How to Be DIY Creative

Hey Guys,

Naomi here! I wanted to share this story with you to inspire you!

One day I was sitting in my office looking at the beautiful ‘standard flowering cherry blossom’ that has shed its last leaf and formed the buds that will soon turn into beautiful blossoms.  I found myself thinking of all the great things I could use photographs of the such a beautiful tree for.   Here are some photos I took and converted them to black and white.

Now imagine them framed and above your bed or at the end of your dining table, creating a stunning effect like in the image below.

Get out your camera or even use your phone and try it, it is a very affordable feature to add to any room!

I hope that inspires you to get creative!

All comments you leave below are read and appreciated so please let me know your thoughts.

Are you coming to the National Home Staging Symposium 2019?

Must-Have Home Staging Stock

When you reach a certain point in your home staging business, acquiring stock and inventory is an essential step up. At first purchasing this stock might seem like a bit of a leap, and depending on what stock you purchase it might be. However, if you are smart about what stock you purchase and how much of it you purchase it could make all the difference to your home staging business.

When it comes to stock there is typically two types of stock, soft furnishings and hard furnishings. Soft furnishings include items such as pillows, linen, lamps and small accessories. The way I like to think about soft furnishings is that, if I needed to, I could pack them in a box and put them in my car. On the other hand, there are hard furnishings. Hard furnishings are big items such as lounges, arm chairs, dining tables, coffee tables, and so on. These are the items that can’t be packed into a box and loaded into your car.

Depending on what level of your business you are in you could be thinking about acquiring one of these two types of stock. Logically, soft furnishings should be acquired first, and then later down the track hard furnishings can be acquired. However, as everyone is at different stages in their business, it is important to be able to look down the track and consider what sort of stock you should be acquiring.



When it comes to soft furnishings, these items can be purchased relatively cheaply and in bulk.

  1. Pillows: sure, pillows can be expensive, but purchasing pillows that work well in a wide range of environment is a great way to get the most out of your money, and add texture in a range of environments. Purchasing pillows in a few colours and designs is a great idea as they can be used on their own or grouped together.
  2. Faux flowers and plants: Faux flowers and plants are great as, when the right ones are purchased, they can look amazing, can be used in a range of spaces and styles, and can last a long time.
  3. Books: there doesn’t have to be a theme to this, and they can be purchased from a op shop, but books are a great way to add texture and a lived in feeling to any space. These are the most cost-effective soft furnishings and can be used in any environment, from a study, a bedroom to a lounge room or even an outdoor setting.
  4. Knick-knack accessories: by this I mean small accessories that can be used in a variety of environments, anything from vessels, small bowls, candle holders, or any other small accessories.
  5. Linen packs: this isn’t absolutely necessary, but having at least coverlets and toppers is necessary as it can transform a room from something dull to something amazing.
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As for hard furnishings, these items are more expensive, and it is beneficial to go for quality over quantity.

  1. Mattresses: often times clients do not have enough beds for how a property can be staged to show off the best of the space, or they have moved and have taken their mattresses with them.
  2. Dining chairs: not all dining chairs go with tables, or look good with them, so having some neutral dining chairs that work with a range of colours is a great idea so you can use the clients dining table and your businesses chairs.
  3. Bedside tables: bedside tables have the potential to open up the bedroom and transform the space into something amazing. Having bedside tables that are unique, yet work well in a variety of environments is essential.
  4. Lounges: when used everyday, lounges can easily begin to look old, worn and unpleasant. Having lounges in stock that are a neutral colour is a great idea as they can be used in a range of spaces in a range of different styled homes.
  5. Coffee tables: Coffee tables are great ways to show off the space in a lounge room and add an element of homeliness into the space. Not everyone has a coffee table, and if they do it might be old and worn, having new, amazing coffee tables as part of your stock can transform and fill a space amazingly.
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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

2. Madras Rug – Freedom

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

9. Colca Wool Rug – West Elm

10. Atrium Wish Gold Round Rug – wholesale supplier

favourite rugs

Why is Defining the Function of a Space Important?

When someone moves into a new property, one of the first things they tend to think of is ‘what will I use this space for?’. Some spaces are obvious…the kitchen is for cooking, the bedroom is for sleeping, the lounge room is for watching television. But we all know this isn’t true!

More often than not, especially if you have kids, the kitchen becomes a place for homework to be done. The master bedroom, your bedroom, becomes a communal meeting point in the morning where all the kids come to you with their issues for the day and permission slips that should have been signed at the start of the week and, of course, the room you had designated as the play room has been relocated to the lounge room. This is just part of life, and it is something that we adapt to.

However, as home stagers, the spaces we create don’t have to be practical for day to day living. It is important that we hold onto the hopeful ‘what will I use this space for?’ mentality that buyers have before they enter the space. The spaces we create contain an in an ideal world this is what the space would be used for.

So, why is it important to define the function of a space as a home stager?

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When a property is put on the market empty, potential buyers are likely to become overwhelmed over the prospect of what they will use each space for. What room is better for a teenager and what one for a preteen? Should there be two living spaces? Is there enough room for a study space or home office?

Similarly, when a property is put on the market in the same design as what the seller had when they were living in the space, the property won’t fell like it is for sale. Doing this will create elements of clutter and uncertainty about what space is to be used for what. This is because, as mentioned above, we adapt to how our families use a space and often times don’t notice that there is anything out of the ordinary about this.

This is where the magic of home stagers come in.

When staging a property, it is up to the home stager to determine what a space is best used for. If there is an awkward space between two bedrooms, a home stager may place a study desk there. This is something potential buyers might not have thought of doing, but seeing the desk there allows for the space to seem larger, and like the desk was always supposed to go there.

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The accessories and furniture home stagers use allow for a space to have a clear and obvious activity attached to it. The items in the bedroom show that the space is used for sleeping, and the same goes for the lounge room, study space and kitchen. Doing this allows for potential buyers to see the size of the space, as well as the ideal activity to be done in the space, creating a homely and ‘I could live here’ atmosphere for all potential buyers.

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Love all things Styling?

Love watching Shaynna at Selling Homes Australia, Love property, Love stalking interiors shops online and the great blogs like Interiors Addict?

Then maybe a career in Home Staging could be for you?


If you want to know more about the Home Staging Industry or you are interested in getting started in the profession then come along and learn more about what Home Staging is and how to get into the industry.

Learn how to create spaces just like this!

Pulver St 1

Join me and the IIHS team in Melbourne on 26th of November!

Find out more here or jump straight to grab your tickets here!

I can’t wait to meet you there!



Lysandra from The Block confesses

I have a confession to make. After a year and a half of being a contestant on The Block, it is only now that I finally get my first opportunity to sit down and get my head stuck into learning the core principles of interior design. It’s so funny that Alisa and I have been designing winning rooms on The Block without learning the principles of interior design.

People think that we know what we are talking about because we have that natural ability to put a room together. Alisa and I have never pretended that we are interior design gurus, but hopefully after completing our course with the International Institute of Home Staging we will be well on our way.

L-R Alisa and Lysandra colourful

I remember one of the first questions we got asked when we got onto The Block: Sky High was, “What style would you say describes you?” My response was, “Ummm, we don’t really know. Let’s call it the Alisa and Lysandra Style.” Looking back we had absolutely no idea about anything, we didn’t know the difference between contemporary or modern, for crying out loud.

Yes we have done two seasons of The Block, but the rooms that we produced were by complete instinct, not because we had an idea about what we should and shouldn’t be doing.

I sat down on my laptop and opened my first module, Design Skills 1. By the end of this module I am finally able to describe the core principles of design and how they vary from one another. It’s all well and good for Alisa and I, to be able to put a room together and make it look good (and even have people exclaim ‘Wow!’ when they walk in the room), but if we are serious about our career as designers, it is paramount that we learn the core principals of design.

The first module covers the core principals of size, scale, balance and proportion. Completing this module makes us excited about what more we could produce when we combine our experience of two seasons on The Block with the knowledge we have gained so far in our IIHS course.

Alisa and I have been very fortunate to have Naomi Findlay, principal of International Institute of Home Staging, take us under her wing as a design mentor. Bring on the next module I say!

About Alisa and Lysandra:

Identical twins Alisa and Lysandra are best known as winners of renovation and design show, The Block. After winning The Block: Sky High and being crowned the Bathroom and Kitchen Queens, they were asked back as favourites for a second series, The Block Fans VS Faves. They have now launched their new stylish online homewares store, Alisa & Lysandra Collections.