Being Oceanside

I recently headed to Mexico for some R & R.  Nothing makes me feel healthier and more relaxed than a little time in the sun.  I never really stop working though.  Being on vacation just means I don’t physically stage any homes.  I still talk to clients, plan, shop online for design projects and catch up on my reading.

Right before heading to breakfast one morning, an article caught my eye: Introducing the 2018 Color of the Year – Oceanside SW 6496  (as chosen by Sherwin Williams). 


Given that I happened to be oceanside, made it that much more intriguing to me.  The rest of the day I couldn’t help noticing the influences and various shades of 2018’s color of the year in my surroundings.  Sherwin Williams explains that “Oceanside, bridges together a harmonious balance of blues and greens”.

We saw it on our way to breakfast


At lunch . . .


and of course, where else but in the ocean


Around the resort we saw it in the tiles of a pool


and in a cenote

I love the beautiful, blues and greens of the ocean.  But this isn’t a color I would want to cover my walls.  It’s a little too dark for my taste.  Maybe it’s my staging frame of mind, I still prefer a nice neutral on the walls.  A little bit of oceanside in accents, pillows and art would go a long way for me.

On another note: A few weeks before leaving for Mexico, I staged this patio in a vacant home.

I saw this plant at the resort and thought about the patio.  I decided that I must have been thinking about a vacation a little more than I realized.   😉  Then again . . . I’m always up for being oceanside!







When Hiring A Home Stager, The Details Matter

Your largest commodity is at stake, and it’s worth the investment to stage your vacant home prior to listing.  Finding the right stager to help market your home to sell fast and for top dollar is critical.

When searching for a stager, I recommend looking at their website; particularly the portfolio to see their work and make sure it fits what you’re looking for.  Make sure the stager you’re considering follows these design basics, because the details do matter.

Scale – The size of a room should determine the size of the furniture to be used.  For example; smaller dining rooms require a smaller table.  Other dining rooms, like many in today’s open concept homes are larger and require a larger table.

The size of a rug to be used under the dining table should be proportionate to the table and size of room.  A good rule of thumb to remember is when the chairs are pulled out from the table, the chair legs should still be on the rug.  If they are not, the rug is too small.  Always leave some of the floor showing around the room so the potential buyers can see it.

Using furniture and a rug that are too big will make a room appear crowded.  Too small, and the room will feel overwhelming and “too big”.  Potential buyers may be concerned that they don’t have enough furniture to fill a room or that the home is too big for them.

The style of the dining table and chairs (or other furniture) should be determined by the size and style of the room.  A large open concept dining room would require more formal or substantial seating, not trolix or metal chairs.  These chairs are more appropriate for a kitchen setting.

The home and demographics should determine the style of furniture used – photo by

The size and style of the furniture should be determined by the size and style of the room, not by what’s left in inventory, or personal style.

Another place scale is important is in the artwork and accessories.  Accessories should parallel the scale of the furniture, and the scale of the room.

Staging – A balance of size, colors and textures – photo by

When using accessories on a table, they should be big enough to be seen in a photograph, flow cohesively with the rest of the staging, and create visual interest, without being cluttered.  At the same time, you don’t want a coffee table to look barren.  It’s a balancing act.  A balance of accessories, size, colors and textures.

Art is one of the most important aspects of staging.  It ties everything together, making the colors cohesive from top to bottom and gives balance to the room.  Imagine a room with neutral walls, furniture, décor, and even the appropriate sized rug, but no art.  Without art, the buyer’s eyes are focused on either the furniture, (which they are not purchasing) or the walls, that are empty.  We all know that empty = cold.  That defeats the purpose of staging.

And as I mentioned, the scale of the art is important.  Hanging a small piece on a large focal wall, above a sofa or over a fireplace will look out of place.  For these areas, a larger piece of art is needed to draw the buyer’s eyes up . . . above furniture level.  After all, we want buyers to see the entire room from floor to ceiling.

Art finishes a room by creating consistency, visual interest and balance

Two other areas that should not be overlooked when staging is the kitchen and bathroom.  It is still true bathrooms and kitchens can help sell a home.  No matter how updated and beautiful they are, they should still be staged.  Staging is like icing on the cake.  Imagine 2 identical cakes, both taste the same, one has icing, one does not . . . which one will you go for?

Don’t forget to stage bathrooms and kitchens – photo by

Hire a professional and remember, as with everything else: you get what you pay for.    If you’re in the market for a home stager, I encourage you to visit the RESA website here to find a professional home stager in your area.  RESA stagers are dedicated to advancing professionalism and excellence in real estate staging.  Home staging is not decorating, it’s a science that when done correctly nets more money in a shorter amount of time.  Make sure you’re investing your staging dollars wisely by hiring a RESA Professional.

Vacant Home Staging – An Effective Marketing Tool

I can’t believe we’ve turned the clocks forward already.  It always makes me feel like Spring is right around the corner . . . and then it snows.

It’s been a mild winter, and I am not complaining – I stage even in the snow.  So, if we have less snow and warmer temperatures, I’m okay with that.  All the homes I staged in December and January were ready for de-staging in February.  We’ve spent the last few weeks de-staging from Pataskala to Upper Arlington and everywhere in between. The warehouse is stocked and ready for the Spring Market.

Last week I staged a downtown condo.  It’s the perfect home for a roommate situation, a younger or older professional (single or couple) or someone downsizing.  There are many possibilities with 2 full bathrooms and 2 large bedrooms on 2 floors.  I don’t think this one will last long.  You can see the listing at:

When I went to view the condo, the homeowners were meeting with their Real Estate Agent.  The wife introduced me to the agent and said to him, “do you think we need to stage this before listing”?  Without hesitation he said, “No”.

Staging is still an enigma (according to Google: mysterious, puzzling, and difficult to understand) to homeowners and to many Real Estate Agents.

It is important to remember when selling a home that the first impression will almost always be the online photos.  If a buyer is looking through a number of MLS listings trust me when I say the ones that they will be drawn to are the ones with professional photos of trendy model-like homes.  Staging is as much a part of marketing the home today as the MLS listing.  Here are four of the top reasons why staging a vacant home is critical:

The number one reason a buyer purchases a home is because it “felt home.”  It was warm, inviting and the buyer made an emotional connection with the home.   When have you ever heard of an empty room described as warm and inviting?  Sterile, cold and uninviting are
the three most popular words to describe an empty room.

A good example of this is found in one of the homes I staged in January.  This homeowner was in the middle of updating when I took the before photos.  It gives you an idea of what the home would look like if it were listed vacant.    

Here is the same (Professional) shot after it was staged.  Which one gives you that warm and fuzzy, emotional connection?  

#2 – Without Furniture, There Is No Frame Of Reference
How big is the room?  Without furniture it’s incredibly difficult to tell the scale and size of a room. When the buyer does not have answers to their questions-they walk away.  What is this room for?  Many times a buyer can’t even tell if it’s the living room or dining room in an unfurnished home.  Don’t keep buyers guessing; it only distracts them from considering the home as a purchase.

A different view of the same room.  Before staging; it doesn’t look that big.  Looking at the size of the wall with the windows, would you say your sofa would be a tight fit in that space?

After staging

Of course the professional photography makes a huge difference too.  It’s actually a large space.  It was staged it with a large sofa/chaise arranged it so that buyers were able to walk around the “chofa” with plenty of open space remaining.  Now buyers can “imagine” their own furniture in the space.

#3 – When A Room Is Empty, Buyers Focus On Negative Details
Can you imagine a brand new Mercedes without a paint job?  Do you think people would notice the beautiful car or the missing paint?  It’s so much easier to notice that crack in the wall, or the chip in the tile or anything, for that matter that might need updated or repaired when there is nothing else to look at.  Home Staging capitalizes on the positive aspects of a home, while de-emphasizing negative aspects in order to position a home that will make an emotional connection with buyers.  Staging shows buyer’s “what could be”; and that’s important
because . . .

#4 – Only 10% of Home Buyers Can Actually Visualize the Potential of Your Home
Nine out of every ten people walking in your home have no imagination of the wonderful possibilities your home has to offer them.  They can’t picture it.  Have you ever watched HGTV and seen Drew and Jonathan showing buyers homes and the wife says, “No, this isn’t the one, I don’t like the paint color”?  I’m the one screaming at the T.V: “DON’T GO!  YOU CAN CHANGE THE COLOR”!!  Not only can they not imagine a different color, but they can’t imagine what it would look like with furniture.  Don’t let a simple thing like no furniture or limited furniture ruin your sale.  Don’t take those odds; they will hurt you in the price significantly!  

Here’s a before and after of the living room in the same house

This house is a mainstream, average size, family home located in a Columbus neighborhood.  Staging helped this home sell fast and for more money.  

In just 3 days, the homeowner received 17 offers and this home sold for $15,000 over list price!!  

If you’re thinking of selling your home, or if you’re a Real Estate Agent who would like to learn more about how staging can help your clients, call me today.  Spring is right around the corner . . . really!

The Silent Home Stager

The days have been flying by and I’ve not been keeping up on social media – it’s been a busy beginning of the year to be sure.  Besides the usual stagings and de-stagings, I’m making time to attend the Greater Area Worthington Realtors Association meetings again.  It’s good to hear what’s happening in the world of Real Estate from Agents themselves.  

I’ve also been preparing for my upcoming class I’ll be teaching at the Dublin Community Recreation Center, Home Staging for Homeowners.  The class is taking place this Saturday, Feb. 18th.  There are still openings if your interested but if you’re unable to make it this week, I’ll be teaching 2 classes a month through the summer.  Next to staging, talking about staging is one of my favorite things to do.  Educating homeowners and Realtors, helping dispel myths about staging is something I enjoy.  There are so many benefits to staging and just as many misconceptions.

In the last 2 weeks I’ve also working on an exciting project.  I’ll be staging 2 apartment models for a complex on the Northwest end of town.  A complex that has been around since my apartment days (that’s a long time ago); but it’s been completely remodeled.  Like many homeowners, they bought new furniture and some accessories but it was far from what they thought it would look like.  

Having the correct scale of furniture is especially important in a smaller space.  Not enough or too small (as in the kitchen) can make a space look empty.  While too much or too big (as in the living room with the sofa and lamp) can make a space look too small or crowded . . . and having both in the same open space looks awkward.

Apartments can be more challenging because of the small space.  You definitely have to know the measurements and plan accordingly.  And anyone who knows me . . . knows I love when a plan comes together and this one is coming together beautifully!  I’ve purchased all the furniture and art and will be finishing with the accessories and bedding today.  

Because of it’s location to a certain campus, I’ve been asked to use red as a pop of color, (the paint is gray).  Red is not my normal M.O., but I’m up for the challenge.  Here’s a small snap shot of part the design board I put together for the living area.  Watch for more about this project in an upcoming blog.         

I’m still working to help form a local Real Estate Staging Association chapter here in Columbus.  We started working on this a year ago and unfortunately it didn’t take place for various reasons.  But we have not given up and hopefully are very close to seeing this finally come to fruition.  I hope to be able to tell you more about this in the near future.  

For now, it’s back to shopping and lots of de-stagings of homes that were staged and listed in December and January.  They have sold and are on the way to the closing table. 

Element One Home Staging of Dublin

Awarded Best Of Houzz 2017

 Over 40 Million Monthly Unique Users Nominated Best Home Building, Remodeling and Design Professionals in North America and Around the World

 Dublin, Franklin, January 17, 2017Element One Home Staging of Dublin, Ohio has won “Best Of Customer Service” on Houzz®, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The Dublin, Ohio home staging company was chosen by the more than 40 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than one million active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 40 million monthly users on Houzz. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2016. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognized with the Photography award. A “Best Of Houzz 2017” badge will appear on winners’ profiles, as a sign of their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

“I’m grateful to be awarded Best of Houzz for the fourth year in a row.  Exceeding our client’s expectations is a top priority,” said Lori Murphy, owner of Element One Home Staging.

“We’re so pleased to award Best of Houzz 2017 to this incredible group of talented and customer-focused professionals, including Element One Home Staging,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “Each of these businesses was singled out for recognition by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts for helping to turn their home improvement dreams into reality.”

Follow Element One Home Staging on Houzz

About Element One Home Staging
Element One works with real estate agents, homeowners and investors to prepare homes for sale.  By showcasing the best features of the home and making it appeal to the broadest range of potential buyers, they offer homeowners a competitive edge making the process of selling a home faster and more profitable.  For more information about Element One contact:

Lori Murphy

(740) 972-4714


About Houzz
Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow and Tokyo. Houzz and the Houzz logo are registered trademarks of Houzz Inc. worldwide. For more information, visit



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