Pre NYNOW Trends Should Inform Stagers Of First Time Buyers.

NY Now Pre PlanningEvery summer, I drag myself through the heat and humidity to Javits Convention Center for NYNOW’s summer market. This year is August 16 – 19, 2015. It’s a huge convention center, filled to bursting with fresh, colorful ideas. Trends are laid out for you in glorious 3 dimensional technicolor and it. is. exhausting!  I love it. I completely love it, but I have to start working out for it months in advance.

Interesting, this year in the promotional materials they are talking a lot about the changing customer base in terms of lifestyle.  My ears pricked immediately. That is one of our signatures at Amazing Spaces NYC – home staging, yes, but more accurately, Lifestyle Marketing. Millenials’ more casual lifestyle (than their BabyBoomer parents) is altering the retail landscape.  Which one would expect, it’s just fun when everyone sits up and notices how.  How many Boomers do you know who are just now starting to downsize and finally stop acquiring things?  As the youngest of that generation sends their last kid off to college, a new era is emerging.  And, the more The Gift And Decor industry writes about the Millennials, the more I realize that this is vital intel for home stagers as we prepare homes for sale for younger or first time buyers.

Gifting Trends Derive From Millennials Lifestyle

Millennials are becoming known as the ‘Cut The Cord Generation’. Gone for them are phone wires, audio system cables, TV plugs, TV in general!  Since they carry their life and memories around on a phone, they don’t need or photo frames so much anymore.  In terms of gift giving, according to a recent study commissioned by Gift and Decorative Accessories magazine Picture Frames are becoming less popular, as are candles.

Home staging no nos for new buyers

To do a centerpiece of candles used to be pretty. Not so any longer. Now, an aromatherapy mister in the kitchen would be more on trend.

Toys, games and puzzles are popular again, as is anything handmade. It’s not just Panera excited about “Artisanal” – “Handmade” is huge. In fact, NYNOW will have a whole separate section on handmade items and exhibit hours specifically for that part of the Gift and Decor convention. 632 of the show’s 2,600+ exhibitors come from the Artisan space.

Trends in 2015 gift giving - wooden games


Other items trending are bar-ware. This is not surprising when you consider that the Millennials feel a strong affinity for the 50s, mid-century modern and all things ‘Mad Men’.  Cocktails and the stuff to stir, shake and pour are all the rage. Actually, is this particularly new?  Apparently it’s THE hot trend in giftware right now, but hasn’t Pottery Barn been selling these items since [their] Day One?

PB Tools and Accessories


When we think of first time buyers, we need to keep in mind, those folks are Millennials, and they’re a generation that is starting to be well-defined. They are starting to have enough of their own money that they set trends all by themselves.  Anything that appeals to them in general is what we should be staging with whenever they’re the target market.

Now, lest you worry whether I’ve incorporated any of these trends yet, let me remind you of a recent staging we had great success with –>

home staging success

Happy summer!  Looking forward to bringing you some sizzling ideas from #NYNOW.

2015 NAR Profile of Home Staging Survey Releases Dismal Stats


NYC Home Stager reports on NAR survey's best statThere were high hopes for the 2015 National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Staging .  We had hoped to see the NAR home staging survey would demonstrate that staging is a widely accepted practice. We hoped for big numbers that prove the marketing tactic works.  We did get some good numbers, if you mine the data carefully, but on the whole, the report suggests that there is both opportunity and an uphill battle still ahead.

Home Staging Survey Highlights


Home Staging NYC where staging improves offer numbersThe Good News

We are seeing that most realtors® who represent Sellers believe a benefit of staging is that Buyers will offer more for a staged home.  This tells us that staging increases the perceived value of a property. Home stagers have been saying this for years, and it’s great to finally have such a concrete stat to back this up.  Some realtors® – a whopping 20% – think the offer is over 6 to 10% higher. That’s the Buyer’s initial offer so the whole transaction starts on a higher plane (and if it goes into a bidding war, which has happened to the last 3 properties staged by Amazing Space NYC, the final sale price could soar beyond that 10% figure).  This is great proof that staging works.


Home Staging Survey slide 4

The Opportunity

If only 34% of realtors® stage all homes, then to be a listing agent who stages is a fairly substantial differentiator, no?  Wouldn’t you want to be a realtor® whose listings warrant negotiations that start 10% higher than ask?


home staging nyc

The home staging survey also identified which rooms are the most important to stage if the budget is tight and you can only do a few.  Obviously, it is more helpful for the buyer is you stager their most used spaces – the living room, kitchen and master bedroom.  Depending on where you are the dining room is a “long to have” feature.  As in anyone moving out to the suburbs from an apartment in a city.  For them, the dining room is critical. That space may be used for other things, but they want to know that it is possible in the space. The rest, you do as you can. Rooms with weird shapes or sizes are better staged. It’s just easier for the buyer to have a sense of what might fit.

The Battle

The home staging survey also identified which rooms are the most important to stage if the budget is tight and you can only do a few.  Obviously, it is more helpful for the buyer if you stage the most-used – the living room, kitchen and master bedroom.  Depending on your market, the dining room is coveted, especially for buyers moving out to the suburbs from an apartment in a city.  For them, the dining room is critical. Though the space might wind up being used for other things, buyers want to know that there is a dining room for Thanksgiving dinner with the extended family. The rest of the rooms, do what you can within the budget parameters. Note that rooms with weird shapes or sizes are better when staged. It’s just easier for the buyer to have a sense of what might fit.

Click this link to read the NAR home staging survey yourself.

Call Debbie for your staging consult

NY NOW 2015 Home Show Recap – Design Trends Continue On Familiar Ground

Well, let’s start by saying – oops!  Little did I know that the NY NOW 2015 show would only be open for 5 hours today.  I arrived at 10:30am, ready to tackle the aisles and aisles  of textiles, rugs, furnishings, accessories, linens, lighting and art but only managed to cover about 1/3 of the show.  Enjoy the recap:
NY NOW 2015
Moroccan and ikat patterns are STILL hot, as was seen in pillows and coverlets from Kevin O’Brien Studio.  These ombre, velvet pillows add a luxurious layer to any sofa or bed.  While the leopard and dots were my favorite patterns, the moroccan tile was also very eye-catching. These are not inexpensive pillows, my friends.  At ABC Home’s flat iron store, Kevin O’Brien’s crushed and burned out velvet creations can cost between $275 and $350 a piece.  And it is very hard to stop at just one!

Metallics in textiles are also still in-style (actually Kevin O’Brien introduced a decorative pillow in ivory with gold metallic accents – very tasteful).  As for color trends, the range was enormous: we saw pillows in bright Izod-inspired hues to handsome and regal navy blues and deep chocolate browns to creams and beiges.  Basically whatever your primary color is for a staging plan can be found in textiles. One of my favorite houses for pillows continues to be V Rugs & Home based out of Miami.  I just love how simple and elegant their pillows are, and this year they added some whimsical poof ottomans to the booth.

Stagers who handle terraces and patios are endlessly searching for realistic shrubs and hedges.  I found a great resource at NY NOW.  New Growth Designs based out of North Carolina displayed an assortment of boxwoods, from hedges to balls to topiaries as well as beautiful orchards, hydrangeas, roses and ferns.

The warm metals are still HOT, and was proudly displayed by vendors such as Emporium Home.  Mirrors, furniture and lighting all featured warm gold and brass tones.  Check out the sputnik chandelier with rock crystal bulbs – what a statement!

NY NOW 2015 TrendsAnd Mr. London also featured warm brasses in their booth.  I am so happy that this trend is still on fire.  It gives Stagers so much more flexibility when designing a room!

NY NOW 2015 Trends

And another metal was very popular at Shiraleah (based out of Chicago) – COPPER!

NY NOW 2015 Trends

Last year my favorite find in accessories were trays and mugs in Pantone color ways.  So fun and add a great splash of color when staging a kitchen or dining room.  This year, I had a few faves.  One of them is the line of linens, trays and high ball glasses from August Morgan.   Kate Hersch, originally from the north shore of Long Island (like me) created a line of affordable accessories that will certainly add a bit of whimsical humor to a staging design. Here are some of her napkin designs:

NY NOW 2015 Trends

My assistant and I were ready to take a nap when we felt the premium bamboo linens from Cozy Earth.  Temperature regulating and hypoallergenic . . . . and as soft as silk. And for backgammon fanatics, you must check out Vive Designs based out of Brooklyn.  The boards come in either acrylic, snakeskin or lacquered finishes.  Stunning!  And Made Goods won my heart with their teak and resign blocks that be used as decorative objects or book ends.  They also have accent tables to match.  I love how these 2 materials work together. It is a marriage of Organic and Modern.  Doesn’t get much better than that.

NY NOW 2015 Trends

Don’t THESE nesting tables look familiar?????

NY NOW 2015 Trends

2015 Design Trends

Continuing trend BrassI called it! As reports trickle in from the Las Vegas Market, and MSN casts about for “1- Home Trends That Will Take Off This Year“, I am patting myself on the back for the calling the 2015 Design Trends — the trending brass fittings in bathrooms, particularly, but kitchens, too.  What has already become popular  in the  NYC home Staging is now morphing into a widespread, perhaps nationwide, trend.

Organic Modern gaining strength and identity as a movement.  Eggs?  “The first trend is a farm-fresh surprise. Though I suppose with hip urbanites harvesting eggs from their backyard chicken coops, it was only a matter of time before eggs caught on as a design trend.” writes Shannon Ggem from Vegas. Urbanites with backyard chicken coops, who are these people?

What kind of backyards do they have and which city has an ordinance that allows for that kind of noise, mess and smell? Mind you, dogs make a lot of noise too –  and NYC is FULL of them!


I absolutely LOVE the teak remnant tables that are filled with resin that looks like quartz!  The organic trend continues – albeit with EGGS.

2015 Design Trends - Wood and Resin

Aren’t they gorgeous?  I’ve seen Holloway Teak and Cracked Resin; I’ve seen tamarind wood in layers of clear acrylic resin. Here is a set of nesting tables with barely any wood and frankly, I think those are even more remarkable: –

2015 Design Trends - Wood and Resin

The organic source – the color and texture of the wood – preserved in plastic (essentially another word for acrylic) epitomizes the “organic modern” movement for me. Spectacular, exotic woods are made timeless in this kinds of pieces.

Another advantage of these side tables is that they have see-through sections. I use a lot of acrylic pieces in smaller apartments because they don’t fill a space like a solid piece would.  By keeping the sight-lines open, buyers can see the functionality of a space and still feel like there is room for more. It has served me well, and I couldn’t be more excited about these items. Anthropologie is already sold out. Hopefully there will be options costing less than $3,000 available to the trade soon.

What are you seeing as far as 2015 Design Trends go where you are?

Stagers Should Attend the Photo Shoot. Even Experts Need Another Eye!

stagers photo styling

Fred Astaire “helps” Richard Avedon

Recently, I read an article about Staging and Photo Styling that contained some very useful tips for preparing a room for professional marketing pictures.  Real estate experts and professional stagers agree that the first impression is often the last impression so the marketing photographs need to be eye-catching and show the property at its pinnacle.


Should a Stager design and install a staging plan based on the angles from which the photographs will be taken or on the buyer walk-throughs?   Or is there a way to provide the best of both to a seller?


The answer is yes, and very simple.  Hire your stager to be on-site for the photo shoot.  Working directly with the professional photographer and seeing the room through the camera’s lens, we often rearrange not just accessories, but rugs, lights and the furniture in order to create dramatic and appealing photographs that will be posted on the various websites and included in tear sheets.  Maybe a rare photographer would see it as interference, but given the importance of online images as the start point for buyers, stagers should attend the photo shoot.

In a Penthouse Unit in Long Island City, the cocktail table, side table, accent chairs, sofa, rugs and accessories were all rearranged for that “wow” picture.  After we relocated the furnishings to just a few feet from the wall of windows (which was the location of the camera for this fabulous shot of the entertaining space), we rearranged every pillow, book and accessory – even in the den on the opposite side of the fireplace – in order to maximize the impact of the photograph.   Two accent chairs and table were removed from the seating arrangement in order to open the view into the dining area and out to the terrace.

Long Island City Home Staging for photos

When the listing brokers brought buyers into this penthouse, this was the furniture plan that greeted them.  Look closely at the coffee table and the sisal rug with the kilim overlay.  You can see how much we rearranging we did for this shot (along with chair substitutions along with a prop and accessory shuffle).

long Island City home staging of a penthouse apt

As another example, this is what happens when I’m not there -below- look at the rug! It’s a simple detail that’s been overlooked; the camera preview square is small, I get it. Yet this simply would not have happened had the stager been onsite. Just have us there, even you can’t bear the interference of a photo stylist!

Stage the Shoot for meticulous photos

It truly is worth the one or two hour investment to have your Stager on site for the photo shoot. You have one chance to make that first impression and to capture and present the money shot.


Photos courtesy of Evan Joseph.

Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow’s UES Penthouse In Contract – My Staging BTW.

Home Staging NYC

530 East 72nd Street – spectacular views of the east river from Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow apartment.

It is not every day that I get to do a celebrity home staging.  And this one sat for a while.  Luxury Listings NYC announced last week that Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow’s UES penthouse is finally under contract.  They were asking a lot of money for the home thanks to its provenance. It is a beautiful glass penthouse apartment with 18′ ceilings, a really fun spiral glass staircase and possibly the best views of the East River in town!

The apartment was built in 1961, with Frank allegedly “very active in the penthouse design.”  With 3,200 sq. ft, there are 4 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms.  There is an additional 2,000 sq. ft of terrace space. More folklore reports that Sammy Davis, Jr “enjoyed tossing champagne glasses down on FDR Drive from the apartment’s terraces.”  Andy Warhol was a frequent guest at splashy rat-pack parties and called the co-op “the glittering grotto.”

President John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe are also reported guests.

These photos — taken of my staging – originally appeared in Elle Decor, taken by SF Gate.



Real Estate Photography Tips

NYC home staging | home stagerWhat is one of the most important aspects of Home Staging that is rarely mentioned?  It can make the most beautiful installation look cheap and unprofessional.  Yet without it, our work might never be recognized.  The answer? The professional photographs used to market the property. It’s so important that we home stagers pay real attention. As a result, here are some real estate photography tips I’ve picked up.

The Home Stager’s Perspective

Working with NYC real estate, I realize that photographing an apartment that is up for sale is a challenging assignment. Making interiors look amazing is not easy.  Many photographers and real estate agents rely on the Stager to be on-site to shift, re-accessorize and even rearrange room layouts just to capture that million dollar marketing shot.  When you are photographing an empty room, the reader identifies everything that is wrong with the space, which could easily translate into no-shows for open houses.  So what should a photographer do when faced with an empty property?

Do the same thing he should do when faced with a furnished one: don’t use the wide angle lens for every shot.  Zoom in on details, points of interest.  Make vignettes that allow the viewer to step into the picture.  Take shots that bring the outside INTO the room if the view is a selling point, like this photographer did when shooting part of the master bedroom at One57.

Real Estate Photography Tip #1 –  Tell A Story

Real estate photography should tell a story.  Wood beams.  Brick walls.  Exposed ceiling pipes and duct-work.  Intricate moldings.  Kitchens.  Clawfoot tubs.  Glass showers.  The list is endless when the wide angle is replaced. Try creating a collage of photographs that tell a more “personal” story of the materials and architecture. In the photograph below, I suggested that the photographer zoom in on the beamed ceiling (maybe we would see some character in the wood?) or create a juxtaposition of the beams with the ceiling piping (old versus new?). Give the photographs a bit of sensuality; make them look as if they were borrowed from the pages of AD

Real Estate Photography Tip #2 –  Post Processing

The secret about real estate photography that nobody wants to mentions is that, while the shot is important, and yes, the type of camera and the light, etc., it is post-processing that makes or breaks the final product.

When I asked a pro about the key ingredients to shooting vacant property successfully, here were some suggestions:

Starting with the raw file:

1) straighten all vertical lines (and making them parallel).

2) reduce highlights and spreading the light more evenly.

3) reducing the black-balance, and shadows…thus pulling the histogram out of extremes

A big round of applause and huge kudos to the photographers who continue to make my Stagings look so spectacular!  Without your keen eye (and your patience when I stop the shoot to adjust the blanket at the foot of the bed or turn the floral arrangement ever-so-slightly to the left so the fuller side is in the shot), my work would never be noticed.  Thank you!


If you are looking for propping your next photo shoot, consider an accomplished NYC home stager.  Call me! I’m at 917-428-3965.

NYC home staging

Do Home Stagers Look At Trends?

Moroccan Trends

Ask successful Home Stagers if they follow the interior design industry trends and most will tell you “no”, that they maintain a timeless, season-less look.  A trend has to get pretty mainstream before most home stagers will consider incorporating it into their projects.  Amazing Space NYC has a different point of view on trends.  We believe that at certain price points, an interior that has elements of current design styles, colors and motifs can be essential to that property selling at or above the ask price.  New Yorkers want interiors that are current but workable within what often can be tight living quarters.  Here is what you might see in some of our future staging designs:

The 3 M’s: Moorish, Moroccan, Mediterranean

I thoroughly enjoy scouring the trade shows.  At last month’s NY NOW show (formerly known as the NY Gift Show), it was clear which patterns and styles were going to be the sweeping trend this fall.  Moroccan and Arabesque designs are not new to the interior design trend circle; I have actually written about them in the past, and they certainly are not fading away yet.   Designs that are attributed to southern Spain, northern Africa and the Arabian peninsula were a-plenty at the August trade show. Octagons, quatre-foil, kilim, ikat, suzani and Moroccan tile – these cultural icons will be the must-haves in design.  Take a few minutes to watch “The Making of the Palace” for the FX series “Tyrant”.  Cece De Stefano is a brillant designer and successfully encapsulated the grandeur and recognizable motifs of Middle Eastern, Moroccan and Mediterranean design.  ASNYC will embrace them in some of our future stagings as well.   [great video of the whole set construction process –> – they built a whole palace]

Tyrant Set Design

Turkish Floor Lamp with mosaic and bronze

Turkish Floor Lamp with mosaic and bronze

Metals Move To The Warmer Side

Move over stainless steel and brushed nickel.  Polished chrome might fall to the back of the line, too.  The interior design industry is turning to warmer metals such as brass, copper and bronze.  But don’t worry – this is not the blinding, 80’s polished brass that we still have nightmares about.  The trend forecast is for brushed and matte finishes.  And while polished brass is finding a home in hardware, tables and light fixtures, the metal is not as yellow and loud as in previous decades.  The sheen is warmer and more sophisticated.  Go ahead and embrace this brass.  It reads elegance!

Other Popular Trends

Home Staging with Acrylic Furniture

Decoist makes a great case for Acrylic Furniture

For a home stager in NYC, Lucite and acrylic are invaluable materials for Staging.  Physically, clear lucite chairs provide the necessary seating for a dining area without visually overpowering the area.  This is especially important when staging the infamous living-dining area combinations of post-war construction that continues to saturate the NYC real estate market.  A space with 4 to 6 clear acrylic chairs can look open and inviting; fill the same space with upholstered seating and the area just became claustrophobic.

Metallics are still a fave of the design industry.  You will see them on pillows and even rugs, any why not?  They add a playful bit of glint and sparkle to an interior without looking like the Pottery Barn catalogue at Christmas time.  We have metallic rugs and pillows – and yes, even a few sequent accent pillows – in our inventory and they get a lot of action.

Metallic Pillows

Enjoy the trends that are coming to this fall’s interior designs.  You will certainly see some of the motifs in the home stagings by Amazing Space NYC.


For more about Amazing Space NYC’s interior design and home staging services, please call 917-428-3965.

2014 Trends – from this NYC Home Stager

Yes, it’s back! Un-lacquered brass (some vendors are calling it “satin brass”, “antique brass” and somewhat obviously, non-lacquered brass) is  considered to be a solid contender for the people who are “been, done that” about nickel and chrome. The theory is that brass is warmer and more elegant than its silver metal counterparts. It advances the appeal of the industrial decor revolution because  there’s little to no shine. And based on usage, each piece will tarnish and “age” differently.

“Everybody wants it!” reports Lauren Henry of Davis and Warshow a wholesale plumbing supply supplier to designers, architects, homeowners in New York City since 1925. “It’s been crazy; everybody for the last couple of months, maybe a year even. And they’re using it everywhere for everything – faucets, full bathrooms, kitchens, everything!”


“They like the way it tarnishes. Well, they like the idea of how it will tarnish. Most don’t seem to like the way it really does,” Lauren chuckled.

In this contemporary bathroom above,  the style comes from clever sleek combinations.  The matte black is a silestone surface called Tao in suede finish.  The oval mosaic sink is wide enough for a couple to share and beautifully echoes the oval tub. A sumptuous brass rain head in the shower satisfies the most lascivious aesthete; the views? Well, if I had to guess I’d say this photo was taken in NYC looking out at onto the West 70s somewhere.

Where are you with brass?

Suppliers like Samuel Heath and Barber Wilson are all jumping on the trend.  Here is just the traditional suite from Watermark, the Brooklyn manufacturer that Manhattanites yearn for —

home staging NYC trends with interior design
Can you believe that swan, in your grandmother’s house in Florida, could possibly become the biggest trend… again!!

2014 trends in NYC home staging

For interior design and home staging, please call Amazing Space NYC lead designer, Debbie Oulvey at 917-428-3965.

NYC Home Staging Experts Will Give You the Edge over the Competition

In an article for, Megan Hopkins tells readers how the services of home staging professionals may be beneficial to someone selling their home:

Home staging professionals discovered a unique way of marketing themselves in the fluctuating real estate environment by reminding home sellers that properties sell much faster after undergoing a professional facelift.
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