Remodeling Tips & Ideas

Our team is heading over the river and through the woods (from Salem Oregon to Monmouth) to grandma’s house.  Not “our grandma’s” house, but one owned by a couple who are well in the 80’s.  They want a fresh new look for the home they have recently moved into! As they told us – just because they liked the wallpaper of the 1980’s doesn’t mean they want to live with it forever!

When they planned to downsize, they hired us to stage the home they raised their family in, which involved wallpaper removal, painting and bringing in furniture and decor from our inventory to make the home look contemporary and refreshed.  They had already purchased a smaller home which made the transition very easy.

When they saw the transformation we performed on their home, they could hardly wait to get started updating their new home! This couple, like so many we work with, welcomed a beautiful and updated style for their home, but often concerns regarding product choices, trusting a contractor and mobility issues can make even a small remodel seem daunting.

Thinking home staging companies work primarily on vacant model homes or homes for sale?  A significant portion of our work comes from seniors who are selling their homes.  From wallpaper removal, updating light fixtures, to evaluating what may be moved as they downsize to smaller homes or assisted living; these jobs are always some of our most satisfying work.  The majority of the time, these clients hire us to modify their new living spaces – making it feel more like “home”.

These jobs often take more time, communication and patience than working with builders, investors, real estate agents or younger clients.  However, it is a niche we love and find the most rewarding.  The before and after pictures won’t make it to any interior design magazine or our portfolio, but knowing that these clients have rooms they love and will enjoy is the best reward of all.

Margaret Oscilia is a Professional Home Stager serving Salem Oregon and surrounding areas who specializing in helping home sellers stage to sell or re-design to live well.  Moving or improving? Creative Concepts and Contracting has the expertise to showcase your home’s full potential, stretch your budget, and maximize your time.

Professional Home Staging – Reliable Contractor Repairs – Beautiful Results!

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Call me crazy, but I love to paint.  Huge transformation – low $$$ — right up my alley! Is it just me or is paint getting more and more expensive – yikes!  $45 for a gallon of paint?  Really?

When buying painting is buying the better quality product line important?

Ask any professional painter and you won’t find them using a bottom of the line paint.

Just to do a little “test” this past week we bought some Sherwin Williams Super Paint – Superior Application and One-Coat Hide.

Bathroom Before Painting

If you’re doing a “test”, you may as well push it right?  Our plan was to paint over this bathroom (currently a very white-blue) with a dark dusky purple . . .

Looks good going on - but what about when it dries?

Superior paint - Superior Results! Well worth the $$!

It went on beautifully – no drips or splatters.  But what about when it dries?  Any white specks shining through?

I had to do a little touch up with the brush here and there where I had a few brush strokes, but the one coat coverage was amazing.

This is actually my own bathroom, which I had painted before.  I was really surprised at how little paint I used this time.  The first time I painted it it took over a gallon.  This time – less than one half of a gallon.  Why?  I didn’t have to do two coats and the coverage was so much better!

If you value your time (one coat versus two),

and value your money (buying less paint),

using top quality paint is definitely worth the investment!

(It’s still okay if you want to buy cheap paint, do two coats, spend more time and buy twice as much paint . . . just be sure to get a beautiful color!)

Happy Painting!

About the Author:  Margaret Oscilia, Professional Home Stager and Redesign Specialist of Creative Concepts- Staging and Contracting offers real estate staging tips, interior design ideas and more through her blog.  Creating spaces people love to come home to (while maximizing a budget and stretching your time).

When you find a product that really works and that over half your clients need and also rave about, you get a little excited.  Especially when its affordable and easy to find.  Yesterday I was speaking for Women’s Council of Realtors in Albany Oregon.  I think they thought I was a little crazy about my enthusiasm for Restor-A-Finish — but wait till they try it!

Most homes with wood trim or cabinetry over time get some nicks and bumps that make the trim look less than perfect.  Once wood trim and cabinets get damaged, how can you make it like new without painting it all white?

Restor-A-Finish does exactly what its name says . . . restores the finish AND without stripping, sanding or varathaning.

Yes, I get so enthused that I did a quick demonstration yesterday.

I had a piece of trim that had lots of damage and applied some product to half the board while I was talking.  We passed the trim piece around the room — it was already dry and the finish looked like new.

You couldn’t see all the scuffs and damage. Ahhhh — I just love how easy, quick  and well it works!

It comes in a variety of colors, and could also be used for furniture and other wood surfaces.

Yes, there are similar products available, and I’ve tried several of them.  None of the results compare to what we’ve achieved with Restor-A-Finish.

It can be found at most hardware and home improvement stores and is under $10.

Check out the website for more information and I’d love to hear your experiences as well!

Here’s an example of a one piece of trim that I cut in half and the applied Restor A Finish to half of it.

The lower trim piece looked EXACTLY like the piece above it before adding this product.  Amazing!

Moving or improving? We love helping home owners create spaces people love to come home to and share ideas on how to do so affordably and easily!  Learning how to make your home feel special can be as easy as an affordable staging consultation! 

Creative Concepts and Contracting has the expertise to showcase your home’s full potential, stretch your budget, and maximize your time.  Contact us at 503-881-0886 for more information!

Professional Home Staging – Reliable Contractor Repairs – Beautiful Results!

Weary of hearing that its a “buyer’s market”?  We agree it is a highly-competitive real estate market with a huge inventory of homes competing for buyers.   If you’re looking for a sale does it need to be at a low-ball price or waiting for offers for months?

We’ve had more and more calls from home sellers asking us

“What else can we do to attract buyers to our home . . . we know we can continue slashing the price, but there must be something more we can do?!”

Cleaning, decluttering and staging continue to be the best investments a seller can make their home attractive to buyers.  Home staging is far more than pretty towels and fluffy pillows!

Sellers have tremendous power to significantly improve the value of their homes. We’ve said repeatedly — you can’t change the market, your location or the competition . . . you CAN change the presentation your home makes when it enters the real estate market.  In a market where fewer homes are selling, ensuring that the home is prepared well gives you a significant advantage!

Next Thursday we’ll be speaking for the Mid Valley Chapter of WCR.   We’ll be sharing our top tips and tricks on making homes show ready!

  • What improvements give the best return on investment?
  • Incorporating hot decorating ideas into plain homes to give them pizzazz (affordably too!)
  • Easy and Inexpensive updates homeowners can do (and the products that make them a snap)
  • Staging and Photography Tips
  • Tips on Helping Your Client Understand the “Prepare to Sell” Process (and do more than you ask for!)

Have a few listings that need some inspiration? Come join this fun group — (you don’t have to be a member) and you’ll be leaving with some new ideas to pass along to your home sellers.

Moving or improving? Creative Concepts and Contracting has the expertise to showcase your home’s full potential, stretch your budget, and maximize your time.

Professional Home Staging – Reliable Contractor Repairs – Beautiful Results!

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Dear Creative Concepts:

I’d appreciate some home staging advice.  After watching some additional home improvement shows yesterday, I’m wondering if  I am too bland in my approach to colors for the broader market?  I long ago accepted the concept of going with neutral colors, but many of the television designers seem to consider some pretty bold colors as “neutral colors”.

I would welcome your suggestions before I get too far along.


Too Bland Bill

Dear Bill:

This is a great question!  First there are style and color differences based on geographic areas. Since your home is in Corvallis Oregon and the television shows are produced in larger metropolitan areas like Los Angeles or New York, some styles and ideas are too contemporary for the average Corvallis home.

Secondly, consider the style of the home. If your home was a modern condo or had a contemporary style, some bolder colors would be appropriate for the style of home, and home buyers would welcome bolder colors.  Homes with vaulted ceilings and large rooms can show off bolder colors well.  Even so, I would stay away from colors that are so unique and stylized that they won’t be enjoyed by the general buyer.  I know a home that had a black ceiling that was on the market for a really long time . . .

Third, consider your target buyer. For example, if it is a home in a retirement community, use lighter tones.  With a starter home, modern neutral colors will be a fresh difference  from what we fondly call “builder beige”.

Finally, choose a color and tone that harmonizes with your existing wood, carpet or tile surfaces. People may think that all neutral paints are similar, but each has an undertone — from pink to gray — and choosing the wrong one can get you off on the wrong note!  Take the time to get large paper samples  or buy a sample of paint and paint a large area to make sure the tone is perfect.

Some great neutrals we recommend frequently are from Sherwin Williams. We can have large paint samples mailed to your home.  Here’s some of my personal favs:

SW6106 – Kilm Beige – a nice warm wall color – safe if you are afraid of going to bold, but gives a nice contrast with white trim

SW6108 – Latte – a bolder beige – one of Sherwin Williams top sellers

SW6127 – Ivoire – a nice rich yellowy beige – sunny and warm  (Blonde is just a bit darker in this and I love it as well!)

SW6169 – Sedate Gray – a sagey greenish gray

The right paint color helps coordinate your flooring, trim and architecture and create a beautiful background for your furnishing and decor.  These neutrals provide a wonderful palette  — and would never be considered boring.

We’ve got these paint samples and more coming your way (nice 8×11 samples – not the tiny chips).  Choosing the right color the first time is a time and money saver.  (I still have painful memories of when we had our first house painted . . . pinky beige — hated it even after we sold the house!)

We provide paint color consultations throughout the Salem, Albany and Corvallis areas.  Make sure when you’re choosing paint, it creates a warm, inviting and beautiful environment.  Paint has incredible power – and never needs to be boring!

Moving or improving? Creative Concepts and Contracting has the expertise to showcase your home’s full potential, stretch your budget, and maximize your time.

Yes – this is a real email we’ve received!  If you have a question, please send us an email at or give us a call at 503-881-0886.

Professional Home Staging – Reliable Contractor Repairs – Beautiful Results!

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Wanting to add value to your home? Whether you’re selling or thinking of making updates, it can be a daunting task!  HGTV and home design television shows make it appear that homes can easily be tranfsformed from drab to fab in 30 minutes and on a shoestring budget.

Many home sellers can testify that preparing their homes for sale or making decorating updates can be a little more challenging!  Here’s a project do it yourselfers can do easily and the results are fantastic!

Affordable Tile Backsplash

affordable updating of backsplashes and kitchens

Looking for a way to spice up your bath or kitchen and have a formica back splash?

Here’s a before pic of a recent project.

spice up boring backsplashes affordablyDon’t be distracted by all the stuff . . . check out the backsplash — boring and dated! (If you are updating your formica countertops please . . . don’t use this option!  There are so many other beautiful options to choose for just a few dollars more!)

These glass tiles were at a local home supply store for $3.82 per square foot.

It is sold in one foot squares and has webbing on the back for EASY installation!

using glass tiles for kitchen and bathroom backsplashes

The tile squares can be cut to the height and length desired with scissors.

We install these glass square tiles without using a tile cutter!  If using the subway style I have a trick so email me if you need help.

We were on a budget in this example, so covered the existing area only, but it could have run all the wall up to the upper cabinets too (yum).

A few things to keep in mind:

  1. Carefully remove existing formica with razor and putty knives, limiting damage to drywall.
  2. We run a razor knife along the top of the formica first – breaking the “seal” where the paint can easily be damaged
  3. When existing formica is removed, seal it with waterproofing sealer before adding tile
  4. Do a “dry fit”.  Before using adhesive on the walls plan how the tiles will be laid out.  We do these applications without cutting tiles if we plan properly! (If using square tiles – we have a trick for the subway style too so contact me if you need advice!)

kitchen backsplash after installing glass tile backsplash

Here’s the same kitchen after the new backsplash is installed. (yes we’re changing the handles next . . . that’s another blog altogether)  The new look is so much more contemporary and upgraded!  And for less than $2 a linear foot!

If you’re hesitant to install tile, we can recommend an AMAZING tile installer who has traveled from Corvallis to Portland for our clients.  Installation cost is $5-$7 per foot.

master bath before updating countertop and backsplashHere’s another before and after example on a bathroom.

Materials for this bathroom backsplash was under $20 —


master bath after home staging updatesHere we also had the counter formica professional replaces which cost less than $50.

What an incredible updated look for less than $60!

Need advice or have questions?

We’d love to help!  Email us at or give us a call at 503-881-0886.  Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog and receive our weekly tips!

Moving or improving? Creative Concepts and Contracting has the expertise to showcase your home’s full potential, stretch your budget, and maximize your time.

Professional Home Staging – Reliable Contractor Repairs – Beautiful Results!

View our website See our YouTube Videos Connect with us on facebook! Subscribe to our blog

Looking for a way to give a dated bathroom some pizazz? When preparing your home for sale, one affordable and high impact improvement can be achieved by changing dated light fixtures in bathrooms.

If your bathroom features broadway light bars, or other dated fixture styles, here are some tips to help you make updating bathroom lighting easier!

Evaluate your space. Is there a existing light that isn’t painted behind the fixture?  Is there limited clearance to the ceiling or vanity mirror?

How large of a fixture do you need? Most fixtures come is 1-6 light models.  Measure how large you want the fixture  to look before heading to the store.

Consider metal finishes in the other elements of the room. For a sophisticated look, metal finishes should match.  If your faucets are chrome and the towel bars are oiled bronze, brushed nickel or another metal finish, choose the finish that will coordinate with the updated towel bars.

Sometimes the cheapest light fixture isn’t the best buy. While lights are quite easy to install, some “contractor grade” fixtures are more flimsy and can be harder to install.  If you are preparing your home for sale, be sure the fixture is one that is not too contemporary or dated, but a simple traditional style that will  be appealing to the general public.

Avoid broadway lights!  Installing this style of fixture is not an upgrade.

(That’s all I’m going to say about this style of vanity light!)

So what are some good lighting styles and finishes when updating bathrooms?

Simple, traditional styles work in most homes.

This second example has a larger “footprint” and will cover a space that may not have been painted behind an existing fixture easily.

Avoid fixtures that are too ornate.

Simple lines and contemporary finishes are nearly always a safe choice.

When potential home buyers enter this room, they no longer will be struck with how horrible the lighting is, which previously would have been their first impression.  This bathroom still has a dated counter top, but the improvement made by simply replacing the light fixture (under $50) and changing the decor gave the room an entirely different look and feel.

More questions about bathroom updating or preparing to sell?  We love your emails or comments on our post!!  Helping home sellers make wise updating choices is our passion!

Moving or improving in Oregon? Creative Concepts and Contracting has the expertise to showcase your home’s full potential, stretch your budget, and maximize your time.  What can we do to help you today? Contact Margaret Oscilia at 503-881-0886!

Professional Home Staging – Reliable Contractor Repairs – Beautiful Results!

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