stage in style: old town living

True confessions from Brittany: I moved into my house the first week of July. I’ve really enjoyed “decorating” this home, pulling together the contemporary floor plan while reflecting my personality but also keeping it neutral. The big pieces should be classic, the smaller, less expensive pieces should be your pops of fun. As a realtor, I can’t help myself, and I’ve always got my eye out for the next home (ie: project/investment). But staging and decorating are two very different things. Here are some staging rules I try to live by too.

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– Do keep your pet paraphernalia out of sight.
When selling your home, don’t make your pet crate, toy bin or any large pet-related object the focal point of your formal rooms. This is also great advice for living–removing clutter, keeping things clean. But unfortunately, I just can’t seem to make this happen for myself! We spend a lot of time on our main level, and we want our sweet Paisley to feel included. So, we’ve jammed her crate into the corner of our living room. End table, anyone?

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– Do only display white towels.
When staging your home, limit your towel selection to whites. Regardless of when your bathroom was last updated, a simple plus white towels makes the room look clean and spa-like. As realtors, we insist all our sellers only have white towels in photographs and when staging. The same idea also applies to shower curtains: stick with white. This is also a good rule of thumb for decorating your home. Nothing looks as luxurious as white, and it will never look dated.

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– Do take advantage of your backyard and patio space.
Living in Old Town, there is such limited outdoor space. We are very lucky to have two small outdoor spaces and we’ve tried to maximize them–for the home’s value and for our own quality of life–by adding an outdoor couch, fire pit and coffee table. When staging, add some fruit or wine. The visual instantly creates a feeling of relaxation and enjoyment.

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– Do make your bed and make it well.
When staging your home, ALWAYS make your bed, and make it well. But I believe this rule should be a life rule too: your master bedroom should serve (or at least in photos appear to serve) as a tranquil retreat. There are many videos on YouTube on how to properly make a bed. Give yourself ten minutes to learn what “hospital corners” are if you don’t already. A few extra minutes of effort–and maybe a few throw pillows–really make a big difference.

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– Do, where possible, use floor to ceiling curtains.
Floor-to-ceiling curtains create the illusion of higher ceilings. It will make a small space feel much larger. For staging, simply push the curtains back to the sides framing the window and allow as much natural light as possible to come in. Also remove all valances from windows. They take away from the windows, especially in photos.

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When it comes to staging, these are just a few of our musts. For your home to sell at maximum value, you want to show it off at its very best. Of course, when it comes to using these tips in your everyday life, you have to figure out what works for you. I get more joy out of having my pet’s toys nearby than if they were behind closed doors. But I do love crawling into a made bed every night.

For more information on the Patterson Real Estate Group, visit their website here.

  • The latest from Britt
Born, raised, and bred in Alexandria, VA, Britt Patterson is a true product of the great state of Virginia. Britt attended Waynewood Elementary (Class of ’96), Carl Sandburg Middle School (Class of ’98) , and West Potomac High School (Class of ’02), she then went on to attend Virginia Tech (go Hokies!) where she majored in Business Marketing and Minored in Real Estate. Britt “officially” joined the family business as a licensed Realtor in 2008 after two years of working the political fundraising field and prides herself on her Alexandria real estate knowledge, alongside her integrity, loyalty, and professionalism as an agent and Vice President for the family business.

The Patterson Group is one of the most experienced and trusted real estate teams in the area, serving Alexandria, VA for over thirty years. We offer professional, hardworking, detailed and friendly service and a large network of contacts and resources accrued over our many years in Alexandria real estate. Comprised of seven Alexandria locals, six of whom are licensed realtors and three of whom are accredited staging professionals, The Patterson Group is passionate and knowledgeable about Alexandria, VA and here for all of your Northern VA real estate needs. Allow us to help you find your home here and discover all that the Alexandria lifestyle has to offer.

400 South Washington Street
Alexandria, VA 22314


1 Comment

  1. Avatar Barbara says:

    Great advice! I always keep my refrigerator doors free of anything; no magnets, photos, invitations, papers. Also, I keep any framed family photos located in private spaces in the house; they are really only of interest to the family and not particularly to guests and definitely not to potential buyers. Clear off all surfaces of (almost) all items, less is better.

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