How to Create a Gorgeous Vignette

When you work in property styling, knowing how to create gorgeous vignettes is essential!

But what are vignettes? And how can you make them amazing?!

Vignettes are small arrangements of bits and pieces usually placed on coffee tables, book shelves, benches and anywhere that can hold specific items to bring texture and warmth to a space.

The ways in which vignettes are arranged is not random, even though it can look that way. In order to have a successful and aesthetically pleasing vignette, it is necessary for the items used to be specifically picked for a particular reason.

A vignette can be as simple as a small house plant next to a book on a coffee table. These items are commonly used in vignettes because plants are not only aesthetically pleasing but they can also create a positive and calming atmosphere in the area.

Coffee table books are often used in vignettes as they are intriguing and can make guests interested in the overall arrangement of the vignette.

Small artworks, candles and magazines are all used in vignettes to create interest and pleasing aesthetics in an area such as a coffee table.

The idea behind vignettes is that you are able to create your own small artwork that you can change whenever you please.

When styling vignettes it is of utmost importance to ensure that all items used are of different textures, shapes and sizes. While vignettes may seem easy to style, it can be difficult to create an arrangement that makes you and everyone who sees the vignette say “WOW!”.

Using different colours, textures, shapes and sizes that all work together is the most effective way to create an amazing vignette, but it is all about trial and error.

Where you put your vignette can also determine if your vignette works or not as well. A vignette may look awesome on a coffee table, but it may look a little too much on a book shelf. It’s all about figuring out what works best in the space.

If you’ve created a gorgeous vignette, tag @NaomiFindlayOfficial on Instagram and we’ll share it with our audience!

 

The Pros of Open Plan Spaces

Open plan living spaces are a phenomenon in the architecture industry, and so they should be!

They bring people together and can be used as a space for everyone instead of leaving set activities in set rooms like the kitchen.

Here are our Top 5 Pros of open plan living spaces in the home.

1. They create flow

Unlike in older houses where the dining  and living rooms are clearly separated, open plan living spaces allow you to flow more easily through the home.

This is due to the lack of walls between the kitchen, living and dining rooms and also your ability to implement your design choices with more purpose to ensure that each space flows by connecting to each other.

2. They feel bigger

Open plan living spaces can make the whole house seem bigger! They open up the space and bring light in, giving the illusion of a bigger space.

3. Perfect for entertaining

Open plan living spaces are also great for entertaining purposes. Instead of being locked away in the kitchen while all your friends are chatting in the lounge room, open plan living spaces allow you to be part of the conversation as well. These spaces often open out onto a deck or outdoor area. This allows for optimum entertaining, regardless of rain or shine.

4. Perfect for a family

On a more personal note, open plan living spaces can bring the family together, both physically and metaphorically, as it allows space for kids to play and do homework as well as space for the parents to do work, cook dinner and entertain.

5. You can create better design

Because open plan living blurs the lines between living room and dining room, it allows for a much wider variety of furnishings, accessories and overall design theme in the home. Some designs can look crowded and overdone if they are shoved into a small room. Open plan living allows for continuity of design and theme throughout the majority of the house and allow you to fully invest in a style that you love!

Want to boost your career in home staging and learn from experts in your industry? Attend the BIGGEST home staging event in the country at the 2019 National Home Staging Symposium! Spots filling FAST – save your seat here! 

Faux or Real Plants

Today, as I always say, I’m going to give you my perspective and a little bit of the experience that I’ve undertaken in my years in home staging about a specific topic.

You can thread from that what works for you, what agrees with you and what strikes a chord in your business and then make decisions about how you want to move forward from there.

Today, I want to talk to you about faux or real when it comes to flowers and plants.

 

In my home, to be honest with you, I only allow real, living plants and flowers and tree and nature.

But, in home staging, it is a little different. The community is a little divided on it, whether to use faux or whether to use fresh.

There are obvious difficulties when it comes to using fresh flowers, especially if it’s a vacant property. I’ll give you a bit of an insight as to what we do here and you can take from that what you need for your business.

In all vacant properties, unless they’re in the prestige price bracket, we often use faux plants and faux flowers.

Purely for the reason that rarely does someone have the budget and is able to afford us continually going back to the property every week or every two weeks to refresh the flowers, to water the plants and make sure that everything’s in working order.

The reason that that is important is there is never a time when walking into a property to a dead plant or to smelling, molding flower water is okay.

It actually is a bigger distraction than having a faux plant or faux flowers in the property.

Obviously, there are some markets where that just doesn’t work. There are some markets, even when it’s a vacant property, that we invest in having real and authentic plants and real and authentic flowers in there.

We come up with a pricing system and a process that allows for us to go in and interchange the plants and interchange the flowers during the time on market.

If you have a property that is occupied, you can actually negotiate with the owner if they’re there and if they’re happy to, around the concept of them topping up the flowers and them taking care of the plants.

But again, this takes some negotiation and it takes a little bit of work.

What I will say, though, is if you choose to use faux plants or flowers, you really need to make sure you maintain them well.

There’s nothing worse than dirty, dusty, musty smelling fake arrangements, fake plants or fake flowers. It’s essential that when you’re storing these items, if you choose to use them, in your warehouse, that they’re always bagged up so they don’t become a dust collection.

What you can do if you do find that happening is actually use feather dusters on them or, even in some cases, I have vacuumed our plants.

Another great tip is that you actually have a roster and a process where all of the fake plants and all of the fake flowers get cleaned. This can make a massive difference to how long they last and how good they look.

My biggest advice if you need to use fake plants or flowers is to invest in really good quality plants and flowers.

It will cost you quite a substantial amount, but there are some amazing products on the market internationally for this. There’s amazing freestyle arrangements that you can make and there’s also some amazing premades. You even have some really cool things like premade terrariums and all sorts of things.

My big tip is choose the price point of the property. The client and the type of installation, whether it be an occupied or a partial, before we make the decision about whether you’re going to use real or whether you’re going to use faux foliage.

There’s my take, guys. One thing is for sure, either way, you need to make sure that the faux flowers and foliage that you use is perfectly targeted for the property, for your brand and also for who you are selling to.

Choose wisely.

What Beds to Use in Home Staging

Hey, guys. I’m back again for another installment to answer some questions that have been emailed through to me.

I’ve had a few people email through their question and I’ll read it to you here.

We’re just starting up our home staging business and we really need to know about how you do your beds.

 

That’s an interesting question, isn’t it? I am going to answer that to the best of my ability and hopefully everyone will be able to take a snippet from that.

I’m assuming that this question is pertaining to what sorts of beds we use in our installs. Let’s look at our options.

The first option is, obviously, a traditional slatted timber bed that needs to be pretty much built on site. It has the side rails that has the header and the footer and the slats that the mattress would sit upon. There’s one option.

The next option is an ensemble bed and, obviously, the last option is a bit of a more temporary bed. It may be an inflatable bed, it may be a camp stretcher with an inflatable mattress on top or it may be a camp stretcher with a foam mattress on top.

These are all different sorts of options. That’s not all of them, but they are some of the different options that you have when you’re staging a property and you want to put in some beds.

What do we do? If I’m going to be dead honest about what we do here at Silk Home, which is my brick and mortar home staging business, we actually use a lot of ensemble beds.

We used to use the slatted headers and footers with the side rails, but the time it took to construct the beds on site meant that our productivity was greatly diminished.

And that meant that we needed more than one person to be on site installing every single house, even after the initial drop off of furniture was complete by the muscle, basically. That was a bit of a negative for us. It really did take some time.

The other thing we noticed is that the mechanisms that you’re adhering everything to did, over time and after multiple assembling and disassembling, wear. We steered away from that.

That pointed us to our ensemble beds.

We have, as well, used all varieties of camp stretchers and foam mattresses/camp stretches and air mattresses, but one of the big problems we found with air mattresses was that sometimes they do go down.

You often find that the time you get a call is 7:30/8:30/9:00/10:00 on a Saturday when, often, you’re busy doing other things, saying,

“I’ve just taken everyone into an open home and the mattress is deflated. I need something else here right now because the open home has pretty much been ruined by the fact that there’s a deflated mattresses and a slump-looking bed sitting in what might have been an amazing master suite before.”

One of the problems I have with inflatable beds is they certainly have their locations, but one of the things that you need to make sure you think about is they aren’t 100% reliable.

I can probably hear many people going, “What about those places where you can’t get an ensemble base into?” Absolutely right. It’s a huge, huge challenge.

There are many places, especially in the older parts of town, where the stairwells are too skinny and the lifts are too small and the landings at the top of stairs are too small to be able to work an ensemble base around.

In those cases, we actually have to use a mattress and we prop the mattress up on tubs.

There you go. There are our sneak peeks and our behind the scenes of what we do at Silk Home for beds. I hope you’ve learned something from that; I hope that there’s something that you can take and integrate into your home staging business and into all the different situations that it may be applicable.

I’ll be back next week. Make sure if you have any questions that you jump onto our Facebook page and we can help you out.

If you have really specific questions about your business, make sure you pop over to our memberships. Our Shine Membership has a closed Facebook forum where you can pretty much ask anything you want.

The members of the community and myself will be jumping in there to help. Jump on over and check them out. They’re all on the website.

 

I’ll see you guys again soon. See you.

Our Favourite Rugs!

1. Kenza Rug – Freedom

Kenza Rug Freedom
www.freedom.com.au

2. Madras Rug – Freedom

www.freedom.com.au

3. Nomad Grey Rectangle Rug – wholesale supplier

4. Gold Black and White Rectangle Rug – wholesale supplier

5. Gold Navy Rectangle Rug – wholesale supplier

6. Atrium Pilu Natural Rug – wholesale supplier

7. Eco Herringbone Marble Rectangle Rug

8. Stockholm Rug – Ikea

www.ikea.com

9. Colca Wool Rug – West Elm

www.westelm.com.au

10. Atrium Wish Gold Round Rug – wholesale supplier

favourite rugs

IIHS Success Story: Jaculin Dodson

Here at IIHS, we strive to make a difference in the lives of our students that goes beyond the course content. It could be through giving you the tools you need to succeed, or the confidence you need to make positive changes in your lives. Each year, we are so proud of the growth and determination we see in our students and we’re over the moon to share some amazing success stories of some of the best home stagers and stylists from the IIHS community!

So without further ado, we would like to introduce…

Jaculin Dodson – Peony Property Staging

Home staging graduate of the IIHS

How has your business grown since studying with IIHS?

“I’ve always had a passion for interiors and for property. While on maternity break with my children, I knew that I didn’t want to get back into the corporate world and I wanted something that would give me the freedom to be around for my growing family and that also fuelled my passion.

I came across the International Institute of Home Staging, as being a Newcastle based girl, had followed the growth of Naomi’s Silk Home business with much interest.

I took my leap of faith and bought my ticket to attend the first Home Staging Symposium in 2015. My business was a dream at this time and after attending the Symposium in Sydney, I was inspired and fired up to make this a reality”.

Home stager success
Image from Peony Property Staging

What has been one of the best parts of becoming a member of the IIHS community?

“I signed up as a Shine/Professional Member at the Symposium and also enrolled in Course 1, The Art of Home Staging and to be honest, I haven’t looked back. I completed my studies in the Art of Home Staging and then enrolled in Advanced Home Staging and Business Development.

My business growth has been incredible since I studied and I took on Home Staging as a full time job. I have moved from being home based, to storage sheds and a desk in a collective office, to recently taking on my own warehouse and office in Newcastle where I now operate all facets of my business. I’ve taken on staff and the plan is to bring my husband into the business next year!

I will not ever look back and I’m so glad that I took that leap and went along to the IIHS Symposium and studied with IIHS”.

Home stager success
Image from Peony Property Staging

What are the goals you have for your business and how did studying with IIHS help you achieve these?

“I am wanting to continue to grow and increase my capacity to service more agents and clients in the local area.

I am a believer in investing in myself and in my business and aside from the IIHS Course, I have also attended a number of other events organised by IIHS including travelling to Bali for Business & Balance Retreat!”

Home stager success
Image from Peony Property Staging

We are so proud of you Jacci!

You can find out more about Peony Property Staging here: http://www.peonystaging.com.au/

If you would like to follow in Jacci’s footsteps and take a step closer to getting your dream job, you can enroll in our last home staging course of the year here.

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Top Ten Interior Design Apps

 

It’s not an unknown fact that an interior designers best friend is their phone! And its no wonder! Our phones are great tools for our jobs and in more ways than one!

I have created a list of my top ten best design apps that are available for download on the Apple App Store. Please note, these apps are in no particular order!

 

Pinterest + Houzz

Pinterest is my favourite way of sourcing inspiration, connecting with clients and keeping up with trends! Just like Google, you can search anything interiors, follow other designers, interior blogs and magazines, create boards filled with interiors that you love, and create secret boards with clients based on their projects which is great as a reference tool!

screenshot-2016-12-09-10-14-15Houzz is similar to Pinterest but on a much more professional platform. You can search design agencies and flick through photos of their projects, have your very own Houzz page if you are a designer, tradie or architect, or simply use it as a source of inspiration just like Pinterest!

screenshot-2016-12-09-10-14-32PANTONE Studio

I love PANTONE Studio for creating my colour schemes! There are plenty of inspiration photos and the whole Pantone range of colours to build palettes from and save them. This app is great for when I’m on the go.

screenshot-2016-12-09-10-14-50MagicPlan

The MagicPlan app, is literally that. I can take photos of rooms, import them into the app, then magically a floorplan is created! No drawing or measurements needed. These are great for staging projects especially when I need a floorplan that is easy to read for the whole team!

screenshot-2016-12-09-10-15-11Canva

Canva is the perfect photo editing app. I can lighten, brighten, add text and contrast as well as filter my photos, making them perfect to go out on social media! (https://www.canva.com/)

screenshot-2016-12-09-10-15-29Notes

The simple and trustworthy app that lets me record and download information from my head during and after I have been on a job site or met with clients.

screenshot-2016-12-09-10-15-43Photo Measures

Photo Measures is an app that allows you to draw over your photos to record measurements. This app is so great for spaces like kitchens and bathrooms where lots of detail is needed that a floorplan sometimes cannot capture.

screenshot-2016-12-09-10-15-57Camera/Photos

Of course, my phone’s camera is one of my favourite all time apps! Taking photos of products you like, job sites, colour palettes and client’s homes is super important. The photos app then allows me to make albums for each project where I can save the photos to!

screenshot-2016-12-09-10-16-17Dropbox

Dropbox is a lifesaver. It is an online storage app in the cloud that allows me to save absolutely anything I like into it! I group my folders in the correct projects I am working on and it allows me to be super organised.

screenshot-2016-12-09-10-16-34Instagram

Instagram is one of my favourite social media platforms to share images of my work, follow others and also find inspiration. Instagram is very visual so it gives clients a great opportunity to visualise my style and work ethic!

screenshot-2016-12-09-10-16-51CamCard

CamCard is a great way to store all of the business cards that I collect. I take a photo each time I receive a business card and it stores all the information in the app. It’s my go-to app to contact my trades or suppliers.

screenshot-2016-12-09-10-17-07

 

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Quarterly Blog Favourites

 It’s that time of the year again, where, for the last time this year, we review what blogs you have been loving on IIHS this quarter! As the year has begun to draw to a close everything on IIHS has started feeling a lot more festive, warm and rejuvenated as we reflect on the year that was 2016.

We entered the final quarter of 2016 with a bang, with posts covering everything from design, trends, home staging tips, life and motivation tips and most importantly festive cheer! So, without further ado we present your favourite blogs of the final quarter of 2016!

 

Painted Brick in the 21st Century

There is no denying that IIHS we loved the painted brick trend of 2016, and you all have too! Gone are the days when purchasing a property with a brick interior meant that you had to resurface the walls. Now, painted brick looks amazing when it is rustic, fully painted, neutral toned or even colourfully painted. We are obsessed with the amazing finishes and textures that painted brick brings to any space. To find out more about how to create an amazing painted brick interior check out the post here!

Image credit: homedesigning.tumblr.com
Image credit: homedesigning.tumblr.com

How to Furnish Your Rental Property to Ensure a Return on Investment

This blog too a much more serious tone than Painted Brick in the 21st Century. As home stagers and aspiring home stagers make up the majority of our readership on IIHS this blog answered a question that we all are asked on a daily basis. Furnishing rental properties are extremely different to furnishing properties for sale, yet they have many similarities. When it comes down to it, how you furnish your rental property will determine who will rent your property, and thus how much rent you can charge your tenants. For a more detailed overview on furnishing rental properties check out the blog here!

Image credit: silkhome.com.au
Image credit: silkhome.com.au

How to Add Holiday Design to Your Home Staging Business

This question comes up every year for all of us home stagers and it is one that surrounds much controversy in the home staging industry. Trying to find the perfect way to add holiday design into your home staging business without adding too much holiday design can be extremely tricky! You don’t want to go overboard and deck out a property in tinsel and Christmas wreaths but you might still want to add a touch of Christmas cheer into design. To discover how to create the perfect holiday design element into your home staging business check out the blog!

Image credit: apartmenttherapy.com
Image credit: apartmenttherapy.com

What Home Staging Actually Is

The inspiration behind this blog was the countless times a day I am asked what home staging actually is. This blog, therefore, was created to a go-to answer feed for any question anyone could ever ask you about home staging. Sure, all home staging business are different, and they are run differently but most home staging business have the same key purpose: to create beautiful spaces that cater to the markets needs for a property to sell for the highest possible price. This blog is a must read for all home stagers!

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