Sometimes Better is Good Enough

Yesterday I staged a home that was quite a challenge, stylistically.  The furnishings and accessories were so style-specific, that it was extremely difficult to turn them in the right direction.  I did the best I could, with what I had to work with.   As I looked at the photos I took at the end of the day, I was bummed that it hadn’t turned out better.  After a long, hard day I felt a bit defeated – like I hadn’t done my best work.     

Living Room After


But then I pulled out the before photos.  Oh, yeah, I almost forgot what the room looked like before:

Living Room Before


Below is the after.  I know that crazy 5-arm monster lamp  appears to be growing up out of the television, but it looks better in here than where it was before.

Living Room After – With a Crazy 5-Arm Lamp Growing Out of the TV


It was in the front parlor, helping create this first impression as you walked in the front door:

Front Parlor with Monster Lamp


By redistributing furniture and adding in more current accessories, the parlor is much improved.  Even with that crazy sculpture in the corner . . .

Front Parlor After


And since the homeowner wasn’t open to updating fixtures or other items in the home, I had to figure out how to downplay the negative and accentuate the positive.  The negative would be this master bathroom:

Bathroom Before


and the positive would be the super-cheap makeover it got:

Bathroom After


On days like this, you have to realize that even if the finished product isn’t perfect, it’s significantly better than it was before – and that’s something good, right?  Have you ever had a friend come to your house and find yourself profusely apologizing for your decor? 

Master Bedroom


Don’t you just want to whip out a few “before” shots and say, “Look how far I’ve come?” 

Master Bedroom Before


So when you start feeling like your home isn’t exactly what you wish it were,  remind yourself  how far you’ve come.  And that’s something good, right? 


  1. joy

    oh, don’t be so harsh on yourself..I think this looks great, very neat. Nothing can be ideal –with limited resources.
    May I ask a quick question regarding window panel? if the window panel is meant to be always in open position — either tied or not, if I put two pieces together to increase its fullness, will people notice that they are two separate pieces (I just never tried) or it’s better re-sew them into one piece? thanks

    • Kristie Barnett

      joy, i don’t think it’s necessary at all to sew the pieces together – adding another panel will increase the fullness and make the treatment look more lush and expensive. good question!

  2. Jamie

    That’s the “house is half-sold” as opposed to “has an ice cube’s chance on a mid-June, Tennessee sidewalk” philospophy!

    • Kristie Barnett

      oh gee, jamie, i’m not sure i get your meaning. half-sold sounds like the “almost only counts in horseshoes” thing. but i do believe every little bit counts – just one bit can put you enough over the competition to make the sale.

      • Jamie

        I was playing off the “glass half full” idea, but yep, every bit DOES count!

  3. Michelle L.

    Love this post, Kristie! You did an excellent job with what you had to work with. Very encouraging for those of us who have some outdated rooms and can only do so much at a time!

  4. Lynn Crawford

    I think you did a wonderful job making dated furniture look current. I love the “beachy” colors – so nice for summer. BTW, I just bought the same lamps at T.J. Maxx that you have in the bedroom and noticed you had the same issue with them being too low. I was also thinking of books to elevate them somewhat.

    • Kristie Barnett

      thank you, lynn! i just looked through your portfolio, and it is fabulous – wish i could justify the inventory of furniture you have, but sellers here want to use their own furnishings and i bring in on-trend lighting, bedding, and accessories. you do beautiful work 🙂

  5. Molly

    I appreciate your “look how far you’ve come” message. I needed to hear that this week! The house looks much better.

  6. Monique

    Kristie, you did an amazing job. You can only make suggestions and the rooms are a far cry from where you started. Too bad the home owners wouldn’t let you ditch the four-armed light monster. The TV sucks up enough attention as it is.

  7. Naturally Carol

    I think you’ve done a great job…and you have to remember that the owners like these furnishings and now they look much better in their new homes!

  8. Sheila Zeller

    I’m catching up, catching up on blog reading and have so missed your posts Kristie, and this post is exactly why. You have done an amazing job with this redesign staging, especially with limitations like not being able to update hardware, etc. So what DID you do with that ginormous display unit? 😉

    What really struck me is your reminder to go back to the ‘before’ of a space when you’re feeling like your best work hasn’t put it’s foot forward. And I am so in that groove right now with our move in – working with all our old stuff to dazzle this new place. 😐 Oxymoron comes to mind! I’m loving the challenge for sure, except for this one… trying to work our love seats into the layout. They just don’t work in this new home. They’re from another time and phase in our life, and I keep mentally apologizing for them while wistfully seeing something else in their place. But after I read this post and paused to look around, I relaxed a bit. Are they perfect? No way. Not even our style any more. Are they positioned rather than plunked for this space? Definitely. We know the tweaking will come. And the day will come that we can replace them, but for now… they invite you in and welcome you to have a seat!

    Thanks Kristie 🙂

    • Kristie Barnett

      Well, I’ve been wondering how your move went! You know, some people wait for 20 years to do anything to their home, because they are waiting for enough $ or whatever so that it’ll be “perfect.” You live with what you have the best you can, then slowly replace things as you can and as you find better. You can’t put your living on hold! Oh, and about that massive display unit – I talked the owner into moving out one of the 3 pieces of it so I could move it the slightly smaller version of it to the opposite side of the room – the side that you don’t see when you first walk in the door! You do what you can, right? Thanks for the great comments 🙂

  9. Pam Lee

    You did a great job as always. I have a window just like that and always thought I had to center the couch in front of it, which never really worked out, but I thought it was a must. Glad to know I can scooch it over. My brain is very symmetrical. You’re wonderful!


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