Subtle, but Effective..."Re-inventing the Seller's thumbprint!"

While staging an empty property sometimes has it's own challenges...(a "start from scratch" floor-plan and design concept requiring extensive product pulling and "re"pulling when something doesn't work), I think we can all agree how rewarding it is when we've successfully transformed a Seller's existing furnishings into something more visually appealing.  I've also found that Sellers are most amazed by our talents as stagers when we've made their "stuff" look good.  After all, they already 'own' it and most likely purchased it with the intention of adding their personality and thumbprint into their living space.  I think everyone (on some level) has a desire or need to express their uniqueness and personality regardless of their talents, and/or occupation in life.  I often felt like I was a "conduit" to better living on some of these jobs.  Of course, very few things are more rewarding than a Seller who thinks you're a magician, and we all know how that feels.  Although we may think it's obvious what needs to be done, not everyone can see what WE see, and that makes US unique.


Here's an example (of a loft bedroom) where the seller already had the furnishings to work with.  All I had to do was bring in a bedside lamp, a couple throw pillows, a new duvet cover, and some art. 

loft bedroom


In the following Example, everything you see was already in the possession of the seller (except for two throw pillows and the "faux" headboard).  Notice how often seller's don't have the proper pillows?

Bedroom staging


This last example points to general "merchandising".  Nothing on these hall shelves came from the warehouse.  A simple edit and rearrangement was all they needed.



While we may not consider it "amazing", it's such a thrill when the seller DOES!


  David Ames 

  Top Producer

  (415) 271-2071

Comment balloon 33 commentsDavid Ames • August 30 2010 04:57PM


I'm sure your clients were thrilled with the "new and improved" versions of their rooms.  You have done a beautiful job of using what they already owned  to achieve these fantastic results and I love how clean the rooms look, even though you incorporated traditional pieces!

Posted by Leanne Allen (Center Stage, LLC) over 7 years ago

Simple changes, huge difference! Nice job!

Posted by Kristine Ginsberg, NJ Home Stager (Elite Staging and Redesign, LLC) over 7 years ago

They really are small differences....with a HUGH impact!  It's what everyone says....I couldn't have done that.  It's all/mostly their "stuff"....just merchandised in an elegant (one might say "sensational") manner!

Nice touches!!

Posted by Kathy Burke, S.F. East Bay Home Staging (Sensational Home Staging~~Danville, CA) over 7 years ago

Leanne, Kristine, and Kathy...Everyone just needs a little help now and then, right?  ;-)

Posted by David Ames, San Francisco (Zephyr Real Estate, San Francisco) over 7 years ago

Nice work David. It is amazing how the lighting makes the room looks warmer...

Posted by Joshua Zargari, MJ Decorators Workshop (MJ Decorators Workshop LI staging and home decorating) over 7 years ago

Thanks Joshua.  The most effective photos I take always seem to be those without a "flash" (and a steady hand).

Posted by David Ames, San Francisco (Zephyr Real Estate, San Francisco) over 7 years ago

Great work, David.  Subtle but powerful.

Posted by Jane Peters, Connecting you to the L.A. real estate market (Home Jane Realty) over 7 years ago

Actually, another set of eyes are the key here and yours are so talented!! Beautiful work!! I find this type of staging so rewarding and it looks like  you do too!

Posted by Cathy Lee, ASP, IAHSP, RESA Danville, CA (CL Design Services Home Staging) over 7 years ago

David, You've made a huge difference here.  I agree, homeowners often don't have enough bedding or artwork.  Love the way you've rearranged and edited the items on the shelves.  Also, that almost doesn't look like the same bed.  Great job on pulling that rabbit out of that hat!

Posted by Sally Weatherley, Vancouver Home Staging, Home Stager Vancouver, B.C (EXIT STAGE RIGHT) over 7 years ago

Thanks, Jane.  Power is my middle name...oh wait,'s Peter.  Badump bump (I know, "boo").   ;-)

Cathy - I do, I do, even when it's not exactly my personal style. 

Sally - I always have to stuff him back in for the next show.  At first, I thought you might be referring to the first photo (re: shelves) and my reply was leaning towards: "Honey, I rearranged that shelf right out of the room!"...Hey, (btw) I sent you an idea alternative on that headboard inquiry you made earlier.  Let me know if you ever try it out!

Posted by David Ames, San Francisco (Zephyr Real Estate, San Francisco) over 7 years ago

David, as the saying goes "Love is in the details".  I feel that way in a room, the details being accessories.  Lamps and pillows make such a big difference in a bedroom and people often don't have them (or too small).  Love the changes.  I like the faux headboard. Is it a canvas of rice paper?

Posted by Leanne Zumbrunnen (Showhomes of Kansas City) over 7 years ago

Leanne - So True.  And you're close on the headboard!  It's a canvas with a 'fancy' textured wrapping paper I found at one of our local Art suppliers: FLAX (and one of my favorite stores in the world).  I used a liquid fixative for mounting, and then brushed over the top as a final coat to harden and secure.  it works great as Art on dark walls, or (in this case) a quick headboard "look".  Super light weight, easy to hang (only two thin nails and holes to spackle later), and it only cost a few bucks make!

Posted by David Ames, San Francisco (Zephyr Real Estate, San Francisco) over 7 years ago

Another incredible transformation, David. And yes, I love it when the sellers find our work "amazing." It's such a great compliment. I had a seller recently ask me "why she hadn't brought me in years ago, before she put the home on the market." It IS so obvious that you love what you do.  Love the headboard solution, by the way.  I've never heard of the store FLAX so will have to look into whether or not we have one here.

In the interim....

Congratulations. Your home staging is being featured in the group Staging Before and After Pictures.


Posted by Kathy Nielsen, Atlanta Georgia Home Stager ( over 7 years ago

Beautiful pictures David. Isn't it amazing how many people don't have lamps? Especially by the bed. I don't know how they function, lol. And it is always great to look like a hero with your client! Great job.

Posted by Shar Sitter, Home Staging and Redesign Minneapolis/ St. Paul, M (Rooms With Style) over 7 years ago

The transformations are beautiful.  Your changes really lightened all the spaces.  Great job.

Posted by Gina Dougherty, Home Staging Redondo Beach, CA- (Fusion Design Consulting) over 7 years ago

David, love it....all of it, but don't sell yourself short on what you've accomplished here.  When others can't see it and we can, our "easily" is their amazement and it does feel good. 

Posted by Ginger Foust, Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging (Certified Staging Professional) over 7 years ago

David:  Another beautiful post!  You're right - sometimes people just don't realize how  great their spaces can look until we come in to work our magic!  They never have enough good bed pillows, lamps or art.

Posted by Julia Maher, Connecticut Home Stager (Nestings: Connecticut Home Staging and Model Homes) over 7 years ago

Thanks, Kathy.  Love it when the seller says that!!!  Definitely one of the greatest compliments.  I wish Flax's website was more "shopable" (if that's a word).

Shar - You're right...putting the "look" aside, what about the sheer functionality?

Thank you, Gina.  Turning on all the lights didn't hurt either.  ;-)

Julia & Ginger... you're right, not everyone can SEE it.  That's one thing that keeps us in business.  I've had clients ask me "where did you get those gorgeous lamps?"  When I tell them 'Target', they look at me in disbelief.  I SAW it, but THEY didn't after walking down the same isle, I'm sure.

Posted by David Ames, San Francisco (Zephyr Real Estate, San Francisco) over 7 years ago

No one has the right pillows...ever!

Editing is key and vision is everything. That is why we see the lamps in target...we have vision and like you said...that is why we stay employed. What is common sense for us visual people escapes the average eye!!

PS...I hardly ever use flash but my hand is not steady so I always carry a lightweight tripod with me.

Posted by Valerie Sagheddu, ~Home Staging Professional, Poconos, PA (Apostle Art Home Staging & Design) over 7 years ago

The bed looks so puffy and comfortable.  I love to actually work with real mattresses, so much easier!  Love to redesign, and obviously you do too...fantastic job!

Posted by Cindy Bryant, "Houston Home Staging Pros" (Redesign Etc. Home Staging) over 7 years ago

Valerie - I have one of those, too, but often forget to use it!  Thanks for the reminder.

Thanks for the comment, Cindy...I DO find it most rewarding.

Posted by David Ames, San Francisco (Zephyr Real Estate, San Francisco) over 7 years ago

Really nice work proving that sometimes the simplest transformations can have large impact.  The spaces have changed dramatically with just a few minor adjustments.

Posted by David Peterson, Home Stager Portland OR-Synergy Staging-Portland Oregon (Synergy Staging ~ specializing in vacant home staging) over 7 years ago

Thanks David...good thing I pulled those jeans off the closet door!

Posted by David Ames, San Francisco (Zephyr Real Estate, San Francisco) over 7 years ago

Wow!  What a huge difference you made.   Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Wanda Richards, Shows Great Home Staging (Shows Great Home Staging and Web Solutions ) over 7 years ago

Thanks Wanda, and you're welcome.

Posted by David Ames, San Francisco (Zephyr Real Estate, San Francisco) over 7 years ago

David, You have a great eye and obvious staging talent . You know what to edit and what to a poetic, artistic way!

Posted by Marianne Cherico, Home Stager -Massachusetts and Rhode Island (Interiors by Marianne Cherico) over 7 years ago

Well, bless your cotton socks for saying that!  (and, no...I'm not 'southern')  ;-)  Thanks Marianne.

Posted by David Ames, San Francisco (Zephyr Real Estate, San Francisco) over 7 years ago

You did a wonderful job fine tuning this home and making it work with what the client had and by adding just a few of your own pieces.  No wonder your client was so happy.  The transformation of the bookshelves is outstanding!

Posted by Charlene Storozuk, Home Stager - Burlington Ontario (Dezigner Digz) over 7 years ago

Thanks Charlene.  :-)

Posted by David Ames, San Francisco (Zephyr Real Estate, San Francisco) over 7 years ago

Fantastic transformations.  I often find that sellers are shocked at how different their homes can look when their own belongings are re-positioned or paired down.  I also love the headboard creation!  Great work!

Posted by Karen Searle, Home On Display over 7 years ago

I always love the response, "will you come over and do our new place when we move?"

Posted by David Ames, San Francisco (Zephyr Real Estate, San Francisco) over 7 years ago

Isn't it amazing, seeing the BEFORE does not create an interest in the home.  Now, the AFTER is another story!  Beautiful!

Posted by Michelle Drewry, Realtor - Find Arcadia Ca Homes For Sale (Century 21 Masters ) over 7 years ago
Another story indeed! Thanks Michelle.
Posted by David Ames, San Francisco (Zephyr Real Estate, San Francisco) over 7 years ago

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