How to :Style a bookcase

A bookcase is usually one of the largest pieces of furniture in your home and often one of the most personal. You can tell alot about a person by the books they own,the momentos they keep and which items they treasure most.

When selling a home this is usually a spot that needs alot of editing.Too many items can distract from beautiful woodwork and workmanship, or in some cases a nearby fireplace. You want buyers to focus on the features of a home versus contents!

When staging a bookcase I like to clear the decks and start with a clean slate. Now is a perfect time to go through all your books and decide   1.Would I read it again.  2.Is a 15 year old, dog eared paperback really worth having in my collection.   3.Is the information in the book outdated.  4.Could the book be of more use to someone else e.g.  A club or group,seniors home, woman’s shelter.

Keeping only the items you truly treasure and mean something to you makes a collection and not just a pile of “stuff”

Your collections could tell a story. An event,special vacation,a fun weekend in the city. By displaying & grouping of  items that relate to an event it also tells your guests a little about you and can be a great ice breaker to start a conversation. Just switch out some items when selling to depersonalize slightly. The picture on the left tells the story of a fabulous weekend of shopping,art galleries and a dress up date. Tickets to a show would be a fun addition too .More books can be added to either side,with bookends (A Statue of Liberty set would be the perfect touch)


How you style your bookcase depends on the season and location too.The bookcase on the left I styled for a photoshoot for Wicker Emporium,Halifax. Summer is the season and evident in the colours,items and style of the bookcase.A definite “cottage” theme. Where would you rather kick back for some quiet time.The messy office in the first picture or the tranquil spot with the relaxing feel? Don’t feel you have to have all your wordly goods on display at one time.Rotate collections seasonally or change it up when you have a new memory to add. This also keeps your decor fresh and current.Having the same items on your bookshelf for 5,10,15 years or longer is automatically going to date your space in the eyes of a homebuyer.



Too many items in a workspace is distracting. Editing is even more important in the place you need concentration.In the office pictured left items are kept to a minimum. Books are facing with pages front to give a uniform look,only showing one colour,the book pages.A great trick if your books are looking worse for wear or you have too many colours clashing on the shelves. The decorative bookends echo the curve of the desk. (Wicker Emporium)


Children’s bookcases need to be funtional. When staging I advise homeowners to only keep the minimum of books and toys in child’s room. This cuts down on clean up time at the end of the day and when preparing for showings.Display favourite books and rotate with some different ones every so often to keep the selection fresh,for parents and little ones! Showing maximum sq footage in children’s rooms is especially important as space is usually limited.








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Staging bathrooms.How to get that “spa” look.

Bathrooms are a big deal for homebuyers,so if yours is a little lackluster you need to up the glam factor.
Removing all the clutter and all of your personal items is a given when prepping your home for sale .Buyers don’t want to see your hair brush,tooth brush or your cat’s litter.Now is the time to sort through what you really need to keep,give away,sell or throw out. Recycle where you can.Counter tops should be clear with the exception of a few accessories.

Artwork adds interest in a bathroom

Clean until every single thing sparkles in this bathroom. If you have a shower curtain buyers will pull it back to see the condition of the tub so clean all the grout until it is white.
One of the biggest changes and best investments is painting your walls. Choose a neutral paint colour that will go with the colour scheme of your home.Think ‘spa’ and calm.Aqua blue with white always creates a fresh,tranquil feeling.

Calm tranquil colours work best when staging for sale

If your lighting fixtures are outdated,you can find very current brushed nickel or chrome light fixtures for very reasonable prices at Home Depot,Ikea,Lowes, Canadian Tire or Costco.The old brass or “hollywood” fixtures just don’t have the look home buyers want.
Flooring does not have to be an expensive item for your bathroom update. There are many excellent products on the market. Peel and stick tiles work beautifully in small bathrooms and powder rooms, or of course tile is the way to go if budget allows. Choose a neutral tile not too dark and not too bright. Avoid using carpet in a bathroom at all costs.

Paint a tired looking vanity

Inexpensive replacements for sinks and counter tops can be sourced at ReStore Habitat for Humanity, Costco, Home Depot, Canadian Tire or Lowes. There are many excellent low cost laminates that you can use for new counter tops.
Toilets that are dated in colour such as green,pink,burgundy or blue should be replaced with new white toilets and toilet seats. Try and keep all of the furnishings in the bathroom white or off white. Tubs and shower stalls can be more of a challenge if they are old and full of mildew. At the least clean as much as possible. Sometimes you can create a cleaner look simply by using a strong environmentally friendly cleanser and a toothbrush;then add a new grout.Another option is reglazing if a tub or shower is in really bad shape.Well worth the expense.

White shower curtains,a good choice for staging

A new shower curtain in a fabric rather than plastic will add warmth to the room. White is always the best colour but other colours may work if you coordinate well.Think‘spa’and hotel ensuites.
Cupboards and shelving should be white, off white or a dark chocolate brown with nickel hardware works well. If you have wood such as oak now might be the time to consider painting it. You can buy a primer and then a latex paint to update the look.
If your mirror is cracked or slightly damaged now is the time to replace it. The current trend is to individual mirrors rather than one large mirror often found in homes. Find a mirror that suits the style of your home or consider framing your large mirror to create a more polished look.

Two mirrors are better than one!

Depending on the size of your bathroom hang some art that is restful to the eye and in soft colours. Select contemporary accessories for the finishing touches. Avoid using bathmats when showing a bathroom. You can cozy up the room with your paint colours, towels and shower curtain. Keep the floor clear and clean to maximize square footage and ditch the garbage can for viewings and online pictures.

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The Home Interview

The Home Interview

Dress to Impress!

You want to dress to impress – what do you wear? That old suit in the back of the closet with the frayed edges and outdated colour .Yes, it looked great at your cousins wedding in 1995 but it’s not going to get the job done on this interview. Not exactly the great first impression you want people to remember you by.

Properties are constantly being “interviewed” by homebuyers and realtors. The majority of sellers seem to think buyers will see past the dated décor, garish paint colours and clutter.

That old sofa the dog sleeps on and the floral wallpaper border might have looked fabulous in it’s heyday but what today’s buyer perceives is the present owners have deferred updating this property when their perception should be “I love this home”

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85% of homebuyers search the internet for their dream home. As images flash before their eyes in seconds they instantly reject the properties that fail to resonate on an emotional level thus resulting in many missed opportunities.

How do you minimize your lost opportunities?

By following a few simple steps your home will be “interview ready” for buyers .

  • Remove all clutter and store, out of the home if possible, or toss
  • Family photographs and collections should be removed and packed
  • Tidy closets and remove most of clothing to suggest ample storage space
  • Update dated and loud paint colours to appeal to a broader range of buyers
  • Purchase  new bed linens in a neutral palette to instantly update your space
  • Do all those odd jobs you have been putting off around the house – red flags to a buyer
  • Clean windows, buyers love a bright light space, open drapes to let the sun shine in
  • Eliminate odours, especially pet and cooking smells, ask a friend to do the sniff test
  • Ensure furniture does not block traffic flow – less is more

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A home that has been staged is more marketable, appeals to a broader range of buyers, and overshadows the competition. The property will appear fresher, brighter and newer, and easier for a buyer to envision living there. A staged home will make “The Home Interview” memorable for the right reasons.

The vast majority of homes for sale have not been staged by a professional or a capable “Do it Yourself” enthusiast, so your listing will be unique and stand out as the “move in ready” home.

Turning a property into a “house for sale” instead of a “home for the present owners to live in” is often best left to a professional who has no emotional ties to the property which will help the owner “move on” and the buyer better envision the home as their space. The practical, emotional, financial and aesthetic aspects of the home have all been addressed. What more could a buyer ask for?

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Holiday Decor – The Seasonal Shift

Holiday Décor – The Seasonal Shift

A few of my favourite things

With Halloween just a blur (that could be due to the sugar high) all systems are go around town and the faint sound of “Jingle Bells” in the air.

While scouting a few stores out this past Saturday my day started with ghosts, goblins and pumpkins galore. By early afternoon retailers who would put a swat team to shame had replaced all things scary with enough glitter and glitz to Deck the Halls from here to The North Pole (ok, maybe not quite that far!)

If, like me, you still have a Halloween wreath on the front door, visions of sugarplums aren’t yet dancing in your head, but now is the ultimate time to start planning your decor  for this season. Selection is at it’s best right now and talking from experience if you need to pick up a few items to freshen and update your Holiday look now is the time to do it, before it’s gone baby gone!

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On my jaunt I saw some fabulous displays, kudos to Metro retailers who have really outdone themselves this year.

  Colour Combos

 Turquoise & Lime – Love it. Fresh, a little funky and unexpected.  Lots of this palette around in baubles this year. Birds are the “it” ornament this season, from peacocks (great with this combo) to dainty glass birds with feather tails. These feathered friends make a great new addition and are available in every hue.Red & Lime – Didn’t think I would like this one either but the red really makes the lime pop! Last year I decorated my tree in a lime, chocolate brown and gold combo but this year I am thinking red and lime is the way to go. This shade of green instantly updates the forest green usually paired with red (so 1980’s)  White & Silver – I love the frosty glow of this holiday classic combo. Glittering snowflakes, icicles and shimmering silver, teamed with white lights to add a starry finish. Add one more hue and you get a whole new look. Purple would look so on trend – mum you were ahead of your time with your purple tree 2 years ago, it’s the colour right now.

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Hot Pink & Black – Very “Sex in the City”. Think feather boa, high heel shoe ornaments and martini glasses – what a fun girly, girl look for a theme tree with a feminine spin.  Bronze & Gold – A beautiful warm and sophisticated look. Try to stay away from gold with a high sheen and opt for matt finishes to make this scheme more current. A tree skirt in rich, chocolate brown velvet and glittered ferns in the same tone will finish this look off. Matt gold also looks stunning with black for a scheme that looks “oh so chic”.   

PREP’s Seasonal Décor Service can give your home the WOW factor whatever your budget!

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