5 Easy Updates - Home Staging Advice

My interior design client Susan bought an investment property a few months ago. She plans on renting the condo, and really wanted to make this home a winner on the rental circuit. The condo is in a great location, is close to the train, and has good bones, but just needed a shot of decorating Botox. She enlisted my help with making just the right choices and improvements to take the home from bland to grand.

GOAL: Make simple, dramatic changes to this space to get it rental ready, and set it apart from other properties in the area.

With simple changes, the space went from kind-of dated, and definitely boring, to a front-of-the-line rental, with a fresh and airy style.

BEFORE: (Photo: Source)

AFTER: (Photo: Beacon James )

  1. PAINT TRIM & WALLS: Want to appeal to everyone? Paint the trim. By painting the trim, the entire space expands, making the home feel large and airy. I picked white dove paint color by Sherwin-Williams. Paint the Walls one color. We painted all the public spaces one color choice - Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray HC-173 -one of my go-to Home Staging paint colors. The result is a move-in ready space; one that feels large, open and ready for the new renters decorative personality.

  2. PAINT CABINETS: Just like the trim and walls, painting the cabinets will give you the same result and improvement. In this project, we chose two colors. Black on the bottom, white on the top. This makes the existing floor tile and lighting work, adds height to a galley kitchen, and creates a super high-end style. I chose white dove paint color by Sherwin-Williams on the upper cabinets, Iron Ore paint color SW 7069 by Sherwin-Williams on the bottom cabinets. Note: The cabinet pulls didn’t even have to be changed. Bonus!

Contrasting colors that sell include “tuxedo kitchens,” where the upper and lower cabinets are painted in two different colors; these add a $1,547 premium. White cabinets contrasted by a dark navy blue or black kitchen island were some of the most common tuxedo kitchens in top-performing listings.
— Forbes - How Color Impacts How Much Your Home Sells For

3. NEW LIGHTING: Dated light fixtures make a home look dark, dull and tired. Look for trend forward, space functional, but budget friendly new light fixtures. In the dining room, I choose a modern statement making fixture. Lowes, Catalina Sputnik Chandelier.

4. NEW COUNTER TOPS: If the counters are beat up, a dark color, or really dated, new counters are an important upgrade. Since counters are used to prep foods, or for personal care - by replacing the counters with a new product, it gives the new homeowner a clean, fresh slate. We choose a Quartz counter in a white.

5. HIGH-END LOOK DETAILS: A few high-end details will elevate the property to a new level. These all don’t have to be expensive, they just need to LOOK expensive. These lifestyle design upgrades, take the home to a whole new level and really connect emotionally with the potential renter (buyer).


-Beef up the base trim. Add an additional trim piece above the base board to desired height - paint all the trim color, trim, drywall, base board.

-Trim out the door opening. We did the opening to the bedroom spaces - this became a focal point of the space. By just doing this one opening, it makes the home feel very custom.

-Add a fun, tile back splash in the kitchen sink area. Just enough to add a splash of chic, bring the entire black and white theme together. Cement tile look - Encaustic tile from Lowe’s.

-Replace the wood blinds with fabric Roman Shades. Everyone would do a basic wood look blind, instead, a fabric Roman Shade gives the makeover a custom, high-end feel.

-Add a one-of-a-kind piece. Another one of my clients was getting rid of a buffet island. I had just been to her home, and thought the piece would be perfect for Susan. Just the right size, painted to match the lower cabinets, it made for the needed extra counter space.

High End details: Beefing up the base board, adding custom trim around the large doorway elevates a space.

HIGH-END details - Added fun, black and white concrete tile back splash behind the sink area. Which pulls all of the elements of the room together.

HIGH END Details: Fabric Roman Shades, One-of-a-Kind Custom Re-Purposed piece make the home inviting and custom.

ONE-OF-A-KIND- PIECE: BEFORE: The mother of reinvention - Another client’s discard turned into just the right custom piece to make the kitchen shine.

The results of Susan’s changes are exciting and I can’t wait for her text that her new investment property is quickly leased to a great renter.