January #OlioHop: Can Drama Sell Homes?

Each month, ten bloggers around the country join hands to bring you collaborative tips on how to style your home life. Most if not all of these bloggers use an online moodboard creator called Olioboard to create virtual interior design boards for their clients (or in some cases, to just have fun after a long day at work). What better way to end the day than to design a fun moodboard on Olioboard!

Image produced using Olioboard.com

Image produced using Olioboard.com

This month I was asked to kick off the new year with a “Before and After Staging Tip” in which I used Olioboard to sell a home faster (two of my favorite subjects – Olioboarding and Staging). Nothing excites me more than to see that “SALE PENDING” sign in the front yard of my clients’ homes because it means my job is completed.
Of course, I immediately want to talk about color and how Olioboard helped me to sort out the right color for a client’s home. The right color will bring excitement, or rather “drama,” into a space.

But wait! I can hear the shouts already. “I thought all the rooms HAD to be neutral. What if I pick a color that the buyer doesn’t like?”

Not too long ago, a realtor would walk through your home and make an assessment on color, and if you had bright colors in the home the suggestion would be to paint the walls over in white because it was a “safe” color. Yet most stagers today will tell you that white-washed walls no longer sell homes unless the color is used as an accent or on trim (which is recommended). While neutral colors like Behr’s Harvest Brown or Sherwin Williams’ Kilim Beige are still the go-to colors for stagers like me, I find that occasionally I need a pop of color to bring excitement to the space, especially if the home lacks architectural interest (like many of the ranch-style homes that were built after WWII).

Enter drama.


Let’s begin with a Before picture of a client’s dining room.This home sat on the market for a year before they called in reinforcements… that is, the sellers called the right realtor who knows that staging works and so he called me soonafter.

When the goal of every seller is to attract the widest buyer base possible, the use of color sounds intimidating and counter-intuitive. Yet, the right color in the right places and in the right quantity will help you sell your home faster because it will become memorable to the buyer (the average buyer today looks at 12 homes before they make a commitment, according to the National Association of Realtors).

Yes, there are some hard and fast staging rules that are effective in almost every listing. In fact, I carry a list of guidelines with me to every consultation to give to the client. Neutralizing the walls is one of those important rules. However, just as there are rules or guidelines in staging, there are exceptions to those rules.

Before adding drama to a space, I produced a moodboard like this one on Olioboard which gave me a feel for what the new color and accessories would look like in the room.


The dining room is usually a great place to try new color trends, as I have found over the years that this room tends to be the most “flexible” on a list of must-haves in buyers’ minds. While Tangerine Tango was Pantone’s color of the year for 2012, I decided to go with Martha Stewart’s Eggplant because I had to consider the colors I had already chosen for the adjacent rooms.
This was the adjacent living room, and the pillows and accent chair had eggplant-colored flowers on them, so naturally I wanted all the rooms to flow with complementary colors.


When I painted the dining room in eggplant, I realized it was going to make the room look smaller. So I decided to thicken the already existing chair molding by adding another molding and painted the upper half of the room in eggplant and the bottom in white (remember to use white sparingly as an accent color).


I cut the damask fabric from Fabric.com on Olioboard to make a faux window treatment over the window opening and glued several wood laths to it using Elmer’s glue to give it the “folds” you would find with a Roman Shade look. I then stapled the window treatment to the frame using a heavy duty compressed-air staple gun and added a temporary pull at the bottom center for a $30 solution (as opposed to spending hundreds making a custom treatment for the window).


Here is the After picture of the dining room and the finished product:


Here’s a look at the Before and After pictures side by side:


Can you believe it’s the same room? The bold color (or drama) of this room, and the overall cohesive presentation of the home, really paid off because the home received multiple offers in only 22 days! This was the realtor’s reaction:

“Wow! Frances Newman has made me a believer in color. I was completely in awe when I saw the transformation of this home. I would never have recommended this color choice to my client, but I trusted Frances’ instincts based on previous proven results. She is a risk taker, but these kinds of risks are getting homes sold in an environment that can be very difficult to capture home buyers’ interest and keep their perception of value high.There has yet to be a home that I have not SOLD for a great value after Frances gets done with her recommendations and home merchandising techniques.” Craig Wilburn, 2012 President of GACAR, CEO of Team Dynamo, and Broker Associate of Bosshardt Realty, Gainesville, FL.

Please follow more Before and After staging tips from my fellow #OlioHop friends by clicking on their links below. Happy OlioHopping!

Lisa Mende Design Blog Olioboard

Stephanie Weeks at Interior Design HQ Blog Olioboard

Marilyn G. Russell at Design Magnifique Blog Olioboard

Lynda Quintero-Davids at NYCLQ Focal Point Blog Olioboard

Linda Merrill at Decorative Surroundings Blog Olioboard

Ronique Gibson at Stagetecture Blog Olioboard

Kristie Barnett at The Decorologist Blog Olioboard

Roslyn Ashford at ra reDoes rooms Blog Olioboard

Designer Marketplace Williams Sonoma, Inc. Blog Olioboard

You can register on Olioboard directly, or chat with them on Facebook or Twitter, and/or catch Olioboard’s video tutorial You Tube channel.

For more information on the difference between staging and interior decorating, please visit Frequently Asked Questions.

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