Our business is home staging, but we get to wear many hats in our work and personal lives.  We are boss babes, moms, and home decor enthusiasts.  On this blog you'll get to read a little bit about all of the above! 

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Melinda and I were so lucky to spend last weekend in Las Vegas for the 2018 RESA Convention. We spent two full days listening and interacting with the home staging industry leaders to learn tips and tricks of the trade that we can use to better serve our clients and thoughtfully better our business. The RESA Convention hosted hundreds of stagers representing newbies (like us) up to the OG stagers who have been in the market for years and really paved the way for staging services to be recognized as a valuable piece of the real estate puzzle. We are thankful to all those who were generous with their time, energy and enthusiasm and we are so excited to be home and get back to work!

Here are our top 4 takeaways from RESACON:

#1 - There is power in editing!

You have probably heard the quote by Coco Chanel that states that "before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off." The sentiment was originally geared towards personal fashion, but it rang true this weekend when re-introduced in the realm of home staging and styling. When we stage a property, we want the home to feel warm and inviting and certainly curated, but we think it's important to maintain restraint and use only the pieces of furniture and accessories that truly showcase a room and allow potential home buyers to understand the natural flow of the home. Just because you have always put a side table next to a couch, does not mean that the space needs the side table, nor will it necessarily provide any benefit. We recommend that when you prep your home for sale, you walk through each room and thoughtfully take one thing out!

#2 - Upcoming color tips with Vern Yip

Seriously, Vern Yip might be my new favorite person on the planet. I have watched him on TV since his days on Trading Spaces (which is coming back...yay!), but while I was excited to see his name as the keynote speaker during the conference, I was blown away by his intelligence, humor, humility and kindness. He was simply amazing. One section of his presentation walked through emerging color trends. While we may not be using each of the colors and color combinations exclusively in our upcoming stages, do not be surprised if you begin to see pops of these colors woven in our designs.

#3 - The "rule of 2" and the "rule of 45"

Honestly, there is nothing sexy about this takeaway, but sometimes hearing a very simple practice can be mind-blowing. Like you, I am a busy lady - between 2 jobs, 2 kids and too many to-do's, I oftentimes have a hard time with time management and prioritization. So probably more than any other session at the conference, I was so excited to learn more about managing the administrative side as a business owner. While I learned MANY, MANY wonderful tips and tools to help manage the business (and my life!), I decided to immediately implement the following:

- Rule of 2: If a task can be done in two minutes, do it now. Simple, easy, no brainer. So why does half of the to-do's on my list, many of which take less than 2 minutes, continue to get moved from one day's list to the next?? No more, now when I review my to-do lists, I call out those short, simple tasks and knock them out immediately.

- Rule of 45: It's so hard to stay on track with all the distractions these days - emails, texts, Instagram alerts, etc - it never ends. And as a result, my work never gets done. The rule of 45 specifies that you break down your tasks into 45 minute intervals where you completely dedicate yourself to ONE task for 45 minutes (unless it's completed sooner) and completely set aside all other items until you've hit 45 minutes. Once you finish 45 minutes, then you can use the remaining 15 minutes to check email and address all those other administrative tasks (distractions!) before starting again on your next item. Genius.

#4 - Stager and homeowner DIY hacks

Melinda and I thought that we had a pretty good handle on many of the tips and tricks that stagers use in their properties, but we quickly learned that there is a whole arsenal of tricks that never made our radar. Here are a few good tips and products:

- Painter's tripod: Have you ever painted a piece of furniture and struggled to paint the bottoms of the legs? Enter the painter's tripod. How did I go so long without this guy? The tripod props up your furniture so that you can evenly paint a piece, top to bottom.

- Etsy printables: We recommend that homeowners remove personal effects, such as family pictures, to allow potential buyers to envision themselves in the space, not the former owners. But what if you have a big gallery wall of family pics...do you need to buy all new art to replace them? Nope, just hop on Etsy and find a series of downloadable and printable art in sizes similar to your picture openings. This is an inexpensive way to cover up the personal photos without having to start from scratch.

- Combine rugs: I wouldn't recommend this hack for all rugs and all rooms, but if you need a large area rug but do not have the budget to purchase the size you need, a great tip is to find 2 smaller rugs and position them next to each other to give the appearance of an oversized area rug.

- Mr. Clean Magic Erasers: This is one thing that was already using at home and at jobs, but my goodness, the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is probably the best cleaning tool every invented. It cleans EVERYTHING. They are perfect for scuffs on your walls and baseboards. You can even pick off a small piece and use it as filler in a small nail hole. Seriously, this product has no limits.

One more DIY hack I wanted to share in about hanging art. I watched a video by Shari Auldridge from Staged Above that shows an amazing tip for hanging artwork and I think it will save you time, energy and your walls. Shari is great and had so many amazing insights, but this picture hanging hack blew my mind.

You can check out more of Shari at her site here and follow her on Instagram at @staged_above.

Okay, there you go, some really great takeaways from our time in Las Vegas. We might have also had some fun on the Strip as well, but that's for another time and place.

Tell me, what are some more tips, tricks and takeaways that you'd like us to share?



While this may be a little less glamorous than your traditional “what’s in my bag” series that you see with celebrities, we thought it would be fun to share the key items that we bring to all ours staging projects – all of which you can find at Target. Some of these may seem super obvious, but other items are just good tools that we would recommend you keep on hand as you prep your home (or your client’s home) for sale!

  • The Picture Hanging Tool by Hang & Level, nails and hooks

  • Hanging art can be really tricky, especially in older homes that have plaster walls. The last thing we want to do as stagers is damage any property, so it’s really important for us to have the right tools to effectively hang art. I posted an Insta story last week about the Picture Hanging Tool by Hang & Level, but we wanted to reiterate that it’s truly amazing. The tool itself lists out the steps, but it’s really an easy way to get a piece of art hung (level!) especially if you are by yourself. We use it at every project! Super important to have lots of nails and picture hooks in various sizes to accommodate the art selections.

  • Light bulbs

  • This is a no brainer, but it’s super important to walk around the entire property and make sure that all the lights are in good working order. A home shows better when well-lit, so in addition to allowing as much natural light to enter the home, it’s key to have lights on and lamps plugged in for showings. Inevitably, we are replacing light bulbs in properties all the time.

  • Cleaner, microfiber cloths and Goo Gone

  • Typically we schedule our staging projects to compliment the timing of a cleaning service, but it’s always a great idea to have cleaning supplies on hand to tidy up. We carry around a bulk supply of the microfiber clothes and they come in handy all the time.

Goo Gone is also a must have as we are always removing stickers and tags from our ever-changing inventory. Nothing worse than spending 20 minutes picking a sticker off a vase - ruins your manicure and your attitude!

  • General tools – hammer, screw driver, scissors

  • No explanation needed – we need them, always.

  • Extension cords

  • You would not believe how many times we stage a room only to find that the placement of our light source is nowhere near an outlet. We place furniture to showcase the room’s potential and that may or may not be how the homeowner had the room originally set up. So we always keep extra extension cords on hand so that we can make it work, regardless of the outlet location.

  • Steamer

We pack and repack bedding, curtains and cloth napkins on a regular basis and regardless of how carefully they are packed away, we always get wrinkles. Irons can do the trick but a steamer is so much quicker and easier. We typically run the steamer over all the bedding before we finish up bedrooms and the difference is remarkable.

  • Water bottle, Clif Bars and portable music player

  • Some projects are completed in a few hours and some can span over a few days. Oftentimes we are in the zone and end up working through lunch to knock out a project. So we always keep tons of water and snacks on hand. Moving around furniture is labor intensive and there’s nothing more important than taking care of ourselves so we can maintain the energy to put in our best work! Also super important for us to keep the tunes cranked up high and we love this portable speaker by JBL.

  • Business cards

  • We always leave a stack of business cards and a portable sign that indicates we staged the property!



I am so excited to share our amazing experience with Canvas Press to create this beautiful 16x20" one-of-a-kind canvas print. The whole process could not have been easier - picking a photo was probably the hardest and most time-consuming part!

Melinda and I scoured our phones for the perfect photo and luckily we had many options stemming from Melinda's recent trip to Europe with her mom - cue the jealousy :) We selected a gorgeous picture of two bicycles parked in front of rows and rows of vines at a vineyard in French. She leads a glamorous life, no?

So once the hard part was over, I simply logged in at Canvas Press - https://www.canvaspress.com/ - and literally ordered the 16x20" unstretched canvas in 3 simple clicks. Apparently when I submitted the pictures I did not set up the margins correctly (user error, oops!). No big deal - I had an email waiting for me the very next morning asking to confirm the margins and select the layout that best fit my needs. A+ for service!

Canvas Press sent our custom print within a week and we are now the proud owners of an awesome personalized canvas! I am thrilled with the results. I ordered a frame for the canvas, so I think we'll start getting it into our staging rotation as soon as I get it back from the framers. Seriously, we were so impressed with Canvas Press - you should check it out with you favorite pic!


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OLIVE + OPAL INTERIORS, LLC

1-314-254-5086

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Home staging and styling for the St. Louis area. Serving Kirkwood, Webster Groves, Warson Woods, Glendale, Ladue, Des Peres, Olivette, Sunset Hills, Clayton, University City, Central West End, South City, Lafayette Square, & Soulard. 

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