need to convince them to remove items and use what remains in a more functional and aesthetically pleasing manner -- OR -- the owners have very little in the way of furnishings and accessories, resulting in the need to add some style and personality to the listing.

In the case of this listing, we faced the latter issue. The home was filled with just the basics. There was a place to sit, a place to work, a place to eat, and a place to sleep. There was little in the way of accessories, and the furnishings were very masculine and a bit dated. Essentially, it was a bachelor pad. Take a look at these BEFORE photos. . .


Master Bedroom BEFORE
Bedroom BEFORE
Pretty bland, huh? I mean the home had great bones and is in a fabulous neighborhood, but it did not show well. Aside from a lack of furnishings, the home was also short on elements of light that help buyers respond positively to a property. So along with filling the space with furnishings and accessories, our job was to introduce more and better lighting so buyers could see the home's full potential.
Take a look at the results AFTER the rooms were tidied up, dressed with a few new accessories, and injected with light . . .
Living AFTER
Dining AFTER
Master Bedroom AFTER
Bedroom AFTER

The "BEFORE" living room was a sparse, dark, bachelor's den. It needed a big injection of personality and light. Even though we added many items, the room actually looks and feel larger because it is filled with well-planned furnishings.
The room clearly needed more "stuff" in it, but we also removed things that were of poor scale or style. Chief among them was the rug. It was doing nothing to modernize or express functionality in the room. The super saturated colors were also camouflaging the furnishings. You can barely see the black Chinoiserie coffee table on that dark rug. So we ditched the rug and brought in a slightly lighter coffee table that coordinated better with the leather sofa and television cabinet.
The room also seems larger thanks to a small change in the existing window treatments. Having "swag" may be a good thing on the street, but with home design, having swag is a big no-no! The simple truth is, swag-style curtains are generally not attractive. In most cases, they hide light and look sloppy. You can see in the "before" photo that the swag curtains give the room a dated and depressing look. By extending the rod slightly outward and letting the curtains hang straight down to flank the window, we allowed light and on-trend style to be part of the new design.
As with the living room, in the dining room we had ditch the swag! You can see how just the simple step of opening the curtains and allowing more light into the room completely changed the tone of the home. Once we let the light in, it only took the addition of a few simple accessories and a beautiful painting make the room look amazing.
We often refer to the master suite as a "money room". Along with the kitchen, the master suite can make or break the sell of a home. To get the best price possible for your property, the master bedroom must convey as a coordinated, spacious, and relaxing retreat to buyers. But as you can see from the photo, this master suite was anything but a retreat.
To rescue the lackluster master, we started with bedding. Simple, neutral bedding can make a dramatic impact on a bedroom. A sleek, coordinated bedroom doesn't have to cost a fortune either. There is no need to drop hundreds of dollars on a complete bedding set from a high-end department store. This bed transformation cost less than $100. With a coverlet, matching shams, and coordinating throw pillows, you can pull together a disheveled bedroom for about $80 -- for a KING size bed!  We completed the look with a pair of taller lamps with stylish shades and large, coordinating art. With the affordable change, buyers can finally see the potential of this great master suite.
This teen's room looked like, well, a teenager's room. To help bring this room to order, we first got the teen on board with the idea of maintaining a tidy room while the home was on the market. Then we went about adding simple, economical adjustments to the room.
As you may have guessed, we started our transformation with the curtains. Although the sheer curtain panels were not hung in a swag, they did very little to give the room a light and well-kept appearance. The rod on which they hung was strictly utilitarian and designed to be hidden beneath a valance, not as a stand-alone rod. The rod was also broken and sagging in the center. We would've liked for the panels to softly flank the window as in other rooms, but in this case, the most sensible thing to do was to remove them.
Next we added a simple coverlet and coordinating pillows to the bed and a teen-friendly piece of art on the wall -- very affordable fixes.
In the photo you can also see that the "before" arrangement had an unnecessary and nearly hidden seating group in front of the window. The result was a congested and small space. To remedy that, we removed a chair and table, then placed the remaining chair at an angle in the corner. Finally, we moved the bed, nightstands, and dresser about a foot closer to the window. The small adjustment left the room feeling spacious, stylish, and orderly.
We've have many more photos and ideas from our summer projects to share with you in the next few weeks. I hope you'll check back again to see the other decorating extreme. In our next article you'll see how we removed about half the contents of a home to discover a calm, coordinated, and charming home.

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