Can You Afford to Rent Furniture for Staging your Home in Hamilton, Ontario?

February 4th, 2012

Do you think you can afford to rent furniture for staging your home in Hamilton, Ontario? The impact of a staging your home is huge which makes the value huge as well. And it may be less expensive than you think. A more important question could be “Can you afford NOT to rent the missing pieces to showcase your home to its fullest potential“?

Here is a example of the cost to rent furniture and accessories for staging your home. The example is based on a vacant living room and dining room of a standard size home (2000-2500 sq. ft). The price would be much lower if your home has good, useable pieces to work with.

Living Room-sofa, love (or 2 chairs), cocktail, end tables, lamps, cushions, throw, art, tree, accents (Replacement Value-$2400.00) Rental Investment – $360.00

EXTRAS (above and beyond living room package)

  • area rug 8 x 11-$66.00
  • area rug 5 x 8-$36.00
  • drapery x 1-$27.00
  • console-$22.00
  •  art-$18.00
  • Tree-$18.00
  • TV stand-$22.00
  • TV prop-$18.00


Dining Room-dining table, 6 chairs, center piece, art/mirror (Replacement Value-$1440.00) Rental Investment – $216.00            

EXTRAS (above and beyond dining room package)

  • drapery x 1 – $27.00
  • server and accents-$40.00
  • area rug 8 x 11-$66.00



The cost to rent the items is charged monthly for the first  month and can be pro-rated bi-weekly if more than one month’s rental is required.

Different stagers work in different housing markets. A stager in Oakville, for example, may charge 20% – 25% of the replacement cost where a stager from Hamilton or St. Catharines may only charge 15% of the replacement cost.

Many homes in Oakville are much larger in scale and price range so the quality of inventory (and the scale of items) needs to be higher to reflect the quality and price range of the homes.

Feel free to call for more infomation or to get a more accurate quote for your specific staging needs. Universal Concepts Design and Staging Solutions, 905 662 2678.

The BEST Upgrades That Sell Your House Faster!

January 16th, 2012

What are the BEST “little” upgrades that you can make to your OLDER home that will help it sell faster? The answer may surprise you. Hint: People seem to notice things they touch…

  • Paint your front door-A fresh coat of punchy paint is always welcoming. It is surprising how many front doors are weathered and dull or the colour is dated.
  • Upgrade your house number, mailbox, exterior light fixture(s) and doorbell-This will set the tone for the whole home. Attention to these details will make the buyer have a good comment/feeling before they have even entered the home!
  • Change out door hardware-if the home is more than 20 years old and is still wearing it’s original door hardware, it is a great upgrade to change all the door knobs (including the entrance door). Even if the doors are dated, changing out the handles to clean, current style handles or knobs is a great upgrade.
  • Change or clean light switches-light switches get dingy and dirty in even the most clean homes. It is just one of those things that people don’t notice in their own house but do in other people’s homes.
  • Update kitchen/bathroom hardware-this is such an easy way to make any kitchen or bathroom look more current.
  • Update faucets-Even if the kitchen/bathroom is dated, a nice, clean faucet will make the area feel as if the home is “cared for”
  • Update light fixtures-this may cost a bit of money but the result is enormous! Dated light fixtures make buyers look for other things in the home that are also old (door knobs, kitchen cupboards, kitchen and bathroom faucets)
  • Change out the heat vents-Old, metal heat vents can get bent and rusty. Changing them to new, clean vents is always a good idea.
  • Show an office/laptop area-Without compromising a functional space (bedroom), try to have a desk set up with a laptop, lamp and chair somewhere in the home. Almost every household has a computer/laptop so it is important for every buyer in every target market to see a good location for their computer.


It doesn’t cost a lot to make these basic upgrades/changes to your home before you sell. It is always my recommendation as a designer to try and do many of these things in the years prior to selling so you can enjoy the upgrades yourself!

Are California Shutters Still In-Style in Hamilton, Ontario?

May 9th, 2011

Are California Shutters still “In Style” in Hamilton, Ontario?

I have been selling blinds for 20 years. Shutters were introduced back into the market in about 1994 (I was working in St. Catharines at the time). They have been going strong ever since.

I would have never guessed that the shutter trend would last this long but they are so damn practical, durable and even affordable that they just won’t go out of style. They can be installed in almost any application, even unique windows such as double high, arches and cut outs or reverse angled bays (see photos).

New louver sizes and colours are always being introduced by the innovative companies such as Eclipse and Maxxmar.

I sell 99% in the PVC, not wood, due to their durability. It is now pretty hard to tell the difference between wood and vinyl shutters from a distance even with a trained eye.

They even have Eco Friendly shutters and energy efficiency ratings for those “green” consumers.

Are california/plantation shutters still in-style? Yup. And I don’t see them going out of style anytime soon.

FREE Art, Area Rug or Blinds-Book Staging Now, Hamilton, Ontario

April 14th, 2011


FREE Art, Area Rug or Blinds – Book Staging Now, Hamilton, Ontario!

Book to stage your house now and get a FREE custom ordered gift of your choice!

Choose from:

  • a beautiful piece of art with 3 styles to choose from!
  • a luxurious shag area rug in your choice of 8 colours !
  • a $250.00 voucher towards new blinds or shutters in your new home!

This is a value of $250.00!*

Limited time offer! Call now to book your staging consultation.

Universal Concepts Design and Staging Solutions, 905 662 2678.

*Not valid on 1/2 day staging jobs.

New On-Site Witton Lofts Sales Office Now Staged, Hamilton, Ontario

April 5th, 2011

New on-site Witton Lofts sales office is now staged.  Pre-sale is over and the new office has moved to the official building at 50 Murray Street West in Hamilton, Ontario.

Done in a comtemporay style to show it’s true urban target market (25-40), the Witton Lofts are attracting all ages and lifestyles from single men and women, retired couples and even young families.

The building itself is the old Mcilwraith School and was designed by architect William Palmer Witton. He was an architect that had quite an influence on many of Hamilton’s commercial buildings such as the James Street Amouries, the Central Fire Hall on John Street, the Vasco da Gama Club on James North and the Herkimer Apartments at Herkimer and Bay Street.

It has been a privilege to work with developer, Steve Kulakowsky of Core Urban Inc. in staging the second sales office which is actually also the selections center. The standard fixtures and finishes are all upgrades by my standards. For example granite counter tops, satin nickel light fixtures and gorgeous hand scraped/distressed engineered hardwood are all standard finishes for these sought after condos.

There are only a few left so go check out the site or visit the website at

How do you find a Great Stager in Hamilton, Ontario?

March 31st, 2011

How do you find a great stager in Hamilton, Ontario? There are thousands of stagers surfacing a year. How do you know if you are hiring a great stager? There are many things that set stagers apart.

DESIGN BACKGROUND: Furniture layout, colour selection and style are very important concerns for designing a room. An experienced stager with a design background will have the knowledge to improve and enhance rooms of any size or shape.

FULL TIME OCCUPATION: A great stager is committed to growing their business and will always be there for you. Experience is key. 

OFFICIAL WEBSITE/BLOG: This adds a tremendous amount of credibility and lets you in on their style and personality a bit.

PORTFOLIO: This is the best way for you to see the stagers quality of  work , style and inventory.

AWARDS: If stagers have ever won any awards, they will let you know. It will be on their website, brochures and business cards.

INSURANCE: Nothing is more important than having liability and contents insurance on themselves and their hired sub contractors. The client is responsible for WSIB if the workers on their property are injured.

PLUTHERA OF SERVICES:  A great stager will offer other services to assist you through your selling/moving process. Window coverings, furniture/area rug/lighting/flooring/art sourcing, space planning, colour consultations, new home set up are a few common services offered by great stagers.

OFFICAL BUSINESS OPERATION: Staging services can be expensive and many people like to collect “points” on their credit cards. Make sure your stager accepts major credit cards.

CERTIFICATION: Make sure your stager is a pro. Stagers that are great are certified and keep up with the industry trends and continuing education by attending seminars, webinars, meetings and Conventions.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Some stagers are also amateur photographers and own expensive cameras with wide angle lenses. MLS photos for your listings should be an added value provided by your awesome stager.

SALES EXPERIENCE: There is a graceful but strong way of guiding people and someone with sales experience will know exactly how to help people get from A to B.

INVENTORY: A great stager has a good selection of quality inventory such as lamps, bedding, art, trees, accents, tables, area rugs, sofas, loveseats, chairs and bedroom furniture that can be rented to you for a fraction of the price of purchasing.

TEAM: A great stager has a team of contractors who can, on short notice, paint, lay flooring, install back splash, landscape or even complete a bathroom reno.

TARGET MARKET: Will your stager know what to do to make the house sell-able. Room function, furniture layout, focal point are addressed to target the very specific group of people that would likely be interested in your house and area.


Not all stagers are created equal. Just ask a few questions and you will know what sets apart the good stagers from the BEST STAGERS.

What do I Do With My Pets When Selling My Home? Hamilton, Ontario

February 17th, 2011

What do you do with your pets when you are selling your home? Here are some basic rules about selling your home when you have pets.


  • Remove any sign of your pet’s food dishes, beds, toys, leashes, treats, photos and pet paraphernalia.
  • Clean kitty litter and area.
  • If the home doesn’t have a good, logical spot to keep the kitty litter move it to a bathtub or shower area for showings. It would be better than seeing it in the living space. 
  • Remove any pet hair that may be on the furniture
  • Remove pet odour from the home by using/renting a fresh air machine to sterilize and oxidize the air in the house (or the area with the most odour).
  • Get carpets and upholstery professionally cleaned to help reduce existing pet odour.
  • Remove dogs from the home if possible.
  • If you have an unusual pet like a tarantula or lizard, it is best remove it  from the home completely.
  • Clean yard of dog feces no matter what time of year it is.

My poor cat, Taro is dying to get outside but there is just too much snow here in Stoney Creek, Ontario. We have a dwarf Japanese Maple that he loves sitting on top of! He usually only lasts about 5 minutes before he gets too cold and comes back in. I don’t know how he fits in it but he finds a different boot print  to pee in every morning!

Why Rent VS Purchase your furnishings?

January 4th, 2011

Do you think you can do it yourself? Some clients wonder if they should just take the time to purchase all the items they need to finesse their home for sale or let me take care of it all for them. Here is the real deal on how renting from a stager works.

If a stager brings in $3000.00 worth of inventory to your home (which is average) including art, lamps, bedding, chairs, dinette set, bench, trees, area rugs…it would cost you $450.00-$600.00. Most stagers charge between 15-20% of the inventory’s purchase price.

It would be worth it for you to purchase, say, an 8 x 11 area rug if you want to keep it for your next house. But if you don’t know if you will use an 8 x 11 area rug in you next house, paying $300-$400.00 (or much more) for an area rug would be senseless when you can rent one for about $52.00.

Along with saving time, energy and money (renting from a stager) comes the invaluable expertise in setting the home up properly. Furniture layout, lighting, accents placement, art height, room function are all addressed in order to make your home appeal to a specific target market. The result is that the buyer will connect with your home.

Most stagers will be happy to advise you on what items you may want to purchase so that you can move them into your next home (luxurious bedding is a great example). But for the most part, it is usually better to rent from a staging company than purchase the right peice for the home you are selling, that in turn, may be the wrong peice for the home you move into.

Model Home Staging

November 18th, 2010

In the past, builder’s used interior designers to stage thier model homes. They pay them a fee, give them an allowance and send them out to PURCHASE the furniture and accessories. This is not only expensive but it is inefficient.

Here are a few reasons why renting using a stager vs PURCHASING inventory is smarter and more ecconomical:

  • Staging will allow the builder to pay monthly and only for as long as he needs it. He won’t have the upfront costs of purchasing the all the furniture and accessories.
  • Staging allows the builder to go with the trends. If he purchases the inventory, he is stuck with it for years. Furniture and colour trends change quickly and stager’s keep up with current trends.
  • Renting inventory is a 100% write off for the builder.
  • When staging a vacant show home, the builder does not need to get contents’ insurance because it is insured through the stager and/or furniture rental company. Owning his own inventory means he has to insure the contents as well as the property.
  •  A designer would have to start from scratch and source the whole job which the builder would be charged for (design fee/sourcing fee). The stager already owns inventory so a much smaller sourcing fee is involved.
  • Staging will allow an accurate and proper furniture layout for every individual floor plan. Using previously owned furniture from the last model’s footprint doesn’t always work in the new model’s floor plan.
  • Builder’s programs are available including lower monthly payments for longer-term rentals (3-6 months). The rent goes down the longer it stays staged.
  • Storing the inventory could be a problem for the builder if the model sells without having a new model to move the inventory to.

I am finding builder’s are starting to see the value in RENTING from stagers instead of PURCHASING their own inventory.

Up next? By demand…more before and after photos!

The Witton Lofts

November 11th, 2010

I recently had the privilege to stage the new sales office on Locke Street for the upcoming WITTON LOFTS. They are being pre-sold out of this office and they wanted the look to be indicative of the future units. We used a contemporary style, as the developer saw our units staged at the Film Work Lofts this past summer in downtown Hamilton and loved them.

The grand opening for the pre-sale was mid October. They sold 15 units on opening day! And since the grand opening weekend, they have sold 31 of the 36 units!

I believe the project is scheduled to be completed the summer of 2012. The Witton Lofts have a pretty unique history behind the structure and the architect who built it. Check out the proposed development at 

Up next…