11 Tips to Staging Your Home

Home Staging is preparing your home to get the best price possible and a quicker sale. 

But what do you do first?

Here we have a detailed list of things to do and a cheat sheet you can download to make life easier. 

Did You Know?

According to a recent survey of over 3500 homes, spending 1-3% of the value of your home on home staging and upgrades will typically net you a 10% return in the sale! Wow right? Staging is always better and more cost efficient than the first price reduction. Typical price reductions are $10K! Most home staging doesn’t cost that. Did you know that you can start with a consultation for as little as $250? 

Here are some things a Home Stager would tell you to do:

1. Disassociate

You are selling your home, so let’s think of your house as a “product.” You will start packing things up and looking for a new house. We know you have a lot of memories in this house but soon you will be making memories in a new house. 

2.Commit to the Process

The hard work you put in now to get your house ready to sell will give you great rewards in the sale of your home. Wouldn’t it be nice to get more money than you expected? So make the necessary improvements with the greatest ROI (Return on investment) and you won’t be disappointed. This means doing everything on this list. Really give it everything you’ve got. This will also give buyers no excuse not to fall in love with your home and make an offer. 

3.Get Help

Using a professional stager will increase your staging returns enormously. Professional Stagers have gone through a rigorous training, some are Interior Designers (I am) and have a passion for all things design. These people are the perfect solution if you want to get the best results and least amount of time invested. Visit www.livewelldesigns.net for more info on our Home Staging Services.

4.Packing Starts Now

Soon you will be looking for a new house, if you haven’t already. So, get those boxes, have a yard sale, and donate anything you no longer need or want. You don’t want to move to the next house with a bunch of things you don’t want or need anymore. It is a hassle to pack and move. So, pack and move with less. This will also help in staging your home. Less stuff means less clutter. 

5.Fix It

Only low ball investors like homes that need work, so make those repairs now! A Home Stager will tell you the things that will get your best ROI(Return on Investment). Painting is a huge one! Do you have bright and bold colors on your walls? I love a good color but most home buyers will be turned off by that and deduct money from their offer so they can repaint. See my paint color cheatsheet for recommended colors to use. Other fixes can be simple and easy fixes. The idea is to give the buyer no reason to take money off their offer and every reason to put in a top offer. 

6.No Profile

Don’t allow buyers to profile you. This means you need to pack away any political, religious or anything else that could be considered offensive. Not everyone shares our beliefs or opinions and we don’t want to turn them off. Again, we want to give them every reason to make an offer and no excuse not too.

7.Photo Rules

People get uncomfortable in a house when it feels like other people live there. This happens with our photos of our family etc. This brings us back to packing starts now. The only photos that should be out are Lifestyle photos. This could be your family skiing at a local mountain, drinking wine at a winery etc. This gives them the feeling of the “good life” in your home. 


Any home accessories older than 4 years old or smaller than a baseball should get packed away. The house needs to feel clean, well organized and updated. If you have a home stager, they might recommend a few things you should get to complete the look. Sometimes they rent you their accessories but that depends on a few things. So, talk to your stager if you have one. 


Natural light is the best light. Removing old or cheap drapes helps to let in that natural light. Feel free to keep blinds/shades but have them in their fully raised position unless these are good quality. Replace any dated fixtures and trim bushes near windows. 


Fresh Pillows, Large Artwork, Live Plants or even real looking fake ones, white towels all make a HUGE impact on the look and feel of your house. All to many times I have found the artwork is not to scale with the wall or furniture. Plants bring in life and white towels give the impression of cleanliness. 


If you have a lot to do or a big job that you aren’t able to conquer yourself then hire someone to help or just take care of it. Your real estate agent or home stager should have a list of vendors they recommend. 


Following these will give you the best opportunity to sell your home fast and for the most money. These are also things that a home stager can’t do but we would tell you if you hired us. 

Get your Staging Cheat Sheet here. Stick it to the fridge and check off the things you have done. This will keep you on track and focused. Giving you the best results and outcome. Remember, we want every buyer to feel comfortable in your home that could soon be theirs. Give them every reason to fall in love with your house, make an offer and get you your asking price. 


After it all you’ll have a home ready for photos. 90% of buyers look at the houses online before visiting the house. This means your photos are key in getting more showings. Staging your house will get you amazing photos to share everywhere. Note: Websites like Zillow and Realtor.com send out emails of new listings to anyone who has saved that search. This means your home and photos are being sent to A LOT of people as soon as you list it. Make those impressions last with great photos. 


Happy Staging!

Wendy Valente

How to choose a shade or blind

How to choose the right shade or blind?

So, you are looking to get a shade or blind for your window! 

But wait…..what should you get?

There are a lot of products on the market now with all the bells and whistles. So how do you choose?

Now, I have been doing window treatments for 5 years and I LOVE shades. I am also an Interior Designer and Dealer of Graber Shades and Blinds etc. I LOVE Graber so much. They have incredible customer service, fabulous products and a fair price. Let’s get started!

First go to my blog post about measuring for shades and blinds. 


This will help you understand your windows and help us narrow down the products that fit and the ones that don’t.

OK, Great! Now that you know that, what is the depth of your window?

Keep this in mind as you look at each product info.

Let’s get down to the shades and blinds. 

Here are the most popular shades and blinds available on the market. We will use Graber shades and blinds as a reference because they are both good quality and a good price. (Again, many more companies and products on the market but these are the most used)

  • Cellular Shades
  • Roller/Solar Shades
  • Roman Shades
  • Wood/Fauxwood Blinds
  • Natural Shades
  • Pleated Shades
  • Layered Shades
  • Sheer Shades
  • Aluminum Blinds

Cellular Shades

Cellular Shades meld on-trend fabrics with a honeycomb structure to regulate a home’s temperature and save energy year-round. They’re fully customizable, with four cell sizes and four opacity levels in a thoughtfully considered palette. These need at least ⅝” depth for installation. 

  • Unsurpassed insulation—​our best-selling cellular shades ​​are equal to or more energy efficient than the competition​.​
  • On-trend colors, textures, and patterns complement any living space.
  • ​Four cell sizes available including​ our best-selling 3/4″ single cell, 3/8″ single cell, ​1/2″ double cell, and larger 1 1/4″ single cell​—perfect for large windows.
  • ​D-cell structure prevents pleats from sagging over time, increasing the longevity of the shade.
  • Soft, lofty spunlace fabric offers excellent sound absorption, especially in rooms with hard flooring or brick surfaces.
  • Excellent wide window solution—all fabrics offer continuous widths to cover​ up to 144″ wide and Slide-Vue™ up to 192″ wide​.
  • Color coordination of light-filtering and blackout​ fabrics unifies a home’s design.
  • Sun up/sun down and Perfect-Vue™ shades combine two fabrics for versatility in style, light control, and privacy.​ For added light control, add room-darkening side channels or a lightblocking strip.​​
  • Add convenience, simplicity, and hands-free operation to cellular shades by upgrading to motorized controls.

Roller/Solar Shade

Solar Shades are engineered to filter light into the room, while minimizing the glare and harmful UV rays. The unique fabrics also allow for a view outdoors. As chic as they are functional, solar shades are available in a variety of beautiful fabrics and openness levels.​

Roller Shades let consumers easily manage the light in their homes to keep rooms cool and comfortable. Available in a wide array of contemporary colors and fabrics, roller shades are a stylish twist on basic shades.

Exterior Solar Shades hang outside consumers’ homes or patio windows to keep indoor and outdoor living spaces cool, private, and protected from damaging UV rays.

I LOVE these! Absolutely my favorite! These are a simple and clean look. These require at least ¾” depth for installation. 

  • Extremely energy efficient, solar and roller shades manage heat gain so that consumers save money on heating and cooling costs while reducing their carbon footprint.
  • UV protection shields valuable furniture, rugs, and artwork from harmful rays and prevents fading.
  • Consumers choose the opacity of their roller shades—whether sheer, light filtering, room darkening, or blackout, which completely blocks light for the ultimate in privacy. 
  • Our clutch is regarded as the best in the industry, ensuring smooth operation.
  • Graber uses GREEN​GUARD and Oeko-Tex certified fabrics for solar and roller shades, which help maintain good indoor air quality. These fabrics are a great selling point for health-conscious consumers and green businesses.
  • The solar and roller sampling materials are designed to sell for your residential and light commercial customers. With all colors shown in all openness options, informative header IDs on each swatch, and intuitive sorting of fabric collections.
  • This product launch introduces popular light commercial options, including side/sill channels, pockets, and coupled shades.
  • Solar and roller shades can be easily combined with other Graber window treatments in matching or coordinating fabrics, allowing you to expand your sale to multiple rooms.

Roman Shade

These are ideal for nicer areas of the home. They are more elegant and very beautiful. You’ll need at lease ½” depth for installation. 

  • Graber Fresco Roman Shades, available in both sampling vehicles, offer a more economical alternative to fabric shades.
  • Customer’s Own Material option lets you send in a customer’s fabric using the Artisan ordering options.
  • Custom Artisan drapery hardware collection is perfectly coordinated with the new Graber Artisan grommet colors and sizes.
  • 12 business day ship and quality enhancements including pinhole-free blackout shades give you confidence when closing sales.

Wood Blinds

An investment in quality, our wood blinds are a premium product for the discerning consumer. Help your clients set the tone for their living spaces with Wood Blinds, an elegant complement to a variety of décor styles—from rustic to ultramodern. We offer a wide array of paint and stain colors to allow you to enhance one room or an entire home. You’ll need at least ¾” depth for installation. 

  • Graber Wood Blinds are manufactured from 100% North American hardwoods that foresters harvest using sustainable practices on managed forest land. This eco-friendly approach appeals to consumers interested in purchasing green products.
  • Since we control the Graber component manufacturing process, your orders ship on time.
  • Our products surpass the competition: Graber Wood Blinds block the light more effectively and feature a better tilt bar for smooth and even manipulation by your clients.
  • Bottomrail buttons keep the wood blinds from hitting your windowsill, protecting fine woodwork and minimizing scratches.​

Faux wood Blinds

Well-crafted and durable, Graber Faux Wood and Composite Blinds offer your customers the luxe look of real wood—for less. Our color palette is on trend, but not trendy, and our patented design offers better light blocking capability and increased privacy.

Lake Forest®​​ Faux Wood Blinds are affordable, easy-to-clean, and engineered to withstand moisture.

Lake Forest Premium Faux Wood Blinds coordinate beautifully with Graber Wood Blinds by matching wood grains and colors.

Traditions® Composite Blinds combine the appearance of wood with extra durability—making them ideal for high humidity areas, such as kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.

 You’ll need at least ¾” depth for installation. 

  • Graber Faux Wood and Composite Blinds feature our patented, 2″ SureClose™​ Headrail, which incorporates a light-blocking lip to eliminate light leaks between the headrail and slats.
  • The crash-proof cordlock on our blinds keeps them from impacting the windowsill, increasing the life of the product. The cordlock also has a rolled edge that extends beyond the headrail to protect cords from fraying.
  • Universal box brackets allow for easy installation, which speeds the process for your clients.​

Natural Shade

Today more than ever, environmentally-friendly materials speak to consumers who want to incorporate green products into their homes. The Graber Natural Shades program allows your clients to cultivate sophisticated style with on-trend colors and textures, while providing a renewable, rustic look that feels exciting and new. At least ¾” depth is needed for installation. 

  • We offer an assortment that addresses changing trends in the marketplace, including light colors and lightweight textures.
  • Simple yet effective upgrades including liners (available a variety of neutral-to-the-street color choices), edge banding, and more.

Pleated Shade

Graber Pleated Shades feature inspired​ textiles from a broad spectrum of colors, patterns, and textures, all folded into crisp pleats. It’s a sophisticated and modern look that also ​filters the light for your customer’s living space. You’ll need at least ⅝” depth for installation. 

  • Trend-right colors, patterns, and textures—expanded assortment complements any decor with a textured, handcrafted look—including menswear-inspired fabrics, as well as fabrics that resemble natural materials​.
  • Pleated shades are available in two pleat sizes. A classic 1″ pleat adds subtle softness and textural interest to most windows. The larger 2″ pleat lends drama to windows with more expansive proportions​​.
  • Sun up/sun down and Perfect-Vue™ shades combine two fabrics for versatility in style, light control, and privacy.​ For added light control, add room-darkening side channels or a lightblocking strip.​
  • For increased privacy and light control, include a privacy ​or blackout liner.

Layered Shade

An inspired hybrid of fabric shades and horizontal blinds, Graber Mezzanine Layered Shades offer the ultimate flexibility in light control. Stripes of sheer fabric are parallel to tightly woven solid fabric. When opened or closed, the layers elegantly shift to provide light filtering or lightblocking. The sheer fabric protects furniture, flooring, and artwork from damaging UV rays, while the solid fabric stripes filter or block the light.

Layered shades ensure a modern and minimal design with maximum impact. You’ll need at least ¾” depth for installation. 

  • From textured weaves to​ subtle metallics, we offer a wide range of layered fabrics to accent any decor style.
  • Impress your clients with the quality of Mezzanine layered shades; no visible seams disrupt the fabric’s pattern or the panorama beyond the window​.
  • With our thoughtful finishing touches—such as a fabric-wrapped cassette valance standard on every shade—you can offer every client a sleek and upgraded look.
  • Three opacity levels to meet all needs.
  • ​A limited lifetime w​arranty for years of worry-free performance.

Sheer Shade

Sheer Shades are the next iteration of window treatments. Two layers of sheer fabric protect furniture, flooring, and artwork from damaging UV rays; the supple, lightweight fabric vanes overlap when closed to diffuse the light or block it more completely.

By melding gorgeous fabrics and state-of-the-art construction with versatile functionality, sheer shades give you a virtuoso performance. You’ll need at least 1 ⅜” depth for installation.

  • Enhanced vane closure provides greater privacy, light control, and peace of mind.
  • ​Overture sheer shades are available in three different vane sizes, so you can offer the best possible view for any window.
  • 100% woven, glue-free construction. Unsightly glued seams can yellow over time.​
  • From classic neutrals to richer hues, we offer a wide range of sheer fabrics to accent any decor style.
  • With our thoughtful finishing touches—such as a fabric-wrapped cassette valance standard on every shade—you can offer every client a sleek and upgraded look.
  • Two opacity levels to meet all needs.​
  • A limited lifetime warranty for years of worry-free performance.

Aluminum Blind

The most versatile of all window treatments, Horizontal Blinds provide excellent privacy and light control, as well as a wide selection of color and design choices. At least ¾” depth is needed for installation. 

  • Unlike the competition, Graber 2″ Aluminum Horizontal Blinds have a patented SureClose light-blocking lip. This eliminates light leaks between the headrail and slats.
  • Our 1″ aluminum blinds offer a Supreme Headrail, another patented light-blocking lip.
  • Specially designed, unique bumper pads keep the bottom rail of our horizontal blinds from hitting the windowsill, which protects fine woodwork by minimizing scratches.

Please keep in mind that even though you have the depth to install the shades or blinds that does not mean they will be 100% recessed into your window. Most times they stick out some. This is fine but depends on your personal preference. This should be discussed at the time of initial conversation so the right product can be chosen. 


I know that was A LOT but now you should be ready to make a well informed decision. 

What do you like most? What do you think will look best in your space?


Now that we have all that figured out you are ready to get your windows covered! YAY!


Next Step:

Call me 518-506-5049 to get your shades or blinds. A lot can be done via phone, email etc. 



Go to www.graberblinds.com and they will pair you with an expert in your area. 

I hope you found that helpful and you now know what to choose. It is a big decision and a big investment into your home and your space so getting the right one is important. 


Make sure you don’t miss anything…sign up and receive them first.

Thank You!

Wendy Valente


How to Measure for Shades and Blinds

Why do you want to know how to measure for blinds and shades? 

  • You need good measurements to get a quote from a supplier/dealer. 
  • It will save you a lot of time and keep your quote as accurate as possible. 
  • If you are over on your measurements then your shade/blinds won’t fit. 
  • If you are under on your measurements then you’ll have larger gaps between the shade and the window molding.
  • You can order your shades and blinds online or over the phone and ensure you get a shade/blind that fits perfectly.


What do you need to measure?

  • Depth of window-this will let you know if you have enough depth to install a shade or blind. Typically you need at least ¾ inch or more to install one. 
  • Inside the window-Depending on the above answer, if you have at least ¾ inch you can install a shade or blind inside the window frame. This is an ideal situation as it looks nicer and is a cleaner look. 
  • Outside the window-If you do not have at least ¾ inch on the inside then you’ll need to install your shade or blind on your molding or above your molding on the wall. 


How to measure the depth?

Take a hard measuring tape (not a flimsy tape or one for measuring for clothes) to the inside top of the window. This is where the shade/blind gets installed so this measurement is what we need. 


Do you have at least ¾ inch?


If yes, see How to measure inside the window

If no, see How to measure outside the window


How to measure the Inside of a window?

Measure from left to right at the top of the window frame inside the molding. Measuring at the top gets you the right measurement for installation. Measure again in the middle of the window and again at the bottom. Take the smallest measurement so the shade/blind doesn’t rub on the inside of the molding. We are rounding down to the nearest ⅛ of an inch. Most shades or blinds will automatically come in ¼ to ½ inch less as a deduction the manufacturer automatically makes in production. So, don’t round down too much or else you will have large gaps. 

Now measure from bottom to top. Do again in the middle and each side. This measurement can be a little more for Cellular(Honeycomb) shades or Roller shades but should be exact or slightly shorter for a Silhouette/Overture shade. 

How to measure the Outside of a window?

Measure from left to right on the outside of the molding. Measure the top, middle and bottom. You can add a little to this measurement to ensure the shade/blind covers the molding when in the down position. 


(If you are installing shade/blind onto the molding) Measure from bottom or sill to the top of the outside of molding. 


(If you are installing on the wall above the molding see measurement instructions above) and measure above the window from top of molding to the ceiling. The shade/blind will be installed above and additional inches needed for length depending on the type of shade/blind you are choosing. 


Note: If you have thick molding, take a measurement of that as well. An extension may be needed to install shade/blind and it clear the window and have no trouble operating.


Now what?

Now you are done! You can either go to the store and find the closest shade they carry (they don’t have all sizes) order online or contact me! 


Need help?

I can help you take measurements, find the right shade/blind for you, order and ship directly to you. Instructions for installation come with the shades/blinds and are not that difficult. If you are in the Upstate New York area I can give you full service by measuring, ordering, and installing. 

Stay connected and never miss anything from us.

~Wendy Valente

Hello and Welcome!

My name is Wendy and I am a wife and mother of 3 girls (6 and twin 2 1/2 year olds) It is crazy around our house but that doesn’t stop me from doing what I love!

                                (ok, not the greatest picture but who has time for perfect?)


What do I love? (Besides these guys)

Interior Design! I love creating something beautiful. I earned my degree in Interior Design about 7 years ago, did Kitchens and Baths for a year, Window Treatments for 5. Now I am a Certified Home Stager and business owner.

I am a lifelong creative, working at Joanns twice and though I didn’t make much money, I LOVED helping people with their projects. Still do! I am that person at Joanns (not an employee) that tells people what to get, give advice, and tell them where to find it.

That is what you can expect from this blog. Home decor ideas, lessons, places to go, coupons to use or discounts to get.

Learn with me and make your home more beautiful and a happier place to live.


P.S. Never miss our helpful design info. Get them emailed directly to you!