Meridith Baer is a superstar designer and home stager out of L.A. Her company, Meridith Baer Home has been consistently regarded as one of the best in the biz, so it comes as no surprise that she had some great and insightful tips for folks looking for design help.
TWF: Is there a particular room you love designing. And if so, why?
MB: I love staging family rooms because they really set the tone for the home. Showcasing a relaxed, inviting environment helps potential buyers picture themselves not only living in, but also enjoying, the home with friends and family.
TWF: If someone not familiar with interior design is redecorating their living space, can you share a couple tips on where to start and what to focus on first?
MB: Edit! I find it very helpful to remove every the item I don't love or don't have a purpose for in a room. Once I've edited down I can start to look at the space with fresh eyes. It's important to understand the functionality of a room and to keep a clear aesthetic vision. I find people often try to combine too many ideas in one space. The end result can be too frenetic.
TWF: Can you walk us through your own design process?
MB: For both staging and interior design I really take my initial cues from the home itself - What's the look and feel of the house? What would seem to fit naturally? In staging, I imagine who the potential owner might be and design interiors that evoke a lifestyle that would be natural or aspirational to that kind of person.
TWF:How do you know when a design is finished? Is it intuition, or do you have a check-list of sorts?
MB: Design is like painting - You just need to stand back and say "finished" sometimes! Rooms become living spaces so they're always evolving, but once all my major pieces and decorative layers are placed, I step away, otherwise I would be moving items in bookshelves or coffee tables forever!
TWF: From an industry perspective, has the business of staging and interior design changed over the last few years?
MB: Completely! When I started staging 20 years ago it was an undefined niche market. Large development companies were doing model homes and such, but the idea of re-envisioning previously lived-in homes didn't really exist. Now it's the norm. Most luxury homes are staged before they hit the market and that trend has trickled down to more affordable homes and starter homes. Most people really need a little help imagining themselves in a potential home and our job is to help bring that vision to life!
TWF: What gets you super excited about doing a new space?
MB: I'm fortunate to have worked in many spectacular homes, but I also still love walking into an "ugly duckling" and knowing that when I bring in the right furniture and lay it out properly, the home can come to beautiful life! We've done a few homes that might have been slated for tear-down, but after staging people saw what the home could be, and we've even had homeowners decide not to sell after we staged - They bought our furniture and stayed in their home!