The BEST Marble Countertop Alternatives; A Quick Reference Guide

DECLUTTERED THOUGHTS OF A HOME STAGER by Sue Proud, ASP®, IAHSP®, GCIRC

small__4264975242

photo credit: sidehike via photopin cc

In my last post, The WORST Countertop Choice When Selling Your House, I tried (not so subtly) to convince you not to install marble countertops in your kitchen if you are putting your house on the market.

Hopefully, you’re now asking yourself, “If marble is the current  ‘on-trend look,’ and I shouldn’t install it, what type of countertop do I choose instead?” Well, I’d never leave you high and dry without some possible solutions!

Source

Source

The idea is to install something that gives a similar marble look, but without all the maintenance headaches. We want to give prospective buyers the eye candy they want and the low maintenance lifestyle they desire. Cha-ching! Contract time!

So, I’ve pulled together a quick reference guide, The BEST Marble Countertop Alternatives, to save you time in your countertop search. The Guide includes the names of color options, approximate costs, and pros/cons for each. I’ve also highlighted some favorites.

Keep in mind that your countertop selection should be based on the undertones of the fixed elements in your kitchen that you intend to keep. Just be careful not to over improve your property for your price range and location! You want to be able to recoup your investment when you sell.

You can also check my Pinterest Board for photos of several of the selections.

Hope you find the Guide helpful!

Do you have any others to add to the list? What has produced the best results for you? Leave us a comment below. 250X52I’m Sue Proud, Owner of PROUD HOME Staging, LLC, an Accredited Staging Professional® and Kitchen Redesign Specialist in St. Charles, IL. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post.

We would love to hear from you…Contact Us directly about your Home Staging and Design needs.
References: absolutetileandstone.com, apartmenttherapy.com, caesarstoneus.com, cambriausa.com, carlaaston.com, daltile.com, dreambookdesign.com, dupont.com, formica.com, girlcooksworld.com, granitegurus.com, hanwhasurfaces.com, hollymathisinteriors.com, houzz.com, julieblanner.com, lgviaterusa.com, life.nationalpost.com, lifeofanarchitect.com, marble.com, marbleandgranite.com, msistone.com, pentalquartz.com, quantra.in, roomology.wordpress.com, stewardofdesign.blogspot.com, roomology.wordpress.com, silestoneusa.com, staron.com, stoneitaliana.com, stonesource.com, studiodearborn.com, thegardenweb.com, theletteredcottage.net, thingsthatinspire.net, wilsonart.com

The Most Important Measurement in Updating Your Kitchen

DECLUTTERED THOUGHTS OF A HOME STAGER by Sue Proud, ASP®, IAHSP®, GCIRC

Kitchens. They sell houses. With the flood of HGTV shows, blogs and design magazines showing how ‘easy kitchen improvements are, buyers EXPECT updated kitchens.

When our clients ask us to come in to improve their kitchen, we often are able to make simple changes such as replacing appliances, lighting, countertops, back splashes and cabinet hardware.

However, sometimes the simple changes just don’t get it. If anything, adding updates to existing old, ugly cabinets makes them look worse. That’s just “putting lipstick on a pig!”

DSC_1096

“Lipstick on a pig!” New granite countertops installed on old cabinets.

Many times we are confronted with an older kitchen with classic cabinets that still look nice, but the layout does not make sense or it needs to be larger. Is this your situation?

What are your options? Gut the kitchen? That’s generally not in the budget. Add a few new cabinets and use as many of the old cabinets as possible? Yes!

Okay, now look down at your cabinets. Do you see that gap between the floor and the bottom of your cabinets? That’s the toe kick. The dimension of your toe kick is the most important measurement in your kitchen if you are thinking of incorporating new cabinets. It is the kicker (pun intended) to your successful redesign.

When we update kitchens, we are usually dealing with older cabinets in which the toe kicks are smaller than those on new cabinets produced today. Are you saying, “But what’s the big deal? If the new cabinet is too tall, just trim some off the bottom and if it’s too short, just elevate the cabinet or countertop.” Well, not so fast…

Take a look at the graphic. In either case, the doors and drawers won’t line up with your existing cabinets if you adjust the height up or down. If you elevate the countertop and try to cover the gap with trim, the trim pieces usually interfere with the doors or drawers when you extend the trim onto the cabinets without the gap.

Toe Kicks of Cabinets

Two Different Cabinet Toe Kicks

Instead, you’ll need to redesign the kitchen so the old base cabinets are in one area and new ones in another. You don’t want to have them side by side or the two different toe kick heights will be noticeable and will scream DIY. Not what you want a prospective buyer to think and a good way to have your investment dollars vanish before your eyes.

What has been your kitchen redesign experience? Would love to hear any helpful hints you would like to pass along!

250X52

I’m Sue Proud, Owner of PROUD HOME Staging, LLC and an Accredited Staging Professional® in St. Charles, IL. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post.

We would love to hear from you… please leave your comments and questions below or Contact Us directly about your Home Staging and Design needs.
Related Resources:

The NEW Bronze Faucets; Easy Money in Your Pocket?

DECLUTTERED THOUGHTS OF A HOME STAGER by Sue Proud, ASP®, IAHSP®, GCIRC

What’s one of the newest trends for 2014? Faucets with warm finishes. They’re not the shiny brass of the 80’s, but instead have a warm, sophisticated, satin glow.

brass-kitchen-faucet

Source: Centsationl Girl

With the gray trend in fabrics and paint becoming so prevalent, the introduction of warm metals as a way to bring some noticeable bling to a room seems like a natural.

Trend setters have tried to get warm metals back into the mainstream time and again, but when kitchen faucet companies start to expand their options in a particular finish, you know it’s getting serious. They understand most consumers won’t spend hundreds on their products unless they have confidence that this new trend will last.


Take a look at this latest Delta commercial and see how many warm metal faucets you see.

To get consumers to embrace these new finishes, the smart marketers of faucets are not calling them brass; the fixture finish we’ve been trying to get rid of forever. Instead they are calling them (some sexy adjectives +) bronze.

faucet-delta champagne bronze

Source: Delta

For example, there’s Champagne Bronze from Delta and Vibrant Brushed Bronze from Kohler.

But what does this have to do with you getting your property ready to sell? Will installing the new bronze faucets put easy money in your pocket?

Imagine this scenario. You’re thinking you want to change your fixtures to make your house appealing and look updated. So, installing the latest and greatest in faucets is a sure winner. Right?

Armed with this savvy design knowledge, you go to the big box store and search for one of the new bronze faucets. You spy the perfect one and head to the register to make your purchase. Please hear me screaming, “STOP! DON’T DO IT!” This is a disastrous decision which could cost you thousands!

Installing the latest in kitchen faucets is risky if you are trying to sell your house, even if it will become popular in the near future. Instead, you want your house to feel comfortable to most buyers and not represent the front edge of design. How do you do this? By providing elements in your home that are familiar and mainstream now.

When many people won’t buy a house simply because they don’t like the paint colors, how do you think they will feel about buying a property with new fixture finishes that they may not believe are here to stay?


So, push away your inner Nate Berkus or Candice Olson. Reach for the brushed stainless, oiled rubbed bronze or chrome. These choices are safe, current and what prospective buyers are looking for. After all, we want to give them what they want!

What’s the take away here? If you love the new bronze faucets, purchase them for your new home. There you can love and admire them for years to come. Then let the rest of us catch up.

What do you think about the new warm metal faucets? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment below.

250X52

I’m Sue Proud, Owner of PROUD HOME Staging, LLC and an Accredited Staging Professional® in St. Charles, IL. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post.

We would love to hear from you… please leave your comments and questions below or Contact Us directly about your Home Staging and Design needs.

Related Resources:

How To Make Fearless Design Decisions – A Cheat Sheet for Home Decor

The Shocking Truth About Granite

5 Home Staging Tips for Front Entries to Make Buyers Fall in Love with Your House

The Smells that Sell: What REALLY Works – Home Staging in Elgin, IL

DECLUTTERED THOUGHTS OF A HOME STAGER by Sue Proud, ASP®, IAHSP®, GCIRC

Source: flicker, bradleygee

Source: flicker, bradleygee

What’s that smell?

Scents and odors are everywhere and all buyers are influenced by them, particularly when looking at houses to purchase. The sense of smell is the strongest of all the senses to connect (or disconnect) buyers to your house.

When preparing to stage a house, we recommend getting rid of the sources of bad odors by making a house super clean and dealing with pet issues, to name a few. But how about subtly layering a scent through a house that has no odors, but is clean and staged?… Infusing scents for the sole purpose of helping convince buyers that your house is “the one.”

With that being said, should you pull out scented candles for your next showing or prepare to bake chocolate chip cookies for your Open House?

Well, no you shouldn’t and here’s why…

We need to stop doing what we THINK works to attract buyers and rely on studies that tell us what DOES work. Research shows that while popular scents may trigger positive emotions, they can distract from our ability to make decisions.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Eric Spangenberg, Dean of the College of Business at Washington State University, has been studying the effect of scents on the buying habits of people for over 20 years.

He and his co-authors published the results of their recent study in the Journal of Retailing. They found that shoppers spent 31.8% more when a store was scented with a simple orange scent over a complex blend of scents.

Professor Spangenberg says the same principles apply to Open Houses, “because in both cases, the aromas may affect cognitive functions in the same areas of the brain involved in decision-making.” And what were their findings about stores with no scents? Buyers spent more in these stores than in the stores with complex blends, but less than in the stores with simple scents.

When buyers are confronted with a complex scent, even if it is pleasant, they are distracted by trying to figure out what the smell is instead on focusing on the house.

So, how do you know which scent to use? According to Professor Spangenberg,

 “You need to think, ‘What scent will buyers associate with this environment?’ It must be simple and positive and congruent.”

Simple: He recommends using simple scents, such as orange, lemon, basil, vanilla, green tea, pine and cedar. These scents are easier to sort out, less distracting and thus more conducive to spending.

Positive: Equally important is the strength and source of that scent. You don’t want buyers to be bowled over by a strong scent the minute they walk through the door. As the saying goes…”less is more.”

“You want scents to be on the edge of your perception — not centrally processed. This leaves the central part of your brain to do what it does best: process the task at hand” – Eric Spangenberg
Using natural, organic elements will help keep the scents subtle and also prevent turning off buyers who are sensitive or allergic to synthetic commercial products.
Congruent: You must select a scent that is in harmony with the location of your house. The scent of pine may be great if your house is on a wooded lot, but not if it’s beach front property.
So…you know simple, subtle scents are needed, but what are the best ways to accomplish this? My Pinterest board can provide a few suggestions, but I’d like to hear from you.
How do you infuse your home with simple, organic scents?
250X52
I’m Sue Proud, Owner of PROUD HOME Staging, LLC and an Accredited Staging Professional® in St. Charles, IL. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post.
We would love to hear from you… please leave your comments and questions below or Contact Us directly about your Home Staging and Design needs.