September 21, 2009

Amazing Walmart Decor for Under $100!

Have you been longing for some gorgeous decor pieces from stores like Z Gallerie, West Elm, Potterybarn, Williams-Sonoma home or Restoration Hardware? I know, I know, we love to daydream while perusing their catalogs and online pages but much of their good can really put a dent in your wallet!

Well I have good news! I've done the shopping for you and have selected 30 amazing pieces all under $100 and they are all available at the ever-accessible Walmart!

Click this link to my other blog for all the goodies, complete with pricing and links to the actual items!

The photo at the top of the post will give you an idea of what kind of finds I came across. Can you believe that ottoman/bench was less than $80?!

Happy Browsing!

August 1, 2009

Vacation Rental Must-Haves!

When setting up a home for vacationers, there are a few things that you should consider investing a bit of money in to make your home cozy and a true retreat. I'm not talking about the standard hair dryer or coffee maker here but rather the sometimes forgotten extras.

1. Screened in Pools-In most rental communities pools are offered so it's almost an anomoly not to have one. Some have community pools but all that I've personally decorated have had their own patio area and a screened in pool complete with deck chairs and also an outdoor dining table for casuals meals by the pool. With such intense amounts of mosquitoes in humid Florida, a screened in pool is best. It also keeps the children contained instead of getting lost or running off. All parents searching for a rental will have this on their mind for sure. If your property does not have pool, I highly recommend putting one in. No pool area is complete without ample loungers and drink tables so be sure to add those. You'll also need to purchase some pool toys-floating beach balls, pool noodles, floatingbasket ball nets and other water toys are good bets.

2. Wireless Access-These days wireless access has become the norm in most hotels and your property should be no different. With kids running around and often two families sharing the same rental villa, it's great to be able to roam the house and check email on their laptop or do a little business without feeling confined to one particular area like a living area which is likely to be busy. This will really make your listing a lot more marketable! In most of the homes I've decorated, I've found a little nook by a window or small space in the Master Suite to place a small writing desk and chair which is a great place to store some pens, a pad of paper and is a great spot for using a laptop or writing a postcard in privacy.

3. Computer Desk-If you choose not to opt for wireless or you want to create some versatility adding a computer station is a great idea. Not every family will want to lug a laptop on top of all the other luggage they have, so this is a great option. You need only basic programs and internet access, nothing fancy and you can use an older model or refurbished computer instead of buying new. Be sure that the internet connection is highspeed otherwise this station would be deemed useless.

4. Game Room/Games- While sunny FL has a lot to offer and a screened in pool is a great way to spend the day, it wil lbe games especially in the evening that will entertain kids and adults alike. Consider connecting an XBox or Playstation to a tv so that kids will feel at home and give the adults some time on their own uninterrupted. Better yet, implement a game room. Every vacation property that I've decorated has had a designated game room which has almost always been the garage. The driveway alone can be used for the cars and the garage makes for a nice indepent area where kids can be kids. It is also a wonderful area to house a pool table or hang a dart board on the wall. You could add a foosball table or just have a separate area with a loveseat and some chairs with a coffee table where board games or cards can be spread out. This is a selling feature so don't forget to mention it in your online listings!

5. BBQ- If you thought the oven, stovetop and microwave were enough, think again! This is Florida and many northerners will enjoy hanging out pool side whipping up some hotdogs or burgers. After all, it is a much more economical option for a large family in tight economic times compared to a restaurant. If you purchase one at the end of the summer you can get a great deal. Feel free to opt for second hand from a yard sale if it looks clean and is in working condition. It doesn't need to break the budget but it is a necessity for any rental villa.

6. Flat Screen TV's-If you are just beginning to shop for the decoration of a rental villa now is the time to look at flat screens. You don't have to have them in every room if you're on a really tight budget but the living room area is a must for sure and do splurge on a larger 50" or larger if you have the wall space. The other rooms will suffice with regular televisions but in most rentals televisions are common in every room, especially the kids rooms. They are a great place for the build in DVD-player types. Great for cranky kids. Again, this is becoming much more common now in most hotels so it is becoming expected.

7. Baby Items-If you don't have children yourself or are out of that phase, you may forget some important essentials for baby-a crib, a playpen and a highchair. There are collapsable playpens with wheels that can easily be moved from room to room, highchairs that are not full size but rather more like a seat that attaches to a regular kitchen chair and inexpensive crib options at stores like ikea. Be sure to includes these so your home will be baby-friendly. I can assure you a parent will travel with a stroller but none of the above listed. Again, just one more way to increase your bookings and cater to your customer.

8. Go the Extra Mile- There are a lot of little things that make life easier and more enjoyable when on vacation. Think like a guest when decorating. Having some candles and a lighter on hand will create a relaxing spa-like area near a jacuzzi tub. Try to have little apothecary jars with cotton balls and q-tips (often unpacked items) or a few interesting books atop a living room table or on a bookshelf. Magazines will work well too so have a couple male and female oriented mags. Sometimes a two-week vacation may be pricey so let guests feel like eating in is a definite option with the proper tools. Tongs for the bbq, a cookie sheet, a muffin tin, good quality pots and pans, a cheese grater, veggie peeler, coffee filters. You don't want guests to have to contstantly run back and forth to the nearest store for items. Be sure to keep the trash bags, tissues, toilet paper and paper towels well stocked. Included some bodywash in each bathroom and be sure that pump soaps are kept full by you or your hired cleaning staff. Relaxing decor also goes along way as well.

If you would like a consultation please call us. We are happy to meet with you even after you've decorated to ensure you've got everything that a guest would want and to enable you to have the most profitable Disney rental villa. visit us at:

June 17, 2009

Decorating Faux Pas for Rental Homes

For many people who own a vacation home that they rent out, they attempt to decorate it themselves and make it feel as tropical as possible. Sometimes this backfires and the home looks like a circus, not a cozy retreat.

This is How NOT to Decorate a Disney Rental Vacation Property:

1. Don't Paint Your Own Home-Florida is hot most of the year and let's face it-painting is no fun! This may cause you to rush through the painting just to get it over with. Call up at least five companies and get some price quotes. Decide who will provide the best overall value for your money then try to opt for low VOC paints which have less odor and environmental issues. This way, your home is ready to receive guests in no time!

2. Don't Go Too Bold- In my professional opinon, when it comes to selecting paint colors for your home, choose neutral ones vs. bright ones, especially in the main living areas. The kids bedrooms are a great place for some expression of color but lime green and bright orange will get old quick. If you decide to sell this investment home later or you'll be repainting it for sure! I assure you this will get you LESS not more guests. Use splashes of color in the artwork, bedding, rugs, and other accessories, just not on the walls!

3. Avoid Grandma Florals- In Florida there tends to be a whole lots of ugly grandma-like floral patterns. Avoid this temptation. This is not modern, current or exciting, if people wanted that type of decor they'd go to grandma's house or stay in their own home. Make your rental cozy like it should be but add some elegance and sophistications so the renters will feel like they truly had a retreat and got their money's worth! Other patterns to avoid are plaids and paisley. Stay away from anyting that is quilted or crocheted as well. After all this is a beach destination, not a cabin in the woods!

4. Antiques- A rental is not the place to dump all your old, ugly furniture that you no longer have a place for or want. This will make the renter feel like they're amongst a sea of bad thrift store finds. Use newer furniture that has no tears, stains, rips or needs to be covered up and it MUST be CLEAN! While you can find some great furniture like beautiful dining table and chair sets that simply require a new lease on life with some paint, the upholstered pieces that have seen better days or tv's with rabbit ears are off limits. However, do incorporate interesting finds from flea markets, or antique stores that are nautical or of a beachy or travelling nature.

5. Personalization- While the rental home that allows you to generate income may also be your personal vacation home, it's important not to make it overly personal. When you stay at a hotel, it's all about you, and that is how it should be. Avoid framed family photos, sports team memorabilia or decor items of a religious nature. These hold true for staging your home to sell and they are true when marketing your home as a destination for potential vacationers to feel comfortable in too. Other things to consider are personalized mugs, director's chairs with the family members name or your home country's flag posted outside the home.

While some of these tips may be surprising to you, if you're looking to get the highest amount of vacationers to your home, they are highly recommended. For a personal consultation contact us at (407) 864-7535 or visit us at

May 17, 2009

Get Rave Reviews on Your Rental!

For many of you that have recently purchased an investment home to be used as a rental property. For those that are still looking for one, (who wouldn't want to in today's buyer's market?) here are a few things to consider before you attempt to decorate it on your own...

1. Marketing Impact- Now that you have purchased your rental property, you'll want to have it staged in a way that goes beyond decorating. Thought staging was only for sellers? Think again! Decorating caters more to personal taste where home staging appeals to a mass audience. A professional Home Stager knows exactly what to put where and why, to elicit the feelings of home, coziness and an "I have to rent this!" kind of attitude. That is why it is best left to the professionals who make it their career to prepare a home for such a process, eliminating the guesswork. This will help you significantly in the overall appeal of your home as potential renters scope out the web to find their perfect rental. You will have wonderful photos at the end for your website, blog, or for printed marketing materials, and in the end if you plan to sell, MLS too!

2. Long Distance Relationship-If you do not live in the same State or Country as the home you are looking to rent out, it is best to leave the shopping, and decorating to a local who will save you time and money. While most people loathe personal long distance relationships, a relationship with a good Home Stager/Designer will save you a lot of time looking for the goods, money in travel, rental cars and lodging expenses and frustration trying to hunt down all of the accessories and furniture for your home. You won't be left wondering if you could have got it cheaper elsewhere. That is all we do at Florida Home Staging & Redesign, Inc. So, rest assured that while you're living your life and managing your career, we are here transforming and beautifying your rental home.

3. Renting Quicker Saves Money- By hiring a Home Stager to get your rental property move-in ready, you dramatically speed up the time of having your home sit empty, thus allowing you to capitalize on the most amount of rental income. The same principles are true of selling a home, Home Owners want to sell fast and for top dollar, you can do the same with your rental home too!

Feel free to visit our website or contact us directly to discuss your Rental Property and how we can quickly transform it for you at

February 19, 2009

3 Ways to Save Money during Your Disney Trip


Food within the theme parks is expensive and can add up quickly, so eat most of your meals outside of the parks. If your rental vacation home/condo has a cooler you can pack it up with your own food and keep it in the trunk of your vehicle for “lunch time”. If your accommodations allow, you can fix an easy breakfast before heading out for the day. For your other meals, consider the many fast food chains and chain restaurants that Orlando has to offer. Kid’s value meals are fairly inexpensive and can be a great option.

During the times that you will be eating inside the park, it is important to remember that while pricey, the portion sizes are quite large so share an entrée amongst to family members, or let the kids share with the adults. Drinks can really add up, so again two straws to a drink or better yet, bring your own bottled water or juice which can be refilled at the many water fountains in the parks. In addition, lunches are always cheaper than dinner so fill up at lunch time and it will keep you going into the early evening. Make sure to bring along some plastic sealable sandwich bags for the extras your kids don’t finish like snacks, fruit or chips. These can be eaten later throughout the day. Always try to bring some nuts, crackers, cookies or other items to keep hungry kiddies happy during the long day.


Be sure to buy such necessities as sunscreen, diapers, blank video tapes, batteries, film and other such items at home or near your accommodations. These things are all available in the theme parks, but at premium prices. Plus, you’ll save precious vacation time as you won’t have to go from shop to shop looking for the needed items.


In terms of souvenirs, hold off on any large purchases until the very last day of your trip. By that time you will know what you want and you won't waste your money on an impulse buy. Similarly, if a souvenir costs more than $15, make sure it serves a practical purpose. Instead of stuffed animals or princess wands, steer the kids toward character-themed slippers, pajamas, backpacks or a beach towel. Think about the size of space you’ve left for souvenirs in your luggage also to avoid frustrating before heading back to the airport.

January 30, 2009

How to Find the Perfect Vacation Rental

1. Define your Dream Vacation-Identify what is most important for your family in a Rental Vacation property before doing your research. What do you want to spend your vacation doing? What attractions are you planning to see? Is it important to be next to a variety of restaurants or will eating in your rental home suffice? If you are bringing infants or small children, you’ll need to write a list of the items that are necessary and nice to have. How many bedrooms will you need? Do you require internet access? These are just some of the things you’ll want to figure out before doing your homework.

2. Compare Prices- By comparing with similar sized rentals and amenities you will ensure you’re getting the best deal. Also, remember that a picture is worth a thousand words. While one home might be a couple hundred dollars cheaper, you’ll know exactly what you are getting with photos. Ask yourself if the savings is worth the loss of comfort, style, abundance of amenities and location, etc.

3. Get the Facts- Make sure you know the details of payment and pricing as well as the location. Also, find out what amenities and extras the home has. Are beach towels, laundry detergent, dish soap, dishes, pans, pots , a coffeemaker with coffee filters, shampoo, bodywash, etc., included? What restaurants does the owner recommend? Which nearby grocery store is best? Will you have to do any cleaning before you check out? Is there anyone you can call (such as a property manager) if problems or questions arise during your stay?

4. Truth in Testimonials- As with most things in life, whether it be shopping online or a restaurant experience, one of the most important times to get feedback, is when it pertains to your accommodations. Specifically when you rent a home (where you cannot simply check into a new room or house for that matter) you’ll want to hear positive comments from previous guests. Take it one step further-ask the home owner if you can contact a few previous guest(s). Often they will have that information on file and should not have a problem giving it to you.

5. Always Negotiate! In such economic times as these, it is important to keep every last dollar you can. The worst thing that the home owner can say is ‘no’. With many homes sitting for weeks without being occupied, it is in the best interest of the home owner to fill it up! If they agree to your price, you just got a sweet deal! If they aren’t willing to budge on price then you can try other homes, or book knowing you made a valiant effort. This is not necessarily common practice in Vacation Rentals but I firmly believe in negotiating whenever you can on everything.

Happy hunting and I hope your Vacation is dream come true!

January 19, 2009

5 Bed/ 5.5 Bath in Davenport is Complete!

Fit for a princess and Spiderman himself! Kids bedrooms are one of the main selling features of any vacation rental property. They are fun rooms to stay in and a draw for parents! Disney or themed bedrooms are always popular.

This relaxing Guest Suite is complete with doors leading to a private balcony with a view of the pool!

Living Rooms must be functional, comfortable and provide a lot of seating! In behind is the dining room and kitchen. (This photo only shows half of the room, there is a lot of seating for adults and children here. )

This first floor master suite follows the color palette of the other main floor rooms, adding glamour and sophistication for any couple to enjoy!

The upstairs Master Suite is equipped with a writing desk for those that insist on surfing the web or catching up on some work. It also has a large space suitable for a baby's crib. In addition it leads out to a cozy balcony with a view of the pool!

With the current economic conditions, many foreigners are seizing the opportunity to buy homes that are price reduced or are foreclosure homes. A number of these homes are being purchased as Vacation Rental Homes in the Disney areas like Davenport, Kissimmee, Orlando and Clermont.

One of my recent clients is from Denmark and happened to find me online. We worked together first meeting locally at his newly purchased home, then I managed the project from that point forward. After a few weeks, the home was completed in late December, perfect for his goal of having renters in 2009! Just in the past 3 weeks alone he has received countless inquiries and already has 3 bookings! He'll be the first guest though this month as he vacations with his family and enjoys the weather, the attractions and of course his newly decorated home.

Above, are a few photos of this 5 bedroom 5.5 bath home in Davenport, FL. There was a limited budget in place, but we were able to transform the 'already painted walls' and empty home into a cozy retreat for everyone. With large flatscreen TV's in every bedroom and the living room, a screened-in pool area and spa bathrooms in each Master Suite, visitors might not want to leave!
If you have a home ready to be decorated, contact us, we work within all budgets.
Also, email me directly if you are interested in staying in this particular home, the link is below...

January 7, 2009

Disney Vacation Rental Home Staging is a Must!

With recent economic trends, there have been a record amount of foreclosure and price-reduced homes on the market. The hottest ticket at the moment, are homes in the Disney and surrounding Orlando area. What a great time to invest in rental vacation properties!

The Disney area is still flooding with tourists weekly and they have a lot of choice when it comes to accommodations. There are the traditional hotels/motels and resorts but the preference is for privacy and larger, more cozy housing that offer the comforts of home. These homes offer great amenities like private screened-in pools, barbeques, game rooms and flat screen TV’s in many if not all of the rooms! They also offer full kitchens so money can be saved by eating-in instead of pricey restaurants. Who wouldn’t want to stay?!

There are many homes to choose from in various areas such as Davenport, Kissimmee, Clermont and of course Orlando. These homes are minutes away from Disney theme parks and all the major attractions. The homes, while in high demand, also pose a lot of competition for you the vacation home owner. The best way to set your home apart is to stage it! Most people think of homes that are for sale when they think of staging. The truth is, in order to get the highest amount of interested renters in your home; your photos had better be top notch!

Many homes offer large bedrooms and screened-in pool areas, but they are not staged/decorated to entice the renter to choose their home vs. another, resulting in the potential renter to keep looking for what they deem to be the best value for their money. In order to get the highest amount of renters and referrals and positive comments, you’ll need to stage your home.

Who better to work with than a staging company! Specializing in creating mass design appeal and creating a warm, cozy feeling for all, you are guaranteed to get a home that stands out in a crowd. Valuable photos and 360 degree view shots from your beautifully decorated home will have renters booking much quicker and providing you with a home rented out week after week!

Some Disney rental owners believe that decorating their own home will save them money to make their investment worthwhile. This is generally not the case. Here’s why: If you live out of the area, out of state, or out of the country for that matter, finding all the necessary contents for the home will prove challenging. You’ll also have to factor in the money you’ll lose out on NOT having access to designer discounts, knowing the local area inside-and-out in terms of furniture and décor, not to mention the time spent on gas, toll roads and money lost on poorly selected paint color choices and the hired painting company as well. Hiring a stager ensures that your home will have a professional look, not mis-matched decor, dated drapery treatments, poor overall furniture arrangement/placement and lack of flow in the home.

Staging is all about creating a lifestyle, an ambience, one that your vacation renters cannot wait to get to! After all, they may have been planning for months if not years for this type of family vacation, they want to do it in style!

At Florida Home Staging & Redesign, Inc., this is all we do! We specialize in staging and making your home the most marketable based on the size, layout of rooms, overall style of the home and of course your budget. We work to provide you with a gorgeous home filled with suitable furniture, perfect accent pieces, chic accessories, but we don’t stop there. We fill your home up with all the necessities that one would need while in a vacation home. All of the dishware, flatware and kitchen items as well as cleaning supplies, towels, pool toys and much more! We think of the amenities that most often get forgotten about. We’ve serviced local, out of state, as well as rental home owners living outside of North America, proving to be trustworthy, professional, creative, punctual and customer-satisfaction oriented.

Wouldn’t you love to have a home that not only pays for itself but is a relaxing retreat for you as well? If comfortable bedding, divine master suites, spa bathrooms, playful game rooms, delicious eat-in kitchens and resort-style pool areas are your idea of a spectacular place to stay, then we’d be happy to work with you to decorate your dream vacation rental home.
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