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How this Black Female Pioneer Dominated the Staging Industry with $10

How this Black Female Pioneer Dominated the Staging Industry with $10

Pictures in magazines and on Pinterest make us want to always have our homes perfect.  We see beautiful rugs and table décor in perfectly set living rooms.  Who wouldn’t want to live this dream life?  But when we look up the items in the photos, we get sticker shock.  Not everyone can afford a couch from Restoration Hardware.  Although fantastic looking, it has an incredible price tag.  There are other options available, and get this, they don’t come with a 7 month wait time.

At my company, The Design Quad, our clients are most likely to come to us in a real estate transaction.  Either selling their current home or moving into a new home.  We get lots of scenarios.  Parents downsizing, Bachelors needing help to make their home feel like a home, Blended families moving in together, and many more.  In all these instances, these clients will need to purchase furniture for their new situation.  And that is when the fun begins.  They are looking for items to mix with what they currently have and don’t want to break the bank in case it doesn’t work out.

So here are my top suggestions;

Retail is Always King. Running into a furniture or décor store that has items on hand will serve both your wallet and your patience.  Items such as artwork and décor can be found at Home Goods (Home Sense), At Home Stores, Target, and online stores Amazon, Wayfair, Overstock.  When shopping for furniture, make sure the items are in stock and do not have to be ordered.  One place that people don’t expect to have great furniture is Amazon.  They carry all furniture lines, and it can be in your home in a matter of days.  Assembly is required but hiring a handyman would be inexpensive if you don’t feel comfortable assembling yourself.  Make sure to read the measurements of the items to make sure they fit the scale of your rooms.  As a Home Stager, Amazon has become my go to for accent chairs, benches, beds and other small furniture pieces.

Don’t be afraid to spruce up a wall. When thinking of changing up the look of your home, don’t be afraid to try something new.  Wallpaper is back!  Not granny’s wallpaper with grapes and chickens but cool wallpaper in geometric shapes or cool textures.  There are some affordable peel and stick options that can be temporarily applied to walls in case it gets old to your eye or the space outgrows it.  Adding wallpaper to a ceiling or a feature wall is a quick and easy way to add interest to the room without spending a lot of money.  Another feature wall application is modern wainscotting.  A very popular trim accent that is being used in dining rooms, offices, and even the owner’s bedroom on the wall the bed is on.  I call this the new Shiplap and hope this trend stays around for a while.

Get a Design Consultation. Most designers offer an E-Design service that ranges from $200-$500.  This will help with furniture layout, furniture selection, or an overall design plan.  What this will do is organize your thoughts.  You know the style you like and the pieces you have already.  But the designer will fill in the blanks and put those items in a plan to make it all come together.  Most people are confused about where to start, and the designer will create a custom plan that you can shop from.  This way, you don’t have to pay them to order the furniture or their movers to install.  These plans come with links to items to buy or pictures of items that will blend well with existing furniture.  You can find similar items using google photo search.

Garage Sales, Facebook Marketplace and Antique Stores are your friends. The lady that did buy that $3,000 restoration hardware couch only had it for a year and is now moving to a smaller place and needs to get rid of it.  Where do you think she will list it for sale?  Online!  Check online sales listings often.  People are selling and giving away cool items every single day.  What may not be needed in one home, may be very needed in another.  Offer Up was extremely popular before Marketplace took over the online selling space.  When we need game tables for Staging, the marketplace is the very first place we look.  The items are unlimited.  You will likely find things that are gently used that will fit perfectly in your new space. Antique items are making a comeback also.  Making homes feel lived in with an older piece of furniture or décor is a trend that will probably never go away.  A new decorating style called Granny Chic is on the rise.  It is a mix of modern and traditional that reminds you of a hip grandmother’s style.

Paint and Knobs Go a Long Way. Grab a paint brush and get to work.  Painting cabinets and vanities is the most affordable way to change the look and feel of the room.  In the kitchen, if cabinets are darker or a heavy wood painting them a lighter color will make the room feel bigger and brighter.  In bathrooms you can be a little more creative with color.  Green and blue vanities are on trend and look amazing in smaller bathrooms.  Changing out hardware can make a huge impact for a small price.  Gold is the hottest trend in fixtures, and some may be on backorder.  But if you go with gold you are guaranteed to have a stylish room that will be in style for a long time.  Gold is back and here to stay.

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Designing your home doesn’t have to be expensive if you plan correctly.  Choosing your color scheme or overall aesthetic should be first and then start working on your plan.  Take an inventory of items you want to continue to use and what items you want to purchase new.  Ask your friends and family to come over to help do projects to save money.  Serve pizza and wine to make it fun and at the end of the night l enjoy your beautiful new space.  Have fun!

Nikki Giovanni Watson started in real estate as a Flooring Sales Rep.  She started Staging as a hobby and now owns the largest volume Home Staging Company in the Nation.  Her company The Design Quad offers Staging, Interior Design, Renovations and Flooring.  Follow her on facebook, twitter, and Instagram.

Photo of Nikki by JerSean Gollatt