Time’s Up on Tuscany Decor!

Peanut butter brown…gold or burgundy paint…Faux Finishes…

wrought iron chandeliers with 12 tiers weighing 800 pounds, window treatments with fringe, fake plants on the tops of your cabinets, metal wall décor, dark wood kitchens…oh how the Tuscany Style from the year 2000 haunts us!  

If you’re like the majority of my clients, you’re watching HGTV getting depressed.  Moving or building a new home seems easier than remodeling, but is not always the answer.  If you’re in a great neighborhood and love the bones of your Tuscan style home, fear not! Updating is not as difficult as you may imagine.  You can go at it alone or click here to schedule a free discover call with me.  

The first step in updating your home, is to determine your style and have a plan.  Whether your home is Transitional, Mid-Century Modern, Farmhouse or Contemporary, the style should be curated to reflect both your family’s personality and the style of the home.  Also remember to keep the chosen style cohesive throughout the entire home so there is a flow rather than a disruption to that flow.  

Updated paint creates a fresh bright look

“Update a home by using an outdated color or palette”, said no one EVER!  A good rule of thumb is that if it resembles peanut butter, you should repaint.  The tricky thing with homes built 15 years ago, is that the trim and wood colors are not compatible to today’s trends.  Many homeowners want to paint in the grays or cool colors that are trending and end up getting a result that doesn’t quite feel right.  This leads to having to repaint or live with a bad result.  There are some great warm neutrals that will give your home an updated look, but still match the undertones in granite and travertine used in Tuscan homes. Painted Accent walls and faux finishes are highly discouraged! Many people add an accent wall when they want a pop of color.  However, many times this is not done purposefully so it ends up giving a less than desired results.  Accent wall are a great idea, but need to be used to accent architectural features, or improve the space.  They are the exception, not the norm!

Consider table and buffet lamps for entryways to create a warm welcome.

Many of the mid 2000 homes I go into have very ornate vanities with gilded gold or tile encased mirrors. Even worse, they have a builder mirror that’s glued to the plaster!     Replacing this type of mirror with an oval or round mirror is an easy way to lighten up and modernize the bathroom. When considering paint for the bath, painting the walls and vanities will easily add value to your home.  Walls in blue are always a good choice and bathroom cabinets will benefit from paint if you’ve got dated, dark wood.  Add updated and coordinated cabinet hardware, towel racks, toilet paper holders, lighting and Voila!  No more Tuscany!

Bathrooms can be easily updated with paint, new lighting and fixtures

Kitchens are definitely an area of the home that echo the century in which the home was built. If you have carved grapes, ornate columns, or other decorative cabinetry, you may want to consider some updates.  While it can be more expensive and time consuming to update your kitchen, cabinets can be painted to completely change the look of a home.  If you’re not yet ready to commit to painting your cabinets, consider an accent color on the island.  These changes can be made easier than completing an entire kitchen renovation, and it’s a lot less expensive.  Even a simple change to the cabinets such adding or updating hardware can completely makeover the kitchen and get you a little closer to the modern era 

Kitchen update with paint, tile, cabinet and fixtures

Updating your lighting is another great way to give your space an updated look.  Change out that heavy iron multi-tiered chandelier with an orb or visually lighter iron pendant.  Lighting should create a focal point in a room without overpowering.  Pay attention to scale when selecting chandeliers. A good rule of thumb is to measure the length plus width of the room in feet. This should equal the width of a chandelier in inches.  It’s also a good idea to check the height of chandeliers above tables which should be no lower than 30 inches above the tabletop 

Pay attention to scale when choosing new chandeliers and pendants

A makeover would not be complete if we didn’t touch on furniture and accessories.  It’s time to say bye-bye to the leather furniture! Nothing sucks up the light in a room or screams Tuscany like a leather sofa.  I get it! Leather is exceptionally durable for families and easy to clean with pets.  However, leather isn’t your only option.  There are many performance fabrics in the market like Crypton and Sunbrella brands, for durable, stain resistant upholstered furniture.  Cream, Ivory or oatmeal are great color choices in updated silhouettes with track arms.  This can be as little as an $800 investment and will catapult you into this decade quickly. Keep the leather to a minimum and consider using it for an accent chair or a beautiful ottoman.  Add the finishing touch with metal, wood, glass and white accessories with a pop of color in your pillows and rug.. and you’ve got a fantastic looking space! 

Occupied home staged in Tampa FL

De-Tuscanizing your home may take some time, but keep in mind simple, clean lines with lighter colors is the key to catapulting your home into this century and adding value!

6 Biggest Home Interior Paint Mistakes

Many of my calls are from clients that have had a bad paint result or are just frustrated and overwhelmed with picking a color… There are so many resources for paint.. many my clients have spent hours on the internet in search of the best grays or the hottest trends.  While this is helpful and inspirational, it doesn’t always address the specifics of their home, and can many times end in disaster. 

Here are the 6 biggest Mistakes I see my clients make when choosing paint color:

Mistake 1

All whites are treated equal.  Although all whites appear to be the same, they are probably the most difficult colors to work.  There are numerous undertones of whites and sometimes it’s very subtle unless compared to another white… which leads me to…

Mistake 2

Not matching undertones.  Undertones are colors that emerge when comparing one color to another.  Undertones can make a dated kitchen look even more dated or can bring an old, tired kitchen to life. It’s all about matching the undertones in the cabinets and trim with the undertones in the paint color to achieve a desired result.  I’ve never had a client ask for me to choose a kitchen paint color that makes it appear like a 70’s throwback kitchen.  But you never know!

Mistake 3

No Patience.  Paint needs to be viewed on a wall in many different conditions.  Daylight, Evening, Cloudy days and sunny days will all affect the perceived color of the paint.  For this reason, you should not be to quick to decide and live with a sample for several days before choosing.

Mistake 4

Putting Paint Samples Next To Each Other.  Putting up multiple colors right next to each other, complicates the decision. You compare the colors to each other rather than comparing to permanent objects in the room like trim and flooring.  Each color should be viewed on the wall by itself to get the full benefit of how the color will look in the space.

Mistake 5

Too Many Colors.  There are ways to accent a space while still keeping it classy.  Accent walls can be used to enhance a space, but it’s not always right for every situation.  If done incorrectly it ends up looking cheap and dated. The proper paint palette and application will create a purposeful flow from room to room and not choppy breaks in the visual field.  These multiple colors and breaks create anxiety and can be unsettling rather than draw you easily through a space.

Mistake 6

Clients don’t go Bold.  Being a lover of color, I love bold accent colors and bright, fun colors.  Don’t be afraid to paint with bold colors but be aware of the space.  You can use bold colors in a room where you want the space to appear smaller and cozier to create warmth.  You can also use bolds to feature some great architecture!  Don’t be scared but be purposeful.

Color can be your new BFF or worst Frenemy! Have fun with it, but most of all pick something you can live with and a color that makes you happy!

2021 Interior Paint Trends Released

I love color and keeping up with paint color trends!

 It’s fun to see how each major paint company translates the color trends of the year, and how those trends correlate or translate to interior design trends.  Behr, Sherwin Williams and PPG have already started to predict and release the hot colors for 2021.  The resonating theme of these top 3 brands is balance, comfort, peace and flow in our new unpredictable normal.  Nonetheless, it’s always fun to take our cues from the trends, using these as accent colors for that cozy guest room, or to create a dramatic office space!

PPG’s 2021 Paint Palette of the year incorporates oatmeal, ginger and blue.  All of these can compliment the grays… (yes I said gray will again trend for 2021).   

Sherwin Williams released their 2021 Colormix Forecast reinforcing “Rhythm is the secret to how the natural world stays in step. The same sense of balance applies to our personal sense of nature through how we live”.  With 4 different palettes; Sanctuary, Continuum, Tapestry and Encounter, If Sherwin Williams is right, “grays, muted blues, soft pinks, and whites” will soon be showing up everywhere.

Lastly, we have the predicted trends for Behr who based their color palette on “colors to elevate your comfort zone”.  The Casual Palette features warm neutrals in earthy tones while soothing blues and greens make up the Calm Palette offering peace and solace.  Tinted pastels in pink and blue bring soft pops of color to the Subtle Palette while the Quiet Haven palette makes a bold expressive statement with dark greens, blues and grays.  If you’re that person that loves eclectic color, then the Optimistic Palette is for you in oranges, purples, teals and blues. This palette will bring the fun and personality to any room!

One thing is for certain in this time of uncertainty, we need to take time for ourselves: re-balancing and prioritizing our health… whether that be physical or mental.  Color is a part of our mood; we feel it rather than think it.  Let it be an inspiration to you when to create the perfect space!

Di Leo Design & Staging Featured in Redfin

Di Leo Design & Staging was recently asked to participate in a Redfin Article by Emily Huddleston entitled “Staging a House on a Budget”. As staging experts, we were proud to provide tips along with some other top stagers in the industry. We hope you enjoy the article!

To view the full article, click the link above or read below.

Staging a House on a Budget: Tips from the Experts

When it comes to selling your house, appearance is everything. Home staging is an art designed to show off your home in its best light, and because of that, it can make all the difference. But what do you do if you don’t have a large budget set aside for home staging?  

Don’t worry yet, we have good news! Fortunately, whether you’re renting out a condo in Portland, OR, or selling your home in Atlanta, GA, staging a house on a budget is a totally viable option. To help you get started, we asked expert stagers from across the country to share some quick and easy ideas that will make your house look great (and more importantly won’t break the bank).

Showcase what made you fall in love with the house. If you’re ready to sell, ask yourself: what made you fall in love with your house? Most likely those things will be the ones that attract buyers. Make sure those areas are cleaned up, de-cluttered, and emphasized so they shine and wow buyers. – Style Fusion Home Staging

Remove excess furniture. While many people want to display the many possibilities for each room, it is critical to keep a clean and open layout. Removing any excess furniture reduces clutter and opens up the airflow. Too much furniture can shrink an area dramatically and hide the true space of the room. – The Staging Tree

Try virtual staging. The most efficient and cost-effective way to stage any room in less than 24 hours (with zero furniture) is with virtual staging. On-demand virtual staging provides sellers the unfair advantage in the marketplace that will allow them to display any space in various setups and styles. – LRB Design Studios

Stage with items from the grocery store. When we’re staging homes, our final step is a trip to the grocery store. We generally stock up on 6-12 bottles of Pellegrino and attractive cans for the pantry area, a bowl of limes, and some margarita mix for a wicker cart. – Zesty Staging

Keep color and style consistent throughout the home. When color and style are a common thread throughout the home, buyers are more emotionally comfortable and connected. The use of no more than three main colors (use slipcovers on furniture if necessary, especially if they are well ‘loved’), and one style (be it transitional, modern, contemporary, western, traditional, etc.), will do the trick! – The Efficient H.O.U.S.E

Hang neutral subject artwork. A cost-effective way to hang neutral subject artwork is to buy inexpensive IKEA “Ribba” picture frames (24″ x 35″) and insert leftover wallpaper or fabric that you (or friends) may have on hand that coordinate with your home’s color scheme. For impact, hang two or three frames together approximately 5-6″ apart above a sofa or on a large wall. – Mackenzie Creative Home Staging

Switch out personal photos with scrapbook or wrapping paper. If you already have picture frames hung up, a great way to cover up personal or family photos is to use scrapbook paper or even neutral wrapping paper as inserts. Choose muted colors and patterns that coordinate with your space. Simply cut the paper to size and insert it into the frame, covering the current photo. – My Nest Is The Best 

Address visual clutter. The biggest reason people give for moving is a lack of space in their current home, so selectively prune anything that distracts buyers from seeing the great features of your home. Stacks, even if neat and straight, add weight and visual clutter to rooms. The Dezign Zoo motto is “when in doubt, take it out.” – Dezign Zoo

Paint the front door. A quick and inexpensive way to increase curb appeal is to give the front door a fresh coat of paint. Choose a bold, contrasting color that will stand out and immediately draw the buyers’ eyes to it when they pull up to the house. Black is always a winner, or you could choose a bright, trending color like turquoise, yellow, or orange. – Larimar Home Staging

Stage an extra bedroom as a home office. Since so many of us are now working completely from home or more remotely, this tip can go a long way in appealing to today’s buyers. With this, you want to make sure everything flows and is as open as possible to create a positive and uplifting working environment. For a budget-friendly office, sometimes simpler is better. There’s no need to go overboard with accessories and desk decor, clean and fresh is the way to go. – Universal Staging Company

Have matching lamps and side tables. A great low budget tip is to have matching lamps and side tables in the primary bedroom so it feels and looks expensive. Staging isn’t about pretty, it is about creating value in the buyer’s eye. – Ask for Staging

Declutter. Spend at least a few weekends to completely declutter closets (we want to see baseboards!), pantries, cabinets, and bookshelves. Take closets down by 50 percent, remove magnets from the fridge, etc. If you aren’t convinced if something is de-cluttered enough, take a photo and see if it still looks cluttered through a camera lens – Curly Willow Design Studio

Remove all small appliances, toys, magazines, and pet items. – Utah Elite Staging

Incorporate biophilic design. This design approach seeks to connect the outdoors with people indoors. Open all your window treatments, let in the sunshine and the view, and bring the relativity of nature in with a few, well placed live houseplants, or fake, silk trees to set the green tone. This enhances vitality and psychological wellbeing, as buyers judge homes with all of their senses. Just be sure to avoid heavily fragranced plants or flowers because some people are sensitive to strong scents. It pays to be green in staging, as gorgeous greenery will always be in fashion. – Domaine Luxe

Make the floors sparkle. Open up your space, let the light in and clean it up. It starts with your floors; if you have hardwood floors and want them to sparkle, mix up some of your household items, 1 cup white vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, distilled water, spray, and rub. – DDG DESIGN STUDIO

Buy cheap Goodwill books for shelves and coffee tables. Book selection is critical because when people see a book it tends to invoke thoughts and feelings. When staging a downtown condo, I want to see big coffee table books that are focused around modern art, the city where the condo is located, or an interesting modern photography book. Oftentimes I will see a cartoon or comic book as these are common coffee table books but it’s hard for the buyer to envision their new upscale living with a cartoon book. I also like bookshelves to contain thought-provoking books and avoid anything controversial. – Vize Virtual Staging

Style the front hallway. The front hallway is the first impression for your home when buyers walk in. Get it right. Add a mirror for a great reflection of light and to make the foyer seem larger, add fresh flowers like roses or lilies. First impressions count. – Margery Wedderburn Interiors

Freshen up a room with a new coat of paint. If you don’t need a lot of paint and are maybe just doing an accent wall, many local stores like Home Depot have discounted paint cans from incorrect orders – whether it was the wrong finish, incorrect tint, or something else. These ready to use paint cans can be heavily discounted – even as little as $5 per gallon. – Roomhance

Use fluffy white towels. I always recommend new fluffy white towels in master bathrooms. White denotes cleanliness, and fluffy towels add a fresh spa-like feeling to the bathroom. Towels are inexpensive and can be purchased at any large retailer, plus the seller can use them again in their brand new home. – Lenko Design

Take great listing photos. 90 percent of homebuyers start their search online. To make sure your photos look great, take a picture of your exterior and every room – this is what potential buyers will see. Add and edit your belongings until the photos look worthy of a compelling listing photo. – House Candy Home Staging

Buy new, neutral throw pillows for the sofa and large accent chairs. Most of us have dark furniture because it hides more everyday use, but it also photographs poorly and can make a room look small and dingy. By adding new fluffy throw pillows to your furniture, it will update the room and brighten up the space. – The Staging Team

Depersonalize your home. Depersonalizing and decluttering makes a world of difference when selling a home that you’re living in. Keep the staging neutral and bright to help the home appeal to as many potential buyers as possible. – Witty Rentals

Creating a soothing sanctuary. The master bedroom is where we spend 1/3 of our lives, so why not make sure it looks soothing, clean, and stylish. Add solid white bedding (avoiding busy patterns) and layered pillows while removing excess furniture and clutter. A well-staged master bedroom helps showcase an inviting and calming feel for prospective buyers, making someone feel like they can move right in. – Step By Stage Interiors

Float furniture away from the walls. The way you choose to arrange your furniture can dramatically change how big or open a room feels. Sellers shouldn’t be scared to float sofas and armchairs away from the wall, as long as they are placed parallel to one of the walls in the space. This is especially effective with open floor plans, where the placement of a large sofa between two spaces can help define the separate living spaces. – Jodi Maturo Design

Make easy changes in the bathroom. Remove all floor rugs in the bathroom as it makes the floors look bigger. Add a small succulent or white orchid next to the sink. Your go-to towels are white, fluffy, and crisp — new hand towels will give a spa-like ambiance. – Maple&Moss

Arrange table lamps and floor lamps in a triangular configuration. Doing so spreads light evenly throughout the room. If you can’t add a third light consider hanging a clean-lined mirror on the wall to bounce additional light and open up the room. – Synergy Staging

Update your cabinet hardware. If you don’t have the time or resources to update your kitchen by replacing or painting cabinets, consider switching out your hardware instead. Updating your cabinet hardware to something more modern does wonders for your kitchen while keeping your project extremely budget-friendly. I recommend using a matte black pull and purchasing from Amazon to keep the cost well under $100.00. – Homeslice Studios

Create a kitchen that feels spacious and functional. Whether you’ve got a massive kitchen with a large island or a smaller galley-style space, all homebuyers will be looking for a kitchen that feels spacious and functional. Keep countertops cleared off so they seem more expansive. I like to keep my staging items to a minimum: a large bowl of fruit, maybe a tall, simple display of flowers or branches if there’s an island. If there are open shelves or glass-fronted cabinets, keep your color scheme neutral and monochrome. It will make the space feel clean and cohesive. – A Simpler Design, Dallas based stylist and furniture painter

Add flowers. A simple (and cheap) bouquet from a grocery store or some stems from the backyard is all that’s needed to add brightness to any home. The key is to choose the tallest stems that can be found and pair it with a large, clear vase for that look of sophistication while adding that perfect homey touch. – MM Decor

Try alstroemeria flowers, they look fresh and can last two weeks. They also look great for MLS photos and showings. – Preston Interiors

Only stage the key rooms. The key to saving money with staging is to only stage the key rooms. If it’s an occupied home try to use as much of what you already have, then throw in what’s needed to complete the job. – Lancaster Home Staging And Design

Let the light in. Good lighting is so important in making a home look and feel great to buyers. Take down any unnecessary window treatments to allow as much natural light into the home as possible and introduce some artificial lighting into each room with additional floor and table lamps. Light helps a space feel much larger and more open. – DL Custom Designs

Visit second-hand stores to find unique and low-cost pieces. These budget-friendly stores can help homeowners design inviting spaces for both their property listing photos and open houses. The trick is to be creative and think outside their personal decor preferences when shopping. – In Good Design

Focus on color. Color is essential when it comes to staging your home. We advise sticking with warm, neutral colors for painting. Lighter shades are not only more attractive to the eyes, but it helps buyers to visualize their own household items in the house. – Stone House Stage + Design

Incorporate fresh greenery. Fresh cut greenery can go a long way to enhance the decor of a staged home.  If you live in a tropical area, Palm leaves placed in a clear glass vase look amazing on a coffee table. Other greenery that can be used is Eucalyptus, Fern, or Fiddle Leaf Fig stems. – Di Leo Design & Staging

Originally published by Redfin

3 Reasons to Stage Your Home NOW

You’ve thought about selling your house and finally… you’re ready to pull the trigger.  I totally get it.  It’s a big decision.  It’s not just about selling a house; it’s about leaving the memories and the life you’ve built inside the physical structure.  Once the decision is made, you’d better hurry up and do it before you change your mind.  This is the critical point where you need to hit the PAUSE button.

I’m going to give you 3 reasons why, if you don’t stage your home now.. before you list it… you’ll hate yourself later.

1.  Your Home- Your Greatest Asset

Once you make the decision to list your home, it becomes your biggest asset.  As with any asset, you want to get the best price out of the sale and maximize your investment.  Appealing to prospective buyers is not about showing them the memories YOU built in the home. It’s about showing them how they can create their own memories in the home with their family.  Buyers emotionally connect to a home when they can visualize themselves living and entertaining in the home as well as being a part of the community.  Within 10 seconds of entering a home, buyers know whether they’ll make an offer on a home, or whether they’ll keep looking.  Because of this, you home needs to have that WOW factor and needs to appeal to a diverse group of buyers.  Over the years, you’ve probably spent a lot of time personalizing your home, and that’s fantastic!  However, when your home is listed for sale, the focus needs to shift towards making it appeal to a diverse group of buyers with varied tastes.  Home Stagers are experts in doing this and can create a personality for the home that connects with many different buyer types.  We’re trained to deliberately create these e connection points and make buyers say “this feels like home”

2.  Sell Your Home Fast

Everyone hears about THAT house.  The one with the bidding war where buyers are fighting to purchase the home for more than list price.  Wouldn’t you love to put your best foot forward when you first list your home to make it the house of choice.  I can tell you one of the best ways to do this is with amazing online photos.  Eighty percent of home buyers research houses on the internet before they physically go shopping with a realtor.  These are daunting statistics for someone that has terrible photos on the MLS listing.  With poorly executed photos, you can’t get your home out of the starting gate.  Statistics also show that the more photos you have, the better the chance you have of selling your home faster.  With Millennials becoming a growing home buyer sector and buyers being internet savvy, it’s no surprise that homes are ruled out before buyers even set foot in them.  Home stagers know how to make a home look spacious and bright for photos with just a few minor adjustments.  We know the colors that can make homes pop in photos and know how to create a home that buyers aspire to live in.  Staging really is about setting the “stage” so you create a backdrop that makes your home more appealing both in photos and in person.

3.  Prioritize Your Spend

Many people are under the false assumption that they need to complete a laundry list of home improvements in order to list their home.  This assumption is false and often causes a homeowner to spend money unnecessarily.  Home stagers can help you prioritize the list of To-Dos, so your home looks it’s best without breaking the bank.  Often times, stagers can recommend minor cosmetic changes that significantly improve your home’s appeal rather than major renovations that cost money and time.  In addition, sometimes having an impartial set of eyes looking at the home provides opportunities for arranging and decorating in ways the homeowner cannot always visualize.  Stagers can create much needed focal points to highlight the best features of your home with furniture and accessories you already own and love.  We can not only save you money in renovation costs but many times homes that are staged sell for the best possible price, which is what every homeowner hopes for when they put it for sale.

So, by now I hope you’ve figured out that the goal of a home stager is not to tell you what’s WRONG with your house, but to help define all the things that are great.  Homes that are staged typically sell for 10% more than those that aren’t staged.  That’s a pretty significant amount of money to leave on the table for a small investment in hiring a home stager.  Don’t spend money unnecessarily on major renovations before speaking to Di Leo Design & Staging for an HSR Certified home staging professional.  Let’s make your house THAT house in the Tampa and Wesley Chapel, Florida area that buyers want and let the bidding war begin!

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