How to Make Your Listing Look Like a Million

I know lots of ways to make a real estate listing look like a million bucks, without spending a ton.  After staging over a hundred homes in the Nashville area, I’ve learned lots of tricks and budget-friendly ways to make a dated space feel fresh and fabulous.  Here’s a look at my latest staging project:

blue ceiling

 Staged Dining Room


There’s a science to effective home staging, and there’s an art as well.  Specific furniture placement, on-trend color, and judicial use of accessories is important in creating a space that buyers can walk into and feel as though they could easily make it their own.

Staged Living Room 


Accentuating the positives, downplaying the negatives – and in the end, selling a dream of what life could be.  That’s what powerful homestaging is all about.

 Staged Bedroom


And as you’ll see, it’s about taking highly-personalized spaces and making them welcoming, calming, and memorable (in a good way).  Now let’s take a look at where this home began:

Before Home Staging 


Careful editing and on-trend color placement can not only improve the beauty of a room, but can also make it appear larger.

 After Home Staging


 If you’ve ever looked at the “afters” of staged homes, you may think it’s easy to accomplish.  Sometimes it’s good to look at the “befores” to see the difference effective staging can truly make.

Before Home Staging


No additional furniture was brought into this house for staging, although much was moved from room to room to make more attractive settings and some was put into storage.

After Home Staging


The awesome homeowner was completely open to all the changes I suggested for paint colors and alterations of furnishings and accessories.

Before Home Staging


Which made for a very successful “after” in regards to home staging.

After Home Staging


Every would-be buyer that enters this house will no doubt see all the amazing features this home has to offer and all the potential it has for making any family happy to come home each day.

 Before Home Staging


All it took was an open and willing seller.  And a darn good home stager.

After Home Staging


Maybe you’re interested in becoming a Home Stager yourself.  Stay tuned – I’m working on a few projects that may help you launch your own successful Home Staging career!

If you need help staging your Nashville home to sell for more money in less time, find out more about my Home Staging services.  If you’d like to see more of this beautiful home in the Williamson County school zone, see my Facebook business page.

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18 thoughts on “How to Make Your Listing Look Like a Million

  1. Heather says:

    Very nice before and after photos. Always a huge improvement. I’m very, very interested in becoming a home stager, but I’m struggling to find resources in my area. I look forward to hearing your advice. Thank you.

  2. Rita Shaw Broker says:

    I wish you were in Southern California. You do an amazing job. The homes we stage sell faster and for more money because the homes shine and the buyers can imaging living in the home with their own things.

  3. Dawn says:

    I always LOVE what you do! I am curious what color you used on the ceiling in the dining room? Seems to be similar to other ceilings you’ve done, do you like using the same color or are they always different? The wall color in the main arieas is also a great neutral! Makes that house look huge!

  4. Kristie Barnett says:

    I often do blues, grays, and greens on ceilings. I have about 15 that I use quite a bit – some of them are pretty similar, but it depends on the space and the client’s taste. This particular combo of wall and ceiling color is a first on the blog, but there are one or two other similar combos I have posted. I don’t advise choosing specific paint colors off of blogs or out of magazines, as the colors can look quite different in real-life and from one setting to another. That, and I can’t give away all my colors for free – that’s how I make a living!

  5. Kathi says:

    Wow-what a fantastic job you did, it does not even look like the same space, it even made their furniture seem updated-you are so right not to give out paint colors online, people would probably get mad if their room turned out different than the picture-I usually have to buy a ton of samples, paint them on boards and its amazing how the light in a room changes everything-I am sure you are worth every penny to hire-its hard work and you make it look easy, when I know how much time, energy, experience and education you have put in-I personally am done with my own amateur decorating abilities-keep up the great work, Kristie!

  6. Lisa says:

    That’s amazing how different those rooms look. I love that you chose low key colors that make it easy to visualize what the room might look like with my own furniture. I’ve been looking into home staging program and am interested in hearing what you have in mind.

      • Mary Knauf says:

        Thanks Kristie – I figured you would say that!

        I always look forward to your posts and have taken your advice in numerous areas around our home:

        – You inspired me to finally switch out the too small light in our entry for a great drum light, and I spray painted several other ceiling lights so that now everything has the same oil-rubbed bronze finish (in fact, my husband hung everything this morning).

        – I have the black paint ready to paint my interior entry door to match the exterior side.

        – And because of your advice on hanging pictures in groupings I have finally figured out how to hang those precious professionally framed family portraits that were in so many crazy sizes (including horizontal and vertical storyboards).

        I may be staging my own home in the not so distant future, and am looking forward to hearing about the Home Stager projects you are working on…

        Thanks Again!

  7. Ernie says:

    Great stuff! Nicely done!!!

    We sold our house in San Diego in 2004. We carefully watched all the HGTV shows and because of what we learned we sold our house quickly. The most amazing part is that the buyers bought ALL our furniture AND wall hangings. We left the house with only our clothes and kitchen stuff. So we had the fun of totally redecorating our new house with all new furniture and finds. That was a lot of fun!!!

    We also sold our second house the same way too.

    Thanks for the great posts!!

  8. Kim says:

    As the homeowner/client and beneficiary of Kristie’s wisdom and talent, it is with great pleasure that I report this home entered the market/MLS late Monday afternoon on 11/19/12 (unexpectedly . .it was to go on after Thanksgiving!). The first clients to view the home on 11/20/12 at 8:00 am placed a contract on our home at 10:21 am!! Sold in one day!! Sold in a few hours!! I have since had multiple viewings for back up contracts . . and all agents praise the way the home shows.

    Kristie did an amazing job as you can see by the photos! But what you don’t see is that Kristie was extremely frugal from a cost standpoint!! She listened very carefully to my objectives , toured the home , then provided a list of recommendations . . . I followed all her recommendations!! I was amazed at how the updated colors transformed the home! Our furniture is old but she did not recommend purchasing any new pieces and, in fact, discouraged me from renting as she felt it was too expensive. Kristie simply worked with what we had removing some furniture, finding new placement of other furniture and adding a few pictures, bedding , pillows and other props!! Kristie also provided many of the photos I used on the website and MLS!!

    Having known of other successful experiences in selling homes utilizing the services of a professional stage, a dear friend recommended Kristie and I can’t thank her enough. I am convinced the reason for the quick sale was due primarily to Kristies efforts!! I appreciated, on top of everything else, Kristie’s focus and professionalism . . she carefully and effectively laid out her plan and we executed it!! And it worked!!

    Thank you, Kristie!!

  9. Donna Stoutenburg says:

    Fabulous job, Kristie! I was one of the fortunate participants at the RESA convention when you made your presentation. Thank you for your words of wisdom and sound suggestions. My question regarding your post is, what did you use to paint the wood paneling? I have attempted that in the past and found I had to paint several coats in order to cover it. And yes, I used a primer first. Is there a special paint or technique to avoid so many coats of paint? Thank you!

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Hi Donna,
      Actually, there isn’t any wood paneling in this particular house – that dark living room/kitchen is a faux paint finish. But if it were wood paneling, I recommend a proper sanding and 2 coats of Kilz oil-based primer before painting. Yes, it will several coats of paint. There’s just no way around that. But I typically have a professional do that kind of work.

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