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How to Style Your Space Like a Home-Staging Pro

A DC-area designer is sharing secrets from one of the region's most successful design companies

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Interior designers can transform an empty home and bare walls into stunning and inviting spaces that appeal to any buyer. If you’ve ever been inside a model home, you know what we’re talking about … but how can you replicate the look without breaking the bank?

A D.C-area designer is sharing secrets from one of the region's most successful design companies.

"It's really our job to come in and make you feel like this is a place where you belong," said Holly Polgreen, president and co-founder of Carlyn and Company Interiors and Design.

Based in Great Falls, Virginia, Carlyn and Company has been dressing up homes for builders and developers locally and all across the country.

Polgreen gave us a tour of a recent project she did at Tower Oaks by EYA in Rockville, Maryland, and shared some of her staging secrets that work for any home.

Tip 1: Custom Curtains Without the Hefty Price Tag

When hanging curtains, mount the rod all the way up on your wall.

"It creates volume and enhances the windows and really draws your eye up to that ceiling," Polgreen said.

And you don’t have to spend a lot of money to replicate this custom look.

"Have your measurement and send it to the dry cleaners," she said. "They can handle them for you and also press them and so that makes it very easy to install and you get a custom look without really a lot of effort."

Tip 2: No Mudroom? No Problem

When it comes to storage, we all need a place to stash the coats and bookbags, but most homes don’t have the square footage for a mudroom. Not a problem, Polgreen says.

"It's a super easy fix. You just take two by fours and basically hang them horizontally along your wall, and you can even hang the lowest basically at the height of your kids," she told us.

Add decorative hooks and a pop of color to create a fun and functional space.

Tip 3: Break the Rules With Big Windows

Windows can be tricky when it comes to furniture placement, but in this case, don’t be afraid to break the rules.

"Ignore the window and really make the bed wall feel like the star of the show," Polgreen said.

A taller headboard in the master suite offers privacy, without sacrificing natural light.

Tip 4: Style Your Bookshelves Like a Pro

And when it comes to styling bookshelves, remember this.

"Start in one corner, put an accessory or a series of books; go to the next shelf in the opposite corner, do a new accessory or book, and then keep zig-zagging down your bookcase," Polgreen said. "This will have a place for your eye to sort of follow."

When decorating a bookshelf, combine pieces that have a connection, whether it’s all trophies, having everything spherical, or choosing a theme to tie in all the pieces.

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