Differences Between Decorating and Home Staging

Decorating your home and staging your house are often thought of as being very similar when in reality they are HUGELY different.

When decorating, your personal design style tends to come out in the furniture, fabrics, colors and accessories that you place throughout your home. 

If you are staging your home to sell, you don’t want to “decorate”  to your liking – you want the buyers to be able to see themselves and their items in the space.


Below are some examples of the differences between home staging and decorating:



 Black and white photos are a great idea for decorating your home.  However even though these kids are cute, they won’t help sell your home. 

Personal touches are not appealing to a potential buyer so they should be minimized.



Themed rooms for children are creative and exciting when decorating your own home.  When staging to sell your home,  it is about the potential buyer,

not yourself or your family.  Try and keep furnishings and window coverings simple and universal.



Staging is all about showcasing the space's assets.  This kitchen staged by Michelle Lynne INTERIORS Group is a great example of how this can be done in a neutral, yet attractive manner.

 Staging is all about showcasing the space’s assets.  This kitchen staged by Michelle Lynne INTERIORS Group is a great example of how this can be done in a neutral, yet attractive manner.

 dos for selling 2

Less is more in most cases, but DEFINITELY  true when trying to sell your home. 

This kitchen staged by Michelle Lynne Interiors Group is an example of how all the clutter (including countertop appliances) is taken away and the space looks clean lined and “not lived in”.



I hope briefly going over  the major differences between home staging and decorating are helpful in your next venture!   However, there are so many more that I didn’t even get to mention, so please give us a call for your next project as soon as possible so you don’t make any mistake between home staging and decorating!

Click HERE to contact us today!


Organizing Countertop Makeup

 I was working on the master suite of one of my redesign clients a couple of months back and noticed that the convenience of her makeup on the bathroom countertop was creating some visual clutter in the space so I decided to organize it so that it was still functional while also being aesthetically pleasing.  This is a combo that makes my OCD and my pragmatic nature very very happy. 

Below you’ll see what I saw.  It’s your typical acrylic makeup holder that you can buy at any corner drugstore.  Yes, it’s FUNCTIONAL but it hurts my head to look at it, especially as we’re rocking the design in her master suite to read with a five star hotel vibe.  This isn’t cutting it.

Makeup Organization BEFORE



An easy solution for your makeup brushes and other cylindrical beauty items?  A short vase filled with coffee beans.  Notice we’ve got the brushes, eyeliner, mascara, lipliner AND her foundation submerged into the coffee beans…which gives off a lovely aroma whenever they are mixed about.  And the tweezers are perched on the outside lip of the vase so they don’t drown in the beans.  I purchased a lovely mirrored box and put the rest of the items in there, and while it’s difficult to see the interior, there is PLENTY of space for her items.  Yes, they are neatly arranged for the moment, but they would all still be very accessible when rushed and things get tossed and scattered.  I shot these pics with my iPhone and can’t find the photo with the box closed and the countertop nice and tidy, but we’re coming to the close of the project and will have some professional shots to display soon.  Stay tuned….




I enlist a similar organizational tactic at my house…granted I have a LOT of makeup (especially lip sticks & lip glosses!) so I have to keep my “daily favorites” in the countertop access.  My not-every-day items are stored in the drawers and cabinets below and out of sight until it’s time to go glam.  What do you think?  Need help organizing your daily task items so you’re not stressed out by the visual clutter?  We can help!

Storage with Style

 Storage with Style

Just after the new year comes time for spring cleaning. What are you doing to prepare for organizing your home? It is very possible to have storage with style. Once you decide on a color palette then you can play with design. Here are a few tips for various rooms in your home:

Kitchen – Maximize shelves, cabinets and your pantry by grouping like items and removing items you don’t use or like very much. Find a place for everything, and grouping helps you do this and reduces the look of clutter.

Office/Family Room – Add boxes to bookshelves, which allows you to group like items and hide items, but in a very cute way. Show your style and personality in the colors and patterns of the boxes while creating practical storage solutions.

Bedroom – Utilize the space underneath your bed. Flat, rectangular plastic bins are perfect for under-the-bed storage.

To get storage with style, remember to group like items to give a stylish, cohesive look to your collections, and to add shelving where possible to increase storage space.

Check Your Paint Finish

I often suggest to my clients that they touch up some paint knicks, smudges & stains – whether staging to SELL or staging to DWELL – because it helps the house look cleaner and better overall.  One thing I always remind them is to confirm they are using the right finish when making those touch ups.  Why?  Well – here are some examples:

Paint Finish

This spot looks worse than the original smudge.


Satin paint on matte wall

Aaack! It just DRAWS the eye in.

Flat or Satin?

It looks like a racing stripe!

The irony?  This is MY house!  I asked the hubs to touch up some areas that had gotten dirty or dinged and forgot to remind him to check the finish!  He used our sample paint instead of the actual paint.  

Sample Paint SATIN

Sample Paint

Actual Paint FLAT


Well, I guess he can’t call me “bossy”…right???



How (NOT) To Paint A Desk

This is the story of good intentions.  Good intentions of simply turning a black writing desk into a lovely white writing desk for a daughter’s bedroom.  This was for a project that was coming down to the wire and we had found no other white writing desks within budget…so since the family is leasing our inventory already, we thought we could just convert some existing inventory to fit our needs.  Sound easy enough, doesn’t it?  Behold, the “Before” photo:

camilla-desk-blackDon’t mind the red – it’s just some other paint on the drop cloth in my garage.  

So I took the advice of the man at Lowe’s and I got some fine sandpaper and roughed up the texture of this desk, used spray primer as directed and finally, a white “furniture” spray paint in semi-gloss.  The can specifically said it was for all types of furniture so I thought I was golden.  


I got the desk on site, and realized it looked much better in the dim light of my garage.  The spray was uneven (that isn’t a shadow on the back, left leg), and the next day it CHIPPED to show the black desk hiding under the white paint.  I was more mortified than Ted Danson was at Whoopi Goldberg’s roast.  

Thankfully, Maria rescued the day (stay tuned for her amazing transformation of a cornice board) and took the desk home the night before the clients were scheduled to arrive and created this beautiful wonder in green:


Isn’t that just the happiest little writing desk for a 13 year old girl?  Maria painted the desk with a ROLLER (and not a spray can) and then finished it with polyurethane.  Just like a pro.  WHEW.

Note to self:  let Maria do these projects instead of trying to do them myself.  Obviously.


How about you?  Do you have any good, bad or ugly furniture painting stories?  



The Color Wheel

I have been reviewing color psychology color by color and today I am going to interject some basic color theory, specifically in respect to the color wheel.  

Why?  Well, have you ever stood in your closet and wondered what color combos you could wear that day?  Or what accessories you could introduce into a room in your house that would work well with your existing and favorite items?  Enter the color wheel:

The color wheel is a visual representation of colors that are arranged in a manner that complement each other.  The primary colors of red, blue and yellow are at the 3 “points” of a triangle and their secondary colors (what you get when mixing the primary colors) are what are in between them:  green, orange and purple.  Can you see that above?

Taking it one step further, you get what are called “tertiary” colors when you blend the secondary colors with the primary colors:  yellow-orange, blue-green, etc…remember those crayons with two names?  Yeah, those are tertiary colors.

So in the most simple example, when you are looking for complementary colors to decorate with, you could choose colors that are directly opposite from each other on the color wheel.  Right now shades of blue and shades of orange are hot.  


Room Images via Chic Provence. Posted by Studio Six Eleven


 And analogous colors, according to Wiki, are colors that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel.  These work well together in decor as well:



So when you are wondering what color scheme will work in any of your rooms, or your attire for the day, you can always pull up a color wheel on line and check out your options.  Of course, this post covered only the very basic details, and there are MANY other combinations you can define via the color wheel. So if you want more, check out and click through the WIKI page on the Color Wheel HERE.







Color Psychology: Orange

It’s officially Autumn and soon the color of the leaves on the trees will be changing, pumpkins will be carved for Halloween and pies will be made from the same colorful gourd.  The weather will soon be cool enough that we will also be building cozy fires so does it surprise you, that the color orange fights depression and also cultivates good humor?  Don’t these things I just mentioned make you just a little happier after this brutal summer we have endured (at least here in Dallas it was HOT HOT HOT).  

As you know from your days playing with Crayolas, orange is a combination of red and yellow.  It is a bold color that also expresses excitement & enthusiasm, therefore you should generally use it as an accent instead of a primary color in your decor.  Here are a few shots from my own living room (taken this morning with only a single cup of coffee, so don’t get your expectations of photographic and artistic grandeur too high).

ORANGE Ottomans

Orange Ottoman Accent




Tray Full O'Goodies - Including Orange Ceramic Accessory Thingie (yes, that IS the technical term)



Orange Pillows (Max's favorite nap spot - he woke up to pose for the photo)


Do you see how orange draws your attention?  That is probably why construction workers, crossing guards and and prisoners are dressed in orange garb…so nobody misses them!  Orange is directly across the color wheel from blue which means if you are wondering how to use the color, you are safe pairing it with almost any shade of blue.

How does orange make YOU feel?   How have you used it in your decor?  



Colored + Accessories = Colorcessories (And yes, I just made that up.)

We have been discussing color psychology by mostly addressing the paint on the walls HERE and HERE, and will continue to explore other colors but in the meantime, what about those people (ahem, my husband) who don’t really care for much color on the walls and yet still want some character in the room?  Let me now introduce “colorcessories” to you….  Because when used correctly, the neutral walls can make a subtle statement when you bring in texture, layers & lighting.  You can add color to a room via pillows, art, rugs, throws, plants & flowers, and just general decorative items.  Here is a before & after example of a very neutral room we recently staged to sell in Dallas:


Neutral Room - BEFORE

In this instance, the floors, walls & drapery were all a shade of white and had very little differentiation.    


Neutral Room - AFTER


We added technically neutral (beige & brown) furniture but inserted interesting colors via the rug, pillows, wall art, silk tree & floral, and the items of decor on the coffee table.  Not so neutral anymore, is it?

The key is to keep the accessory color pallet limited to 2 – 3 colors, in this case we used turquoise, orange and a few hints of gold.  Of course the green on the tree & the floral is an accessorizing color, but it works in “under the radar” and can be an additional color in almost any pallet you choose.  

What are the colors you have accessorized with recently?  


Color Psychology: White

White is the absence of color but it is not the absence of personality or interest.  White has many variations as seen in the 184 options of interior white paint that Sherwin Williams offers.  Yes, I did say 184 different colors of white.

White traditionally signifies purity & cleanliness – think of fresh snow or a doctor’s crisp coat.  

We have all seen how white trim showcases and enhances the color of the walls but many of us don’t consider using white as the dramatic background to cocoon us into our living spaces.  White has a broad spectrum of emotions it can evoke, depending upon what it is paired with via furniture, architecture & accessories.  And as long as it’s well maintained and not aged and the house isn’t smoked in (ew), it always says “I’m crisp”.  Here is an example of a cozy beach house with white walls:


White can be a very soothing & relaxing color (as shown above), or it can create a very  sterile environment as shown here:


Thank you to Architectural Digest for always having the best photos.  Please click on either image to read more about the space.

If you are staging to SELL, white can be a very welcoming neutral – allowing the sunlight to play off of the walls in darker spaces because “sunlight sells”. It will also help create the feeling of cleanliness in the space which will in turn translate to confidence (“if they keep the house this clean, the HVAC system must also be clean and well maintained!”) and comfort (“gee, this space is cozy without feeling cramped”) which can also translate into an offer.  Oh, and it also won’t turn off a buyer who doesn’ t have the time or interest to paint over bold colors as we discussed HERE.

If you are staging to DWELL, white can be a great background for displaying your art collection, lightening a home that does not get a lot of natural light, and also provide you with easy touch ups.  Not to mention you can change your furniture and accessories regularly and not worry about something not matching within the space….

Ultimately, don’t be afraid to experiment with white, and like with all color considerations you should paint a handful of swatches around the house to see how it works in the different lights during different times of the day.  Believe me, if you watch HGTV and think that you can pick one color and it automatically looks good on the wall, remember they don’t show the outtakes.  

Oh, and don’t feel like you’re not allowed to “wear white” on your walls after Labor Day…it’s good all year ’round!

Color Psychology: Red

Both staging to SELL and staging to DWELL are impacted by color.  Each room of the house has a “feeling” associated with it as soon as you walk in, right?  In the instance you are wanting to sell your house, you want buyers to connect emotionally with the house – and in the instance of dwelling, you want to feel good coming home to and living throughout your house.  Over the next couple of weeks, we will explore some of the most popular paint colors and their corresponding emotions.  Let’s start with RED.


Red was a phenomenally popular color for dining rooms in the 1990′s and early 2000′s.  TIP:  if you still have a red dining room, it’s probably out of date so if you can’t bear to change the wall colors, make sure your furniture, art & accessories are well within this decade.





What do these two photos do to you?  Imagine if you were to walk into these room.  It would get your heart pumping, which in theory should stimulate digestion hence the popularity of red dining rooms.  You wouldn’t want this bold color in your bedroom though because it stimulates your appetite, increases blood pressure and overall does not promote restfulness.  However, red is a great accent color to use with relatively neutral colored spaces like this townhouse we staged this summer:



 So if you love red, use it sparingly in the rooms where you want to feel peaceful and use it boldly in the rooms where you want to feel powerful and motivated.

What is YOUR favorite color to decorate with?  Is it red????