India Circus Home Decor

HAPPY FRIDAY, Y’ALL! I am so, so, SOOO excited about this glorious Fall weather! For whatever reason, it has really inspired me to do a ton of revamping to this little home of ours. I’ve been cleaning out closets, organizing drawers, sprucing up home decor… and even purging my classroom supplies (a very, very hard thing to do for teachers. You really never know when you could use… oh, I don’t know… everything you’ve ever owned). 
When we first moved into this loft, we only brought about 1/3 of the things we had in our old house. We made trip after trip to Goodwill to drop off trash bags full of items that we didn’t want/need or that didn’t fit our style. For the loft, we tried to keep our color scheme pretty simple and earthy: lots of browns and greens. And even though I loved the relaxing-ness of our new decor, it made me realize that I really need ALL THE BRIGHT COLORS! 
Over the past couple of months, I’ve shared a couple of posts about how I’ve been adding a little cheer and whimsy to our super earthy space. Today, I’m going to share another brand that I just have to let y’all know about: India Circus! The name sounds totally amazing, right? Well, the decor goes right along with the amazing-ness of the name! Think along the lines of some items that you would find at Pier One… except a little more authentic! 
I ordered two of these gorgeous peacock pillow covers and I have just been so absolutely pleased with how beautiful and vibrant they are! In addition to beautiful home decor, India Circus also has gorgeous dishes, bags, and even iPad and phone cases
Affordable, cheerful, and exotic? 
Oh, you can definitely count me in for that! 🙂 

Could your apartment/dorm/house use a little splash of color like mine needed? Did you check out the website? If so, what were some of your favorite things?! 

Fall Break Painting Projects

Whew! Y’all… remember that month called “October”? Where the heck did it go? Seriously. I don’t know if you noticed, but someone totally stole some days out of it because it could not have been that short! Thank you so much to all of you who read the series that I worked on in October! There are still more upcoming posts for it but I think I hit on all of the most frequently requested ones! Another thing crossed off of my to-do list! YAY! 
What you didn’t see (because I was focused on studying posts) was that we did a TON of decorating, organizing, and projects around our home in October, too! 
Now it’s no secret that I’m a little obsessed with Scotch Expressions tape (AKA “washi” tape). I use it in my planner, on my calendar, and for project, after project, after project around our loft! 
But over the month of October, I had a chance to try out a different kind of tape from Scotch, the ScotchBlue TM Painter’s Tape Delicate Surface with Advanced Edge-Lock TM Paint Line Protector (AKA “painter’s” tape). 


Yes, that’s right… I worked on some painting projects over the past month and I forgot how much fun that is! Every time I see amazing-looking living spaces on Pinterest, I’m so tempted to go out and buy a bunch of new home decor. And the only problem with that is that… well, you know… it costs money. So, during my Fall Break lull in schoolwork, I used my time to revamp the things that I already around the house! 

In order to make this vase ombre, I taped the middle, then spray painted the top white and the bottom turquoise.
Once the paint dried, I removed the tape and blended the two in the middle until it looked ombre-ish enough for me!
Here’s the final result!
This little step-stool used to be a burgundy color… but obviously, pink is better!
This one still needs a second coat of paint, but you get the picture 🙂 

When I finished my projects, I gave the rest to my mom, who is in the process of decorating the “guest cottage” (AKA the fancy name she gave the mother-in-law suite) at my parents’ house. I kind of feel like my husband and I have become expert painters over the past year… while staging our house, we ended up painting almost every single room. Okay, because he reads this blog, let me rephrase that… HE repainted almost every single room while I stood by the ladder ready to call 911 if he fell. 

(My efforts to save his life from a hypothetical-potentially-life-threatening accident were not as appreciated as one would expect them to be.)
No paint where it’s not supposed to be! Perfect!! 
Did you work on any projects over Fall Break? Do you have anything that could use some “revamping” in your home? 
BTW, the paint I used was spray paint from Lowe’s and it was $3 a can! 
So these were all SUPER inexpensive projects!! 🙂 

3 Ways to Form Study Habits

Sometimes it’s easy to make yourself sit down and do some schoolwork (like when your assignment is due tomorrow) and other times, you kind of need a little boost of motivation to sit down and get started on it. That doesn’t mean that you’re a slacker, or lazy, or a bad student. It’s hard for everyone to force themselves to work on things that don’t necessarily have a sense of urgency. Schoolwork and studying really rely on discipline and habit. It takes work and organization… and even planning (YAY!).
We often hear that it takes 21 (or is it 28?) days to form a new habit.  And, with that already in the back of my mind, I heard something pretty interesting earlier this year when I was researching for the 4 Rules for Effective Studying post. In that post, there is a video of a lecture from a professor (Dr. Marty Lobdell), and he suggests a really cool idea: having a “study lamp”. I kind of blended those two ideas together and came up with a couple of other ways to create a study habit/routine in my everyday life.

So, here are 3 tricks that you can use to get into the habit of studying daily, too! 

1: Use a “Study Lamp”

This is the idea from Dr. Lobdell. He especially suggests it for students who study and sleep in the same room (aka bedrooms and dorms). A “study lamp” is a lamp (obviously) in your study area that you only turn on when you sit down and actually start on your schoolwork. When you get up to take a break, turn the lamp off. And don’t use this lamp for any other reason! The reasoning behind this is that your mind eventually gets into the habit of going into “study mode” when the lamp is turned on.

2: Designate a “Study Chair”

That idea kind of inspired me to think of some other things that could trigger that kind of conditioned response. Consider designating a “study chair”. A place where you always sit when you’re working, but that you don’t use for anything else. Since we moved into our loft, I’ve been using one specific chair at our dining table as my “work station”. Even though I sit at that table for dinner and other things, I never use that particular chair unless I’m working. When I’m there, I know it’s time to get stuff done!

3: Buy a “Study Candle”

Along those same lines, I also recently did some research on Aromatherapy, which I am just fascinated by. Did you know that smell is our biggest link to memory? I can still spray the body spray I wore in high school (Love Spell!) and immediately be brought back to those memories. And the smell of dew-covered grass in the morning reminds me of all the soccer and softball games I played as a little girl. The same with the smell of the beach of course! So, I thought, why not do the same with studying?

I have a “study candle” that I light when it’s time to get some schoolwork done, and a “relaxing candle” that I light when I’m ready to calm down my mind, turn off my electronics at night, and just be present in the moment. When I looked into the scents that would be most effective for working, the things that I found were just SO interesting! Different scents have different effects on our brains, such as boosting confidence, creativity, and focus. There are some links below to take you to some of these articles!

Here are some scents that may help boost your productivity:

Cinnamon: Concentration and Focus
Jasmine: Calmness, Confidence, Energy, and Optimism
Lavender: Calmness
Lemon: Calmness, Clarity, and Concentration
Peppermint: Clarity, Concentration, and Creativity
Rosemary: Energy & Memory

And here are the different scents that I use at different parts of the day:

Morning: Jasmine, Peppermint, or Rosemary
Night: Jasmine, Lavender, or Lemon
Studying: Cinnamon, Lemon, Peppermint, or Rosemary
Writing: Jasmine or Peppermint

This, this, and this are some interesting articles to check out if you want to read more about aromatherapy or the Olfactory Bulb (the reason smell and memory are closely linked)! There are even more scent suggestions in the articles, the ones listed above are just my personal favorites. Just a few helpful things to keep in mind while you’re walking down that oh-so-alluring candle aisle at Target! 
… it gets me every time! 🙂 

Do you use any of these kinds of tricks to get yourself into the habit of studying? Have you tried using aromatherapy ever? Do you have a special routine or space designated to “study time”? 

Inspiration Board Cheat Sheet

Inspiration Boards are one of my favorite things to check out on Pinterest! They are just one of those things that you don’t really notice… until you do. I’m always like “ooh, I love this workspace!” and then when I go back through my “Office.” board, I notice that they all have this one thing in common: inspiration/motivation/vision boards. Does this sound like something that Chris from Parks & Rec would do? Yes. But also, they can be the perfect reflection of your personality and your future goals! 
Not only that… remember the Feng Shui post from a couple of days ago? The ideal position for your desk is somewhere where it faces the door but, if that just isn’t possible (like in a small apartment, bedroom, or dorm), the next best thing is to make the wall “disappear”. Inspiration Boards are the perfect way to do that! They can be a source of inspiration, motivation, encouragement, pride in past accomplishments, and just something that is nice to look at after hours of reading or writing or crying because math is hard
There are literally TONS (okay, fine… there are figuratively tons) of examples out there! But what makes the perfect “recipe” for an inspiration board? Here is my oh-so-humble opinion:
Here’s a perfect one from Lauren Conrad (of course)!

Choose a color scheme

Your space should reflect you! Some workspaces are really dreamy looking with whites and subdued colors. You’ll want that to carry over into your inspiration board. Others are full of bold colors, or maybe bright pinks and turquoises! Whatever your design-style is, make sure that your board goes along with it and isn’t distracting or out of place. Also, add a little depth with tickets, ribbons, cards, etc! 
Can we please talk about the absolute genius-ness of this clipboard inspiration board from Trendenser?! 

Gather things that make you happy

This is pretty simple. Think of things that make you smile when you see them! Do you love the color pink? Penguins? Pretty dresses? Traveling? When you find or take photos of things that you just absolutely love, stick these up here! They will provide a safe haven for your mind when you’re feeling all depleted from reading a textbook that is likely droning on about something that bores you. 
This one from Megan at Honey, We’re Home is super girly and stylish. LOVE!

Give yourself something to look forward to

There is also the “vision board” part of inspiration boards. The part that reminds you why you do whatever it is that you do! Where do you want to be 10 years from now? What field of work do you hope to be in? Where do you want to travel? Choose photos or quotes or headlines or pictures of people who inspire you! And don’t forget to include your long and short term goals! Create a “big picture”! 

I love how this one found on Flickr. just blends in with the rest of the space!

Include Your past accomplishments

Have you won a blue ribbon for something? Or maybe received a certificate for some type of special recognition? What about photos from graduation, or your acceptance letter or test scores? Put these up here! A big part of staying motivated is to remind yourself of your past achievements! When things get hard, just look back and think, “This was challenging, but I did it. If I could do it then, I can do it now.”
Here’s another clever alternative to a “board” from Warm Home Decors!

Throw in some personal photos

Did you know that you can print out Instagram photos? Of course you did because I am the last person on Earth to find this out. I like Instas better than regular photos! Why? Because they really force you to choose one thing to represent an entire event and to focus on finding the beauty in everyday life. Print out a few of your favorites! Remind yourself that, even though your life is crazy, it is also beautiful!  
Inspiration boards are a great idea for a study space because they can just keep you motivated and on the right track by reminding you of what you’ve already done, what you’re doing now, and what you will do in the future! 
They can help you turn your dreams into goals, your goals into plans, and your plans into real life! 🙂 
Do you have a bulletin board or “inspiration board” in your study space? What kinds of things are on it? Has it helped you stay motivated when your schoolwork gets frustrating? 

How to Feng Shui Your Study Space

About a year ago, I started to become really interested in Feng Shui. Our house was for sale, trying to accomplish a TON of work for school, and I just wanted an all-around better “flow” to our living space. The more I read about staging homes to sell and creating the best office space for productivity, the more I saw that everything seemed to align with the basic Feng Shui principles. And whether or not you believe in Bagua Maps or Yin & Yang, the basics of Feng Shui can help make any space feel more balanced, comfortable, organized, and vibrant! I mean really, what more could we ask for?!
Now, let me also say that Feng Shui is a super in-depth practice and that I am certainly no expert (yet!) but this is kind of like the Kindergarten-level of Feng Shui rules. If you find it super intriguing as I do, I would suggest checking out this blog because it is always full of the best tips ever! Okay, here we go!

Choose an air-purifying plant, such as a fern, lily, palm, or any of the other plants from this list. Some other great choices? Bamboo or a cactus! Because they are easy to take care of and also represent good luck! Plus, you know, cacti are SO in right now!

Position your desk to face the door (if possible). The picture above from Feng Shui and Beyond gives the perfect example of how a desk should be in position to the door. You want to see everything that’s coming at you! However, try not to sit directly in front of the door (it’s considered a path of negative energy). If you can’t move your desk or there isn’t room, there are two things you can do:

First, you could put a mirror above your desk that allows you to see the door (although, mirrors can also “reflect the bad energy” of others who come into your space. The second choice is to make your wall “disappear” by creating a vision board of things that inspire you. Totally your choice! And even though it might be tempting to put your desk right in front of the window, it’s considered bad Feng Shui because it’s also tempting to LOOK OUT that window… and we’re trying to cut down on distractions!

Clear all clutter from your desk: Throw away junk/unneeded things and organize everything that is of importance to you and your goals. A good rule I read here is to clean off 50% of the items of your desk every time you are finished using it. Kind of like Clear to Neutral, right?! Check out this picture above from Feng Shui and Beyond

What would you have to do before starting work at this desk? Seriously. Open the computer and start, right?! That’s the goal! Deal with paper at least once a week in order to keep it from getting out of hand! Kind of in the same category as clearing out clutter, make sure to hide any power cords or other wires from plain sight because they’re distracting (and ugly).

Use positive/uplifting artwork. Basically, everything around you influences you. This is why a lot of schools use the color blue in their hallways. Because it is considered a calming color. It’s also why Target uses the color red, which is linked to impulsive behavior (a basket full of unnecessary items, anyone?). You want everything in your study space to be positive and encouraging to you and your goals! Do you have a small wind chime? Put it next to your window, those things always sound happy!

Choose items with rounded corners rather than sharp edges. According to Feng Shui, sharp corners can cause us stress. Well, with a semester full of crazy work assignments and deadlines, we need to eliminate all the stress we possibly can, right? Rounded vases, candles, tables, etc. can be great additions to the “flow” of a workspace! A globe is also a nice thing to have in a study space!

Try to incorporate all 5 Feng Shui elements (earth, fire, metal, water, wood) into your study space. This can be as simple as adding a jar of sand for “earth”, a small candle for “fire, a tin pencil holder for “metal”, a picture of an ocean or fish for water (or actual fish!), and a wooden chair, shelf, or desk for the “wood” element! Keeping a somewhat equal amount of these items creates “balance” in your space!

Use lots of light… preferably 3 different light sources! And yes, natural light definitely counts! Brighter spaces boost productivity and encourage us to keep our spaces cleaner! Also, it’s easier on your eyes!

As I said, these are just some of the most basic of all Feng Shui tips… there is SO, SO much information out there that you can really get as in-depth as you want to with it! I tried to help you out a little because each of these photos is linked to a different website about Feng Shui!

And if you still aren’t a believer in “energy”, at least you’ll benefit from a bright, clutterless space! 🙂

Does your current workspace follow any of these rules? Would you change it to try some out? If you have tried some of these tips, could you tell that they made a difference in your work? Why (or why not)? 

Creative Spaces

Well, well, well… It’s been 4 months and I am finally (FINALLY) just about finished getting our new loft to look the way I want it. The space is everything we were looking for: bright, open, industrial, not in the middle of the suburbs. And we made a couple of furniture upgrades when we moved (dining table, chairs, and tv stand). We were super adamant about only taking the pieces that we really loved.

We sifted and sifted through our existing items until we had every picture, vase, plate that we wanted and got rid of aaaaall the rest. (Wait was that long enough? What I meant to say was that we got rid of aaaaaaaaaaaalllll of the rest. Yes. That looks much more accurate). We really expected to do a lot of downsizing when we moved out of the house. And we did. 
However, when we got all of our furniture and art and rugs and every thing placed in the new space, it was still feeling a little bare. It just needed a few little whimsical touches here and there to really make it ours. Enter: Creative Spaces.

They had some of the perfect finishing touches to make this place feel like it’s totally ours!
…for the next 8 months, anyway 🙂
– – –
The first project that I wanted to try out with these adorable labels was to reorganize our “pantry” (aka ONE cabinet underneath our kitchen counter). Last January, we got these stackable OXO containers and they have been the most amazing thing ever! But because they are stackable, and because we are looking into a tiny cabinet, we have needed some labels in here for a while! These worked perfectly! 

– – –
The next project that I tried out was one that I desperately needed this semester: a daily checklist system. Now, let me point out that this is a new system that will probably require a whole post of its own (I had to change all of my systems to fit my needs for this semester’s class)! But for now, I’m just going to show you how adorable these little chevron squares made my new command center! LOVE!
– – –

You know how sometimes you just have a little space in your home that could use just a touch of something? That’s how I felt about this space above our kitchen counter. I kept trying to put one more thing in this space and I just really wanted to stay with the black, white, and pink theme. As soon as I saw these little pennants, I knew they would be the perfect solution! Now everyday feels like a party!

– – –

Here is another space that needed… something. This little banner has made the most sunshiny little splash of happiness over our industrial bar cart! Those are black punch-out letters that I taped on with washi tape so that I can change this in the future (total teacher move). I LOVE how happy this makes the space! When I finished this banner, I still had enough of everything to make the whole thing again! 

If you’re looking for a way to brighten up a dorm room or a small apartment, I would totally recommend checking out their website! All of the paper products are very good quality and can be laminated and reused! Also, there are *tons* of colors and patterns to choose! We have a blue banner, too that I’m using as a “Go Tigers!” banner for our tailgate party this afternoon! {so more photos to come, obvi!} 

Dorm Room Organization

{ So, let me first start out by saying I’M SORRY for how little I’ve been posting since the summer started. As a person who thrives on busy-ness and structure, I have just had the most difficult time ever making myself write regularly when I’m off all day, every day. To most, that would sound like a dream come true, but I know that some of you fellow OCD-y people know exactly what I’m talking about! So, thank you for your patience and just bear with me until I can get a full calendar (or several) again! 🙂 }
Okay. A few weeks ago (I’m lying… it was a few months ago. shhh) a reader asked me to do a post on dorm solution ideas. “Great idea!”, I thought. Then summer happened. So, finally, here it is! AND I feel like the timing is a little perfect because: a. It’s better to get a head start on things like this, and b. The stores are in “summer mode” right now, so it’s a good time to be buying storage supplies for less!
One more thing: I do have to divulge that I’ve never actually lived in a dorm (aside from a week-long softball camp at Auburn), BUT I did live in a studio apartment in college, which is pretty similar! Okay, here we go!

Dorm Storage Solutions:

1: Make sure that you have the right layout.

If you follow me on Pinterest, you may have noticed that I pin a lot of Feng Shui things. Now, before you skip right over this because you don’t believe in “energy flow”, hear me out! So many Feng Shui rules are backed up by psychology, and there is a ton of information out there that discusses how important environmental factors are to learning (which is why most high schools have that medium blue color in the hallways). 
This Greatist Post by Jordan Shakeshaft explains how to arrange a dorm room perfectly! 

2: Banish all clutter.

As with any organization project, clutter is the #1 enemy. This is the rule I use: 
If it doesn’t have a home, find it a home; if you can’t find it a home, get rid of it. 
Tiny spaces are the ones that are the MOST important to keep clutter-free! You know that feeling you get when you walk into an old person’s home and it’s just full of every little figurine or paper they’ve ever received? That’s the feeling that others will get when they walk into your dorm that’s overflowing with textbooks, picture frames, makeup, and clothes that can’t fit into the closet. 
I like to try to get rid of 15 things every week! I promise, it’s easier than it sounds!

3: Find (or make!) a home for everything

The most important part of a “storage solution” is, of course, the storage! In our new loft, I don’t have an office like I did in my house, so I’ve had to hide my office supplies in plain sight (more on that coming soon!). First, make a list of everything you’ll need to store: textbooks, computer, chargers, notebooks, files, etc. Then, look for (or create) pretty storage solutions for each thing! 
I don’t mind displaying things that are uniformed, such as clothespins, paperclips, binder clips, matching pens, etc. However, find a “hidden” home for things that are mismatched, sloppy-looking, or just plain unsightly (used textbooks, for example. EW!). The Container Store, Etsy, Office Max, and Target are just filled with canvas bins, covered storage containers, and cute document boxes. OR, you could take to Pinterest and find ways to create your own pretty storage solutions out of paint cans, plastic cups, shoeboxes, etc!

4: Multi-Purpose items are lifesavers 

Functionality is essential in small spaces! The more purposes that a piece serves, the more valuable it is! Target’s furniture aisle is always filled with $40-ish ottomans that can be used as a table, extra seating for friends, and a place to discreetly store books, extra blankets, or even shoes! Always be on the lookout for things that can pull double duty such as bedside tables with lots of drawers, decorative vases that could store writing utensils, or jewelry organizer/mirror combos!

5: Clean Constantly 

When I was in undergrad, I made the mistake of having a “cleaning day” once a week… which would have been a great idea, if every week looked the same! However, things always came up for me to do on my cleaning day. Then I would get all stressed out over how messy everything was! Now that I’m older (and oh-so-much-wiser), I just do a little bit every day! There are literally hundreds of cleaning systems out there! I use this one from Apartment Therapy! But FlyLady and Modern Parents Messy Kids have some nice ones as well! And, of course, I have a Pinterest board just full of printable to-do lists to help you stay on track! 
It’s never too early to start organizing for the fall! 🙂 
When it comes to storage solutions for small spaces, the options are limitless! Feel free to add any advice, information, or links to your favorite dorm organization solutions below! 

Do you want to know about storing anything specifically?! 
(I would love to have something to research with all this free time! haha)

15 Best Home Staging Tips from Professionals

Living in a “staged” house is probably one of the most exhausting things I’ve ever experienced. Do you know about this? Oh, it’s basically making a house look like some super freaky Stepford family (that never has dirty laundry or dishes) lives in it. And if you are ever living in a house that’s for sale, you better get used to Stepford living real quick! 
I have literally been researching “staging” houses for over a year. From HGTV’s website to various realtor and professional stagers’ websites… and I have found some really incredible information that made a huge difference! And guess what?! All of that research and hard work totally paid off because…

(well, as long as the buyer’s loan goes through, we will have sold it!)

And not only did we sell our house (after it had been on the market for what felt like forever) but we sold it at our FULL ASKING PRICE! That’s right! The buyers didn’t even want to negotiate!
So today, I thought I’d share some of my favorite staging tips that I’ve learned along the way. I truly believe that, if I had known *these* things from the beginning, we would have sold it a LONG time ago)! And best of all? Your house doesn’t have to be “for sale” to try them!
 In fact (despite the stress of worrying about someone opening the dishwasher and actually finding dirty dishes) we have thoroughly enjoyed our house SO much more since it’s been “staged”!
So here are 15 professional secrets to making your home look and feel a little more like a model home! 
1. Mix 1/2 bleach 1/2 water into a spray bottle and spray in bathtubs/showers!
I started spraying this after every shower. After a couple of days, it completely got rid of that dark stuff around the corners. Also, start leaving the shower door open after you get out allows it to dry out more quickly… keeping that black stuff from coming back!
2. Pack a “weekender” bag of everyday toiletries and keep it under your sink.
Having items already put away makes it SO simple to stage the bathroom quickly… Just throw the whole bag in a closet or your car before the showing!
{ok, I made this one up… But don’t worry, I’ll add a bonus pro tip at the end}
3. These 6 scents make people want to buy: basil, cedar, green tea, pine, lemon, vanilla. 
Buy room must or candles in these scents and burn them all day (or as long as you can) before showings!
{Proud Home Staging}
4. Open windows, turn on ceiling fans and vents for at LEAST 10 minutes before showings! 
You know when you walk into someone else’s house and it just smells like… Someone else’s house? You don’t want that to happen to your potential buyers! You want your house to smell as airy and fresh as possible! Do as much as you can to make your house seem fresh and clean: On showing days, burn candles, Febreeze, open windows, turn on fans and vents, wash sheets…
{Home Staging Brisbane}
5. Include these items in every room: Candles, lamps, mirrors, and soft textures. 
{every single staging website, ever}
6. Spray appliances and surfaces with Windex. 
To make your appliances, counters, and sinks look super shiny after you clean them, go back and spray them again with Windex. This is actually a “secret” cleaning tip that luxury hotels use!
{Right at Home}
7. Take the screens out of your windows to make them look more clear and beautiful! 
{The Nester}
8. Remove some furniture. 
Only have 3 pieces of furniture in smaller rooms. Only have 6 pieces of furniture in larger rooms. In addition to that, float furniture away from walls and group it together. A room feels bigger when buyers can see all corners and walls of it.
9. Only leave 20% of stuff in closets. 
Yes, you read that right, get rid of 80% of the stuff in them! At first, this seemed impossible but here is how I eventually did it: I focused on one closet at a time. I took everything out of the closet. For everything I put back into it, I got rid of 4 things. It sounds tragic, I know. But it worked. Closets are the deepest, darkest, secretest part of our homes. They are the holders of all kinds of useless junk and when you take everything out, you see how much of it you can really do without!
{Dream Works Realty}
10. Depersonalize 
Hide your personal photographs, your mail, your kids’ names, your friends’ wedding announcements, memorabilia with your favorite team on it, things that reflect your career, your faith, etc. Everything that might remind the buyer that someone they might like (or not like) lives there now. Don’t leave out anything that could distract potential buyers!
{every staging website, ever}

11. “You’re not selling your house; you’re selling your kitchen. That’s how important it is”.

12. Buyers make up their minds within the first 15 seconds on your property.
FIFTEEN SECONDS! Practice walking up to the front door and into your property and make everything seen within those first seconds look absolutely irresistible!
{Ed Benning}

13. Get more familiar with Feng Shui.
Whether you believe in “energy flow” or not, Feng Shui is still a great way to balance out the colors/textures inside the house. Think about how you feel when you go to a spa or yoga studio. You get the feeling that it’s a calm, clean, peaceful, relaxing place, right? Knowing a little about the practice of Feng Shui will make your house feel that way, too!
{HG Front Door}

14. Paint everything neutral. 
Professional stagers/realtors call this painting everything “contract khaki”. And while it’s not an actual color, it means to paint the walls colors that don’t steal the show: beige, light blue, light green, subtle tan, and white are all examples. We went with Allen + Roth’s Bubbly, Morning Jog, and Sunday Times. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s a light color so that the natural sunlight can bounce off the walls!
{every staging website, ever}

15. Organize the pantry.
We bought the OXO system at Williams-Sonoma for $100 (Bed, Bath, & Beyond and Target had it for the same price). I think it came with 10 containers and they look absolutely amazing! No more distracting, randomly-sized, randomly-colored boxes in our pantry! Plus, keeping all of the containers well-stocked is good Feng Shui!

If you want more uniformity in your pantry but don’t want to spend that much on new containers, Target also sells mason jars with lids in its kitchenware area for about $20-30 (depending on the size). It would give the same organized feel but cost a lot less!
{Home Staging Expert}

The one thing that we did differently the day that we sold it was go get a twin air mattress, sheet, comforter, and pillows from Wal-Mart and create a faux-bed in a bed-less bedroom. We put it up on some storage bins and covered them with a bedskirt. I am 99% sure this is what finally made the difference.
{Realtor Mag}

“Do we really need to do all these things to prove that our house is great?”
(because they won’t)

Do you have a house for sale? Or did you recently buy/sell one? What kind of advice could you add to this (there is still a ton!)? Don’t you think some of these tricks are just great for your own home? I know we’ll certainly use some of them forever!

Staging is a topic that has endless information! If you are looking for cleaning systems, curb appeal inspiration, furniture arrangements, or paint color ideas, check out my Staging Pinterest board

5 Ways to Brighten Up a Small Room

You know that one room in your house that’s a little depressing because it’s always dark? Or is that just in my house?

The third bedroom in our house is so small and pitiful and dark that my husband was using it as a “storage room” (I guess) when he lived alone. It was just this poor little unused room with the door always closed when we first met. To be honest, it creeped me out a little that he didn’t want me to go in it… I felt kind of like Belle being kept out of the West Wing!

Well, a room with no purpose (or decorating) was just not going to work for me! When I moved in, the first thing I tried to do was to turn it into an office… but the walls were this really dark brownish-greenish color. And the window faced the North. And nothing ever looked bright or pretty in this room. Ever.

And so… I read and I researched and I researched and I read. And then we did everything we could to brighten it up without knocking out any walls 🙂

1: Paint the Walls White
The first step had the biggest impact, by far. I did a little bit of researching about the psychology of room colors and found out that white gives spaces the illusion of being bigger, brighter, and cleaner (which is why it’s the color chosen for hospitals). Perfection!

Since white on its own can be boring, we also did a medium blue accent wall. Medium blue because it is interesting to look at but not over-stimulating (which is why its often chosen for high schools).

2: Use Mirrors
Well, I kind of adore decorating with mirrors anyway, so it’s just the icing on the cake that they reflect light and make small spaces feel bigger. I have at least one in every room!

3: Decorate with Glass Pieces
This is something I learned through all of my home staging research. Since glass is transparent, it doesn’t take up any space visually. Glass is the perfect choice for tiny spaces! Worth mentioning: I love recycling things I already have instead of buying new stuff. These small, glass bottles were the perfect organization solution for tiny office supplies. Good thing I have plenty. Can you tell I’m a teacher?

4: Use Neutral Tones
I brought nearly every white/off-white and metallic object in the house to “try out” for a place in this room. Neutrals just make everything look tied together which makes the overall feel of the room bigger. I mean, my entire Pinterest account is basically one neutral room after another… but I just can’t help it!

5: Add Some Pops of Bright Color
I used a bright blue because it is bright yet calming. We spray painted that once black chair turquoise  over the summer and I am SO HAPPY with it! Also I chose some beachy photos for the bulletin board because they had similar colors.

 And don’t forget the decluttering! 
Nothing sucks the brightness out of a space like clutter does. This room used to be the “final stop” for things in our home that had no other home… piled up against the wall or in the corner. We went through our pile and got rid of or found a home for EVE-REY-THING.

Now that this room is a space where we actually like to hang out, our “final stop” is the Goodwill 🙂

Any other tips or tricks I should add (try)? 

Inspiration: Photo Wall

A few weeks ago, we had to go to Macy’s to look for a new vacuum cleaner… which may or may not have been one of the most boring things I’ve ever done in my life (it was). 
I mean, nothing against Macy’s. It’s just that I don’t even like to run the vacuum. My husband even asked me once “you do know the vacuum cleaner isn’t password protected, right?”. 
(I had a traumatic experience involving my mother and some small toys I refused to pick up at a young age, okay?)
While perusing the vacuum aisle and comparing fascinating things like super ability to pick up pet dander and pollen terminator, I got distracted (shocking) and ran across this…
I was so infatuated with this photo display that I had to take a picture, even though I knew that the salespeople were watching me. 
And let me just say that I am one of those people who hates to be caught taking photos.
This little photo collection highlighted some of the most iconic landmarks of Memphis. 
I love the contrast of the light photos against the dark wall. And I love the different sized frames and the straight line down the center. 
Ahhhh. Perfection. 
I love it! I am DYING to do a wall like this when we move.