Master bedroom before staging consultationI loved the brain teasers “What’s missing?” as a kid.  There would be two pictures of the same scene, only tiny modifications would have been made to the second photo.  Some so small that they were really hard to see.

Maybe that’s what started my home staging training . . . seeing what little things should be changed to make things rooms look more appealing.

See anything different between these two pictures?   Compare and think about:

  • How each picture makes you feel about the room?
  • Your first impression of the occupants or when the home was built?
  • Which one do you want to spend more time in?

Master bedroom after home staging consultation

We’re here to help you create a home that

makes you smile when you walk in the door
a house that is appealing to buyers!!

Margaret Oscilia is partner and a Professional Home Stager with Creative Concepts – Home Staging and Contracting which offers home staging and interior design services throughout the Salem, Albany and Corvallis areas. Creating beautiful spaces to come home to, and winning strategies for home sellers is their specialty! 503-881-0886

Another blog you may enjoy:

Faux Paint When Selling?  It’s Got to Go!

How can I get my home sold in 2010?Wondering how to get your home noticed with so many homes on the market? I thought this well written article by Phoebe Chongchua was well worth sharing with our readers!

Selling your home  can be like a single person trying to get the attention of a prospective date–got to clean up, pour on the charm, and emphasize all those great assets.

When it comes to getting a home noticed, especially in these market conditions, you’ll want to pay close attention to get the deal done before the end of the year.

1. Change with the seasons. When you go to stores, one thing you notice is the decor changes to match the time of year. That’s by no mistake. The goal is to create a mood, make consumers want to buy more. Psychological and emotional advertising influence buyers all the time. If you put your home on the market in the fall and still have spring decorations around the house, it’ll affect buyers. They won’t feel quite comfortable. It might not be obvious to them but somehow they’re likely to feel that things are “out of place” in this home even if the decor isn’t overwhelming. Having out-of-season decor just leaves buyers feeling like the house isn’t being well cared for.

2. Make it cozy. One of the easiest ways to make your home cozy is by drawing attention to the fireplace. As the weather turns colder, flaunting your fireplace as a focal point is often a great selling point. You can turn your fireplace into a prominent focal point by placing mirrors, artwork, and vases on the mantel. A popular trend is to place candles near the fireplace. However, rather than using real candles, you might try flameless candles that put out a soft, realistic glow.

3. Crank up the thermostat. A lot of times during open houses, the home is quite cozy because the homeowners turned up the thermostat in preparation for the prospective buyers. But when it comes to routine individual showings, especially when the house has been sitting vacant, buyers can receive a chilly non-welcome which does little to make them feel at home. Setting the thermostat to keep the home at a comfortable temperature may cost a bit more but in the end your home will be more appealing. If the home’s temperature is either too cold or hot, buyers won’t stick around to explore it.

4. Shine the natural light. Hold your open house during the high daylight hours. Lighting is a big attraction and often helps sell your home better. Have your agent schedule individual showings during the time of day when you know the natural lighting will light up your home. Serious buyers will often come by at different times of the day to see the home in different lighting but put your best foot forward and show your home when you know the natural lighting will favor your home.

5. Play soft ambient music. Soft, non-distracting background music can help ease tension. Often the homebuying experience is stressful. Buyers are pressed for time and cash. They are in a hurry. Selling a home is a psychological experience that goes beyond just finding a place to live. The emotional feeling buyers get when visiting your home will result in the action they take–coming back to see it again, making an offer, or crossing it off their list. Playing peaceful music that doesn’t overwhelm them can enhance their mood and make them feel like relaxing for a bit in a comfortable chair in your living room … allowing them to soak up the positive experience.

Remember the key rule when selling a home, make your home seem like theirs.

Originally Posted – Realty Times – Five Tips to Increase Your Home’s Appeal. Published: October 22, 2010  Use of this article without permission is a violation of federal copyright laws.

Related Posts:

Margaret Oscilia is partner and a Professional Home Stager with Creative Concepts – Staging and Contracting which offers home staging and interior design services throughout the Salem, Albany and Corvallis areas. Creating beautiful spaces to come home to, and winning strategies for home sellers is their specialty!

Need more than five tips to get your home sold? Staging consultations are an affordable way to obtain personalized and prioritized ideas for getting your home on the fast track to sold! 503-881-0886 or email us at

Need more than five tips to get your home sold?  Staging consultations are an affordable way to obtain personalized and prioritized ideas for getting your home on the fast track to sold!  503-881-0886 or email us at

The following blog was originally posted by a local real estate agent Catherine Ulrey of Keller Williams.  This Salem Oregon home is incredible – beautiful land and views too, but wasn’t attracting an offer.  We were hired to advise on what could be done to improve showings and the marketability of this property.

This home had beautiful trim work and fabulous view.  In the first photo – what’s the first thing you see?  The valances – not the view! The new look is a lot sleeker and more contemporary.

The kitchen had a custom paint job with ivy above the cupboards and the walls were white.  By painting the room a warm beige the cabinets look incredible, don’t they!

Small changes – big improvements!  We love home sellers that are willing to try our suggestions!

Via Catherine Ulrey -Equestrian Real Estate Specialist (Keller Williams Realty):

Staging in Salem Oregon does make a difference, check out the pictures!

I am so excited to share these before and after pictures with you of a listing of mine!  Margaret Oscilia recently consulted with my seller, since we have had several showings and no offers.  While all of the suggested changes are not complete, the paint in the kitchen and dining room are, along with removing the valances.  Margaret also suggested rearranging the furniture in the living room for a more open feel, since it is a large room.

So happy with the results!

Dining room before staging dinette before Dining room after staging in south Salem Oregon Home dinette after

Kitchen before staging in South Salem Oregon Homekitchen before Kitchen in South Salem Oregon Home after stagingkitchen after

Catherine Ulrey, Broker, CRS – Equestrian Real Estate Specialist – Keller Williams Realty Portland Premiere – 503-999-4497

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

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!

I’m thinking about painting my home office a trendy purple. Do you have any advice of a paint color?

Thanks for asking this GREAT questions!  I have to confess . . . I have a eggplant colored wall in my living room, a lighter purple bathroom and   –L-O-V-E–  so many shades of purple!

When choosing paint colors for your home it’s so important to get some large samples and put them up onto your walls.  Following are some scenes I’ve created with different colors of purple:

I’ve got my favorite picked out — how about you?

These are Sherwin-William colors and the color numbers are on the lower left of the photo.

The right paint color has incredible power – it has the ability to make your room “sing”! We love  helping home owners choose options that create an environment they love!

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 question 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!

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

Dear Home Staging Expert:

My home is beautifully decorated and I receive many compliments on my style and taste in furnishing and decor.   I’m preparing to sell in the near future and my real estate agent advised I hire a “home staging expert” to give me some advice.  I can’t imagine what benefit I would receive from this service.  (I actually find it a bit insulting.)  Please advise.


Divine Design Diane

Dear Diane:

Thanks for taking the time to ask this important question before dismissing your agent’s recommendation.  First and most importantly please keep this in mind:  We decorate our homes to create a beautiful environment for us to enjoy.  When selling, we create a neutral palette for someone else to paint their story upon.

How we decorate our homes to live in and how we decorate to sell our homes are two different things.  This should not be considered an insult on your design style.    Staging for sale is merely a different design concept. You home’s decor may need to be modified to appeal to the general public and so the photos look spacious and inviting.   Have you ever been to a model home?  They has limited furniture and decor so buyers can move around easily and enjoy the home, but not be distracted by the decor.

You mentioned that your home is beautifully decorated with your style, this may be different than what is appealing to some potential buyers.  Can you afford not to appeal to every person who views your home?  Now is the time to remove some of the personalization and make it easy for someone else to see them living there, placing their own style in this home.

Usually a beautifully decorated home is easy to prepare to appeal to the broadest number of home buyers possible.  For example:

  • Remove smaller furniture pieces and decor, to make the room appear more spacious and improve traffic flow
  • Remove decor that draws attention to itself, rather than the architecture or purpose of the room
  • Remove custom draperies that have a style not consistent with current home buyer’s desires or that block light from entering the room
  • Keep a neutral palette throughout the home with accents of color.

For example, in the above photo, what do you remember most – the beautiful window or the window coverings?  If someone likes a sleek style, will they be able to feel comfortable in this room which contains lots of furniture and patterns?  This is a beautiful room, and a few changes could make it appealing to more buyers.

This room also is well decorated in neutral tones.  Removal of a few furniture pieces and decor would improve traffic flow and make it appear spacious in photos and in person which is important to home buyers.

While hiring a home staging expert for a consultation may seem unnecessary for beautiful homes, their fresh perspective and knowledge of what home buyers perceive and are looking for can be a valuable tool to be used when preparing your home for sale.


Margaret Oscilia

Home Stager and Redesign Specialist

Creative Concepts and Contracting


My family has spent many a Father’s Day weekend visiting the Tour of Homes sponsored by the Home Builders Association of Marion & Polk Counties.  Despite the fact that we are in dozens of homes every week, we never seem to tire of looking at new homes.

We visit the ones in our favorite parts of town and are especially attracted to the high end homes featuring state of the art sound systems, cabinetry, stonework and more.  What new features do these homes have that I can’t live without?  The kids love the grand ones — thinking we need to have a special theater room too or at least  a hot tub near the television on the deck!

At first glance, the 2010 Tour of Homes may appear a bit different than prior years. Eight of the 30 homes on tour are UNDER $200,000.  Nine more are priced between $200,000 and $300,000.  Only three tour homes are priced over $699,000.  Probably most of these tour homes aren’t as awe inspiring, the lines won’t be so long and I won’t get any fabulous ideas was my first thought.  Perhaps this year’s tour would be one we will pass on attending?

As I read further into the descriptions on these modestly priced homes, I see features listing slab granite counter tops, custom cherry cabinets and stainless steel appliances.  Stamped concrete, stone accents, energy efficient gas furnaces and closet organizers.  These homes may be affordable, but do not appear to lack wonderful amenities!

More importantly, these builders are creating homes Salem needs and can afford. While we’ve all loved touring the “McMansions” of the past, affordable and quality housing is what most Salem home buyers are purchasing.  Yes, I’ll go and check out the most expensive home on tour (I just can’t resist), but I’m also going to make sure to see more of the other listings as well.

We work with builders and developers and know how rough the past few years have been for them. Reducing employees, changing business focus and not reducing quality has been a challenge for most businesses in the construction industry.    As an important part of our local economy, we are pleased to see and celebrate their success.

So even if you aren’t shopping for a home, check out the tour of homes this year. Admire the craftsmanship and be surprised at what these builders have created.  Commend the builders on their success during this difficult time for their industry.  The Home Builders Association has chosen “explore and be inspired . . . “ as the theme for this year.  How appropriate.  We hope you’ll join us in participating in this years tour and show support for our local builders.

The HBA Tour of Homes for Marion and Polk Counties runs through June 20th.  Weekends homes are open 12 pm to 6 pm — week days 6 pm to 9 pm.

Margaret Oscilia, Home Stager and Redesign Specialist with Creative Concepts and Contracting has a passion for real estate that goes back for over 20 years.  Whether projects include extensive remodeling, a few minor updates or simply rearranging what home owners already have — each one is treated with the same enthusiasm and detailed care.

With many homes on the market and fewer home buyers, home staging has become more in demand than ever before.  Several agents and home sellers have asked us lately – who should pay for home staging?

Home staging makes a house easier to market — they look and “feel” better in person and in the listing photos. A quick sale of course benefits the real estate agent.  Should they pay for staging?

One example to consider:  If a home seller had carpets that needed cleaning, would the real estate agent advise them to do so?  Of course.  But they normally wouldn’t consider paying for the cleaning.  Likewise, home staging is an important part of home selling, and home sellers should pay for home staging.

Occasionally, sellers can’t afford to pay for home staging until after the home has sold.  What then?  We’ve brainstormed with agents and sellers and find affordable and win-win solutions to this situation.  Real estate agents are cautious (and reasonably so) before investing in staging listings that may not sell quickly and need to develop their marketing plan prior to committing to paying for staging.

We’ve worked with many different scenarios, and find frequently when sellers pay for staging, we obtain the best results. Why?  When sellers are invested financially, they usually value and implement the recommendations we give them.

While I do think it is the sellers responsibility to pay or share in the cost of home staging, I do believe it is the real estate agent’s responsibility to educate the seller on the value of home staging. I continue to be surprised at how unprepared many sellers are when entering the Oregon real estate market.  Home sellers need to be informed of the statistics revealing:

  • Staged homes sell quicker than unstaged homes
  • Over 90% of home buyers look on the internet for homes
  • Homes that look great online get more showings
  • A 2009 study reveals staging is a necessary improvement that yields a high rate of return – over 500%
  • Homes that linger on the market are targets for lowball offers and price reductions.
  • Staging always costs less than a price reduction!

Also home sellers benefit greatly from:

  • Understanding what buyers are looking for when visiting their home
  • Knowing that sellers form a STRONG impression from the curb and within the first ten seconds of entering their home.
  • How important lighting, room function and flow is to impressing buyers
  • Learning how to declutter, clean and prep their homes for sale effectively.

Once sellers understand the competitive nature of home selling in 2010 they are more likely to be willing to invest their money in a staging consultation or to pay for vacant home staging.  We work with a variety of payment situations, depending on the seller and agent.  For example:

  • Home Seller contact us directly for a consultation or staging services and pays for all staging expenses.
  • Agent refers clients to a professional home stager and educates seller on the value of home staging
  • Agent provides a staging consultation for their listings,
  • Agent agrees to reimburse home seller for a staging consultation at closing
  • Some agents pay for consultations and have a written agreement that if the listing is terminated, they will receive reimbursement for their expenses.
  • We work with a few agents who refuse to list properties when home sellers are not willing to work with a home stager.  They won’t spend their time, energy and marketing budget on homes that aren’t ready to compete.
  • On existing listings that linger on the market, use a portion of a price reduction to invest into staging – improving the appearance and price at the same time.

Each listing and situation is different, but finding a way to obtain the competitive advantage home staging provides is important to both the real estate agent and home seller.

Need more ideas on how to incorporate staging into a new listing?  Contact a professional home stager for other creative ideas and enter the 2010 real estate market knowing your home is making the best first impression possible.

Margaret Oscilia, Home Stager and Redesign Specialist of Creative Concepts and Contracting provides home staging consultations, vacant and occupied real estate staging, color consultations and more.  This team of “prepare to sell” specialists serve Salem Oregon and surrounding cities throughout Marion, Linn and Benton counties.


Once upon a time in the peaceful city of Keizer Oregon there was a beautiful home waiting for a new owner.

Potential buyers passed it by, thinking it was for the birds!

Living Room - MLS photo before staging

Listing Photo Before Home Staging

. . .

When it was vacant, the home was bland and several incidents

of snow blindness were reported.

vacant homes don't show well to potential home buyers

White on White on White

Room sizes and features were overlooked due to blandness of home

. . .

The resourceful listing agent was not going to let this home linger on the market any longer and hired a professional home stager to create a new image for her listing.

With a limited budget what can be done?

A little staging magic . . . and from the moment buyers enter this spacious home, they will find it welcoming and be able to envision the  lifestyle available within these walls!

professional home staging

Wow - This home looks interesting!

living room after professional home staging

Rooms look inviting. Making buyers feel comfortable

vacant homes don't show well

From blah, boring and dull . . .

. . .
I think this home is ready for its happily ever after!
Professional home staging - Creative Concepts and Contracting

Now warm and inviting - ready for a new owner!

Selling a home and wishing for a fairy tale  happy ending?   Home selling in 2010 is a combination of price war and beauty contest. Be prepared to compete!  Home staging sets your listing apart from the competition and gives you the best possible chance of a good offer!

In need of a little home staging magic? Creative Concepts and Contracting has the expertise to showcase your home’s full potential, stretch your budget, and maximize your time.  You can’t change your competition, the market or your location – you CAN change the presentation your home makes!

Professional Home Staging – Reliable Contractor Repairs – Beautiful Results!

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

Ticor Title – Salem Oregon is presenting a “Get It Sold” Seminar for real estate agents on April 21st.  This seminar will be addressing pricing, home staging and photography and marketing strategies.

We’re excited to be part of the team presenting and know it will be packed with great information!  This seminar was just announced two days ago and is over half full SO . . . be sure to make your reservation today!

Thinking about moving or improving your Oregon home? 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