Can a Staged Pantry Really Help Sell My Home?


During a recent staging consultation, a client asked me if they should add more clothing to their bedroom closet in order to demonstrate how many items the space could hold.

I believe many people think this is the right solution, as I see many MLS pictures that show closets packed full of items and the potential space is hidden from the buyer.  When the buyer sees this space, they automatically think the space is too small or that the home’s storage space is too limited. Buyers will open your closets and pantries and their appearance plays a BIG role on their purchasing decisions.

Stage Your Storage Areas

Even if your home doesn’t have a lot of storage space- why would you want to highlight it?  When I stage a home for the market, I recommend reputable storage facilities and very economical organizational techniques.  I also make sure each storage area is on trend with the rest of the house.  I am picky about what items stay inside of these storage areas and I buy inexpensive accessories that help clean it up and give it a fresh look.  Home stagers are trained to make rooms and storage areas ready for the camera.  A well-organized home tells the buyer that you care about your home and you’re ready to pass along your well-maintained home to the next owner.

Buyer Perception Begins With MLS Pictures

Studies have shown that over 90% of buyers shop online before even viewing the property. When buyers see organized pantries and closets, they will form an emotional attachment to your home. The truth is, most of us do not live in perfectly organized homes but we could improve it in our next home and with practice, it can become a way of life.

What storage solutions have you implemented into your home?  Share Your Comments!

Call First Impression Home Staging for a consultation!  (248) 761-3380 


These Features Will Sell Your Home Faster


According to a recent study conducted by Zillow, buyers in today’s market are more attracted to homes that have these top 5 features.  Once your home is staged and market-ready, be sure to note any and all of these five top-selling features in your home’s MLS listing.

#5.  Quartz

Homes listed with ‘quartz’ countertops saw a 6% sales price jump. This rich-looking and durable product dresses up any luxury kitchen or bathroom.  So, if you are thinking about upgrading your living space, consider quartz as a hard surface replacement.

#4.  Subway Tile

Subway tile is available in a number of sizes and colors.  Today, we can even custom order a color for our tile.  Today’s upscale homes have more tile than ever in their kitchens and bathrooms, creating a textured backdrop for our most utilized rooms.  According to Zillowhomes mentioning subway tiles in their listings sold for nearly 7 percent more than expected and 63 days faster.

#3.  Farmhouse Sink

Today’s kitchen is an open-concept area where friends and family gather for socializing.  This area has replaced most formal dining rooms and has become the central area of entertaining.  The farmhouse sink gives buyers the sense of a room that feels like the heart of the home.  According to Zillow, farmhouse sinks give sellers an 8-percent sales premium.

#2.  Shaker Cabinets

Shaker cabinets have been in style for decades and they present with clean lines and a timeless design. Therefore, they are an ideal fit when staging your home for sale.  According to Zillow, homes that mention shaker cabinets sold 9.6 percent above expected and 45 days faster.

#1.  Barn Doors

Like the farmhouse sink, the barn door creates a warm homestead feeling for buyers.  It is an artistic touch that many adore.  These rustic-looking doors are very popular for closets and areas that are surrounded by large amounts of wall space. According to Zillow, the custom, farmhouse quality that barn doors lend is what helps homes with this feature sell for 13.4% over their expected value.

Hire an professional home stager before listing your home so that you can make small changes to your home that create the best first impression for potential buyers.  Call First Impression Home Staging (248) 761-3380 for a consultation today!





Hottest Patio Trends for 2016


As we gear up for the busy summer months, many of us are thinking about how to plan our outdoor spaces.  Here are some of the hottest outdoor trends for 2016.

Industrial Clean Lines

A contemporary style is making a comeback for outdoor furniture.  This space, which serves as an extension of our indoor living areas, focuses on a simplified look with a mixture of textures and colors.  The weather washed look (gray) furniture, mixed with other textures such as cement, teak, metal and woven materials, gives the 2016 outdoor patio a very industrial, clean look.

Neon Colors and Navy

Neon colors are here to stay.  Neutrals provide a great base color for larger seat cushions but the neon pillows, umbrellas and outdoor rugs add fun accents to our outdoor living areas.  Bright blue is popular, as it gives us a feeling of enlightenment and a welcoming vibe.  Navy has become the new neutral color, creating a beachy, nautical feel.  Add some metallic, such as gold and silver to planters and hangers, and it creates a nautical accessory that  mimics the inside of seashells.

Outdoor Kitchens

Are you a grill master or the king or queen of the margarita mixer? When planning an outdoor space, narrow down what you’ll use when entertaining.  Outdoor refrigerators, bar carts, fun string lights and torches are popular this year to create a festive look outdoors.  Barstools and a built-in bar create a fun outdoor entertaining area for those who want their guests to enjoy refreshments and food from the grill in one location.

Fire Elements

Outdoor fire pits are becoming very popular in recent years.  They provide a focal point to  your backyard and ad a cozy, warmth feeling.  These spaces encourage visiting, eating and a gathering space when the weather is too chilly for sitting on the back patio.  Stores are now showing tables with fire pits built into them for a more economical and space saving feature.

Vertical Gardens

Vertical gardens create another type of focal point for the outdoors.  They can either draw attention to an area or disguise unattractive views.  These creations are popular because they are made for the apartment dwellers, urban gardeners or the large, traditional garden homes.  Climbing plants can be places on trellises or simple houseplants can be planted inside of decorative structures and attached to the wall.

If you are looking for help dressing up your living space, contact First Impression Home Staging & Interior Design, LLC (248) 761-3380 for a consultation.

What Changes are you planning to make to your outdoor space this year?  

Please share your thoughts here. 



Start Here: Brighten Your Home’s Exterior for Spring


Although it is officially Spring, the weather has yet to fully cooperate.  We all want to plant flowers and break out the lawn mower and BBQ tools.  However, we live in Michigan.

Regardless of our cold weather, there are some first steps you can take to  brighten up your home’s exterior for the Spring market. Or, maybe you just want to improve the looks of your exterior. Here are some simple ideas that can easily be accomplished over a long weekend.

Clean Glass Fixtures/Pavers

Now is a good time to polish your outdoor glass fixtures and remove traces of those small critters that decided to make a home on your front porch.  A broom and glass cleaner are the only supplies you will need to make a huge improvement.

Pressure wash concrete and paver areas that have become dirty over the winter.  It’s also a good idea to power wash siding, brick and garages if needed.

Check Your House Numbers and Mailbox

Can you see your address from the street?  If not, replace those house numbers and clean off your mailbox so it shines.  If the mailbox hasn’t weathered the winter well or the city snow plow used it for target practice and it is crooked, it’s probably time to straighten it or replace it.

Remove Christmas

If you haven’t removed the greenery from your front pots, now is the time to do it!   Your neighbors will thank you.  🙂

Wash Windows AFTER Cleaning Gutters

Now that the ground is beginning to thaw, and the gutter cleaning companies  aren’t overloaded with work yet, it’s a good time to have your gutters cleaned. After the gutters, take time to clean the windows.  If you perform these 2 jobs in the opposite order, the debris from the gutters may ruin your newly cleaned windows.

Stage the Outdoors

Bring out your patio furniture and set it up. Although it may be too cold to sit outside just yet, you want potential buyers to see your outdoor living space’s potential. If you have a pool, remove the water from the cover and uncover it per your pool company’s recommendation.

What is the first step you take to ready your home for Spring? Please leave your comments!

Home Staging Experts can help you stage your home’s interior or exterior.  Call First Impression Home Staging & Interior Design for more information on home staging for the real estate market and redesign services  (248) 761-3380 or visit our homepage:


Must-haves to Attract Young Home Buyers

‘Must-Haves’ to Attract Young Home Buyers


Today, those born between 1980 – 2000 (Millennials) comprise the largest segment of home buyers. The average age of today’s homebuyer, according to the National Association of Realtors, is 33 years old.  Their list of requirements are different from their parents because they are looking for turnkey, move-in ready homes that require little or no work.

This HGTV-watching generation is more likely to comment whether or not a home is staged properly because they are looking to buy a lifestyle.   Homes that are staged to target the buyer’s lifestyle are proven to sell 75% faster and for 8%-10% more than homes that are not stage-ready.

Here are common ‘must have’ features for young buyers:

Updated Kitchen and Bath

Today’s young buyer is on limited budget, spending their money on interest rates, the downpayment and furnishings. The kitchen and bath are the most expensive rooms to update so they will value a home that does not require them to update these areas.

Home Office and Technology

As technology improves, many more young professionals will have the ability to work from home and space for a home office is valuable.  This generation doesn’t believe in cable or landlines. However, internet, cell phone access, or any technological features of a home are very important to these buyers.

Open Kitchen

Dining rooms are becoming a room of past generations.  Younger buyers are looking for an open-concept floor plan with a kitchen that opens up to a living space.  The kitchen is a gathering area where people cook and socialize in a less formal setting.

Walkable Location

Homes that are located in areas where transportation, stores and shops are within walking distance are very attractive to young buyers.  They are not the generation looking to take care of acreage or drive an hour to the local grocery store.  They want accessibility and convenience.

Are you looking to prepare your home for the market? Call First Impression Home Staging for a consultation (248)761-3380.

What are your top ‘must-have’ features when looking at a home?  

Please share your comments!


The Color of The Year is Revealed!



Every year, designers become very eager to hear the color trend of the year so they can tailor their services and supplies to the latest trend.  Pantone, the leading authority on color, chooses a color of the year that influences the design community for both clothing and home interiors.

This year was the first time they’ve chosen two colors:  Serenity and Rose Quartz. 

Mixing feminine pink with masculine blue, these colors reflect the sign of the times:  stress relief and calm.  When used together, they compliment each other.  Rose Quartz is warm and is often varied by seeing it in the trending rose gold accessories.  Serenity is soothing and when used together, gives the room a cool pop of color.  Here are some applications where they could be used:

Office/Desktop:  These calming colors live well in this busy room. Add a rose gold lamp, a throw or some blue pillows and these colors create a subtle pop of color.

Accessories:  Add a throw to the bottom of the bed and it will change the look for Spring.  Shoppers will start to notice store front changes as Spring arrives, implementing these new colors into their products. Accessorizing with these colors in vases and candleholders will add some color to neutral interiors.

Recently, these colors were used in the new HGTV Dream Home.  If you haven’t seen the photographs of this home, click here. It is a wonderful example of how these two colors can create a soothing space.

What do you think about this new color trend?  Leave your comments by clicking the link at the top of this page!  


6 Things That Will Scare Off Potential Buyers


  1.  Odors:  Do you have a lot of pets?  Love to smoke?  Enjoy cooking a lot of fish?  Does your house have a certain….smell?  It doesn’t matter how lovely your home is, a buyer will notice these odors as soon as they walk into the door.  This odor will be their first impression of your home. If your house carries odors, wash the walls, open the windows, repaint and move those litter boxes out of the house and take those lovable pets to daycare during showings.
  2. Water Stains:  Buyers will most likely head for the door if they spot water stains on your ceilings or walls.  Water stains from past issues can be easily painted after the repairs are fixed.  If a buyer sees water stains, they will wonder if there are mold issues in the home. It is best to fix the issue promptly and properly dry, prime and paint these areas before they run for the door.
  3. Wallpaper!!!!  Unlike paint, outdated wallpaper is not easily replaced.  If you really want to scare a potential buyer, wallpaper both the walls AND ceiling! What is even more frightening is wondering what is underneath the wallpaper. More wallpaper?  Damaged walls?  If possible, it is best to paint walls in neutral tones and keep the ceilings clean from wallpaper!
  4. Bad Curb Appeal:  If your shutters are too small, the paint is peeling and the grass hasn’t been mowed in months, this will automatically cause a buyer to put their car in reverse once it hits your driveway. Or worse yet, not even give your MLS online photo a second look.  Hire a professional to properly maintain your lawn if you are short on time.  Landscapers can bring your front lawn and beds up to date so they can be easily maintained throughout the season.
  5. Limited Storage:  You can’t stretch your house out to make it bigger but you can limit the clutter in your home to create more free space.  Potential buyers don’t want to see an overflow of ‘stuff’ throughout your closets and pantries. It is well worth the investment to rent a storage space while your home is on the market or clean out your storage areas to make them brighter.
  6. Signs of Insects:  Every house has a spider, fly or ant once in a while but you don’t want them showing up during a showing.  Hire a pest control professional to spray around the perimeter in the early spring.  Also, you may want to have your home inspected for termites in case this is a concern.  Any signs of insects will have your potential buyer looking for a way out.

Please share your comments:  What qualities in a house make you feel uncomfortable?

For more information on home staging, please visit

Is Your House Staged to Sell or Dying on the Market?

DSC_0575Although the Michigan real estate market tends to slow down in the fall, it is still a great time to sell. With proper home staging, sellers still have an opportunity attract a buyer and close the deal before the holidays arrive and the snow begins to fall.

Here are some staging tips sellers can use to attract buyers in the fall market.

 Curb Appeal: The entryway is crucial for making a first impression to potential buyers. If a buyer walks up to your entry and sees overflowing gutters and dirty windows, they will be thinking, “What else haven’t they taken care of in this house?” Break out the blower and ladder and be sure that your walkways are free of debris, the lawn looks manicured and the windows and gutters sparkle. A freshly painted door, new hardware and a clean and inviting doormat are also keys to welcoming that buyer to your home. Empty your summer planters and add some colorful fall flowers and a few pumpkins to create some color to the front entrance. If your backyard is a key selling point, add some foliage to the back patio too.

Clean It Up: The fireplace that hasn’t been used in months should be vacuumed and the furnace filters should be clean. Organize closets, built-ins, toys and pantries to create a spacious and de-cluttered feeling. Lastly, be sure to hide family photos and any mail, diplomas and items that have your name on them. Buyers buy on emotion and they need to visualize their family living in your home.

Create Cozy: Add seasonal colors like orange, red or golden yellow pillows or a soft blanket to brighten up a boring sofa. Emphasize the fireplace by making it a focal point but don’t overdo the décor by placing a lot of small accessories on the mantle. Add some larger pieces and artwork to create warmth. Be sure your home has a fresh coat of paint inside and out. It’s best to avoid opinionated colors so that buyers feel as though they can drop their bags and move their furniture in right away.

Update Your Listing Photos: After properly staging your home, update your MLS photos with new fall listing shots. Photos of your home from a previous season will make your home look stale on the market. Because buyers will shop online for a house before calling their agent, it is important that your home’s photos are flawless.

Share your comments:  What makes a house feel like a home to you?

For more information on home staging tips, please visit or call Corie Conroy, professional home stager and president of First Impression Home Staging & Interior Design, LLC at (248) 761-3380.

Five Easy Kitchen Updates

kitchenPicMonkey Collage

Are you tired of looking at your outdated kitchen but don’t want to invest the money for an expensive renovation?  Here are some budget-friendly changes that will transform an outdated kitchen for the homeowner who wants to update or for the home seller who wants to increase buyer appeal.

1.  Change The Cabinet Pulls

Simply changing out the cabinet knobs and pulls creates a big statement for very little cash.  Companies like Lowes, Home Depot and Target carry decent cabinet hardware that is pretty economical.  For a little higher price point, Restoration Hardware offers a nice selection of hardware that would make any kitchen look chic.

2.  Paint The Cabinets

Painting existing cabinets that are outdated or stained will make them look new again.  It is best to consult a professional painter to ensure that they are properly prepped before painting.  Benjamin Moore Advance primer and paint are designed to paint cabinets and can be applied by a sprayer and brush.  I tend to use a latex finish, as oil-based paints are harder to clean and white oil-based paints tend to yellow over time.

3.  Replace The Countertops

A new countertop doesn’t have to be expensive.  Installing a faux marble lament countertop like this one can brighten a kitchen and create a clean look. Home Stagers often advise sellers to install a ready-made stone countertop that slips right over the existing countertop, an economical way to update a kitchen that quickly updates the kitchen toppers to stone.  Soapstone also is a traditional kitchen surface that is a classic, inexpensive DIY project.  The material costs less than $25 per square foot.  It will also save you on labor because it soft enough to machine with everyday tools and installation typically takes only a couple of days.  Here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to install a soapstone countertop.

4.  Update the Backsplash….replace it or paint it

Tile is the most common backsplash material. It’s made from many different materials and can add a focal point to the room, such as a splash of color behind the stovetop. Installing sheets of tile is an easy and inexpensive way to update your kitchen.  If you don’t want to hassle with the expense and labor of updating your outdated tile, you may want to paint it.  Valspar and Benjamin Moore sell bonding agents that can be tinted and used for tile backsplashes.  Backsplashes can be painted because they aren’t submerged in water and they aren’t used cutting spaces.

5.  Install New Lighting

Hanging a new pendant or chandelier over the kitchen table or above a sink will add drama and character to your kitchen.  And don’t forget under cabinet lighting such as LED puck lights that can be added for $5.85/ea.  They are battery-operated, easy to install and provide small spot lighting.

For more design and home staging tips, please visit




Tips for a Well-Lit Home



Lighting is the design piece that sets the mood for every space.  It goes virtually unnoticed for most people but it influences our paint colors, our mood, and the overall look of a room.   Consider some of these factors when choosing lighting for your home.

Room-by-Room Lighting Tips:


Table lighting is a great choice for this room because it creates a calming and inviting feel and creates symmetry in the room.  Another great design trend is to use pendant lighting on either side of the bed, which will give your room a more formal feel.  Be sure the table lamp is the right size for your bed.  A good test is to see if the bottom of the shade is at eye level when you sit up in bed. It is best to avoid overhead lighting but if you do have recessed lighting in this room, aim the light source away from the bed and toward the dressing or vanity area.  Choose bulbs with a soft glow to create a relaxing room.


Overhead and task lighting are important for the kitchen.  Be sure to install dimmers in this room and create more lighting by installing under-cabinet lighting.  Lower task lighting will illuminate lower surfaces and highlight different textures and patterns of your countertop.

Living Room:

A good rule to follow is to illuminate three out of four corners in the living room, focusing on those areas with attractive objects such as a statement chair, a piece of artwork, or a gathering area.  Be sure to include lighting at different levels, including table lamps with 3-way bulbs, floor lamps and soft overhead lights with dimmers. Avoid using florescent lighting in this room, as it gives off a very bright glow and creates the feeling of being in the hallway of a hospital.


This room seems to get the least attention when it comes to lighting.  A common mistake that people make is installing recessed lighting directly above the vanity.  This placement casts a shadow on your face, making it difficult to apply makeup.  Instead, I recommend installing sidelights on either side of the mirror.  In small spaces where this may be impractical, it is best to place the fixture above the mirror (75″ to 80″ above the floor) and like all vanity lighting, it should be at least 150 watts.  In smaller bathrooms, is also important to install a dedicated recessed light over an enclosed shower.

For more design and home staging tips, visit