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     Living in my expat bubble I see more properties up for rent or sale in Spring than at any other time of year. When trying to let or sell your home, especially at a time when there is competition from other properties on the market, one of the main challenges is making your home appealing to potential buyers.

     Staging your home is an effective way to make your property look its best in a competitive market. However,  for those who worry about costs, there are a number of ways to stage your home on a budget. 


     1. Create Curb Appeal

    The first thing buyers or renters will see is the exterior of your home. Make sure that your driveway, flower bed or lawn are well maintained and that the front entrance is looking attractive and inviting. It might also be a good idea to place a new door mat and pretty flower pot or plant outside your front door. 


    2.  De-Clutter and De-Personalize:

     An easy and cheap way to stage your home is to get rid of clutter and redundant furniture or accessories. Give your rooms a clean look by removing items which do not enhance the overall layout of the room or are not relevant to potential buyers. Focus on the minimum amount of furniture and personal belongings. As important as family heirlooms, your children`s drawings or football trophies are to you, they are not to a buyer and distract buyers from visualising their own belongings in each room. As you are moving home the process of de-cluttering is a very liberating one and what`s more you can generate extra income by selling items which you don`t want to take with you to your next home. 

    Have a garage sale for the white goods or low cost items. If you decide to sell some of your mid range or valuable pieces sell them on e-bay or via an auction house. On this note, for those living here in Switzerland, don`t forget that Partridge Auctions ( are having their next sale in May, so a good time to take stock and see what you are happy to part with.


     3. Light

     Try and bring as much natural light into the rooms as possible. Open all window treatments and make sure the windows are clean.


     4. Spring Clean

     Give your house a big spring clean and once this is done keep a regular tap on dusty corners and surfaces, dirty or used looking bathrooms, windows and kitchen appliances and cupboards. Make sure that you don`t have last night’s washing up or your breakfast plates lying around. The kitchen surface should be totally clutter free and clean.


     5. Pets

     If you have pets, make sure that the house is free of pet odours or pet hair. Clean out the water/food bowls and make sure the dog bed or cat litter area is looking clean.


     6.  Stage your Interior

     Imagine yourself in a theatre, setting the stage for a potential buyer or rental visitor. It involves arranging each room to make it look its best. Fluff up sofa cushions (if yours are filled with feather and down) and place decorative pillows or place a nice rug and matching cushions over it if it looks slightly used or worn. Make your bed and if your duvet cover looks a little creased and you don`t want to change it on a daily basis, invest in a simple white bedcover with decorative or matching cushions to cover up the used look. Clear the surfaces in your bathroom of your creams, shampoos and other clutter and place clean and tidy towels over the towel rail  to give both areas a fresh boutique hotel look. Open your windows to make sure your house has had some fresh air.  Invest in an expensive smelling room spray or scented candle - remember how nice it is to step into an expensive boutique and be greeted by an inviting scent - it can change the atmosphere instantly. Alternatively the smell of a freshly baked cake or bread is always attractive.


     Renting Furniture

     If you have already moved out but still like to give your home a lived-in feel or need to add or replace some of your existing furniture but don`t want to start buying anything new, there is always the option of renting furniture over a limited period of time.  There are increasingly companies around who offer furniture to rent. Depending on where you live, take a look at “Möbel Vermietung”, “Location des Meubles” or “Furniture Rental”. One of the companies here in Switzerland, offering this service is 


    Bearing all the above in mind, do remember that you too will soon be searching for a new home to buy or rent. Imagine what you would be looking for when viewing properties for you and your family which might help you prepare your home before putting it on the market. If you are still not quite sure about your rooms and feel that it needs a bit more input this might be the time to work with a professional home stager.

     Last but not least be positive. If you have done your homework you will be streets ahead and need not worry about the potential competition. The more confidence and positive approach you have when showing your house the more it will be picked up by anyone who is looking to rent or buy. 







    If you need to introduce a bit of colour into your living room and give it a contemporary look this gorgeous grass green retro  armchair could just do the job. It looks good with either grey, brown or beige furniture and if green is too outlandish for you this model is also available in grey (£349.00), shipping to the UK and France,




    This company creates unique and individual products from different types of wood. Each piece is  individually put together and regarded as a unique piece of art. This is certainly not a mass product and will easily be center of attention when you get your friends round. Entwurf-Direkt is a German company but will ship to a number of other destinations incuding Switzerland, 


    This could certainly be the ‘pièce de résistance’ for your new or old kitchen.....budget allowing, of course, with prices starting at £3.997.00! The Meneghini`s range of wooden fridge freezers are unique and come in a wide range of colours, designs and finishes.  Almost like with cars you can add all sorts of lovely accessories from integrated coffee machines to ice makers and microvaves.



    volga strong green fabric

    When it comes to luxurious looking (and feeling) linen fabric, Volga Linen certainly fits the description. A family run British company it sells an exquisite collection of pure linen fabrics, table linen, bed linen and ready to hang curtains from Europe or Russia,  

    Isphahan4 OKA-1Isphahan Teapot OKA -1

    If you love Moorish designs this is a 5 star version which is supplied only to Oka. Adapted from an ancient Persian design this Isphahan Porcelain Giant Charger (£199,00) and Porcelain Tea Pot (£85,00) are hand painted and are also available as an entire dinner service with dinner plate sets, cups and so on,


     Green Porta Romana Lamp

     I love the sleek design of this Porta Romana Goard Lamp. The bowl and stem are mouth blown with a perspex base and if green is not your colour it comes in a large choice of other colourways,



    Anthropologie green/cream sofa

     This lovely French inspired banquette reminds me of a Spring or Summer room with palm trees and bone china cups or a slightly delapidated country house in France......wouldn`t you love to be there too? Products can be ordered via the UK, Germany and the US,




    Step into Spring and make the most of the latest colour trends!




    Green-White Room


    I am not talking about my age group, of course, but am taking a look at one of the trends, that is dominating this year’s interior design magazines and outlets – the 50s retro look.

     With Easter gone and Spring in the air, you might feel like a complete revamp  to give your interior a new ‘facelift’. If you have taken a shine to some of the retro colours or products which are currently dominating the front pages of the major interior design magazines and the storefronts of interior outlets, and would like to incorporate them into your home, here is some background to the look:

    New materials such as plastic, fibreglass, plywood or Formica introduced after the second world war, led to a dramatic change in styles during the fifties and sixties. The general mood of the public was optimistic and positive with a bright future ahead. This was consequently reflected in the colours which became a very popular choice:

    • Jade
    • Green
    • Pink
    • Blue
    • Orange
    • Yellow
    • Red

    Not only did the materials but also the shape and design of furniture changed. Designers came up with some ‘weird and wonderful‘ never seen before products. The kidney table or boomerang shaped furniture are very representative of that area.

    GPlan furniture was all the rage and revolutionised home interiors.  It allowed people to develop a coordinated look to their home and allowed them to mix and match pieces to create their own style.

    Geometric patterns and shapes took over and so did black and white chequered linoleum paired with chrome furniture.

    Most furniture shops are now selling new retro-style furniture and home accessories. Fabric and wallpaper manufacturers have added their share of retro colours and designs and incorporated them into their collections too. If you are keen to get your hands on an original rather than a reproduction the best sources are auction houses, flea markets or try e-bay. 





    Q:   Can I combine modern with vintage, Ingrid

     A:   Hi Ingrid,  yes, you can. I would focus on the colour scheme for your room or throughout the house. With this in mind source your vintage and modern pieces that work with your predominant colour or have the colour in them. If you have fallen for a busy pattern focus on just this one and/or use it sparsely on a ‘Statement’  wall creating a feature. Decide on what lines to combine. Some vintage pieces have modern lines, so focus on pieces that have similar modern lines. Keep your main pieces modern and be very selective in the choice of your vintage furniture or accessories. A lamp, cushion, a desk or occasional table draws attention to each piece giving them their individual status......sometimes less is more!


    Q:   What advice can you give me in how to select a feature wall and choose colours and patterns, Judith

    A:   Dear Judith, it rather depends on your room`s function and focal point. For example in your living room the obvious place would be a fireplace or another central wall (featuring your TV or a desk) and in your bedroom the wall against which your headboard is resting. When choosing colour and pattern take a look at the colours in your room, be it curtains, furniture, soft furnishings, or a colour which you happen to like. Patterns and shades can vary in different degrees from the other walls as long as the overall pattern and colour scheme works with the rest of the room.





    Garden City Room vintage wallpaper Collection 2_Multi Wallpaper Colors

    This vintage-inspired wallpaper would make a perfect retro focal point on an accent wall.  Add a couple of retro furniture and accessories and you have achived  that perfect 50s look. MissPrint offers a very original looking range of vintage wallpapers, sold per roll of w: 52cm x 10m at £59,95,



    Retro Desk

    The Two-Tone 50s Writing Desk is a really versatile piece of furniture which works just as well as a hallway console, a desk or a dressing table. With a folding table plus 2 drawers it makes a very special place to sit at and work,  £550.00,




     Who says you need to take out a mortgage to get your hand on stylish and trendy designer furniture? This Redford three-seater sofa (£749.00) is the creation of award-winning designer Tim Fenby whose classic, contemporary style is well established amongst some of the biggest names in the industry., an online company who is selling this sofa, is working with a group of well-known designers, yet manages to offer an imaginative and beautiful range of products with very attractive price tags. is now shipping to the UK and France,



    lattice teal blue N-J cushion

     One of my favourite cushions and patterns as it works with so many styles. The Lattice Cushion is a classic design based on a Moroccan tile motif, slightly simplified and scaled up. £80.00



    This is a truly iconic retro designed desk for the “well heeled”. The wedge-shaped top is perfectly offset by pointed wood and metal legs.  A modern twist on a retro image, this luxurious bureau was made by expert designers using Danish traditional quality and craftsmanship in solid wood, £2.950,



     3 lamps

    These beautiful Silas Bulb glass table lamps have a nickel base and come complete with an oval cotton shade with a silver trim, £135.00




    Retro Console Table

     Made from beautiful sheesham wood, Jamie Graham has especially designed the sleek Odyssey Console Table with style loving customers in mind, £495.00,

    Peacock Green/ Blue Chair 

    The Peacock Arte Chair in Cobalt and Meadow Green Velvet is a true statement piece. Signature 60s style with striking curves and splayed legs, this chair adds a recognisable retro touch, £299.00,





    Below are some rooms which are very representative for today`s retro design and might give you some ideas for your home.





    I hope you enjoyed the short journey to the 50s and back. Looking forward to your comments and questions.