I wish I could say that every home was perfectly planned from the accent pillows down to the placement of a plant, but the truth is even the most thoughtful staging plans get wrenches thrown in them on occasion. Rooms can be a little darker and walls a little shorter than remembered. A perfect plan can turn into a nightmare scenario if you don’t plan for the unexpected. At UPstaging, we’ve learned through trial and error that certain items should remain on the truck at all times because you never know when you’ll need them. They’re items that we think just about every home needs, whether it’s being staged or not. Consider keeping an eye out for the following items we can’t live without the next time you’re out shopping.
By greenery we are referring to fake plants, and don’t worry, these aren’t the fake plants from your grandmother’s house. High-quality imitation plants look as good as the real thing and are a must for any staged home. They add a pop of colour to a space and can act as a focal point or space filler for those tricky, hard to fill areas. Plants warm-up space and make it feel lived in, which is exactly what you want when staging a home. The goal is to make it looked ‘lived in with style’ and not simply staged. Plants pop in photos by adding dimension and contrast to a shot. They come in varying heights, which is great for achieving a layered look in a room, and unlike there living counterparts, don’t need to placed in well-lit areas. In addition to larger floor plants, we always bring extra table accent greenery pieces as well. You never know when a bookshelf, counter, or end table could use a pop of colour.
If there’s one thing that always gets loaded onto the truck first, it’s a spare floor lamp. The importance of lighting in a home cannot be overstated, especially when it’s a home that is up for sale. Floor lamps can easily be placed in rooms that require more light without the need for additional furniture to rest on. They can turn a dark corner into a reading nook when placed behind a chair and give you more options to decorate your desk or end tables by freeing up space table lamps would otherwise occupy. We like to use tripod base lamps in areas where we’re looking to fill up some space and pedestal base lamps where we have a minimal footprint to work with. Even if the room you’re working on has adequate overhead lighting it will likely show better with some ambient light. A combination of overhead and ambient lighting is especially important when showing homes in the evening, so always consider adding lamps to your space to give you flexible lighting options.
Like all of the other items on this list, an entire blog (or blog series) could be dedicated to mirrors alone, they’re that important. From a stager’s perspective, mirrors provide way more flexibility than art because you don’t need to worry about subject matter or colour. They make spaces look bigger and brighter and work just about anywhere. They look great hung behind lamps, especially when placed on either side of a bed a few inches above end tables, and are a quick fix for an art piece that doesn’t look as good as planned. It’s always good to have at least one free-standing mirror, one large rectangular mirror, and one oval or circular mirror on the truck at all times, even when they aren’t part of the master plan. Remember that the next time you’re out shopping and see one you just can’t live without. Your home’s decor will never suffer from having another mirror.
‘If I had a nickel’ is one of the less colourful sayings we use to react to the annoyance of forgetting something we ought to have known to bring to a property. I always bring at least one extra occasional chair to a property on top of what I think I will need. The de-cluttering process inevitably means there will be areas to fill that can easily be overlooked. From a corner in an office to a bare spot in a master bedroom, an accent chair is a perfect solution to help round out any space. A stylish, mid-sized armchair is always something to keep an eye out for when shopping, as you never know when you may need one. For utmost versatility, look for one that is neutral in colour, medium to low-backed, and has a small overall footprint.
Small rugs used to cover a limited area always come in handy and thus should always be kept on hand. From entryways to kitchens, and every room in between, scatter rugs (also known as throw rugs) can instantly warm up a space and help to break up large areas of flooring by adding interest and definition. They’re often the last remaining item in a space when you’re trying to figure out just what is missing. Placed beside or at the foot of a bed, in front of a sink, or at a stair landing, we love the bohemian, relaxed look they bring to a space. Like art on the walls, patterned rugs on a floor add interest and that’s often all that is needed to take a space to the next level. Finding one that speaks to you isn’t always easy, so like all of the other items on the list, snap them up when you find one you love because you’ll always be able to find a use for it.
Our “can’t live without” list is essentially an, “always buy list”. They’re versatile, timeless pieces for your home décor that will always come in handy when you’re trying to freshen up a space. Learn from our mistakes and keep an eye out for these items the next time you’re on the go.
Kiel has been a member of the BREL team for three years and a designer for UPstaging since its founding in 2019. As a McMaster alumnus in Communication and Design at George Brown, he soon made his life-long dream of spending other people’s money…err.. we mean decorating… into reality with the BREL team! When he’s not staging homes, he can be found searching the Junction for vintage furniture and unique accessories.