Designer Erinn Valencich of Omniarte Design understands the value of accentuating a home’s best attributes: She spends about 30% of her time staging homes, or decorating them specifically for resale.
Erinn understands the value of accentuating a home’s best attributes: She spends about 30% of her time staging homes, or decorating them specifically for resale. Armed with furniture, art, rugs and flowers, her company creates what she calls “a picture that makes a connection with the buyer.” Her strategies form a resale philosophy, but she says the rules for effective staging can apply to another important buyer: you. Some tips, whether you’re revving up day-to-day décor or preparing for a party:
Color: “Color is the thing that pulls any room together,” Valencich says. She suggests soft neutral colors for walls. “Break outside the color palette for entertaining,” she says. Scatter bright accents such as dishes, table linens and candles.
Order: “Clutter puts people off,” says Valencich, who clears tabletops when she first goes into a home. People can’t look past an unmade bed or cluttered desk, she says. “It makes them feel uncomfortable.” Avoid oversized furniture and present a clean and simple look.
Over-matching: Beware, Valencich says, the matching conundrum. “Too much of one thing is not a good thing,” she says, adding that everything should flow, however, within a chosen color palette. Valencich never coordinates, say, an upholstered sofa with drapes. “It’s too much,” she says. “I might do drapes and a small pillow to tie it in, but I won’t go buy a whole set of anything.”
Flow: “When you walk into the space, ask yourself: Is it easy to access? Are chairs and couches in the way?” She favors moving things around. “Staging is not about buying all new stuff,” she says. Move the couch, shift the chairs, try things a few different ways. You’ll get a fresh perspective that makes the room feel new.
Coordination: Shop around your own house. Bring a painting out of your bedroom to the dining room for a special event. Don’t be afraid to pair a walnut armoire with a Lucite coffee table. In the office above, Valencich mixes a black oak and frosted glass desk with an upholstered chenille chair and a vintage chair. Mixing and matching pieces makes the room feel natural and organic.
Accessories: Live flowers or plants add a lot to a room. “A large palm tree from Home Depot in the corner of a living room adds great texture and height,” Valencich says. She also likes stalks and grasses, such as the sea grass pictured here in a vase. Like orchids, they last a long time. Valencich frequents places like Marshalls and T.J. Maxx for key pieces to change out: pillows, vases, picture frames, small rugs, greenery and occasional tables.
Mood: In the home office, Valencich mixes textures and materials: A Lucite lamp, candles, bamboo box, orange book and yellow leather organizer make the desk more interesting. Brightly hued pillows in blue and red add color and warmth. “You set a comfortable mood for people, and they will feel like, ‘Wow, this is nice.’ “