6 Secrets of Interior Design from Local Home Stagers

Spruce up your space like a pro with these easy tips.

When you’re ready to sell your home, professional stagers like Carrie Alme and Jodi Kurtz of the Mequon-based company Alme Design can swoop in and get it looking super fine in no time at. But why not make it look its best while you’re still living there? We asked the two women to spill some of their industry secrets.

Get an unbiased opinion.

“If you’ve lived in your house for a long time, you stop really seeing the little details,” Alme says. So pretend you’re stepping into your house for the first time. Or better yet, ask a friend or relative who hasn’t visited in a long time (thanks, corona!) to walk through it with you and offer up honest feedback on the way you’ve decorated it.

Identify and highlight your home’s architectural appeal.

Do you love its high ceilings? Its ornate molding? Its Cream City brick exterior? “I look for the highlights of the house,” Kurtz says. “How do we elevate those?” Often, the best way to spotlight a given feature is to cast some literal light on it. But color and pattern can also draw attention to a given area.

 

 

Go big and go home.

Kurtz often reassures clients that they can incorporate bold or quirky design elements into their spaces without ruining the resale value. “One of the easiest things a homeowner can do is buy a fun rug or pillows,” she says. “Invest in a neutral couch that’ll last for years. Then throw it on top of a relatively inexpensive area rug. If you get sick of it in a few years, feel free to switch it out.”

Focus on scale.

“If you have a room that’s a little smaller, you need to really think through the pieces you’re putting into the space to maximize the layout,” Kurtz advises. Lots of overstuffed furniture can make a small room look crowded and cramped.

Don’t assume you can’t afford to change your space.

The home makeovers you see on television typically come with big price tags attached. But that doesn’t mean that you’ll need to be prepared to spend five or six figures on your next renovation project. “Small changes can make a big difference, and be really affordable,” Alme says. “In a kitchen, for a quick refresh, you can paint the cabinets and update the hardware.”

Choose wisely.

If you have to pick and choose between home improvement projects, prioritize the ones that will maximize your investment. “New carpet and new lights are some of the best changes you can make, in terms of return on investment,” Kurtz says.


Quick Tips

A | Hang your curtains high to draw the eye upward.

B | Highlight interesting architectural details with contrasting paint.

C | Invest in a neutral sofa, then dress it up.

D | Swap out your rugs and textiles as trends change.


 

This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s May issue.

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Lindsey Anderson covers culture for Milwaukee Magazine. Before joining the MilMag team she worked as an editor at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and wrote freelance articles for ArtSlant and Eater.