Monday, December 30, 2019

Reflections from 2019 and the Decade of the Teens, from Beyond The Stage Homes

Not only is another year coming to an end, but we are about to embark on a whole new decade! As we at Beyond The Stage Homes prepares for what the twenties will bring, we wanted to reflect back on the past year, and the past decade, to highlight some of our favourite moments. As a business, we are wrapping up our 12th year in business, and as they say, time really does fly when you’re having fun!

To start, let’s talk specifically about 2019. Beyond The Stage Homes has always put our clients first, in every service that we offer, and 2019 was no exception. In fact, we introduced new services and options in order to continue to deliver on our promise of world-class quality in all that we do. We introduced short-term rental design and setup services (i.e. Airbnb) as an extension of our design services to accommodate the growing demand and opportunities for short-term rental ventures in Waterloo Region. We also introduced holiday decorating services to help to ease the burden of tackling this task yourself. Additionally, we introduced  optional Staging Risk Management insurance coverage for our staged listings. This allows our clients to ensure that they are covered fully for any damage that may happen to home staging items while in their home, as well as avoid increased premiums from their current insurance provider.

This year was also a year of milestones, with both Jennifer Roth, Senior Home Stager and Marina Hermann, Executive Assistant, both celebrating 5 years with the Beyond The Stage Homes team, as well as Martha Wallace celebrating her first full year with the company! BTSH also welcomed Brooke Burnet to the team (and she will be celebrating her 1 year anniversary with the team this month). We are now proud to offer four (4) Professional and Certified Home Stagers on staff to serve Waterloo Region.

With this increased growth, BTSH has committed to additional professional development and training. As such, the BTSH team now meets 3-4 times each month to review internal updates, industry changes and trends, and to review current, past, and upcoming projects. This allows us to create the best marketing strategies for each home, plan for new inventory to keep our staging designs relevant to today’s buyers, and to ensure that our clients receive top of the line, every time. In addition, Shauna Lynn, Jennifer, and Martha all attended the annual international convention of the home staging trade association, the Real Estate Staging Association, in beautiful Las Vegas where Shauna Lynn was also a featured speaker at the event. Jennifer and Shauna Lynn extended their Vegas stay to allow them to also attend the Las Vegas Furniture Market, the 2nd largest furniture and decor trade show. Shauna Lynn also attended the High Point Furniture Market in October - this is the largest furniture trade show, and saw celebrities such as Glen Peloso, Hilary Farr, Taylor Spellman, and many more!

Continuing in her commitment to the advancement of the home staging industry in Canada, Shauna Lynn held the position of Provincial President for Ontario for the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) and was voted Top 75 Most Influential in Real Estate Staging by RESA. She was also nominated for the Lori Kim Polk Lifetime Achievement Award. Shauna Lynn is the Ontario Approved Instructor for RESA’s Staging to Sell: What Every Agent Should Know designation course, and co-authored a book with renowned design industry influencer and popular podcast host, LuAnn Nigara (plus 11 other incredibly talented authors). As an industry influencer, Shauna Lynn spent a large part of the year travelling to events for speaking engagements, book-signings, and exclusive learning events. She was also featured locally in Homes Plus magazine, on the Small Business Show, and at various live events throughout the region. Her commitment to Beyond The Stage Homes, and her duties as CEO and Lead Home Stager and Designer remain the top priority, and we look forward to what the year (and decade) ahead will hold.

The Beyond The Stage Homes team continues to be proudly recognized for its achievements, winning a record number of awards this year, including Top Choice Home Staging Company of 2019 in Kitchener/Waterloo, Waterloo Region Record Reader Awards Winner in both Interior Decorator AND Home Staging Services, Build Real Estate & Property Awards, Best Home Staging & Design Specialist - Southern Ontario, to name a few. We added some new home staging assistants to keep up with our demand and did a large inventory refresh that has put us at the top of the market with creative designs for today’s homes. We are proud to continue to be your #1 choice for owner-occupied and vacant home staging projects.

BTSH continues to be a proud sponsor of the KW MS Walk by raising funds sponsoring the TeamMS and Volunteer of the Year awards at the event, as well as volunteering our time before, during, and following the event. This event helps to raise much-needed funds for the MS Society’s Grand River chapter. As an animal-loving team, it was only natural that we continued our support for the Kitchener-Waterloo Humane Society, through collected donations throughout the year as well. Cleaning out your closets (likely on the advice of our home staging team)? Donate your unwanted linens to your local humane society, and they will put them to great use by their furry residents!

Where else did you see the BTSH team this year? Perhaps it was one of the many KWAR events, including the Golf Tournament in September supporting Habitat for Humanity, the Mayor’s Panel, Market Insights event, or perhaps one of many local brokerage events, including the TrilliumWest Golf Tournament, Re/max Twin City's Christmas Party, and many other real estate events. BTSH continues to honour and support local real estate agents and the advancement of the Waterloo Region real estate market. 


As for the decade that has come to an end, it’s impossible not to reflect on what it has brought us, and where it has brought us. We made a commitment early on to own our own home staging inventory. It was a decision that required a significant investment not only in the staging items, but also storage facilities, a tracking system, and the team that would bring it all together. We have continued to grow with purpose over the years, and have come a long way from Shauna Lynn and her VW Golf that worked as her trusty staging assistant for years.

We embark on each new year with a plan to continue to grow and continue to support our local partners. We will continue to reach for the stars, and expand our opportunities to serve our community. We will also be introducing a new 4-wheeled team member in the coming months to assist our hard-working home staging team. We look forward to all that the upcoming year, and a new decade, have to offer us. Thank you to all of our valued partners for your continued support.

To enlist the services of our team of professionals, visit us at 

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Holiday Style Guide – Trends, Tips and Tricks from Our Home to Yours

The celebration of Christmas is steeped in rich traditions that are passed down over generations, including the holiday décor that we choose, and the way that we decorate our homes with it. Despite the traditions, new trends to deck the halls emerge each year, challenging you to rethink your trimmings. Whether you’re unsure how to incorporate your existing, nostalgia décor with some fresh new items that have caught your eye, or you’re simply looking to get that “magazine holiday spread” look on a budget, we are here to help!
Current holiday décor trends have two particular and notable themes – incorporating vintage items (authentically or new), and slightly more ‘demure’ holiday colour palate – think blacks, whites, and silvers with a hint of accenting colour, instead of bright flashing red and green. In this blog post, we will share some of our favourite holiday looks, as well as tips to help you to get the style, function, and sparkle that you need for easy holiday hosting, without breaking the bank.

Pretty in the Past

Infusing a touch of vintage charm into your holiday décor is a delicate way to stay on trend this season. Vintage glass baubles, bottle brush trees, tin tinsel, and oversized bulbs are some of our personal favourites. There are several ways that this can be achieved. You can absolutely head to your favourite shop and you are guaranteed to find some new vintage-inspired pieces OR you can treat yourself to an afternoon of treasure hunting by checking out your local thrift stores, consignment shops, and antique vendors! An antique market can be an efficient way to do this, with multiple vendors available, and an opportunity to see décor pieces from across the eras to help you to decide what your favourite style is. These authentic vintage pieces will help you to achieve an on-trend look while helping to reduce landfill waste.

Monochrome & Mistletoe

If you find yourself overwhelmed by the red, white, and green of traditional décor, you need not look any further than your year-round colour palette for holiday inspiration! Minimalist holiday décor is abundant this season, whatever your colour scheme. We are seeing a continued trend towards whites, silvers, blacks, and warm natural woods – this lends well to a ‘Modern Farmhouse’ style. For a subtle holiday infusion, look to plaids and solid-colour accent pillows to tie in with your existing living spaces – this will give the feel of ‘seasonal’ décor without the house being overrun by miniature Santas. To get a little extra longevity out of your holiday decorating, incorporate more winter-themed items (think greens, snow, pinecones, ski themes) – in Canada, we experience winter for months, so you won’t feel rushed to pack everything away in the New Year!

Dining Décor and Hosting Tips

What are the holidays for if not for sharing delicious meals?

The Centrepiece

Bottlebrush trees are classic and can add texture and depth to your tablescape. In this dining table centrepiece, we have utilized pillar candle holders that we already had in our everyday home décor collection, and added bottle brush trees with a mix of vintage silver baubles, a simple berried garland, and vintage-inspired linen.
*HOSTING TIP* – Set up your dining table centrepiece on an easily removable tray. While it is always best to try to serve around your centrepiece so as not to disturb the ambience and effect of it, you just never know when a guest may arrive with an extra dish to fit on the table, or perhaps your post-dinner festivities turn into an impromptu party game that requires clearing the table.

The Napkins:

We may be old fashioned, but we LOVE a good linen napkin. There are many easy-care, machine-washable options available that will add a layer of elegance to your table. Napkins and napkin rings are often overlooked in holiday table settings, but these add an extra layer of comfort and timeless elegance.
Shake things up with an assortment of napkin rings (another great item to find in antique or consignment shops), or varying textures of napkins to give your table a formal or more casual look. Not only do linen napkins add a special touch to enhance your guests' dining experience, but they provide an eco-friendly alternative to paper serviettes.
BUT, maybe you don't have a sit-down dinner, you say? Or you feel that there are just too many kids in the family and the thought of giving them ALL linen gets your tinsel in a tangle? No problem! There are lots of stunning large-sized paper napkins to dress up the table (and ease the clean-up) that would look great with your napkin rings. For a 'buffet-style' dinner, set out your napkins and rings in a decorative basket.  
*HOSTING TIP* - Since we’re talking about napkins…we ALWAYS believe in having some pretty or witty cocktail napkins on hand. Serving your before dinner cocktail is never complete without a seasonal napkin, particularly if your guest may not have access to a coaster. We love to have some fun with our napkins – they lighten the mood and also provide a conversation starter. Our current favourites? These ‘Oh Snap!’ napkins that are sure to put a smile on anyone’s face.

Serving Spaces:

It’s easy to get carried away with your décor, often leading to difficulty in actually functioning amongst all the tinsel and holly. Be sure to leave yourself easy access to entertaining items such as serving sets or glassware (especially the wine glasses).

The Kitchen:

Your counters deserve some holiday love, too! Set out items sparingly to leave space for the actual cooking part of things. We've used some vintage monochrome silver baubles along with a shiny silver deer to add a pop to our counter space, without feeling cluttered.

Decorating The Living Space

Pillows and Soft Goods:

Most people are never quite sure how to manage the soft goods of the holidays. Do you keep your day-to-day pillows out and simply add your holiday pillows to the mix, OR should you completely remove all of your existing pillows and swap them out entirely? Your holiday pillows and throws will likely blend well with your everyday décor; after all, you like what you like! Instead of making this an all or nothing type of decision, consider swapping out only half of your existing pillows for holiday-themed replacements, keeping with the general colour theme of your home. This will help to give your space the ‘demure’ and monotone holiday look we mentioned earlier and allow the seasonal items to blend cohesively with your existing space. Here you can see BTSH Home Stager Brooke Burnet’s whimsical black and white Santa pillows that work great with her existing black and white colour scheme. Not only were the pillows custom-made by a friend, but there was also enough fabric for a matching set of coasters!

Combining Holiday Items with Existing Décor Items:

If you caught our Fall Decorating blog earlier this year, you know the importance of removing some of your standard décor pieces to make way for your seasonal items, and Christmas décor is certainly no exception! Check out our “Welcome Home” sign, a staple of our everyday styling, and how we’ve given it a festive look for the holidays!

In this living space, we removed many décor items from the shelves surrounding the fireplace, leaving only the books, and we added some of our favourite holiday pieces. A few everyday items got a holiday makeover. For example, a hurricane candle holder makes for a great centrepiece when nestled into a Christmas wreath. Swapping out some of our usual coffee table books for Christmas books helps to make the look complete in very subtle ways. We have also incorporated some fun ‘winter’ theme items, such as this Hockey Night pillow, which lets us sneak in some seasonal décor early (is there such a thing?) and leave it out a bit later in the season.
*STYLING TIP* - Use a variety of heights and sizes of items to add interest and depth to your display. An example can be seen around the fireplace in the five assorted sizes of Pine Trees that have been used to frame the space – some of our favourite pieces!

Kid-Friendly Décor

Not all holiday displays need to be sparkly and breakable! A great option for a house full of kids is felted decorations, which are much more durable than vintage glass! Felted ornaments for both the tree and tabletop are an adorable way to add softness and texture, without the worry of shattered glass. Wooden lettered signs continue to remain on-trend and can add a touch of whimsy to a display – these can be leaned or safely hung up on the wall.
*STYLING TIP* - The holidays are personal so don’t be afraid to incorporate pieces that are important to your family specifically. For example, you will see a ‘Finnish Christmas’ book incorporated into Brooke’s book stacks, as well as some traditional Finnish holiday décor throughout her home. You will also spot a peculiar, playful woodcut Santa in his workshop on the shelf beside the fireplace, which was inherited from her grandmother and is a warm childhood reminder. Interspersing items such as these not only serve as conversation pieces to chat about your own traditions and memories, but it also adds personality to your décor.

 However you choose to decorate this holiday season, remember – there is no right or wrong when it comes to celebrating the season. The holidays are a time to gather with those you love, enjoy holiday traditions, eat delicious food, and reflect on the past year – and these are ALL important parts of the season, no matter what your holiday décor style is!
Written by: Brooke Burnet, Professional Home Stager, Beyond The Stage Homes

Shop the Look:

Holiday Pine Needle Table Runner, Kate Spade.
Silver Cocktail Trays, Vintage, Southworks Antiques, Cambridge, ON.
Bottle Brush Trees, Hobby Lobby.
Welcome Home Metal Plaque Sign, Hearth and Hand by Magnolia, Target
Rosemary Napkin Rings, Hearth and Hand by Magnolia,
Cream Linen Napkins, Hearth and Hand by Magnolia,
White LED Tree, Restoration Hardware.
Thin Garland with Icy Sprigs/Berries, Dollarama.
Gray and Red Deer Pillow, Homesense.
Glass Terrarium, Michael’s.
Vintage Silver and White Baubles, Vintage, Southworks Antiques.
Set of 5 Trees, Similar Styles available on
Silver Plate Deer Napkin Rings, Bogart’s Home & Décor Consignment, Oakville, Ontario

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The Art of Wall Décor for Living in or Selling Your Home

As a home staging and design company, we spend much of our time in other people’s homes, and have quite possibly heard EVERY reason that you could think of for not having artwork on the walls, from struggling to find the perfect piece, to not wanting to put holes in the wall, or perhaps that you simply feel that the room looks great, and does not need any wall décor to bring it together. Empty, bare walls are filled with possibility and can be the blank canvas needed to create a focal point within a room.  When it comes to selling your home especially, wall décor is considered a critical piece to the puzzle, and a room simply is not finished without it.

Staging a home for sale is like getting dressed up for a special occasion. It’s about putting the right pieces together, down to the final touch, be it a scarf, a tie, jewellery, or the perfect shoes. When it comes to selling your home, artwork is that finishing touch that adds personality, colour, and interest to a room. It can also enhance flow from room to room within your home, creating both continuity and inviting spaces.

A standard principle of home staging and design is to identify what the focal point in the room will be; the item that will immediately connect with the viewer’s eye and draw them into the space.  Wall décor comes in many sizes, shapes and styles.  Whether a piece of framed art, an unframed canvas, a metal sculpture, or a mirror, wall decór can be used to pull a room together and make it feel complete.


The first step to choosing wall décor is to ensure that it fits into the decorating style within the home. When selling a home, the home and its prospective buyer demographic will often dictate the final artwork selections. For the purposes of home staging, avoid mismatched frames, styles, or colours, as this can cause an unnecessary distraction to buyers. You may already have artwork pieces that can work well for selling, but evaluate each piece carefully, and remove any that are too personal or specific to your own style. The perfect piece for you may not be the right one for staging a home. When done properly, artwork in a home for sale can help bring out the home’s best features and create a positive, inviting vibe for potential buyers as they tour the property.

When selecting wall décor for living, while it is still important to ensure that you work with the overall style of the home, you will also want to choose pieces that will make you feel happy when you look at them.  Wall décor does not need to be expensive or valuable to provide happiness, however, your choice should also provide cohesion to the overall look within the room and your home overall.  Wall décor can also provide a solution to common issues.  For example, mirrors are a great way to bring some light into a darker space.  Because mirrors reflect light, a mirror can be used to help the space feel brighter


A common reason for artwork to look “out of place” in a room is due to incorrect scale. The scale of wall décor in relation to the space where it is being hung is critical.  Otherwise, it can create a distraction, essentially the opposite effect of what you are trying to achieve.  Wall décor that is too small can become dwarfed by items around it while wall décor that is too big will look overpowering.  As a rule of thumb, wall décor should be two-thirds the width of what it is hanging above.  For example, the wall décor hanging above a six-foot sofa should measure approximately four feet wide to create a sense of balance and harmony.  Remember that you can combine smaller pieces that work together, arranging them to fill the space that one piece of wall décor would have covered.


The height that wall décor is hung is important in creating a cohesive look.  One common tendency is to hang wall décor too high.  The centre of the wall décor should be approximately 60 inches from the ground.  However, when hanging wall décor above a piece of furniture, it should be only 6-9 inches above the furniture.  Hanging multiple pieces of wall décor in a space that includes several windows and doorways can be challenging, as these architectural elements will play into the overall view of the space. In the case of competing wall openings and wall décor, simply align to the middle of each piece.


While wall décor is a great way to add interest and character to your home, too many pieces and over-crowding can detract from their intended purpose.  Unless pieces are connected by size and/or subject matter (or you have created a grouping in place of a larger piece as outlined earlier), it's best to spread the pieces throughout the room. When you do find yourself hanging a grouping of pieces that are connected, space them out approximately 2-4" between them, to a maximum of 6” apart.  When in doubt, please a post-it note on each corner where the artwork should lay or use brown kraft paper to cut out the shape of your wall décor and tape to the wall using Painter’s Tape before marking your nail.  Both these approaches can provide you with a good sense of how the piece will look on the wall before you hang it, or for that matter before you buy it.

Don’t let the blank walls in your home intimidate you.  Use wall décor to transform your space today, and bring happiness to you and your guests for years to come!

For more great artwork tips, check out these previous blogs from Beyond The Stage Homes:

Displaying Your Artwork - BTSH Around The House Tip of the Week 

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Staging Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Home

by Redfin, featuring Beyond The Stage Homes (see mistake #27)

Published on October 17, 2019 - By Emily Huddleston

Photo Credit: Redfin
With such a competitive housing market, staging is a critical step in the home selling process. Not only does it make your home stand out in listing photos, but it also helps it appeal to a wide range of potential buyers. A well-staged home will mask years of wear and tear, and can help it sell faster and for more money.

However, the simplest mistakes can be deal-breaking. Which is why we asked home staging and design experts to share some of the biggest staging mistakes they’ve encountered that can turn potential buyers off.

1. Starting without a plan
One of the biggest mistakes homeowners can make is not working with a professional stager to create a plan for success when preparing their homes for sale. Stagers look at the home in a holistic way and address potential items that would deter a buyer from moving forward.
– Amy Parker, Parker House Designs

Sunday, September 29, 2019

It Feels Like Fall

A chill in the evening air, pumpkin stands along country roads, early evening sunsets, and reaching for your favourite cozy sweater - all tell-tale signs of the arrival of fall! While it can be sad to say good-bye to the summer, the good news is that fall-decorating season is officially upon us. It’s a season that centres around nature and whimsy, and is quite possibly the most fun you will have decorating all year, so let your fall-decor-loving-self run free!

With so many fall decor items available in local shops, it can be overwhelming to choose what suits both your personal style, and the style of your home. You might be drawn to tiny gourds, leaf garlands, and pumpkins galore, but these can easily become 'clutter' around your home if not added strategically. We’ve put together our best tips for getting your home fall-ready in no time!

1) Beware of Pumpkin Overload - Our first handy tip is not to buy every single pumpkin in sight. We know, it's hard! However, having a combination of textures, colours, and shapes is one way to ensure your fall decorating is adding interest and variety to your spaces. Consider creating a centrepiece using a well-sized large pumpkin, a candle lantern, and a small pumpkin or gourd, then add some loose leaves to fill in the space. Wood planks, logs, and branches can also add a natural touch.

2) Repurpose Existing Pieces for Spunky Vignettes – Take a look at some of your everyday décor, and consider simply adding some seasonal touches. It can be a lot of work to pack up your standard décor items for the season, and will also allow you to keep some of the more functional pieces within the space, while still sporting a fall look. Items such as pillar candleholders, geometrical metal shapes or spheres, trays, baskets, and decorative orbs are all great examples of neutral items that can be used in tandem with your seasonal decor! Take the tray that currently sits on your ottoman hosting candles and coasters and add a couple of mini pumpkins, and a touch of greenery for a fresh look.  This can be changed with each season, creating visually appealing seasonal vignettes around your home.

3) Pack Away Some Every Day Décor Items – Once you have determined which items will remain, you will want to edit some of the spaces to avoid décor overwhelm. Fall is a time for layers, so don’t be afraid to embellish your current décor a bit, but some standard decorating rules still apply. Choose groupings in odd numbers, vary heights, and remove the excess. Pack away the excess items, and with winter decorating around the corner, consider that you may not see those items for a few months yet!

4) Try a Monochrome Look - If you're tired of oranges, burgundies, yellows, and golds - try white! Nothing looks more crisp than some monochrome white pumpkins, paired with soft linens, white candles, and black and wood accents.  White pumpkins lend easily to a 'modern farmhouse' vibe, and also pair well with silver, if this is more of your preference. White will typically allow you to utilize more of your existing decor pieces, as well.

5) Distinguish between 'Fall' and 'Halloween' Decorating – To gain the most longevity of the season, start with fall décor, and avoid the witch hats, owls, and black cats until midway through October (of course, if the black cats are your furbabies, then they can stay put). It can be so tempting to scoop up a mix of traditional fall decor and witch hats - just be mindful of how long you would like to keep your decor out. Neutral fall items will be able to stay displayed longer in the season than jack-o-lanterns and bats!

6) Don't forget the outside! - There may be no easier season to decorate the outside of your home for, than fall! Check out your local farms and greenhouses to gather some hay bales, cornstalks, pumpkins and mums! Utilize your existing urns, and arrange small grouping of seasonal items around your door or porch to have a welcoming, cozy feel to greet your guests.  Remember to pick items of varying shapes and sizes to create a nice visual balance!

Above photos courtesy of Crawford's Garden Centre