Most of my friends don’t know what staging is.  Okay, some know now because I , an HGTV junkie, told them.  I watch HGTV .  What would you expect from a woman who, at age 10, used a black and white composition notebook to tape pictures from her mom’s HOUSE BEAUTIFUL magazine?

True, I’ve moved more than a lot of people I know, not all close friends.  But I am always amazed that people don’t realize that their environment affects them, even if they are not interested in “decorating.”  Really, why do you think so much money is spent on designing cereal boxes?  They influence how we feel, therefore, they influence our choice, even if you’re not a member of the visual mob squad like I am.  Sorry, just like Lady Ga Ga, I was just born that way.

This blog post was inspired by my long held conviction that we should live well where we are living and my last Sunday New York Times article on staging in the real estate section.

As reported in the article, sometimes staging can be so effective a seller decides to “buy” their own apartment and take it off the market.

Obviously, if you are not selling your apartment or house, not all staging tips will apply to you.  You are not going to remove all family photographs.  On the other hand, having too many surfaces – tables, bookshelves, pianos – cluttered with too many pictures of too many different sizes in too many different frames doesn’t work either.

So, here are 5 tips to stage to stay.

1, Try things – it’s not permanent.  I sometimes consult long distance with my daughter.  She’s in Miami.  I’m in Manhattan.  She’s chosen wonderful furniture for her first married apartment, but now it’s time to add the details and place

some of the wedding presents.   I suggested that she move the shiny stainless steel bar tool holder and shaker to the bottom of the bar cart and put her beautiful martini glasses on a tray (try a baking sheet first for effect).  She tried it and

agreed.  She doesn’t always, but she only lost 10 minutes, and nothing is permanent.

2.  If you’ve had the same window treatment for over 12 years, try something new.  Bed Bath and Beyond and Home Goods allow you to buy things more on the inexpensive side, and you can always return them.  Use Velcro to hold things

up so you can get the effect without doing anything permanent.

3.  Attack just one bookcase or table surface.  Remove everything and look at the objects critically.  Women don’t wear the same dress to every party or dinner.  Why should your bookcase look the same for 10 years?

4.  Declutter.  Look around your living room or dining room and take away 5 things.  Donate them or put them in a closet to be used for a future staging.  I bet, in 2 weeks, you’ll find another

items that could “party” someplace else.
5.  Move one or 2 pieces of furniture.  You don’t have to do a whole new floor plan. (Maybe later)  Sometimes, shifting a couch  just 2 feet opens up space.  Switch the chairs  that are on either side

of the table.

Small changes can sometimes have significant impact on a room.  Try it.  If you don’t like it, you can always change it back.  Happy staging.  Happy staying.


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