When it comes to making a home that is “outdated” look  “updated” without an expensive remodel, there is nothing more powerful and effective than incorporating the simplicity of black and white.  It has the power to turn a dated brick fireplace into a beautiful focal point of a room, a harvest gold bathroom into an elegant spa, and a 90’s kitchen into the current century.

When I am hired to stage or redesign a home, I am brought in to make a home more marketable or attractive solely through strategic design efforts.  It would be easy to suggest to my clients that they should replace the bathroom tile, or remodel their kitchen to bring it up to date, but that would cost them thousands of dollars for something we can achieve for a fraction of the cost.  There certainly are times it is appropriate to remodel, but when that is not a good option, here are some ideas to make those tired spaces look refreshed.

  1. Dated Brick Fireplace-  There are many homes that come on the market with dated, brown or rust brick fireplaces. The homeowner has often times been advised to paint the fireplace white or some other lighter color, but generally ask my opinion before taking such a drastic step, and my answer is always the same…I suggest that they keep brick natural and allow me to stage it to bring out the original beauty of the fireplace in an updated way.  One of the best ways I have found to do this, is to incorporate black and white into the décor of the room with the fireplace.  As you will see from the picture of an actual fireplace I staged, I have a favorite set of pictures from Ikea that help bring out the natural beauty of the brick , and I pair them with a set of black and white chairs with just the right pillow color.

Here is a  “before and after” picture:

  1. Outdated Bathroom-  Tile and fixtures in a bathroom are often outdated for homes that come on the market, and very expensive for the homeowner to remodel.  As a professional stager, it is my job to present the home in the best light and in this case, adding black and white artwork was a great way to bring the bathroom up to date along with custom floral, just the right color of green towels, and a splash of red to please the eye. The black and white combination brings an immediate updated look to any room, and in this bathroom it really did a nice job of drawing attention away from the harvest gold tile and flooring and onto the beauty of the overall room.

Here is a before and after picture:


  1. Kitchens-  Kitchens are one of the most important rooms to a potential buyer, and the room we all tend to gather in with our families, so it is critical to present it in the best light and as updated as possible. One of the homes I recently staged had a beautiful kitchen that was remodeled several  years ago with hunter green counter tops and tile pieces in the backsplash.  While the quality and layout are outstanding, the hunter green is a bit dated for today’s buyer so I incorporated black and white custom made accessories , along with a splash of rust/red, and make the green look refreshed and updated.

Here is a “before” along with close ups of a couple counter arrangements:

Next time you are faced with how to refresh a dated room without wanting to spend the money for expensive remodeling, use the power of black and white in your accessories and experience first hand the transformation it can bring to any space.

I hope this article spurs your creativity and inspires you to update your home through strategic  design!