Setting the Stage

Normally I think of home decorating and collecting furniture as sort of a piecemeal process; you pick up great pieces when and where you can.  The process is organic as you sort of figure out what works in your space, and what doesn’t.

Or, you can do what I did this weekend and stage an entire house in a matter of hours, with the help of our good old friend, the Internet.  I had the chance to stage to coordinate the staging (furniture/accessories) of a newly remodeled DC row home.
This was a great exercise in design, but it’s also provided some great tips for anyone setting out to make their first home, especially those with a limited budget.  
In the bathroom: have fun!  The entire concept for both bathrooms came from the towels.  Towels (from World Market) are a really affordable way to add personality in a small space.  Then, because I am like this, I matched the wastebasket and soap to the towels – that is clearly not mandatory. 

Here’s a tip: in designing for staging and open houses, or for any high trafficked guest bathroom, skip the soft white floor rug.  I went with gray, it will be more durable underfoot.
In the living room I went with the bold choice of a light colored sofa.  In theory it is safe for a staging house, or a house without kids or pets (like ours, in real life!), but what you forget about is the times when the furniture needs to be moved by movers, and not with your tender loving care from house to house.  No worries, this sofa (also from World Market) is completely slip covered to allow for ease when changing styles, or hiding spills.

In the kitchen allow yourself to make a statement.  For me it was these cute little stacked coffee cups (World Market), that inspired the rest of the color palette and semi-retro aesthetic. 

I had a few challenges: make it affordable, make it fabulous, and make it livable. I am not an interior designer, but I learned a few tricks along the way, that were worth sharing.  

If you’re in home set-up mode here were my favorite places to search and shop: 
  • World Market,  great for accessories and unusual items, textiles, that sofa!
  • Pier 1, great for vases, candles, kitchen kitsch
  • Target, great for lamps, rugs, bedding, affordable accent furniture
  • JCPenney, great sales on large furniture, rugs, dining
  • Wal-Mart, great for lamps, affordable accent furniture, bedding
  • Crate & Barrel, great sales on dishes, table linens
  • Amazon, great for price checking
  • Overstock, great for price checking, rugs

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