I’m an interior design blog addict.   I love changing around my own home constantly and love to see how interior designers create rooms that truly speak to you.  My favorite is based here in Houston Cote de Texas  it’s the best! 

So when my husband and I decided to update his parents home in St. Louis to help sell it, I poured through blogs and websites for inspiration.  We didn’t want to spend much but wanted dramatic results.  So here’s what we did in a matter of 10 hours and very little money.  You hear realtors talk about “staging”  a home to sell.  It works and here’s our version of it!  The house still needs some perfecting but I told my husband we weren’t going for small details like perfectly pressed linens or even hemmed curtains, I’ll go back next month for all that!

Remember, I’m a news anchor not an interior designer, I had/have no clue what I’m doing.  Given that I think it looks pretty good!









Dining Room 

The problems:   The dining room was too busy.  the tapestry on the back wall was dated and the clutter in the room distracted from it’s good features.

I took some beautiful plates that were not prominently displayed in a case and hung them on the wall.  The less impressive plates and other items that were in the display case were put up.  I replaced all the purple candles with white ones and moved some of the candles sticks to other rooms in the house. 

Total cost:  6 wire plate hangers @ 1.99 each + 3 wire plate displays @ 1.99 + 3 candles @ 1.99  = $24

bedroom before

 bedroom after



After: IMG_0481[1]

Master Bedroom

Problems:  the room had a dated feel and we just wanted something comforting with some feel of luxury that we could tie into the adjoining master bath.  The large wall unit was hard to work into the room design so we covered it.  I planned on using shades of grays to pick up the grey in the bathroom tile.  However, when I saw this bedding I changed my plans and I’m glad I did. 

The fix:  We bought new bedding, covered the side tables with fabric and made curtains (of sorts) for the wall unit.  I own a sewing machine but my grandmother still has to teach me how to use it.  I had prepared my husband he was going to have to hand sew a bunch of stuff; since he’s a surgeon and sews up skin all the time so I figured he could sew fabric too!  Well, we ended up not having enough time to hand sew the 2 sets of curtains so if you look closely…they’re safety pinned at the top.  (My apologies to real interior designers who cringe when seeing this, I’ll go sew it up properly later!)

I’m still hoping to find some nice solid darker wood side tables and a larger picture/pictures or mirror to use over the bed.  I’m thinking four botanical prints over the bed?  Wouldn’t a large tufted headboard be pretty?

I used the original lamp that was already in the room and brought out these precious little figurines from the display unit where you could hardly see them and added flowers.

Total: bedding $ 88 + fabric $200 + flowers $1.50 x 4 = $294


Bath before 


bathroom after

Master Bath

Problems: the windows with the etched flowers wasn’t my favorite focal point of the room. To me the bathtub should be the highlight of the room.  We wanted the bath to feel inviting and minimize the etched glass.

We bought fabric and made curtains in the same color family as the bedding in the master bedroom.  Once again, my husband used straight pins to secure them and I’ll go back and sew them later when we have more time.  I moved some candle holders from the living room to use behind the tub and added some flowers.  We opted for “faux” flowers, which I know some people hate but we needed things to be simple and ready to show 24/7.  If you opt for real flowers it’s more of a commitment to keeping them fresh.  I think everyone would agree there’s nothing more beautiful than real flowers in a home!  My goal was a hint of color and we achieved this with the flowers.  I brought the vase from Houston; it held my Mother’s Day flowers earlier this year from my boy. 

Total:  10 orchid stems X 3 each + 4 yards material X $20 a yard = $110






livingroom after


livingroom2 after

 Living Room

White leather sectionals aren’t the easiest to work into a room these days but we wanted to neutralize the space and highlight the spacious room itself.  The display case was very full.  The plants while just beautiful and amazing were a bit overwhelming.  (My mother in law can grow plants like I have NEVER seen in my life.  She has real green thumb!)  We talked about painting the brick on the fireplace and I’m still torn about this.  Personally I love the look of painted brick hearths but this isn’t for us it’s for a potential buyer so I think we’ll leave it for now.

I mainly just took items and photos out of the display case and took some stuff off the side tables.  I took the purple pillows off the couch and left two which I covered with fabric from the entry hall table cloth.  It was too late in the day to make pillows so for the pictures I just draped the fabric over the original pillows, I’ll make the pillow covers this week and mail them.  I’m also making 2 small leopard print pillows, one for the brown chair (to modernize it a bit) and one for the couch to be grouped with the other pillows.  I moved one chair to the back of the room to create more of a separate sitting space and we moved the plants back in the corners.  My husband and his friend Bill moved the floral chair to another room and we brought in the other patterned chair from the office.

Total:  3 yards of fabric for pillows X $20…candles $5 X 3…candle holder $4…new clock above fireplace $25 = $104



Kitchen before







Problems   We just wanted to update the overall look of the kitchen.  The drapery and purple vinyl gave the room a very definite look.  For potential buyers who don’t prefer that style it could distract them from the other features in the kitchen/breakfast room, like the amazing view.  Here again we just wanted to neutralize the space.

To achieve a more classic look we took down the pastel drapery on the windows and I recovered the puple vinyl seat cushions with a blue and white knit pattern.  I didn’t buy enough batting for the seat covers so I did them without batting.  It looks fine but the fabric is so thin there’s a good chance the material with use will pull through the staples.  I’m sure I’ll have to redo this eventually but it will hold for a while.   We bought 2 candlesticks (I ran out of candles), a new vase, 2 decorative bottles.  I just cleaned virtually everything off the kitchen counters.  We honestly forgot to take the pastel drape off the kitchen window!  Oops.

Total new knick knacks: vase $10 +decorative bottles $7 + fabric 3 yards X $10 = $47


entry way before



Entry Way

Problem  The entry way needed a more dramatic style.  I spent the most time deciding what to do here. It’s the first thing people see when the walk into the house so I wanted it to be good.  This room needed to set the tone for the rest of the house so the challenge was tying in all the different influences through the home.  There are some elements of classic, ultra modern, some traditional and some old world decor.  With this in mind I chose this fabric that felt old and French.  The round plate on the left is an antique that was already in the home.  The sunburst mirror is from Hobby Lobby tied together the gold and silver from around the house.  The little lamp is also traditional.  The flowers feel a little more modern to me and the vertical mirrors were just fun and added height. 

I moved a table out of the living room into the entry way and luckily it fit perfectly!  Once I got the fabric I bought home I realized I didn’t measure it properly and it was way too short on the sides.  I had bought painter’s cloth/canvas to use as slip covers in the living room (I decided against this at the last minute because the material was too stiff to form to the couch and chairs) but I had already opened one canvas so I put that under the nice fabric on the table.  Again because of the time constraints I pinned it in place…to be perfected later. 

Total   $20 for fabric X 2yds + mirror $25 + lamp $7 + $7 X 2 vertical mirrors + painters drop cloth $8 + $1.50 X 7 for flowers=   $104.50

Here’s what methods I’ve used over the years to make property look it’s best.

Declutter, declutter, declutter! (if a gal has a ring on every finger you’re distracted from how beautiful her hands are or that one really fabulous ring!)  Leave out only the nicest items.

Clean, clean, clean!   No one wants to buy a house that feels dirty, smelly or gross!  So don’t forget ceiling fans, light fixtures, baseboards ( that’s where I always look) and inside drawers/cabinets. 

Paint any room that has a crazy/wacky/trendy color.  Opt for a neutral non-offensive colors and schemes.

Clean off kitchen and bathroom counters.

Take down pictures 

Clean or replace dirty carpet.  You don’t want potential buyers to be distracted by that accident your dog had 3 years ago on your floor!

Make sure all light bulbs are working and are nice and bright.  To me bright homes always feel happier.

Plant yellow flowers.  I heard this years ago and I’ve noticed homes with copious amounts of yellow flowers also feel happier and more inviting.

Take the best pictures you can afford.  Let’s face it, everyone does everything on the internet these days especially searching for homes.  When my friend/realtor and I staged my husband’s old place she brought along a real estate photographer.  Oh my goodness!  The photos were spectacular!  He lit the place perfectly and made our old home look like a palace!  My  husband had too much furniture in the tiny condo so I had to hold up a couch in the corner of the room while he took the pictures so it wouldn’t look cluttered.  Once my back healed I was glad we did this!  If you can’t afford a pro, borrow or find the best camera you can and turn on every light in the house!


5 Responses

  1. Fabulous job, Lauren! How you look so good, anchor the news, raise a baby, deal with Owen Conflenti and “decorate-to-sell-on-a-budget” (in another state) is beyond me! Way beyond.

    I like the fireplace the way it is. It’s one of the most striking structural features of the house and seems very warm with it’s natural brick. Besides, not having to paint gives your husband more time to stitch! 🙂

  2. Gone through you each and every before and after images. Would like to appreciate for your work. It’s wonderful.

  3. A woman after my own heart! I, too, love to arrange, re-arrange and arrange again…and love having a ‘project’ around my house…whether it be painting, wallpapering (yes, wallpapering!) cleaning, etc. I’ve helped friends do the same and it’s so much fun to look at things from a different perspective. I loved the pictures and am willing to bet that the house will sell quickly! I’m a native (Houstonian!) and always start and end my day with Channel 2…ya’ll just feel like family. Keep up the great work ~ on and off the air.

  4. Thank you so much for watching Debbie! I hope you’re right and that house sells!!!- Lauren

  5. You’re brave, by the way, for trying wallpaper!-Lauren

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