Kirsten Blazek’s ranch-style home in Pasadena, California, used to be the definition of vanilla. But the bland white exterior and granny interior (the space had barely been touched since it was built in the 1950s) worked in her favor when she purchased the place in late 2017. “It was nondescript. Luckily it didn’t really get a lot of attention,” says Blazek, the founder and creative director of design firm A 1000x Better. She started construction the day she and her family moved in, aiming to stick to a tight four-and-a-half-month timeline. Given that a few key changes she wanted to make—such as vaulting the ceilings in the family room, turning the dining room into a bedroom, revamping the landscaping, and transforming the basement into a recording studio—were, she jokes, “actually a little insane,” she pulled it off.
Blazek had no intention of selling the home only a few years later. Then a life change called for a fresh start elsewhere, so the property went back on the market this April—and it isn’t just the modern renovations helping it shine. It’s the staging. According to a report last summer from Realtor.com, on average staged homes sell 88 percent faster and for 20 percent more than ones that haven’t been spruced up. But the extra step isn’t about making your house look like it’s been ripped out of a catalog. Blazek, a seasoned stager at this point, says it’s all about personality. “You’re selling a lifestyle,” she adds. Read on for her tips for catching buyers’ eyes.
Invest in Statement Rugs
If you’re going to invest in any new addition, make it a striped flat-weave or bold Persian runner. Blazek worked with Beverly Hills–based Mehraban Rugs to find ones for all the rooms in her house (she didn’t want to bring in $10,000 worth of rugs when she had two dogs, two cats, and three teenagers running around). “It’s the first thing I start with,” she says. “It determines the color story or if there’s a pattern happening in a room.” The textiles soak up visual space, so you end up needing less furniture than you think to make a room feel full, plus they help even the most neutral furniture, like a leather sectional, to stand out.