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Based on the book: 

Does your home look "dated"?

When you are putting your home on the market, you want it to have the most appeal on the real estate sites where most buyers are going....Zillow,, etc.... What you show in a photo will garner you visits. So there are some things that instantly make a home look frumpy. And some things that you can do which require little money for the bang it will create.

1. Fake Plants. Take them away. Fake plants went out with Jane Fonda's workout vcr tapes. Also, pare down your collections of living plants. Be sure they are not taking up too much real estate inside a room.

2. Floral bedspreads. A simple, solid spread can do wonders for a room in creating a calming effect. See the room I transformed below.

3. Flared lampshades. If you can find inexpensive drum shades for your main rooms, do that. It instantly updates a room.

4. Busy wallpaper. Unless your wallpaper is something calming and selected quite recently. it is likely out of date. Talk to a professional about removing it, or putting a sold textured wallpaper over it that seems more updated.

5. Knick Knacks and Collections. Box them up for your new home. Create gracious and open spaces that allow the eye to sweep through a room.

6. Valances. They've gone the way of the Jane Fonda tapes. Instead replace them with side panels, hung just a few inches from the ceiling.

7. Small mini blinds. Find inexpensive 2 inch wide blinds in white. It will immediately update a room.

8. Cute bathroom towels and rugs. Switch all of your towels to fresh white towels and be sure your bathroom rugs are a solid color.

9. Rugs on top of rugs. Less is more here. Even overly colorful rugs can date a home. Unless your home is doing a beautiful job of marrying an eclectic look of antiques and newer pieces, skip the overly colorful orientals and stripes. If you have wood floors, allow them to shine through, perhaps limiting rugs to a few sisal rugs here and there.

10. Too much "signage". I've been in some houses where every single room has signage..."Bless This Mess"..."Laundry"..."A Happy Family Lives Here"....etc.... It might be nice to limit signage to one piece, if it is in keeping with the style of the room and important to the feel. But no visitor wants to read signage in every single room.

Bringing your home up to date is an important step to take before it is photographed. None of us would want tons of pictures of ourselves in our 1983 outfits and Farah Fawcett hairdos. The same goes for a home. If you've not worked regularly on updating your home's look, take some time before marketing it to give it a style makeover. You'll be glad you did.

Laurie Easterlin is a realtor with Keller Williams (, a home stager and professional Masters preparation specialist. To learn more about her services, please visit:

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