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Providing interior decorating services in Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, Naples, Estero, Sanibel and Captiva islands, Cape Coral, Sarasota, Orlando, Winter Park and surrounding areas of Central Florida. Contact for details!

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Styled to sell: Tips that make your home appealing to buyers

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• October 3, 2015

We all know the feeling.

You’ve decided to put your home on the market. You’ve lived in it for a while. Decorated it. Renovated it. Upgraded it. Made lots of improvements. It looks great.

And it really does look great. It reflects your lifestyle. YOUR lifestyle. And that’s just the problem when it comes to selling a home.

Sorry, but it’s not about your style. It’s all about the potential buyer for your home. They need to be able to visualize their life (and belongings) in your home. If they can, they get excited and put your home on their favorites list.

And the process of styling your home for resale is a little tricky and most homeowners have difficulties handling it. Why? Because selling a home and moving under the best of circumstances is stressful, emotional and exhausting. The need to take a critical look at how your home appears to an outsider is tough for most homeowners.

As a Southwest Florida interior designer, my Resale-Ready service helps homeowners cut through the clutter (literally) and determine what’s important to potential buyers. It helps to make the difficult decisions and allows the homeowner to make a sale and get on with their lives. My role is to showcase the home’s best features so it will sell quickly for the highest possible price.

Declutter and remove personal items and add fresh flowers for a look that says "welcome to your new home." This Clara space-saving apartment sofa and ottoman are by Pottery Barn. Photo credit: Pottery Barn.

And while we can’t magically add more square footage or an extra bedroom or bathroom, what we can do is this:  Make your home look fresh and new to potential buyers.  We can make them visualize their furnishings and accessories in your home. We can make it look larger and more spacious.  Like a model. We can tempt buyers to put your home at the top of their list.

Let’s face it.  You look at your home every day.  A professional, fresh set of eyes and a plan can change everything.  For a potential buyer and for you to enjoy while your home is on the market.
My top tips for homeowners preparing their home to sell:

First impressions are everything
Start with the exterior. Replace your mailbox and your house numbers.  Something pretty and fresh. Head to Lowes or Home Depot and pick up colorful annuals.  They go a long way to saying "welcome to your new home." Pressure spray the driveway and sidewalk.  Clean out all of the grunge.  If you have pavers, give them a shiny coat of sealer. Purchase new light fixtures at the front door and garage.  These are very inexpensive and make the house look clean and cared for by the owner (you). Touch up exterior paint where needed.  If the house is in desperately in need of paint, go ahead and invest in a complete redo. 

Remember:  you are competing with lots of other homes on the market. Have the windows professionally washed. Hire a lawn service to fertilize and edge.  Have them come back periodically until the home sells. Buy a new welcome mat. Purchase two large ceramic pots and fill them with flowers at the front door. Now your home says "Welcome.  Come see what is inside!" professional opinion.

Invest in a professional opinion
You are too close to your house. Have an evaluation done with designer or staging company that will prepare a list of changes that you can follow and complete yourself or hire the professional to get everything in perfect order. This is a small investment to sell your home.

It’s not about you anymore
If buyers cannot visualize their life in your home, it’s simple. They walk. You have to show them how they will love living in your home. How? Remove all personal items. Replace with fresh flowers or books. Store excess furniture so you can open up your home. Pack up everything you can live without. Clear countertops.  Repaint accent walls in a neutral shade.

You are going to pack up to move eventually so declutter now. Go minimalist. It may not be the way you live but it is the best way to show your house. Clean out every drawer and closet and pantry because buyers look in every single corner of your home. If your linen closet spills out into the hallway when you open it, a buyer assumes that you don’t have enough storage space. And they go on to the next house.  

Create space
Envision the way the space should be used. Is your furniture smashed up along the walls? Is there a corner in your living room that would be a great placed to read? Group the furniture in ways that would make sense for the intended use. Make sure to have flow and walking areas through the room. Buyers must be able to envision themselves living in your home and the best way to do that is to show them a comfortable seating area.

Freshen it up
Have your home professionally cleaned from top to bottom until it shines. Paint window sills and baseboards. Give your bathrooms a spa look with fresh paint and new towels and rugs. Replace any mirrors and lighting that are dated. It’s a good time to switch out your switch plates for a clean look. Opt for light colors on the walls that will reflect the light.

Take a step back
When you are finished, take a long look at your home. Does the exterior say “welcome home?” Does it look like a model home with space and a comfortable seating arrangement?  Does it have a fresh, clean, decluttered look?  If the answer is yes, it’s time for the sale sign.

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail For more decorating tips and photos, visit

Want to come home to a spectacular space? Call me!

Sort through the confusion of when to splurge on your home and when to save.

Read my tips for a calm home in a not-so-calm-world in the Fort Myers News-Press.


Tips for creating a calm space in a not-so-calm world

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• August 29, 2015

It's all about how you feel when you walk in the door.
Does your home make you happy? Is it a calm retreat from the chaos and over stimulation of the outside world? Do you constantly feel overwhelmed by projects that you just can't quite complete? Are you tired and drained and not sure why?

We all want a nurturing home that offers a refuge. Not one that leaves you frustrated and exhausted.

As a Southwest Florida interior decorator, I have my clients fill out a brief questionnaire before I meet with them.  The first question: "How do you want your home to feel when you walk in the door?"

Ballard Designs photo of Suzanne Kasler curated softly colored abstract artRelaxing and pretty. Suzanne Kasler curated softly colored abstract art that pairs with her signature fabrics and finishes for Ballard Designs. Photo: Ballard Designs.

Tell me how you want your home to feel and I will make everything else fall into place.

Each answer is the same. Everyone wants a "calm" home. Of course we do.

It's not about "stuff."  You may have everything that you could dream of in your home and it still doesn't feel right. Check out these tips that I use for my clients and see how it changes your space.

We talk about this a lot in design and decorating but if you don’t do anything else, do this one. It costs nothing. And it has the most impact. Do it today!

Delete some of the visual stimulation. Pare down your accessories. Eliminate or rearrange some furniture and establish a comfortable conversation area that is relaxing.

And your closet. Most of us wear 10% of what is in our closets. So why not just have the 10% in your closet? Instead of the piles of clothes that you never wear any more. It’s all visual clutter and it’s exhausting to look at and to think about.

But sometimes the thought of decluttering itself is overwhelming. Just the physical aspect of getting rid of things and deciding what to do with them is difficult and stops homeowners in their tracks. Because it requires sorting it into what gets donated, given away and tossed. The solution: leave that part for another day. Remove it all from your house. Stash it in the garage until you have time to make the decisions.  Meanwhile, you will love your decluttered home so much that you won’t mind saying goodbye to the clutter when the day comes.

Don't over decorate.
The eyes need a place to rest. Don't cover every surface and every wall.  Don't be afraid of space. It is what most of our homes are lacking and it's the very thing  that creates a calm home.

Splurge in the bedroom.
Comfortable pillows. Nice sheets and comforter. A window treatment that blocks out the light. Pretty, restful artwork and accessories that make you feel good. We all spend a lot of time in this room and it's not the place to cut corners.

Pottery Barn photo of beautiful bedroomCreate a space to end your day with comfortable linens and fresh colors. Photo: Pottery Barn.

Transform with soothing colors.
Rethink your color palette and drop it down a notch. Soothing colors and more muted fabrics equal a calmer home. Save the bold colors for your family room and outdoor spaces. Of course this does not mean that a well-place splash of color against the most toned down backdrop is not gorgeous!

Design a spa bathroom for relaxation.
This is a service that I have done for my clients since I have been decorating homes. And it’s really easy. You can do it today. Think about what you love at a luxurious hotel or spa. Lots of white. Clean and crisp. Fluffy towels. Thick rugs. Plants.  Candles. Soaps and aromatherapy.  And don’t forget a spa robe. White is the key here and it must be done in a spotlessly clean bathroom. This should be your calming retreat at the end of the day.

Pottery Barn photo of spa bathroomFor a spa look, try this Morgan shower curtain of soft cotton with a band of color, along with organic cotton towels. Photo: Pottery Barn. 
Forget the harsh, overhead lighting and install dimmers on all lighting.

Remove the bad vibes.
We all have them. Something that you carry around from home to home. You don’t like it but you don’t feel like you can get rid of it. Give yourself permission. Keep what makes you happy and anything with a negative or tiring association, send it out into the world where someone else will find it useful. It may be art, a photo or a piece of furniture that no longer serves you. Remember: it’s your home and you are not obligated to keep anything.

Create a space for solitude.
Give yourself permission to have a nook or part of a room where you can relax. Just you. Maybe it’s space for a yoga mat or a lounge chair where you can read. Create a corner in your home where there are no electronics or noises. A place where you can think and start to wind down from the day.

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail For more decorating tips and photos, visit

Want to come home to a spectacular space? Call me!

Do you want your home to look like a model? Read my tips.

Sort through the confusion of when to splurge on your home and when to save.


Make an entrance starting with the front door: Bold, fun and playful

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• August 1, 2015

If you're looking for a summer pick-me-up for your home, you've come to the right place!

This will change everything. It's one of my favorite decorating tricks that gives you a big change for little investment.  It will  make you happy every time you walk in front door. It sets the tone for your home. It doesn't cost much. And you can do it today!

Photo of Benjamin Moore's Crete Countryside paint on front doorBenjamin Moore's Crete Countryside is a beautiful green tone for a front door. Photo: Benjamin Moore

It's simple. Pick out a gorgeous color and paint your front door. Some doors just speak to you. A bright bold color in a high gloss finish. Perhaps with shutters. A wreath on the door. It just screams "welcome everyone."

Think about it.  It's the first thing people see and the last one on many homeowners' to do list. The  color of the front door offers a teasing glimpse into your home. It gives you a chance to do something bold, fun and playful. As a Fort Myers interior decorator who  spends a lot of time helping clients with color palettes, I always encourage homeowners to start at the front door.

Photo of pretty Key West door with turquoise shuttersPick a bold fun color for your front door. One that you love but might not use inside your home.

Take a step back and think about  the style of the door, along with the trim and siding that frame it.  But don't over think it! This is the one place where you really can't make a mistake and it should be fun.
It's a chance to use a color that you may be a little tentative about putting on your walls or in fabric for your sofa. But you love the color so try it on the  door.

Photo of front door painted in Benjamin Moore's Wild Berry in high gloss.It all starts at the front door! Benjamin Moore's Wild Berry in high gloss. Photo: Benjamin MooreFront doors should be an accent color. A dramatic, bold shade.  And it can be a color that is not repeated anywhere else in your home although this is not a rule!

So now is good time to think about your favorite front doors. And make a statement.

Photo of front door painted in Gunsmith Gray and Mopboard by Benjamin MooreClassic elegance. Benjamin Moore's Colonial Williamsburg Gunsmith Gray and Mapboard Black. Photo: Benjamin Moore.You may love a deep dark purple but it's just too much for your living room. But not for your front door. My front door is currently a bright, bold turquoise that would be too much for my interior walls. But as a front door color, it is pure happiness and makes me smile when I pull into the driveway.

Some of my favorite front door colors: red, indigo, orange, black, green, yellow, dark gray, blue. Done in high gloss so it pops!

A front door color makes an immediate impact, complementing the style of the home and improving curb appeal. Your home is a good guide for what works and what doesn't when it comes to choosing front door colors. Take into account the materials, colors inherent in those materials, style, and surrounding landscape.

Pretty red door with gray and white trimPretty red door with gray and white trim. Photo: Wrenda GoodwynAnd to really make it fun: carry the color around to the interior side of the door! Be brave!
The color you choose for your door says a lot about you. All for the investment of a can of paint. And the best news of all: if you don't love it, you can easily change it tomorrow!

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail For more decorating tips and photos, visit And to see a selection of her favorite color palettes, go to wrendagoodwyn


Want to come home to a spectacular space? Call me!

Do you want your home to look like a model? Read my tips.

Read these tips and sort through the confusion of when to splurge on your home and when to save.



How to make porches part of your living space

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• July 4, 2015

We're in those lazy, hot, humid days of summer but if you are at home on this Fourth of July weekend, chances are that you will end up on a porch someplace either relaxing, celebrating with friends over a meal or watching fireworks.

Photo of white house with flag and hydrangeasMaybe it's because I was born and raised in the south. But I love porches. The "porch" was where the family headed after dinner.  I can hear my mother saying, "Help me finish the dishes and let's go out on the porch." It was where all important discussions and  decisions took place. Even though the "porch" was only a small cement stoop with a couple of aluminum chairs. It was still the place where we retreated at the end of the day.

As a Southwest Florida interior decorator,  I have had many "porches" since those days. Small apartment balconies barely large enough for two chairs,  front porches with comfortable wicker furniture, large lanais' with summer kitchens surrounding a pool and filled with friends.  But to me, they are all "porches."  A place to unwind, relax and think.

So, if in these hot, hot,  hot, days of July, you find your porch in need of a little makeover, I have some tips to give your space, no matter what the size, a little refreshing.  For years, I have been helping my clients makeover their porches as an extension of their living space. No matter what the size or budget.

My favorite
Add a porch swing. What could be better than dozing in a porch swing at the end of the day? Find them at flea markets if you are looking for vintage, hardware stores or check out the Ballard Designs Sunday Porch SwingPhoto of porch swing from Ballard DesignsDozing in a porch swing on a lazy afternoon. From Ballard Designs, this Sunday Porch Swing is hand crafted of 100% FSC eucalyptus to be naturally moisture and insect resistant, and finished in a warm whitewash. Photo: Ballard Designs. shown on this page. A porch swing just cries out, "Stop what you are doing and come and relax for a while." And if you find a vintage swing  that just will not hold up to much weight, hang it any way and fill it with plants.

Anchor your seating area with an outdoor rug
Even on a tiny balcony this works and adds color to the space. It also makes it an extension of your home.

If there is space, add an outdoor lamp.

Add a bar cart
Yes, it's great for a party but you can also use it for storage...liquid refreshments,  cups, stirrers, coasters, books, magazines, speakers, and anything else necessary for a relaxing afternoon.
Photo of all-weather cart for porch from Pottery Barn Pottery Barn's all-weather wicker bar console. Photo: Pottery Barn.
Hang Twinkle Lights
Arrange some strands of patio twinkle lights to transform your porch or patio into something special when evening comes. They make everything (and everyone) look pretty. And are very inexpensive.

Paint something blue
Paint the ceiling blue. Why? It's pretty and adds another dimension to your porch. Giving your own outdoor space a hint of blue is the perfect way to play into history, and it just might keep wasps and evil spirits away, too. According to the legend! Years ago, in the deep South, many people painted their porch ceilings a specific shade of Haint Blue, a soft blue-green, to ward off evilPhoto of ceiling porch painted in a haint blue shadePaint the porch ceiling a shade of blue. It's pretty and legend says that it keeps wasps away! Photo: Wrenda Goodwyn spirits called "haints." It's especially common in the historic homes around Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina. And I can say that my own blue porch ceiling has kept the wasps away!

Invest in plants
Give it your personal touch with lots of greenery. If there is space, add some pots, a small tree and a vase or two of fresh flowers. Use perennials so you will not have to replace them each year.

Go vertical
Hang a piece of artwork, plants  or a mirror on one wall.

Tiny space? No problem!

Bistro table and chairs may be all that you need. No room for furniture? Fill your tiny balcony with plants and in the winter months in Southwest Florida,  let the outdoors inside. And if you are on a budget, or even if your aren't, you can get creative with furniture by turning crates on the side and using them for benches of plant holders.

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail For more decorating tips and photos, visit And to see a selection of her favorite color palettes, go to wrendagoodwyn

Want to come home to a spectacular space? Call me!

Do you want your home to look like a model? Read my tips.

Read these tips and sort through the confusion of when to splurge on your home and when to save.