For over three decades, the Showhomes franchise system has helped sell more than 30,000 high-end residences to the tune of $10 billion by transforming them into fully-furnished, welcoming homes through staging.
One of Showhome’s greatest staging secrets to success? Staying on trend.
Whether it’s a modern home or one with a rich history, every vacant property benefits from updated staging.
“You have to stage accordingly. I’m getting ready to stage a house built in the 1920s, and people who like that house are not necessarily going to like modern furniture,” said Cindi Stringer, a Showhomes franchisee in North Carolina. “But if you make it look too period, it will feel dated. I’m going to mix traditional furnishings with some that are on-trend to achieve the look I want.”
Stringer, a retired nurse, has been a Showhomes owner for a little over eight years. To keep ahead of decorating trends, she frequents events such as the High Point Market, the largest furnishings industry trade show in the world, and is currently enrolled in an online interior design class. Showhomes also offers design certifications and shares many helpful insights at annual conferences.
For Showhomes franchisees that have a flair for design, home staging can be a way to show off their creativity in a way that has tangible results. “It’s a lot of fun to see a house come together, and so quickly,” said Stringer.
Spring Color Trends
Neutrals are a key element of all interior design. They serve as a blank canvas on which to add personality. “In staging, we put a neutral color on the walls so that anybody’s furniture will look good in the room,” explained Stringer. “Even with our bigger pieces of furniture, we stay pretty neutral.”
For the last seven years, Stringer said, most neutral palettes have been shades of gray, but now the hues are turning softer.
“Colors are popular for around a ten-year timeframe, so design experts are starting to trend away from gray and more toward creamy white and taupe,” she said. “We’ll still see grays, but they’ll be softer, like Benjamin Moore’s 2019 Color of the Year, Metropolitan.”
Showhomes staging experts then incorporate pops of color to add life and interest to the room. Adding vibrancy through artwork, throw pillows and in rugs and drapery can go a long way. This spring, designers are gravitating toward soft oranges, soft blues, forest greens and even black.
“For these pops of color, we are looking at the colors of the year, like Pantone’s 2019 Color of the Year, Living Coral, which is a softer orange,” said Stringer. “We're also seeing Craven Clay, which is kind of like a terra cotta color, but again, softer. Leather can take on that color well.”
While navy dominated the market last year, this year, it’s also getting a “makeunder,” as demonstrated by Behr’s Color of the Year, Blueprint. A calming and toned-down gray-blue, Blueprint is nearly denim. Along the same lines, earthy greens are going to be big this spring as tastemakers look toward a more natural aesthetic.
Stringer tips her hat to Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” fame for bringing black into vogue. “With the modern farmhouse revival—where everything is white and black—we’re seeing black windows, shower frames, kitchen cabinets or islands, especially among people in their 20s and early 30s,” Stringer said. “You can’t overdo it, but black is really trending.”
Spring Materials Trends
Rose Gold, a metal that’s been trending in everything from iPhones to engagement rings, will be popular in decorating this year—and it can be paired with other metals.
“Previously, if you wanted to use silver, you’d want everything to be silver,” said Stringer, adding that softer brushed gold will also continue the momentum it has built over the last couple of years. “Now, it’s very okay to mix and have silver and gold in different areas of the same room.”
With the trend towards a more natural aesthetic, decorators can also expect to see plenty of wicker, rattan and other earthy fibers coming into vogue this spring in the form of accents like baskets. On an even more natural note, plants have long been a beneficial method of bringing a little more life to a room, too.
Spring Decorating Trends
With the rising popularity of decluttering and simplifying, minimalism is trending this spring more than ever. Stringer notes that this pared-down style has always been a traditional staging staple, but this spring, keep an eye out for a twist. “This year, we’re trending toward allowing some personal touches to remain in the staged home—even family photos. Buyers don’t want it to be a sterile model home; they want it to be welcoming,” she said.
Natural light can open up a room and make it feel much warmer, and as the weather turns sunnier, this is especially crucial. Stringer recommends avoiding heavy drapes and positioning curtain rods to extend out from the window so opened drapes are pushed completely over the walls. “Use beige or white panels only, and they should be floor-to-ceiling,” she added.
Stringer says that while clean furniture lines have been popular for several years, specifically sharp-cornered mid-century modern pieces, spring trends are moving more toward softer frames and edges. This also lends itself to a more comfortable, lived-in staged home that’s attractive to buyers.
Making A Great First Impression
Incorporating trends works perfectly to update spaces, but a little classic upkeep and attention can go a long way this spring as well. Stringer says to make sure the home’s exterior is power washed, the landscaping is mulched and weeded, walkways are swept, the front door is freshly painted and the hardware works as well as it looks.
“You have eight to 15 seconds from the time someone walks in the door to really wow them,” she said. “They’ll have an immediate emotional attachment if they love it. If they find things that aren’t quite right, they’ll say ‘I can deal with that.’ But if they’re in a negative frame of mind from the beginning, everything becomes an unsolvable problem.”
Have an eye for interior design and enjoy staying in the loop on all the latest trends? Find out more about franchising opportunities with Showhomes at https://www.showhomesfranchise.com/.