Inside Scoop – Interview with Helena Black Staging & Design

Helena Black has been staging homes for numerous realtors for over 9 years.  She has worked with every imaginable type of property – big, small, cluttered, empty etc. She has kindly agreed to collaborate with and share some quick and easy DIY tips for getting a place ready for sale or rent.  Anyone with a rental property realizes the value in sprucing up a property. It attracts better renters and subtly encourages new tenants to look after your place! Helena works closely with professional photographer Silvija Crnjak who documents all their projects in the most spectacular light.

Photo: Living room by Silvija Crnjak

1) Depersonalize your space

Remove family photos, calendars and any personal papers. Put toiletries away. No one really wants to know that you floss and shave.


2) Clean thoroughly

Ideally hire a professional to give your place a proper overhaul prior to a showing.  Clear all surfaces of clutter and ensure glass, stainless steel and mirrored surfaces are spotless.


Photo: Bathroom by Silvija Crnjak
Photo: Bedroom by Silvija Crnjak

3) Pay some attention to your closets

Make sure the doors are in working order and nothing impedes the opening and closing of the closet doors.  People will invariably open them to gauge storage capacity and it is better if items are hanging nicely and shoes arranged in pairs on closet floor.  Storing bulky sweaters and coats might be necessary.


4) No skis, racquets or snowboards!

All sports equipment should be stored in the garage or storage locker. Nothing worse that opening a door and having equipment falling out.


5) Make it as bright as possible.

Have the windows cleaned for an open house and ensure bulbs are working. If necessary, change them to brighter bulbs if necessary.


6) Add a punch of colour and freshness in the form of fresh fruit or flowers

It indicates attention to detail and suggests a property has been taken care of.


Photo: Living room by Silvija Crnjak

7) Be aware of smells

Make sure all garbage is removed. Be aware of any pet odors. Remove litter boxes.  Let some fresh air in or light candles if necessary. Nothing is more off-putting than walking into a place and smelling last night’s salmon dinner!


8) Remove/hide valuables

Valuable purses, shoes, cash and jewelry should NOT be around when strangers are touring your property. If you are a property manager, make sure you communicate this to existing tenants.


Photo: Kitchen by Silvija Crnjak

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