Kiki Interiors - Decor and Staging

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What is contemporary decor?

If you are someone who likes to keep up with the trends then chances are you like contemporary style.  Many people use the term 'modern' when they actually mean contemporary.  A contemporary home isn't minimalist like a modern home but it is still sleek and sophisticated but with warmth.  This is a style that works just about anywhere - stores, offices, lofts, condos an homes - it is current and welcoming.
If you are staging your home to sell, this is the style to borrow some tips from since it is so broad.

When it comes to colour in a contemporary home, start will neutrals for furniture and walls.  Your 'pop' will come from accessories and art.  In contemporary design, line is really important.  Highlight architectural elements like angled walls or even bulkheads.  there should be bare spaces between furniture pieces and hanging wall art. Elements like brick walls or concrete floors add visual interest and texture to the space.  Furniture pieces should be clean and without curves - streamlined.  No skirts, trim or fringe either.  In contemporary design you make you impact with accessories - such as bold and graphic art and splashes of colour! 

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Great Garage Sales

Did you know that the average amount earned at a one-day yard sale is $380??

Not bad!  The spring is the perfect time to host a yard sale.  So what are some of the best ways to earn more and sell more?  Glad you asked.  Check out some of these top tips from yard sale pros.



1.  Put it all out.   Be ruthless when it comes to figuring out what to sell and what to keep. 
Even your sentimental items can go.  It is really is amazing to think that you may be so attached to an item but once it is gone, it never crosses your mind again.  If you are on the fence about keeping an item, it'll probably sell.

2.  Get organized.  Even though it's a yard sale, keep your items organized - have children's toys in a box or bin together, house hold items together etc...If the sale set-up is really user-friendly, you will likely sell more.

3.  Create a pile of bargains.  Trying to get rid of random stuff? Arrange like items into piles and put unrelated items in bins.  Use signs to play up bargains "Cd's for $1!" "All linens $2!"  Having bins full of various items in bins for customers to pick through makes them feel like they might discover a hidden treasure!

4.  Make it BIG.  If you have friends thinking of sell off some of their things but maybe it's not enough to justify a yard sale, why not team up?  You can use different coloured tags to keep your earnings separate and when a sale has more items to chose from it tends to generate more traffic.  If you don't have enough space on your driveway or front yard trying setting up some additional tables and racks in the backyard.

5.  Advertise.  Sure the handmade signs in the neighbourhood work well but why not use social media?  Facebook is a great and free tool.  Advertise on free websites like Craig's list, kijiji and yardsalesearch.com

6.  Be bold with prices.  Start at double of what you'd like to make on an item - people already feel like they are getting a great deal because it's a yard sale.  If  a series of items belong together then price them out (and display them) as a set i.e drinking glasses or a tea set.

7.  Extras.  Try selling lemonade and baked goods as well - this creates extra earnings and keeps customers at the sale to potentially buy more.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

What is formal decor?

Many people confuse formal decor with traditional decor and although there are some similarities they are few and far between.  When you think formal decor think of elegant European hotels, state buildings, and ornate antiques. 



Formal decor includes: really high ceilings, dark and rich woods, crystal chandeliers, oriental rugs, dramatic drapes, original artwork with elaborate frames, tall windows, tassels and fringe, silks and velvet - very luxurious.

Elements of design such as formal balance and scale are very important in this style.

In most new homes, this look is tough to incorporate but you can include certain elements to add that elegant and formal touch.  we are seeing a lot of crystal accents in lighting, the dark woods or accents of silk and velvet (think of an accent chair or drapes).

Just like most other decor styles - pick a focal point in the room and base your design around it!  In the formal style a fireplace is a great example of what to centre your design around and build from there.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Home Decor vs Home Staging

I get asked this question all of the time especially from clients looking to sell their home.  Just this week, in fact, I had to deal with some sellers who were confused (and a bit argumentative) that the terms home staging and home decor were the same thing - they are not!

Most people are very surprised to hear that they are almost the opposite of each other.  Preparing a home to sell is very different than preparing a home to live in. 

When you move into a home (and everyone does this, it's totally normal) you want it to work for your lifestyle and reflect your personal tastes. You likely bought the home in the first place because it accommodated your lifestyle. Maybe you don't need a kitchen nook but and office or a piano would be better for you, maybe you love bold and bright colours all over the walls, maybe you don't have a dining set but a pool table instead - those are all your taste and lifestyle choices - that is home decorating. 

When it comes to selling your home, buyers will focus on the crazy colours, the choice and location of furniture even though they are just buying the home not the contents inside.  If you are selling your home and want top dollar (who doesn't) you must put some work into it - re-paint in a neutral tone, clean the house, place furniture in areas or in a formation that would work for most buyers - this is called home staging.  The buyers need to see themselves in the space and mentally move in.  So keeping it clean, neutral and some furniture (in a simple set up) that can help buyers visualize their furniture in (hopefully) their new home.  the furniture, art and accessories should compliment the home and not be the primary focus - what are you trying to sell ?  the home, or the furniture?

I also get sellers who want more and more furniture and art and accessories - every corner and every wall space covered or filled - again that's not home staging.  Yes, once the new owners move into any space they will fill it up with items and accessories of their choice but when a home is shown/viewed by potential buyers and there isn't any wall space or any room to move - they feel cramped and overwhelmed.  No one ever says to their agent - "It's cramped, dark, dirty and feels small - I love it!" If you follow your home stagers advice your home will be more salable - it will appeal to more buyers and you will get good offers.

I hear from sellers all of the time 'well, this is how I would do it if I were living here' - that's great but you have decided not to live here anymore SO you need to move on and allow someone else in and live how they would live in the space.  A home stager is an impartial party who can help you place furniture (or just give you ideas) to create flow and mass appleal, they can also recommend paint colours for creating a calm and soothing space, they can also give you great ideas to create curb appeal.

In the case of home staging to SELL your home - less really is more.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Better Homes Have Better Gardens

OK, so it's that time of year...again....selling season at it's peak!  So how do you stand out from the rest of the sellers out there? Well, first impression is key!  Whether you are selling you primary residence or an income property, the exterior or better known as curb appeal is so important.  But can you keep those costs of sprucing up your place low? Of course, this time of year there are many places that offer gardening tools and materials at great prices.  The best way to keep your costs down is doing the work yourself - if you don't have a clue where to start seek some advice from a professional (that is a service that is available but not usually offered unless you ask for it).  Landscapers can provide you with a plan and/or types of plants that would work best on your property without them actually doing the labour - so don't be shy and ask.

So what should you at least consider doing to your property to increase the value?

Pressure wash, if you don't have one ask around or rent from a home improvement store.  pressure wash your walls, decks, walkways, pool deck, parking areas etc...it doesn't take too much sweat equity and wow, it makes a huge impact!

- Interlocking, if your interlock bricks have weeds growing between them - remove them.  if your interlock bricks are sinking or cracked - fix them.  the early spring is the best time to tackle this job because the weeds aren't too unruly but either way, it makes a good impression no matter when it's done.

- Colour, some simple flower beds can go a long way and add a lot of visual interest to your property.  not only will it look attractive but it will send the message to buyers that this property is 'cared for'.  look at perennials as they come back every year and add a few annuals with colour they tend to be cheaper and colourful too.pansies in the spring/summer and look for mums in the late summer/fall.

- Trim, just how your own hair can look unkempt if it isn't trimmed regularly so can your hedges and shrubs.  but sure to give them a trim so they look clean and tidy plus trimming makes the bushes fuller too.

- Urns or hanging baskets, so even if you cannot afford the time, money or energy to planting a flower bed you can at least head off to a home improvement store, garden store or even a grocery store to purchase some pre-planted baskets that can be hung or placed in urns by the door.  this will add some colour and make the entry feel warm and inviting.  If you have the flower beds, I recommend urns and look for pre-planted baskets with a similar colour palette to what you planted.  if you have pink, purple and yellow flowers planted in the beds - don't get baskets with red and blue flowers!

- Lighting, be sure the light bulbs in your exterior lights are not burnt out.  remember not everyone looking to buy your home will be driving by in broad daylight - many drive bys occur after dinner.  another great way to light up your home is solar garden lights - they are easy to install, they can come with you to your next home and they are Eco-friendly.  line them up along a walkway or place them among your garden to show off the plants and flowers - a lot of buyers love a landscaped home.

- Paint, don't paint the grass green but be sure that your exterior paint job looks tight!  look at the porch, door, stairs etc...if the paint is looking dull, cracked and/ or chipped - it's time to freshen up! maybe even try a different colour - don't get too crazy you still want mass appeal!

- Maintenance, yes I know it's a drag but it is important when selling to make sure you keep the home looking picture perfect - mow the lawn, weed the garden, replace burnt out light bulbs, trim the hedges, water the grass, plants and flowers.  if you have kids, try not to have a front porch or lawn covered in kids toys and strollers.  it will be worth it in the end and homes that show well don't take long to sell, so you won't be maintaining this home forever.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What is traditional decor?

So when most of us hear the term "traditional decor" we think old fashioned, stuffy, boring, and matching sets.  But that's not necessarily true.  Traditional decor, in my opinion, should be re-named ' timeless decor' - why? Because it involves elements and pieces that stand the test of time, such as: polished woods, luxurious wools, neutral colours (brown, camel, cream, navy blue, charcoal), came; back sofas, wing back chairs, leather, glass, and patterns such as plaids and stripes.

You can still get very creative with traditional decor because it involves so many elements and materials.  Traditional can still be warm and comfortable - it mostly depends on how you mix the materials.  In traditional decor we do see a traditional way of setting up the furniture - think wing backs by the fireplace, end tables, sofa tables etc...

The shapes of furniture are also classic.  You won't be seeing modular furniture, accents of chrome, sectionals, bright colour and geometric patterns in traditional decor. 

Traditional decor is wonderful and does still allow for flexibility and because it stands the test of time you don't need to worry about over spending on furniture pieces.

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