Lianne Cousvis is a graduate of QC Design School with certifications in decorating (IDDP), home staging and redesign (ISRP), color consulting (ICCP), and professional organizing (AIOP). Lianne grew up in the Bahamas, where colors are celebrated and regularly utilized. She now owns her own design company, ChiChi Fringo Designs, in Toronto, Canada.
The expertise of a home stager will ensure that your home appeals to as many buyers as possible, thus getting the best possible sale on your home! Part of being on top of your game in this field is knowing what the current trends are. From there, you can incorporate them in your home staging jobs.
In recent years, the trends have leaned heavily towards the importance of saving the planet. Environmentally-friendly décor ideas can be big or small, but every little bit helps. Here are 5 useful ideas that you can use in your next home staging job, no matter what the budget!
1. Low VOC Paint vs. Regular Paint
Paint is usually the number one game-changer when home staging. Your best bet is to shop for zero-VOC or low-VOC emission paints, which have no volatile organic compounds. Almost every brand has this paint available. While it is usually more expensive, it’s certainly worth the investment!
Pro tip: You can also use stencils with your low-VOC paint to create a pattern that mimics wallpaper. Wallpaper is trendy and fun for certain areas, such as a small powder room. This lets you give the home depth in an eco-friendly way, without any harmful adhesives!
2. Natural Fabrics vs. Synthetic Textiles
When home staging, you’ll tend to use a LOT of fabrics. Fabric can be used in many ways, such as:
- To create window coverings
- To hide any unwanted sights
- To cover throw pillows and make a couch inviting
- To add on top of bedding
- To create a focal point within the room
Fabric rugs are commonly used to warm up a space, or define the space in homes with open floor plans. As a certified home stager, you can suggest more than just synthetic textiles for your client’s décor. Instead, you can offer luxurious, eco-friendly options, such as the ones listed above!
For example: your client can swap out synthetic materials for a window treatment and instead choose a fabric woven from renewable resources or recycled fibers. To take it a step further, you can also look for fibers that have been dyed with natural dyes made from plants, fruits, and even berries.
As a general rule of thumb, good eco-friendly materials to use for décor include:
- Organic cotton
These are all great options for bedding, window coverings, and throw pillows – just to name a few! If you want eco-friendly area rugs, look for wool, jute, sisal, and/or seagrass options.
3. Upcycling vs. Buying
Home staging often means swapping out your client’s furniture for other pieces that are going to appeal to a wider audience. But what happens when you encounter a client who’s firm on keeping a piece of their own furniture in the staging, regardless of what you say?
Well, if they aren’t willing to part with it, maybe they’d be open to upcycling it with a bit of paint? (So long as it’s no-VOC or low-VOC, of course!)
Upcycling your client’s current possessions gives you the opportunity to save her money on storage. It also eliminates the need to buy a replacement piece when staging the home, so rental fees are reduced. A fresh coat of paint could breathe new life into so many items that would otherwise end up in a landfill!
(Just make sure you always have your client’s permission before re-purposing any of her belongings!)
Items can also be re-purposed in terms of how or where they’re staged.
Let’s just say that your client is trying to sell her home in a relatively hip and youthful neighborhood. The potential buyers are likely to be those in their mid-twenties to early forties. Your client wants the house to reflect this hip and trendy vibe, both inside and out. So you decide to take that bike she was planning to get rid of, coat it with one solid, funky color, and mount it on a wall.
Our point is, think outside the box! Remember: when home staging, you’re thinking in terms of (1) scale and (2) the color of all the pieces. You’re not thinking in terms of what room the furniture was originally purchased for.
4. Shop Local vs. Shipping
Shopping locally not only supports small business owners, but it cuts down on the transportation-related damage that shipping causes to the environment. This category can mean anything, from the artwork you need to stage the home, to the flooring.
If you have the budget to replace an outdated or worn floor in your client’s home, you might want to choose a wood floor that has been harvested responsibly. For example, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) stamp of approval in wood is especially important when choosing tropical hard woods. Tropical hard woods are durable and highly sought after, but due to not being harvested in an eco-friendly way, they’re also at risk!
Of course, the best way to be eco-friendly is to use salvaged materials! Other flooring options that can be considered eco-friendly décor substitutes include bamboo and cork. Bamboo is actually a type of grass that is extremely sustainable. Cork, on the other hand, is harvested from the outer bark of cork trees. This is done so that the rest of the tree is left standing, and preserved. Cork is sound absorbent and cushy, making it a décor option with great potential for home owners!
5. Plastic Plants vs. Real Plants
As a home stager, you’ll soon realize that plants are an irreplaceable décor item! You can use plants to add pops of color needed to help create the proper curb appeal, and curb appeal is your first step in getting potential buyers to enter the home! Once you do that, you’ll find that adding houseplants indoors also makes a great eco-friendly décor option that’s both pleasing and practical.
But while many believe that having fake, plastic plants is the better option, it’s absolutely not the more eco-friendly one. Real plants act as living sculptures that can fill in awkward spaces or empty places. They filter out toxins, add welcomed humidity to warm rooms, emit fresh oxygen, and improve a home’s overall air quality. Studies have also shown that real plants have a positive effect on both our physical and mental health!
Plastic plants are the exact opposite. They offer no positive health benefits – physically or mentally – and they’re made with dyes in large factories. In fact, the manufacturing of plastic plants contributes greatly to the growing pollution problems our planet is facing.
These are just a small handful of all the potential eco-friendly home décor swaps you can make, both for yourself and for your clients! A career in professional home staging means that you’re devoting yourself to always wanting to give your clients the best service you possibly can. Showing your concern for the environment when you choose eco-friendly decor swaps, instead of the non-green options, is just ONE way you can stand out in this competitive field.
Moving forward, how best can you learn the ins and outs of home staging? Education, of course! Home stager schools, such as QC Design School, give students the chance to learn from professional stagers who can provide expert tips and tricks from the real world. Home stager schools also allow you to immerse yourself in realistic assignments that best prepare you for the realities of working in this creative field.