"Do I have to buy new stuff?"

Education & Training with J29 Project

Whenever I conduct seminars in the community about Staging, I frequently get asked theACCESSORIES FOR SALE question:  


"Do I have to buy all new stuff?"


I can't help but smile when I think about why the person asking me that question has that idea.  More often than not, people associate Home Staging as they see it on television.  With shows that tout: "You too can get your house ready for sale with only $2000!"  or "I spent $950 on Staging and it sold in less than two weeks!", it is hard not to have the impression that one must spend plenty of money before selling a home.  Some of the designers on television replace the homeowner's possessions with all new furniture and accessories because the "look" they are after cannot be delivered with the homeowner's current possessions.


I am here to tell you the goal of professional stagers is really not to cost you thousands of dollars to Stage your home.  In my accreditation course, I was taught that using the homeowner's current possessions is the best course of action in saving them money and gaining the most profit from the sale of their home.  The goal is to use creativity to repurpose what homeowners already own to fit the vision for a home.  Granted, that doesn't always work and sometimes there do need to be purchases made, but that is where the vendor discounts come in.  Most professional stagers have a host of vendors that they receive discounts from and can pass those savings on to their clients.  That really helps take the bite out of having to purchase new items.


Creativity here is key!  It is so important to look at what you already have and discover new ways to make them work for your space.  I recently read a blog post from a Teresa Meyer, owner of Stage A Star in Cincinnati.  She had a house that was filled with antique furniture.   She reused the homeowner's existing antique sofa and made the living room look fabulous!  It saved the homeowners a ton of money and oh, by the way, did I tell you it sold within a week.   Teresa repurposed and repositioned furniture and accessories that the homeowner already possessed!  That is getting the most bang for your Staging dollars!


When furnishing a home, there a few ideas that I would like for homeowners to keep in mind - whether they are selling or staying.  Keep big items neutral whenever possible.  No one wants to replace a sofa every four years!  Bring pattern, texture and color in with accessories and smaller upholstery pieces.  It will save money in the long run.  Neutral pieces can be livened up with just a change of color on the wall or the addition of throw pillows or area rugs.    


When purchasing accessories for the home, keep adaptability in mind.  Target accessories that can be updated for the seasons or color changes quickly.  It is easy and inexpensive to update the color of a candle as opposed to purchasing a whole new table vignette.

 It can be quite daunting to purchase accessories for a home.  Having a professional to assist with making informed choices goes a long way in saving money.  If you would like additional information about choosing transitional accessories for your home, I will be at Whitt's End:  Home and Garden on May 28 at 6:30pm.  Refreshments will be served and there will be a short demonstration on how to choose the right acWhitt's Endcessories for your home. 


If homeowners make good choices to begin with, they will not have to ask their Stager if they have to "buy all new stuff".  They will be confident knowing that they have items in place that will create an inviting atmosphere that buyers will be interested in.  This ultimately creates good news for one's living environment and wallet.




This article was posted in The News Enterprise, May 22, 2009 by Sheila O'Mara

Posted by

Sheila Kennedy

Owner of Staged SO Right

Creator of J29 Project, Draw the Line, Eye on the Prize and Hear My Voice Programs


Staging you AMAZING!


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Sheila Kennedy
J29 Project - Rochester, NY

Lori - you are too kind!  Thanks!

Lisa - I learned that the hard way - I try to help others learn from my mistakes! Thank for stopping by!

Annie - This will be the second time I do this in that store.  The owner was so pleased with the turn out from the first time, she asked if I would do it quarterly.  She is having a big tent sale that weekend and my class is the kick off.  I'll let you know how it goes!

May 22, 2009 04:05 PM #4
Cathy Lee
CL Design Services Home Staging - Danville, CA

Great post!  Going shopping in our closets is really very productive many times!! 

May 22, 2009 04:16 PM #5
Linda D. Pufford
Stage with Divine Style - Home Staging - Novato, CA
ASPM, Marin/Sonoma Home Stager

Using what the homeowner already has is a chance to use your creativity in the best way. 

May 22, 2009 04:40 PM #6
Sheila Kennedy
J29 Project - Rochester, NY

Thanks Cathy - I couldn't agree more!

Linda - I have a storage room full of stuff that I rarely use because I value the challenge of working with the homeowner's existing inventory.  It saves all of us money!

May 22, 2009 04:49 PM #7
Michele Hess
Simply Staged Inc. - Rockford, IL
Home Stager Rockford - Simply Staged Inc

Great post and advice Sheila!  It is always fun to see the home owners delight when using their very own belongings showcased in a new way.  They fall in love with the room/home all over again.

May 23, 2009 01:18 AM #8
Melissa Marro
Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team - Orange Park, FL
Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging

Using the homeowners current furniture, ect when possible is definately a key part of working on a budget (which we always are)!  Great post!

May 23, 2009 07:28 AM #9
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

My accessories aren't being used that much either and I'm actually considering getting rid of them all together.  I really enjoy making the best of what the seller has to work with.  I often suggest new towels and sometimes bedding.  But the fun is in the hunt throughout the home looking for new ways to use what is there.  Your seminars are a great idea...much success with them!

May 23, 2009 07:58 AM #10
Sheila Kennedy
J29 Project - Rochester, NY

Michelle - My favorite thing to hear is "We should have had you come a long time ago - we had no idea our stuff could look so good!"  I love helping homeowners see the amazing potential with what they already own. Thanks for checking in!

Melissa - Homeowners have been reluctant to use staging in this area so many of my newspaper articles try to dispel some of the myths that I typically hear.  I think it is important to have them buy key accessories when they are originally out shopping - that makes my life much easier.  Thanks for stopping by!

Sharon -  I hear you about your accessories.  I just destaged a house last week and everything is sitting in the middle of my basement because I don't know where to put it.  I am thinking of reducing the inventory significantly.  The seminars are tons of fun - I love being able to show people what staging can do for them.  Thanks for the good wishes!


May 23, 2009 02:18 PM #11
Andrew Haslett
Van Warren Home Inspections, NAHI CRI - Fort Knox, KY
Heartland of Kentuckynulls, Best Home Inspector

Sheila, good luck on the 28th.

Now, tell me, how would I repurpose four dog crates, two cat dirtboxes, filing cabinets, an old (no longer used) desk, and some broken lamps (thank you Wizzard)?

How do I accessorize that dog crates and cat dirt boxes!!!

May 23, 2009 03:34 PM #12
Sheila Kennedy
J29 Project - Rochester, NY

Andrew - the challenge of reusing furniture and accessories is one I am always up for.  I can always come and give you a redesign consultation.  I might be able to use those filing cabinets to use in the Repair Affair house we are working on next weekend. Are you part of a team that weekend?  The house has no usable storage - the food is in boxes on the floor.  We could repurpose those cabinets for storage for them.  Paint goes a long way.  They also had no dressers.  There is always a way to use old stuff or at least pieces of old stuff.  Thanks for good wishes - I hope it goes well.


May 23, 2009 03:43 PM #13
Mary Fasnacht
Washington and Allegheny Counties and surrounding areas - McMurray, PA
Feels Like Home Interiors ~ Pittsburgh PA Home Staging

Great post, Sheila!  Working with what a homeowner already has is often the most rewarding part of staging and redesign.  They are usually so surprised that items they forgot about or tired of can work so well in a space.

Hope your event goes well on the 28th.  Let us know!


May 24, 2009 06:26 AM #14
Sheila Kennedy
J29 Project - Rochester, NY

Thanks Mary!  I appreciate your comments.  I will post an update about the event! Thank you for stopping in!

May 24, 2009 07:09 AM #15
Bettina Settles
Greenwood, IN
Your Indiana Connection

Great post and I even sometimes tell my seller to ask friends or family members for pieces rather them buying new.


May 24, 2009 10:28 AM #16
Sheila Kennedy
J29 Project - Rochester, NY

Bettina - That is great to hear.  Sometimes I think I am in the minority in the rain about this topic.  I guess I just feel that I can't justify spending excessive money if I am trying to save them money.  Sometimes it is necessary, but normally we can make do with what they have already!  Thanks for your comment and have a great Memorial Day!

May 24, 2009 12:12 PM #17
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Sheila, great post.  I agree with you and always try to use what my clients have.  It saves them money, and since they're usually still living in their house, they won't feel like they're visitors in their own home with all new accessories around them.  I still have to keep an inventory since a good part of my work is with vacant homes.  (and we don't have basements in Fl!)

May 26, 2009 03:12 PM #18
Sheila Kennedy
J29 Project - Rochester, NY

Kathy - Great point about being a stranger in your own home!  I am still debating about inventory, but will probably keep it just in case.  Thanks for comment!

May 26, 2009 03:43 PM #19
Janice Ankrett
Janice Ankrett Home Staging - Burlington, ON
Staging Professional

Sheila we seem to have similar businesses. I too have a small inventory and usually use the client's things. I find it creates an individual staged home rather than a generic one. I want the buyer to see a well presented 'home'. I find I use my inventory items to fill in holes for young couples who have not had the time or budget to complete the 'picture'.

May 28, 2009 03:48 AM #20
Sheila Kennedy
J29 Project - Rochester, NY

Hi Janice - I like that statement: "it creates an individual staged home rather than a generic one"!  I think we do achieve that when we use a homeowner's furnishings.  I also use my inventory to fill in holes and know that if I were to get rid of it, I would be sorry.  Thank you for sharing your insight and comment.

May 28, 2009 01:50 PM #21
Janis Gaines
Staging Sells Eugene Homes - Eugene, OR
Home Stager Eugene OR - The Notably Well-Dressed H

Its always fun to find hidden treasures that the homeowner has forgotten and stuck in the back of a closet of cupboard. I really like Occupied Staging projects for this reason and it does get a rise out of homesellers! "Why didn't I think of that"? is a comment I hear a lot!

May 29, 2009 08:30 PM #22
Sheila Kennedy
J29 Project - Rochester, NY

Janis - I really enjoy the challenge.  A new client that I met with this week has the cutest house, but I am going to add some of my inventory to the list - I am glad I have it to pull from.  Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your treasure hunting!

May 30, 2009 03:13 PM #23
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