Staging the Kitchen For Summer and a Local Paper Photo Shoot

Recently I had a wonderful interview and photo shoot with our local newspaper.  Before the big day, I spent a little time freshening up our home.  I took the opportunity to not only enhance each space for the purpose of the photos, but also to lighten up the mood of our home for summer.  Starting in the kitchen, the busiest spot in the house.

 My goal in this little staging/re-design project was to use fresh flowers and decor I already hand on hand to create a fun, fresh look in our kitchen for the photo shoot.  I went into our storage room and raided the Christmas decor closet where I re-discovered these framed letter prints. 

 You may recognize them from our 2013 Christmas Home Tour.  If you missed it, here is a photo of our mantle featuring these red and black framed letters from Ballard Designs...

I rearranged the letters to create new words, and found one that ironically has quite a bit of meaning.
The simple trio of framed letters gave the kitchen some lighthearted personality and an injection of color.

A fresh fern a little basket is a simple accessory that added texture and life to our countertops.  Small details like this make have big impact in photos.  Having live plants in the house makes it feel like summer.  To make this basket into a planter, I placed a saucer on top of a can of tuna for the plant to sit on.  The can of tuna gave the plant a little height and the saucer will catch any excess water.

In addition to fresh plants, I did actually make one other purchase, a new rug.  The other day I shared our front porch entry which featured a beautiful indoor/outdoor rug.  I loved that rug so much that I bought another one in a different color (charcoal gray) for our kitchen.    

This is a very practical choice for our family during the summer months when the kids are running in and out of the house.  This rug is soft and pretty enough to be used indoors, yet it has the durability of an outdoor rug. The bold graphic pattern is great for photos.

Many times when I am preparing a space in my home for a photo shoot, I temporarily remove family photos.  I think it stems from my days working in residential real estate and the old rules pertaining to home staging and removing photos.  For this shoot, I decided to break that cycle and leave my favorite photo in place.  It's a picture of my Dad sitting in my kitchen just before he passed away. 

Through many years of writing this blog and photographing my home and the homes of my clients, I've learned that it's the signs of life in a home that make interior photography fascinating.  

Staging a space and making every little detail perfect for a photo shoot is fun, but stripping it of personal details makes it much less interesting and takes away from the design. I noticed when the photographer was here shooting our home, he shared this same philosophy.  

Back to the studio, I have lots of exciting new design projects in the works!  

For information on my affordable online design service please click here. 


  1. Looks awesome, Sarah! Congrats on your feature!

  2. Your home is just beautiful. I have broken that rule when we have sold our homes. I never packed away the family photos. I don't have an excess amount out anyway. I love walking into model homes during the Twin Cities Parade of Homes every spring and fall. I have been going for about 20 yrs. I love when I see pics of family (usually the builder's). For me, it makes it feel homey.

    1. Thanks Michelle. I totally agree with you on the "homey" feeling.

  3. Love your kitchen and I really like the way you staged things. The cake is fabulous and the green apples add such a pretty color. Congratulations on the article.

  4. So pretty! It really is an art to staging photos and you do an amazing job at it! Congrats on your article! xo,Kathy@The Daily Nest

  5. It looks just lovely, I hope I catch your article!! So happy for all your success, you deserve it.....God bless you girl!!! xo

    1. Thank you Noelle! It's always so nice when you stop by, I love to see your beautiful smile in my inbox. It should be in the Detroit News and the Freepress in the Homestyle section this weekend or next. xo Sarah

  6. Hi Meg, the lantern is not the only source of light. We also have task lighting and two overhead recessed lights. The color is an old Martha Stewart color "Coir". Thanks for the kind words, Sarah

  7. What a beautiful home. So many great ideas shared here.


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