Styled, Staged & Sold

Bringing you the latest home design and staging trends. From REALTOR® Magazine.

5 Easy Updates to Liven Up Your Home Staging

By Julea Joseph, guest contributor

This home needed a big shot of decorating Botox. Luckily, there are several ways to turn this average condo into a design all-star. 
A few months ago, my interior design client, Susan, purchased the condo as an investment property. She intended to rent it out but wanted to upgrade it first to make it a winner on the rental circuit. 

The condo already had plenty of perks: a great location close to the train and good bones. But it needed a spruce up on the decorating side. 

Susan wanted to make just enough simple—yet dramatic—choices and improvements to take the home from bland to grand. 

With a few simple changes, the space went from dated and definitely boring, to a front-of-the-line rental, with a fresh and airy style.

Take a look at some of the before photos. 

A set of 4 images of the interior of a house

Now, look at the after pics...

4 Images side by side of the interior of a house, after restyling

Photo Credit: Beacon James

Here are five ways we enhanced the space:

  1. Interior trim and walls
    By painting the trim, we expanded the entire space, making the home feel large and airy. I picked the White Dove paint color by Sherwin-Williams. (Extra tip to beef up the base trim: Add an additional trim piece above the baseboard to the desired height.) 
    Home interior, grey walls, white trim, wood floors.

    Photo Credit: Beacon James

    As for the wall color, we painted all the public spaces one color choice (Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray HC-173—one of my go-to Home Staging paint colors). The result? A move-in ready space, that feels large, open, and ready for the new renters’ decorative personality.

  2. Cabinets
    Painting cabinets is another great way to refresh a rental property. In this project, we chose two colors—black on the bottom and white on the top. This enhanced the existing floor tile and lighting. It also added height to a galley kitchen. Plus, it gave the space a super high-end style. Again, I chose the White Dove paint color by Sherwin-Williams on the upper cabinets, and then I used Iron Ore paint color SW 7069 by Sherwin-Williams on the bottom cabinets. (Note: The cabinet pulls didn’t even have to be changed. Bonus!)
  3. Lighting
    Dated light fixtures can make a home look dark, dull, and tired. Trend forward and make
    the space functional with some budget-friendly new light fixtures. In the dining room I
    choose a modern, statement making fixture. (Lowe’s Catalina Sputnik Chandelier
  4. Countertops 
    If the counters are showing their age or are a dark color, new counters can be an 
    important upgrade. New countertops also give the new resident a clean, fresh slate. We 
    chose a Quartz counter in a white to compliment the kitchen design.
  5. High-end details 
    A few luxury details will elevate the property to a new level. These don’t have to be
    expensive—they just need to LOOK expensive. Here are a few examples of how to
    achieve this: 

    Backsplashes: Add a fun tile back splash in the kitchen sink area. In my client’s condo, this chic backplash was just enough to bring the entire black and white theme together. I used a cement tile look (Encaustic tile from Lowe’s)
    A kitchen counter with sink, showing a decorative back splash

    Photo Credit: Beacon James

    Door trim: We upgraded the opening to the bedroom spaces to make it a focal point of the space. Doing this one opening with trim made the home feel very custom.

    Blinds: We replaced the wood blinds with fabric Roman Shades. A basic wood-look blind is a common choice, but a fabric Roman Shade gave the space a custom, high-end feel.
    A house interior, looking out a bay window with white tile floor and a shaded ceiling fixture

    Photo Credit: Beacon James

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Julea Joseph is the owner and lead designer at Reinventing Space in Chicago. Visit her website and blog at


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