My Top 8 Styling Favourites

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There are a few essentials that I absolutely love to use in every home that I stage and style for sale. I delight in planning how I am going to use them and I so enjoy setting them all up.

The staging and styling side of my business, the creative side, feeds my soul. I suppose my styling essentials, that I use time and time again, are what makes me ‘me’, when it comes to my way of adding style and character to a home that I am going to be taking to market.

I don’t believe there is a ‘right or wrong’ way in this process. Styling is so individual and unique. If the home sells quickly and for the best price in the market then, to me, my styling works! The great thing about my work is that I get to hear what the buyers think of my styling once the home goes on the market. At my open homes, I watch them delight in the spaces I have created, admire my vignettes and wiggle their toes in the new carpet that I suggested the owners might like to install before market! New carpet is the bomb!

Really great presentation creates buyer emotion and buyer competition, which can lead to Real Estate Magic. I see it. Every weekend.

Here are my 8 Top Styling Favourites ….

Number 1: Using Real Food

This is not just because I embrace scoffing it (and so does my photographer) after the photoshoot.

It just photographs beautifully … and I love how, when I create a food vignette for the photoshoot, my sellers continue with the theme and always have something ‘live’ and ‘real’ in the food vignette every week at the open homes, long after the original food vignette has been devoured!

And the buyers notice. They respond so positively to ‘detail’.

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Number 2: A Set Table


You only need one.

Setting every table in the home is overdoing it, but one set table presents an opportunity to create a vibe, a theme, a dream, a promise of a lifestyle, an example of how the buyers might like to entertain and live in their new home. It’s all about the dream … and for me? …. the chance to use shiny, sparkly things.

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All my photoshoots are at dusk, so there are always shiny things reflecting off lamp light and lit candles. Makes for great photos! Homes, photographed at dusk, sparkle more … and they look more expensive. Fact.

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The breakfast bar doesn’t miss out either.

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Number 3: Big Bedside Lamps

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Large bedside lamps help to balance and fill the space at the head end of the bed, especially when using big euro pillows, bedheads or headboards.

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I make sure the height of the lamp relates well with the bedhead too, or the bedhead space, especially when a headboard is not used and art is used in it’s place.

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Teeny tiny lamps would just not look right, with such big euro pillows and large artwork in these spaces.

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Number 4: Teacups And Tea Sets

Addicted. Love them. They are so pretty and they just add that final touch to any vignette. Because anywhere and everywhere is a good place to have a cup of tea. It hints at a future lifestyle in which you have time to stop, relax and sip tea!

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Coffee cups have their place too!

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Number 5. My Hairpin Leg Cocktail Tables

I know! I know, they pop up everywhere in my real estate listings … but I LOVE them!

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And I can’t see myself ever not using them!  If you love them as much as I do, I have them available in my Cape Cod Designs online store HERE .. and plan to always do so as long as I can source them.

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I love to use lots of different style cocktail/occasional tables. They are so versatile. They fill up little corner nooks and provide a surface on which you can add more scale and proportion with a plant, floral arrangement or pretty vignette ….

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…. or a teacup!

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Number 6: A Bar or Martini Tray

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I can’t blame the TV series, Mad Men, as I was compiling Martini trays long before I knew about Don Draper and his crew. A bar adds that little bit of glamour  … and for me? … I like to fill up the space where the TV usually would go with something other than a TV.

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I generally don’t like to create a room around a TV and often place a console in front of the TV points and style it up with beautiful lamps, books, flowers and a bar. This arrangement is always well received by the buyers. They work it out. “Oh, and this is where you would put the TV, but this is nice, maybe we can put the TV downstairs?”. I love listening to buyers workshop their ‘future lives’ in the homes that I sell.

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Number 7: A Beautiful Rug


I’m a sucker for a geometric rug. I feel they work well with any and every aesthetic.

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All my favourite rugs, that I use in styling my homes, are also available for sale over at Cape Cod Designs.


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I will often have the rug, I wish to use, in mind before I choose the sofa. It’s often my biggest dilemma, rug first? … or sofa first?

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Realistically, because this is not Interior Design, but Home Staging, it most often comes down to what stock I have available at the time, whether the owner wishes to use some of their pieces and what I have on hand that will complement their pieces.

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Number 8: A Fun Kid’s Room

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Most often than not, the home that I am selling, is suitable for a family. The kids who come through my open homes LOVE kids’ rooms! Visiting open homes, from a kid’s perspective, is so boring. A bright and colourful kid’s room distracts bored kids and allows parents time to enjoy the home. I will often hear youngsters announce to their parents, “and this is my room”. Taking ownership of the home, before even putting in an offer, is a good sign! Even if it is the kids making the decision!

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Three things are integral to selling a home …presentation, marketing and price. If you nail the presentation, market it high up in the internet searches with beautiful photos that buyers interact well with (we measure buyer interest or ‘engagement’, behind the scenes, by the number of photos, videos, floor plans that are clicked on) and price your property well to attract a competitive environment where buyers will compete to push your sale price up, then magic will happen.


The wonderful thing about my work is that I get to create beautiful spaces that attract the buyers and then I have the privilege of seeing the sale through right to the end.

I sort of take a little bit of ownership of every home I sell. I feel that I know the home so well (having all my pretties in it and having schemed the spaces so intimately) and am in a prime position to protect the owner’s price expectations.

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I get wonderful feedback from buyers at my open homes and delight in seeing how they respond to my vignettes and my styling in general. The greatest compliment I can receive at an open home is when a buyer stands in the middle of the room and scratches their chin asking, “is someone living here or not?”. It doesn’t look ‘staged’ enough to look ‘staged’ …. but it does not reflect the owners real life … only hinting at the wonderful new life the buyers could be living if they purchased the property!

It’s a great mix, my work, and I am ever so grateful to the Real Estate Trainer in the big brand agency I previously worked in, prior to going out on my own, who said, “you have to make up your mind Anne-Maree, do you want to be a stylist? or a Real Estate Agent? … because you can’t be both.

I went out and registered ‘Cape Cod Residential’ the morning after she said that to me and quit the agency that afternoon. I just had to have the freedom to be ‘both’.

I am both.

Happy Sunday!

A-M xx

Staging Inventory and Styling by Me! … Cape Cod Residential.

All photos by Real Estate Pics



This is where I muse about home design, interiors, life with my boys and other stuff that stops my heart. I own my own Real Estate agency, 'Cape Cod Residential', through which I stage, style and sell beautiful homes all over Brisbane, Australia.

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  • Nicole
    August 24, 2015 at 10:41 am

    At the risk of causing a meltdown from the internet police – heartstopping !

    • A-M
      September 23, 2015 at 10:57 am

      Let’s melt the internet! xx

  • Jo
    August 24, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    Wow A-M, you have nailed it! So gorgeous and inspiring, I love the way you went out on your own. I dream of working for myself one day and I know hard work and determination will get me there. I love following your journey.

    • A-M
      September 23, 2015 at 10:57 am

      Thank you so much for your support and kind words.
      A-M xx

  • Claire
    November 29, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    Thank you A-M for the post, you have a unique gift of making the ordinary, extraordinary! I really love your work and thanks for an insight on how you style your homes. C

Comments are closed here.

About ‘A-M’

This is where I muse about home design, real estate, interiors and life with my boys. I am starting my next house build, 'The Next House That A-M Built', and hope to have some action on site in January 2018. While I am building I will continue to run my Real Estate agency, 'Cape Cod Residential', through which I stage, style and sell beautiful homes all over Brisbane, Australia. I have an unrivalled staging inventory which enables me to present all manner of homes in their absolute best light for sale. It brings me such joy to be able to do Real Estate so differently and achieve great results for my clients. I am so grateful to be living such a creative and exciting life ... that I have created through blood, sweat, tears and physio appointments!
A-M xx

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My Real Estate Staging Inventory

My Real Estate Staging Inventory

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Anne-Maree Russell in Brisbane, QLD, AU on Houzz
Anne-Maree Russell in Brisbane, QLD, AU on Houzz
Anne-Maree Russell in Brisbane, QLD, AU on Houzz
Anne-Maree Russell in Brisbane, QLD, AU on Houzz

My Top Tips For Preparing Your Home For Sale

My Top Tips For Preparing Your Home For Sale

The first 'House That A-M Built' -Home Beautiful Cover, May 2010

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