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Grand Rapids Home Staging

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Home Staging Room by Room: The Bathroom

Home Staging bathrooms is where applying the three C’s of home staging is essential.  When preparing a home for the Grand Rapids real estate market, bathrooms should be clean, clutter-free, and the wall color should be light and neutral.



Get out your cleaning supplies and start cleaning!  In my years of home staging, I have encountered many dirty tubs hidden behind shower curtains.  Please don’t make this mistake.  Instead, impress buyers with a squeaky clean bathroom.  Pay attention to every surface, nook and cranny, even inside the cabinets.  Address any mildew or rust spots.  There is a multitude of cleaning products on the market to tackle these common problems.  For in-between cleanings I advise my clients to keep bathroom and glass wipes handy and to give their bathrooms a quick touchup each morning.  You’ll be surprised at what a difference this makes and you may even start a habit! 

Another thing to consider when it comes to clean is the bathroom towels.  The bathroom may be squeaky clean but dirty, old, or mismatched towels can give the opposite impression.  If this sounds like your towels it would be worth investing in a new set.  Some people even go to the effort of having a set of towels that are for show purposes only. 


No one likes this “C” even when it comes to home staging such a small room as the bathroom.  Clutter can be found on your countertops, inside your shower, and in your cabinets.  The first thing to de-clutter is your cabinets.  Just like the kitchen, take everything out and only put back what is absolutely necessary.  Box up the rest and you’ve started the packing process!  Secondly, clear your countertops of all items.  Find a spot in your almost-empty cabinets for only the necessities.  Thirdly, tackle the shower.  Keep out only what is used daily and stow any other necessities in the cabinets.  For the finishing touch, place one aesthetically pleasing item on the countertop to help depersonalize such a personal space.  Now, be proud of yourself and take a mental picture of your de-cluttered bathroom.  Work hard to keep it that way and remind yourself that you’ll be on your way to your dream home soon.



Color choice is an important factor in small spaces such as bathrooms.  Bold, dark, or bright colors tend to bring the walls in and make a space feel cramped.  In order to achieve a roomier impression it is best to paint walls in a warm, neutral color.  The exception to this is a powder room where a more formal setting is desired.

 A great way to add color and interest to a bland bathroom is through temporary items such as towels and artwork.  Shower curtains, towels, and artwork should flow with the color and overall tone of the bathroom.   Neutral colored shower curtains are best.  Keep in mind that temporary items should never be the main focal point in a house for sale.  I had a client wanting to use white towels in every single bathroom.  This is fine for some bathrooms but in a refined master bathroom with dark cabinetry and darker tones, a white towel would stick out like a sore thumb.  

These three C’s of home staging can be applied to any room.  Hopefully with this bit of advice, you will create a spa-like, relaxing, and depersonalized bathroom that is sure to impress potential buyers. 

Happy Staging! 

Home Staging Room by Room: The Kitchen

Home Staging the kitchen is crucial when it comes to selling your home. The kitchen includes much more than just walls, floor, and ceiling.  With so many components in the kitchen, many buyers evaluate the condition of the entire home based upon this one room.  A sparkling, well maintained and organized kitchen speaks volumes to buyers that you have attended to every detail in maintaining your home.


The first step in staging a kitchen is to eliminate any unneeded “stuff”.  Grand Rapids home buyers look for kitchens that are functional and spacious therefore the goal is to maximize all counter and cabinet space.  Countertops should be clear of all items except for a few decorative pieces displayed in the corners.  Leaving appliances on your countertops gives buyers the impression that your kitchen has limited cabinet space.  Also, eliminate any items inside the cabinets that you will not need for the short-term.  I recommend taking everything out of each kitchen cabinet and drawer and putting back only those things you absolutely can’t live without.  While you are at it you may as well have some cleaning supplies handy and wipe out the cabinets.  When putting items back in the cabinetry be sure to arrange them neatly and orderly.  Remember that you want the kitchen to look as organized as possible.

Next, depersonalize the kitchen spaces.  The biggie here is to totally clear off the front of your refrigerator.  Sorry, but no more photos, kid’s drawings, notes, or magnets while your home is on the market.  We all need a calendar handy so I suggest hanging it on the inside of a kitchen cabinet door.  In addition, the telephone station should be free of any papers, mail, pens, etc.  You have already cleared out the cabinets so you should have plenty of space to put these items in a cabinet or drawer near the phone.

Now it’s time to address any repairs needed in the kitchen.  Inspect the entire kitchen including the lighting, faucet, sink, appliances, floors, walls, cabinets, and countertops.  Look carefully at the caulk along the countertop and backsplash.  In many cases it is wise to freshly caulk in order to achieve the goal of an immaculate kitchen. 


Now that your kitchen is clutter- and repair-free, you are ready to tackle the most important “C” of home staging CLEAN!  A kitchen can never be too clean so clean like you’ve never cleaned before.  Here’s a list to get you started cleaning your kitchen:

  • Sink, including the disposal (freshen with a fresh lemon)
  • Countertops
  • Backsplash, including grout
  • Cabinets – inside and out – don’t forget under the sink too
  • Floors and baseboards
  • Stove top – use a good degreaser
  • Oven – inside and out
  • Exhaust fan and hood – degrease and change filter
  • Microwave – inside and out
  • Refrigerator – inside and out

When home staging your kitchen, please don’t ignore any of these items.  I have clients ask, “Do they really look in the cabinets and the oven?”  My answer is a definitive, “YES!”  A buyer will inspect any and everything they are considering buying.  A little elbow grease and organization will have your pristine home screaming, “BUY ME!”

Contributed to by:

Heidi Herbruck at Simply Staged

Home Staging the Family Room or Great Room

Home Staging the family room is one of the most difficult tasks when it comes to preparing a home for the Real Estate market.  While at home, we spend most of our time in the family room therefore through the years we have formed an imprint of who we are in this room.  Effective home eliminates that imprint and creates a space in which buyers can visualize their unique imprint in the room.   

According the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary , a “family room” is “a large room designed as a recreation center and informal gathering place for members of a family.  Keeping that in mind, let’s take a look at home staging the family room.


First of all, the definition tells us that the family room is “a large room”.  When home staging, we want to make sure the family room shows off its true spaciousness.  Too much furniture, ineffective furniture placement, and heavy draperies tend to make the space look smaller.  For a more detailed explanation, visit my previous blog: Home Staging the Living Room. 

Secondly the family room is a “recreation center”.  Today’s recreation in the family room can vary from TV viewing, media usage, video game playing, computer usage, board game playing, book and magazine reading, and if you have small kids, toy playing.  That’s a lot of recreation!  Does everyone like all these forms of recreation?  Probably not, so stage the family room to appeal to the broadest range of buyers by making the space as generic as possible.


The last part of the definition states that the family room is an “informal gathering place for members of a family”.  Successful home staging creates a comfortable family room in which buyers can envision themselves enjoying lots of time together as a family.  The result should be a room that is inviting, cozy, relaxing, and informal.  Eliminate any distractions or restlessness by de-cluttering the space as much as possible, Start by hiding as much of the media equipment as possible.  Make sure any cords are coiled up nicely and hidden from view.  Put all dvd’s or cds in a cabinet or decorative box with a lid.  Also, move any toys to another location while your house is on the market.  As you home stage, keep reminding yourself that the way you live in your house and the way you market it for sale are two different things.  By staging, these inconveniences should be short-lived since you will soon be moving to your dream home.

Many homes in the Grand Rapids area have what is called a “great room”.  Merriam-Webster states that a “great room” is “a large room in a residence usually serving several functions (as of a dining room, living room, and family room)”.  The key thing I want to touch upon here is that the great room usually serves several functions.  When staging a great room, it is important to allow the buyer to visualize the function of each space.  Therefore, make sure each area is defined to portray its specific use.  This is usually achieved through the strategic placement of furniture and rugs. 

Home staging the family room may be a difficult task but it will pay off in the end.  Look at the room through “buyer’s eyes” and you will create a room that buyers can’t resist.  Happy staging!

Contributed to by:

Heidi Herbruck at Simply Staged

Home Staging Room by Room: The Living Room

Home Staging a living room need not be a daunting task.  Keep in mind that the function of a formal living room is plain and simple, a cozy room to invite friends to sit to have a conversation.  If you are fortunate enough to have a formal living room, it is wise to market the “formal” in the room.  This means no televisions, exercise equipment, or toys.

When determining how to stage the living room, stand in the doorway at which buyers will first be entering, usually the foyer.  Ask yourself, “Does the room invite me to want to come in and sit? Is there a clear path to maneuver around the room without having to swerve around the furniture?”  If not, the furniture needs rearranging and if your home is like most, it may have too much furniture for marketing the house for sale.  Furniture should also fit the scale of the room.  Oversized couches and chairs make a room look smaller.


In Grand Rapids, fireplaces are a sought after feature so if your living room has a fireplace it should be played up as the focal point of the room.  This is accomplished through the placement of furniture and decor.  Personal items and collections should be packed away so they do not distract buyers and little hands don’t disturb them.  When selecting décor, keep in mind that Grand Rapids is generally a conservative community.  Simple décor is what we are looking to achieve so remove any excess books or knick-knacks and replace them with a few larger, tastefully selected items.  Remember, a buyer is looking to purchase your house, not your stuff – effective home staging places the emphasis on the product for sale, the house.


 Ample lighting, especially in the winter months, also helps to reveal the appeal of your living room.  Make sure you have enough lamps to light the entire room sufficiently.  All drapes and blinds should be open to let in as much natural light as possible.  This may unveil some flaws that you haven’t noticed so carefully inspect the carpet, trim, and walls.  Freshly cleaned carpet, painted walls (in a warm, neutral color), and sparkling windows will impress buyers that you have taken care of the home.

Contributed to by:
Heidi Herbruck at Simply Staged

Tactics for Selling a Home in the Greater Grand Rapids Area

I was watching The Today Show this morning and saw a segment about a new study that was released titled “Seven Tactics for Selling a Home: A Data-Driven Approach for Home-Sellers” ( See: Segment).  Real Estate professionals are already aware of these tactics.  The report is from Redfin ( See: Redfin The Real Estate Scientist )and I am in no way endorsing them.  I am aware that many homeowners in our area may have seen the segment and could possibly think that the statistics encompassed the entire nation when in fact most of the statistics come from the west coast markets.  I have listed each tactic along with comments relating to the greater Grand Rapids area.

1. Don’t overprice your property

Price your house from the get-go so you don’t lose potential buyers along the way.  This is especially important in the extremely competitive greater Grand Rapids market.  My vacant stagings are even contingent upon the listing Realtor’s agreement that the property is priced accurately for the current market. 

2. Set your price to show up in MLS searches

When setting the list price of a home, don’t price it at the bottom of a price tier.  Your Realtor already knows this strategy.  Not all systems have the same tier breakdown so your Realtor will familiarize you with the tiers in our local MLS system.

3. Debut on Friday This may not be the same for all demographic areas, all times of the year, or all market conditions.  Your Realtor should have the current statistics.

4. Stay engaged

Since our local market is highly competitive, any extra effort will pay off.  Motivated sellers should be willing to paint, stage, fix repairs and look better than the competition.  It’s especially important to keep your home show-ready throughout the entire process.  That’s the hard part!  Remember, the way live in your home and the way you market it for sale are two different things.

5. Market the property online

In addition to the MLS, other websites can help notify potential buyers of your house for sale.  Different types of homes demand different marketing strategies.  Consult with your Realtor to inquire about supplementary websites that may gain your home more exposure.

6. When selling your home, stay put

You don’t HAVE to stay put.  Another option is to Stage the vacant house in order to help buyers visualize the space and to picture themselves living there.  Most of my vacant stagings in the greater Grand Rapids area sell within 2-3 months.

7. If you can, wait to list your property until neighboring foreclosures are off the market

You have most likely heard the news about Michigan’s foreclosure statistics.  Just because there’s a foreclosed home for sale in your neighborhood doesn’t mean that it’s competition for your home.  Your Realtor is there to help decide.

Contributed to by:

Heidi Herbruck at Simply Staged

Home Staging Room by Room: Front Entry and Foyer


When staging a home, the front entry and foyer are often overlooked since most homeowners rarely enter their own homes through their front doors.  Along with curb-appeal pay special attention to these areas since they are where first impressions are formed.  Are there cobwebs, leaves, or snow that need to be removed?  Is there moss growing that must to be power-washed?  Take note of the condition of the trim and the door.  Could they use a fresh coat of paint?  Is the door hardware corroded and in need of replacing?

Once inside, examine the foyer rug.  It’s the first thing potential buyers see once inside the house and an indication of what’s to come.  Is it clean and in excellent condition?  If not, consider sprucing up the area with a new entry rug.  Choose one that is fitting for the size of the foyer and front door.  It should be tastefully selected to flow with the rest of the house.

If your foyer is large enough, a small table and floral arrangement are an excellent way to greet new guests.  Don’t over-clutter the space, though.  Make sure you are showing there is enough space for a few people to be invited into the house at once.

Contributed to by:
Heidi Herbruck at Simply Staged