Tag Archives: staging consultation

Highlights from a Home Stager: Occupied Home Staging 101

6 Mar



Rittenhouse Square Home Staging


Hi Everyone!  In our last feature, we talked about why we recommend staging vacant real estate listings.  Now, we want to switch gears a little bit and talk about occupied home staging.  We’ll cover why it is important, how you can do it on your own, and also how we can help you take it to the next level.

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Sooo…  Why is it important to stage an occupied home? (And what does that even mean?)

Well, we’ve said this before, and we’ll say it again- you get a split second to make a first impression.  An agent will send their prospective buyer client (PB) some listings—> PB is going to look at a 1 inch thumbnail caption of your living room and decide if they even want to look at the rest of the photos, let alone come see the house in person.  Make the most of your inch!  The most enticing photos will present clean lines, clear functionality (“Oh, that’s a nice TV room”, or Ah, this one has a breakfast nook”), and simplicity in décor.  Make the space easy for PB to understand  so he/she doesn’t have to think too hard.

Now, think like a buyer.  Assuming you get PB to your door, there are going to be a few things he/she will be considering.  Obviously, overall condition (roof, mechanicals, structure) are ultimately very important.  But, what comes before that is the questions of Do we want to live our lives here?  Does this feel like it could be home?  Staging plays a big role in helping PB envision their idealized life in this home.  And without that vision, your never gonna get to the home inspection.  Here’s some pointers to get you moving in the right direction:


  1.  Take down your family photos- It’s very difficult to envision a home as your own with someone else’s pictures all over the place.  A good replacement would be non-specific nature photos, landscape shots or a mirror.mercer
  2. Neutralize- This doesn’t mean that everything has to be beige, although we do recommend painting walls in neutral colors when possible.  The idea is just to create a presentation that will not be unappealing to any prospective buyer.  For example, you collect clown dolls- some people are very uncomfortable around clowns (and dolls, for that matter), so pack those away.  Or, you have a lot of religious artwork- your PB may not share the same beliefs, so they could definitely have a difficult time feeling at home with those items- we’d recommend packing those types of items.moore2
  3. Restore each room to it’s intended purpose-  I eat at my dining table 3 times a year.  The rest of the time, it is a workspace, a laundry folding space, a dumping ground for keys, bags, and mail.  But, in my next house, I’m going to eat a well-balanced home-cooked meal off of fine china every evening in my dining room.  Probably not, but ham it up a little…  Show a dining room as an actual dining room.  Show bedrooms as actual bedrooms when possible.  PB’s often have a difficult time visualizing bedrooms without beds.  Many times a smaller room will feel bigger with a full bed in it because PB’s would otherwise assume that only a twin bed would fit the space.  This could be a game changer right here.  And, if you have children at home, relegate toys to kids’ rooms or to the playroom.  If toys are everywhere, it sends the impression that the home isn’t big enough (which may very well be why you are moving, but shhhh….)mercer2
  4. While we are on the subject of “big enough”- Declutter, Declutter, Declutter- you have to pack it eventually anyway!  Packing it up before showings begin is a great move.  Less clutter will make your space feel larger and more open.  It will also help you depersonalize because most of the personality in your home is probably coming from those little knick-knack items that you don’t really need, per sePack up out-of-season clothes, small kitchen appliances that only get used once a year, etc.  If you can get a temporary storage unit, do it.  If that is not an option, designate one area (basement or garage?) to neatly stack boxes.  Organize closets and cabinets, and aim for 25% empty.  If PB opens your closet and sees that it is 25% empty, it immediately feels like a big closet because it isn’t stuffed to capacity.ISuk7gf5l6583h1000000000
  5. Have an escape plan- You’ve made your house picture perfect, had photos taken, and are ready for showings.  But, now you have to live here- Yikes!!  Have a closed storage solution in each room.  A storage ottoman in the living room is a great place to toss all the toys when a showing comes up quick…  A little basket for papers and mail is easy to stash inside the dining room china closet.  Grab a few plastic bins from the dollar store to stow toiletries neatly and easily under the sink.  And, I’ll say it…  put a bed skirt on your bed so you can hide the  dirty socks and undies in a hurry.  (Note:  you do not actually need to be selling your home to use these tricks)IS2nmvlt3abb1x1000000000

So, these tips should help you get a great start!  But, if you feel like you could use a hand, don’t hesitate to call us in.  Here’s a list of ways that we can assist you with occupied home staging and selling:

Renovation Consultation–  Planning to paint, tile, refinish, update or upgrade?  Need help making the right choices?  We see a lot of homes so we can help you make the selections that sell.

Occupied Staging Consultation–  We’ll walk your home with a buyer’s perspective.  We’ll go room-by-room and throw out as many suggestions as you’re willing to hear in order to help you get the most out of your home sale.

Supplementary Rental–  Need a staging bed for that empty bedroom, or a more contemporary sofa in the living room?  Did you give away your dining table when you turned the dining room into an office?  Not sure what you need?  We can help cross your T’s and dot your I’s.

Quick Detail–  Do you have your photo shoot lined up, but you are a pillow-fluffing disaster?  Call us in for a little primp-session.  We’ll come in and detail each room (like only a stager can do) to help it show it’s best.

Well, thanks for reading all that!  Feel free to share with your seller clients,  friends and family.  And tune in next time to hear some tips from the photo pros!

Contact Ali at akutner@sunflowercreationsonline.com or 267.207.9898 to get that ball rolling. Or visit us at Sunflower Creations Home.

In general, for vacant home staging, a consult 2-3 week’s prior to intended completion date is ideal. And in the case of occupied home staging, the more time we have prior to listing, the more we can help you perfect your product.

…Home Staging in 19128, 19127, 19119, 19118, 19130, 19121, 19123, 19125, 19134, 19103, 19102, 19104, 19106, 19107, 19146, 19147, 19139, 19143, 19145, 19148, 19004, 19003, 19035, and all Philadelphia and Surrounding Suburbs.



January Happenings- Sunflower Creations, Philadelphia’s Home Stagers

15 Jan

blog11(Suburban Home Staging Consultation in Bucks County)

Our first project this year was this sprawling family home in Bensalem’s Belmont Ridge Community.  The owners will be living in the home until it sells.   We were called in as consultants, to help prepare the home for listing.  We did a “room-by-room” with the sellers- advising them on what items to keep (furniture, art, accessories), what should go, furniture arrangement, etc.  We also supplemented items needed to create a taste neutral, depersonalized, eye-catching presentation for MLS photos and for showings.

The room featured above is the formal living room, which was essentially empty when we arrived.  The homeowners got rid of their dated furniture, and are waiting until they move to replace it.  So, we supplied this striking living room set-up, which is the first room you’ll see upon entering the home.  Click here to see more.

And, here’s a few more projects that we’ve been busy with:

Northeast Philadelphia Rehabbed Home Staging




blog4 blog5 blog6 blog7(Click here to see more)


Fairmount/Art Museum Area Home Staging

Courtesy of

Andrew Kratz, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services

blog15 blog16 blog17(Click here to see more)


Old City Loft Staging

Courtesy of

Jeff “City” Block, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services

blog20blog21(Click here to see more)


Fairmount/Art Museum Area Rehabbed Home Staging

Courtesy of

Michael Goldstein, The McCann Team, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services

blog9 blog8 blog10(Click here to see more)


Northern Liberties New Construction Home Staging

Courtesy of

Ryan Quinn, Cityspace

blog18(Click here to see more)


Thanks so much for looking!

We’d Love to Work With You On Your Next Project:

…Vacant Home Staging Services, Occupied Home Staging Consultations, Builder’s Services and Finish Selections, Interior Design and more…

Sunflower Creations is dedicated to:

  • Providing fast and friendly service
  • Creating fabulous homes at fair & competitive prices
  • Making every project our number one priority

…Philadelphia, Montgomery & Bucks County, and surrounding areas…

Please contact:

 Ali Kutner, Home Staging Coordinator



 or visit us at Sunflower Creations Home

Suburban Home Staging Challenge by Sunflower Creations

6 May


Very cool reno on a quiet, tree-lined street, along a creek– But, a complicated first floor layout brought us out to Elkins Park for this home staging project.

The major challenge is the two support beams that divide the space.  Additionally, the fireplace, and several doors really dictate furniture placement.

27_6332546_4_1399043675_636x435 27_6332546_5_1399043675_636x435

We definitely wanted to create a main seating area around the fireplace and large bay window.  But, we also wanted to incorporate the area behind the dining space into functional living space.

(Have an other look)


In such an open living space, we really think it is important to show function.  Sure, it’s nice to offer lots of room, but if the potential buyers can not figure out how to make the space work for them, they are going to move on to the next listing.

So, we created a space that helps transition between living room and dining room.  One could sit and read the paper with their morning coffee, enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail, and still be part of what is happening in the main living space.


In terms of design choices, we wanted to keep it simple.

We worked with a mixture of our accessories, and the seller’s- So, we wanted to make sure the overall style was cohesive.  And, the architecture, itself, offered a lot of interest- the beams, bump-outs, bay window, fireplace, doors, etc…  So we really didn’t want to introduce a ton of new patterns and textures.  We did a few bold pieces, and focused on creating clean lines and shapes that would pull everything together.

We were happy with the finished project!

IMG_0322 IMG_0318 27_6332546_9_1399043675_636x435To see the full property listing, click here.

Thanks for looking!

…Whether ultra-modern new construction, a charming rehab, or a traditional redesign–We understand the subtle differences.


Our “look” helps homes sell quickly and our process keeps clients coming back time and again.


If you need help with home staging or interior design services, please contact us:


Ali Kutner, Home Staging Coordinator






or visit us at Sunflower Creations Home

sfc logo copy

Staging an Occupied Home with Sunflower Creations

23 Apr

1(eliminate unnecessary furniture to create a streamlined look)

Most of the time, the pics we share here are vacant homes where we bring in all the furniture, art and accessories in order to create “the look” that connects with potential buyers.

But, Sunflower Creations also offers home staging consultation services for occupied homes.  In this process, we generally work with the homeowner’s furnishings and accessories in order to prepare the property for sale.  We can assist with space planning, depersonalization, pre-photo detailing, and more- in order to create a picture perfect look for photos and showings.  We also help create solutions for sellers to be able to maintain the staged look, while living in their property while it is for sale.

5(organize the playroom so it appears orderly, and the kids can still have fun!)

The process begins with a walk-thru, where we assess the space, as well as the needs and desires of the occupants.  Some sellers are looking for assistance with home improvements, such as paint color and finish selections.  Others may need us to help them eliminate furniture from over-crowded spaces.  And others may need us to supplement under-utilized spaces with our furniture.

Once we see the space, we put together a consultation report.  This will act as a room-by-room instruction manual for the seller, with detailed suggestions and floor plan drawings when necessary.  At this point, the seller can decide to carry out our plans on his/her own, or have us come out and prepare the property for them.

The photos in this posting are from occupied home stagings in the Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill neighborhoods of Northwest Philadelphia.  Both are beautiful old homes with some modern updates.  We wanted to accentuate the uniqueness and old charm, but give the spaces a little contemporary edge.


(Although most of us do not use our formal dining room all that much, show it in it’s ideal state!)3 4 6

(A contemporary rug pulls this room into 2014!) 7

(Going minimal on the accessorizing gives these deep blue rooms a slightly more contemporary feel) 8 9To see these full property listings, click on the following links:

Mount Airy listing

Chestnut Hill listing

Staging Consultations can be an invaluable and low-cost tool for selling a home quickly and for top dollar.  So, if you , or someone you know is preparing to list a home for sale, why not forward this post!

As always,

Thanks for looking!

…Whether ultra-modern new construction, a charming rehab, or a traditional redesign–We understand the subtle differences.


Our “look” helps homes sell quickly and our process keeps clients coming back time and again.


If you need help with home staging or interior design services, please contact us:


Ali Kutner, Home Staging Coordinator






or visit us at Sunflower Creations Home

sfc logo copy