We Gave a Professional Home Stager $100 — Here’s What She Bought at Pottery Barn

published Nov 3, 2023
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Living room with large gold cozy sectional, disco ball planters, marble round coffee table with flowers in vase, Lots of plants
Credit: Erin Derby

There’s a lot to love about finding a bargain, but higher-end retail stores also have their place when it comes to home decor. Sure, some stores beckon you to spend hundreds of dollars before you even get through the front door, but in the world of real estate staging, finding high-quality items that can function in a variety of settings is the way to get the best bang for your buck. 

I turned to Kelli Carley, founder and principal designer of Room Service Retold, to see what she’d buy with $100 in her pocket at Pottery Barn. While Phoebe Buffay might not be a fan, I’m all about Carley’s unique picks that will have a property sold in the flip of a Pottery Barn catalog page.

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was $99.00

The clearance section can be a goldmine at stores like Pottery Barn. Carley spotted this faux coral piece in carnation to add a little bit of intrigue to the bathroom. “When trying to jazz up a bathroom, we love adding these white coral pieces to a vanity countertop or niche shelf in a master shower,” Carley explains. “An homage to the ocean and very spa-like, these objects immediately transport your mind to paradise.” She recommends pairing one with purpose by adding a decorative sea sponge or block of soap on top. That way, it combines both form and function.

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When prospective buyers cruise into an open house, they always make a point to check out the kitchen with a fine-tooth comb. In fact, stagers routinely say it’s one of the rooms that has the biggest impact on potential buyers throughout the home-selling process. Carley recommends this set of four bowls in the soft sage color to highlight a kitchen — especially if it has open shelving or an oversized island. “These coupe bowls would look pretty stacked in twos on a cutting board with some faux fruit in them,” she recommends. “Pair them next to a glass carafe and you’ve got yourself the perfect vignette. The fluted texture itself provokes a boundless sophistication.”

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One of the most important components of a home doesn’t even require you to step inside: You probably know how significantly curb appeal plays into the selling process, but the type of house number displayed out front is often overlooked. “Ever since the pandemic began, buyers are looking at outdoor spaces in a new light. From the moment a buyer turns the corner, you want them to be able to crack a smile the second they see the home,” Carley says.

During consultations with clients, Carley makes sure to walk around the exterior of a property and offer advice on simple ways to spruce up the front entrance. “Adding modern house numbers will make the entrance feel sophisticated and appear updated,” she states. “These house numbers are budget-friendly and add the perfect finishing touch that will tie everything together before even entering the home.”