House & Home

Allegra Dioguardi: Expert Staging Designs That Sell Year-Round

A local interior design expert shares her home staging expertise.

big part of selling your home is presentation. How to invite people in and help them to imagine living in the space can be a fine art. Successful Long Island interior designer Allegra Dioguardi, owner of Styled and Sold, offers her unique insights into this process.

How do you stage an East End home for sale?
Most of the homes I stage on the East End are summer homes, not primary residences. Potential buyers are coming here for the summer lifestyle. Typically my staging will subtly reflect that. There are so many factors that influence how I choose to stage a home. They include price range, demographics, and the architectural style of the house; seasons do not enter into the equation at all. Good staging, like good design, should endure.

What design items are popular sellers right now, in the off-season?
Accessories are always popular items. Buying new accessories is a cost-effective way to change up your décor. As far as design trends, I’m seeing a movement away from cool grays and toward architectural whites and warm neutrals. Also, Mid-Century Modern is trending out and being replaced with a more organic modern, which incorporates handmade, natural, sustainable, exotic pieces. The iconic white subway tile is trending out in favor of geometric and floral-patterned tile. Stone, concrete, agate, marble, copper, brass and gold accents are emerging and are very good sellers.

Another fine example of designer Allegra Dioguardi's work, Photo: Allegra Dioguardi
Another fine example of designer Allegra Dioguardi’s work, Photo: Allegra Dioguardi

What’s a common mistake homeowners make in staging their home?
Not hiring a professional. There are a multitude of common mistakes that I see. The most frequent and detrimental one is inappropriately scaled items: furniture, rugs, art and lamps are invariably too small. I think the average person is timid with size, a professional knows how critical proper scale is. Another common mistake I see is not showing proper function. For instance, a five- or six-bedroom house with breakfast or dining area showing seating for only six. Potential buyers need to be able to see how they would live in a space. A professional stager will save their clients’ money and deliver a product that sells!

Interior designer Allegra Dioguardi, Photo: Courtesy Allegra Dioguardi
Interior designer Allegra Dioguardi, Photo: Courtesy Allegra Dioguardi

What are some things owners should be doing now to prep their rental properties for this season?
That depends on the current condition of the home. I would recommend looking at the listing photos of their competition to see what they can do to make their property outshine the others. For some of my clients that means a complete overhaul including a fresh coat of paint and replacing worn or outdated furniture and accessories. Other times, it simply means “fluffing” what they have and adding or editing when necessary. I always recommend a professional cleaning, including windows, inside and out. Most definitely, remove all very personal items.

What else should homeowners keep in mind now?
The “off season” on the East End is the best time to work with a designer or stager. I advise getting your home ready before the summer season is upon us. Typically, this is my slow time but not this year! The word is out. Many East Enders are going to be showing beautiful properties this year.

For more information and to see Dioguardi’s work, visit styledandsold.com.

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