Archive for Interior Design Information

Expert Home Staging Tips To Make A Small House Feel Big

18 Expert Home Staging Tips To Make A Small House Feel Bigger

Do you know these 18 tips to make a small house feel bigger? I am frequently asked, by homeowners and real estate agents I work with, how to make their home or listing look bigger to appeal to more buyers. As an expert home stager in Pasadena and Los Angeles, one of my primary jobs is to make smaller homes feel more spacious.


Here’s a list of 18 tips for making a small home feel bigger. You can use these tips whether you are staging a home to sell or if you are planning to stay, but just need some help dealing with smaller rooms. These tips will work with for vacant home staging (if you’re bringing in furniture) or occupied home stagomg (dealing with the client’s existing furniture):

  1. Pare down the furniture to the essentials. Do you really need a chair in the bedroom? Will the room appear larger with just the bed, the nightstands and maybe a dresser?
  2. Clutter makes a room feel smaller. Lots of smaller items, like a Hummel collection or bowling trophies displayed on every horizontal surface, eat up visual space. Only display 3-5 items at a time. Store, sell or pre-pack the rest. You’re selling a home, not a collection of “treasures”.
  3. Use fewer pieces of furniture. Its better to have one larger dresser than 2 smaller ones.
  4. Use appropriately sized furniture. Having a too big sofa in a small den will call attention to how small the room really is.
  5. Pull furniture away from the wall. That little bit of breathing room will give a sense of greater space.  Create a cozy sitting area in front of the fireplace, with room to move around the back of the furniture.
  6. Cooler colors recede, so painting an interior room a pale blue, green or gray will make it feel larger.
  7. Houses appear larger on the outside when painted a lighter color.
  8. Keep walkways and sight-lines clear. Don’t place furniture so that you are walking into the back of the sofa, or other large piece of furniture, when you walk into the room.
  9. Bedrooms feel larger if there is ample space to walk on either side of the bed. Not enough space? Get a smaller bed while you home is on the market. Downsize from a king to a queen or from a queen to a double, if necessary.
  10. Place the bed on the wall furthest from the door, if possible. The room will feel instantly larger.
  11. Show more hardwood. The larger the expanse of hardwood floor, the larger the room will appear. Do you really need that area rug? If the hardwood floors are hidden by wall to wall carpet, remove the carpet. The home will feel much more spacious.
  12. Try using one larger area rug instead of several smaller rugs. Or if the room looks OK without it, don’t use any area rugs.
  13. Patterned upholstery and drapes make a room feel smaller. Use fewer patterns on upholstery and bedding. Use a solid color blanket or bedspread on a bed in a small bedroom to make the room feel larger.
  14. Strategically placed mirrors make a room feel larger. Reflect a window or outdoor view, if possible. You can visually expand a space by putting a large mirror over a sofa.
  15. A well lit room feels larger. Get rid of those dark corners. Make sure every overhead light and table lamp is lit before open houses and showings.
  16. Minimize window treatments. The simpler the better. Shutters, blinds or simple drapes (no flounces, ruffles, strong patterns or complicated valences) take up less “visual space”.
  17. Make all your cabinets and closets half-empty. You will appear to have more closet and cabinet space. There is no such thing as a closet that is too empty when selling your home.
  18. Clean houses feel larger. Make sure every surface including your floors are shiny clean. Clean your windows and screens so they let in maximum light and sparkle.

Living room home staging by Moving Mountains Design

These home staging tips to make your home feel larger will work if you are staging to sell or staging to live.

If you need help figuring out how to make your home or listing feel larger, hire us for a home staging consultation. You’ll get some easy-to-implement expert home staging and interior design tips.  Its the best “bang for your buck” and it’s a great investment in preparing your home or listing for sale, or making your home more livable if you are planning to stay.

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What Home Upgrades Are Homeowners Spending Money On

Home Upgrades – What are we spending our money on?

Here’s a very interesting home improvement infographic published by the US Census and HUD (Housing and Urban Development) departments of the US Government. The top improvements were Appliances and Major Equipment (I would interpret this as something like a new furnace or whole-house air conditioner) 35%, Flooring, Paneling and Ceiling 32% and New Windows and Doors 20%. The study says we Americans spent $359 BILLION (!) during 2009-2011 on home improvement projects and the median amount spent was about $3200 per project. One metric I found very interesting was that 63% hired professionals to complete their home remodeling project, while on 37% were DIY projects.

Home Improvements infographic image [Source: U.S. Census Bureau]

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A Home Staging Consultation Is Money Well Spent

I receive many phone calls from Los Angeles home sellers who recognize the value of hiring a professional home stager to sell their home, but think they can’t afford it.

Here’s a money saving home staging tip: hire a professional home stager for a home staging consultation and then do the recommended work yourself.

By calling Moving Mountains Design for an occupied house staging consultation, you’ll get expert advice and house selling tips at an affordable price:

  1. Verbal Home Staging Consultation – We’ll walk through your home , inside and out,  and discuss the work that needs to be done to get your home in market ready condition. We can make paint color recommendations, suggest the optimal furniture layout and discuss what items need to be pre-packed or donated. You can ask any questions, show us carpet samples and paint chips you may have picked up. You take all the notes. Do the suggested work on your own schedule.
  2. Comprehensive Home Staging Consultation – We walk through your home with you (including exteriors) and outline the work that needs to be done to get your home in top market ready condition, same as above.  Afterwards, I’ll email you your  custom and very specific comprehensive home staging consultation report. Your report will contain all the recommended changes and tasks that we discussed. In addition, I’ll include information about how to prepare for open houses and showings, how to stage your closets, how to stage your garden, how to stage your garage, and how to stage your kitchen cabinets. Once again you save money by doing the recommended work yourself.

Once you’ve completed all or part of the suggestions in your Home Staging Consultation, the Moving Mountains Design team will come in and complete any portion of the work you would like. Our services are completely a la carte. The more work you do yourself, the more money you will save. 

 Here’s what a recent Pasadena home staging consultation client had to say:

…The best decision we made in this whole process was hiring you. It’s no exaggeration to say that we couldn’t have gotten any of this done without you — we didn’t even know where to begin.

We also offer cost-effective interior design, decorating or redesign consultations.
Many homeowners are not planning on moving in the near future, but want to redecorate or refresh their current interior decorating. Once again, you can do all the work yourself, do some of the work and hire us to complete the project or hire us to complete your project while you put your feet up and relax. We can handle everything from light redecorating to full-on kitchen and bath remodels (we only work with licensed and insured contractors and sub-contractors!)

To schedule a home staging consultation appointment, call (626)441-8975 or send me an email at

Moving Mountains Design – We know what makes homes sell!™

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OMG! Diamond Foam And Fabric Is Having A Sale!

Designer Diamond Foam and Fabric SaleI’ve been shopping at Diamond Fabric since the beginning of time (late 70’s, early 80’s) and I have never known Diamond Foam and Fabric to have a sale.

Well, they say if you hang around long enough you’ll get to see everything at least once so here it is. Diamond Foam and Fabric is having a big parking lot sale.

Fabric sale date & time: October 22,23 & 24, 2010 from 9:00 AM-5:00PM

Where: Diamond Foam & Fabric, 611 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles. Just South of 6th Street, across the street from La Brea Bakery (I highly suggest you grab a sandwich and some of their delicious bread).

In case you didn’t know, Diamond Foam and Fabric is a fantastic warehouse of gorgeous designer upholstery fabrics.

They also carry silks, velvets, leather and a huge assortment of Sunbrella and outdoor fabrics. I shop Diamond Fabric first (before the Pacific Design Center showrooms) for my interior decorating and home staging clients. On any given day you will see Los Angeles’ top interior designers (or their assistants), stylists, fashion designers, set decorators and movie stars shopping for the latest and greatest in fabric. All the fabric is sold “off the bolt”, so no waiting 16 weeks for it to be shipped from Italy.

So if you’ve been putting off reupholstering your sofa, recovering your throw pillows, or replacing the ratty old sheet covering your bedroom window, now’s your chance to pick up some beautiful interior designer fabrics without the interior designer prices.

See you there!

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+Michelle Minch