My “Must-Haves”.


As a professional Interior Decorator, Home Stager, avid DIY-er, and a compulsive somewhat serial Re-Decorator, there are certain tools that are absolutely crucial in my world.  I thought I’d share some of these with you, so that maybe you can add to your tool belt, or even learn a trick or two to make your life easier.

Home Staging is the art of preparing & styling your home to optimize how it presents for sale….the priorities become cost effective changes/additions, and QUICK, relatively easy and impactful changes. 

Paint is always the lest expensive way to either add some drama or visual ‘oomph’, OR to neutralize a more vivid space.  My tried & trues are :

Sherwin Williams / Mindful Gray

Benjamin Moore / Willow

Sherwin Williams / Mindful Gray

Benjamin Moore / Revere Pewter



All 4 of these colors are very mutable, meaning they adapt well to most light conditions, so I can trust them.  They are also “interesting” neutrals – no yellow beiges here, these are cooler, fresher neutrals.

Another simple and inexpensive, but amazingly effective addition is window panels.
There are very decent ready-to-hang panels available that instantly create a warmer, homier atmosphere that is widely appealing.

Here’s a few ways to make adding window panels a snap.

First, measuring tape – duh.  But I’m pointing it out because your rod should be mounted mid-point between the window moulding and the ceiling.  Hang ’em high peeps.

This adds visual height to the space and looks much grander.
Probably, you’ll need 90″ or 96″ panels.


Now, you’ll need an awl.

The awl is a very dandy and sadly, under recognized tool.  I thank my Dad for introducing me….this clever gizmo eliminates the need for a drill in mounting hardware.  Simply position the point of the awl on the drywall where a hole is required, and give it a good smack with a hammer.  Et voila – perfect hole for the anchor or screw for your brackets.  Window panels hung in minutes.

Now, if your panels are a bit long (a bit of puddling is fine, but think puddle, not pool),
use iron-on fusible web tape to hem them up in minutes.


Have you seen the commercials for the Hang N Level?
God Herself created this tool for Home Stagers and those with grade 3 math skills
(me – both accounts).
With this bit of plastic magic, you can hang artwork in groupings, evenly side by side, centered, etc. without even thinking about math or measuring.
And you may be math exhausted from the drape measuring. 

Furniture sliders.  Essential for me at home and at work.  At home, inspiration may strike while the Mister is out, and I need the ability to independently move large pieces of furniture.  This may or may not happen quite frequently.  I also need to be able to do this when I’m working in people’s homes – re-arranging furniture is a big part of this gig (lest you think it’s all glamorous).
Slip these babies under the corners, and you have Superpowers.


When it comes to painting, there are two main tools that make my life easier, and contribute to a quality finished product. 

First – my spray paint trigger, I told you about it here.

This helps you get an amazing, even finish with spray paint or primer, and is truly a kindness for your finger when you’re doing larger pieces.


Second essential is a Purdy 2” angled brush.

I have mad love for Purdy brushes, but for me, the 2″ angled brush is like your-very-best-well-worn-perfect-fit-jeans-that-you’ll-never-ever-get-rid-of because nothing else could ever take their place.

Reliable, consistent, and comfy.






I can’t leave out the Internet as one of the best & most inspirational tools available to me – through the community of amazing blog writers I follow, sites like Houzz, and of course, Pinterest, I rely on the Internet to for ideas that spark my creative juices, teach me & amaze me, and lead me to products I didn’t even know existed.


I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Rosebud Salve.  It has nothing to do with DIY or Interior Decorating, but I love x a jillion it and you will too.   If you are not already a junkie, get some immediately.  It’s pretty and moisturizing on your lips, healing on small cuts, a miracle cuticle mender, and great on diaper rash (if that’s an issue you).


The Mister made a point of mentioning that HE was definitely one of my ‘Must Haves’, but that would mean calling him a tool, wouldn’t it?
I can’t decide, so I’m leaving him off this list.

So, that’s a wrap folks…my arsenal of main tricks and tools, and I hope they help you too.  If you have any tips or tricks that make your life better, share them in the comments so everyone learns!
Plus I’m somewhat lazy loving ingenious ideas, and it might make my life easier.

 If you’re planning to re-decorate, re-design, or renovate,
contact me to help you create the extraordinary.
Fall in love with your home again.


Somewhat Simple HookingupwithHoH RedouxChic on a Shoestring Decorating


If you’re planning to re-decorate, re-design, or renovate, I can help you create the extraordinary. Fall in love with your home again.
Linking To: Between Naps on the Porch ~ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia ~ Savvy Southern Style ~ JenniferRizzo ~ Dining Design + Diapers ~ Serenity Now~ Everyday Home~ NellieBellieBlissfully Ever AfterIt’s Overflowing ~ Remodelaholic ~ TheIdeaRoom

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  1. These are great tips! Especially about where to hang the curtain rod…I’ve always wondered. LOL!

    You have a lovely blog,

  2. Susan Coleman says:

    Great suggestions, Tracy! 🙂

  3. question, do you clean your brushes or do you just toss a get a new one? I love painting but I hate the prep (I know, ,most important part) and the cleanup. And with the cleanup it seems like the brush washing never ever ends.

    • LOL Susan – I’ll admit, I hate the prep too…simply because I’m impatient and want to get to the project! But yes, I do clean out my brushes. Quality brushes (like Purdys) are not inexpensive, so they aren’t ‘toss aways’, and a good brush is so important. Using latex paint makes the task fairly painless! xoT.

  4. Holy cow! I love these tips. I love hanging wall art (um…I mean buying wall art and coaxing my Mr. to hang it for me in perfect lines of course). We use laser level but your tool rocks. Oh, that awl, where was it all this time? He often makes pilot holes and now we use the awl, how smart! I would love to know what electric tools you use i.e. Dremmel perhaps? If yes, which model please? I want to attack (I mean tackle) some projects all on my own like a big girl and would love to know some cool tools…thanks again for a great post!

    • Hey Rupa! That hanging tool is fantastic, especially if you’re hanging multiple pieces in a line or grouping. So, power tools, look at you go! I have a dremel, and to be honest, have only used it a few times…I’m sure it’s cooler than I realize, but it’s on a high shelf and I can’t reach it, and that’s about as far as the thought process goes….I love my cordless drill (B&D), and my miter saw. But really, it depends what you want to tackle/attack. My Dad always told me Respect your power tools; which I think was just ‘Be Careful or you’ll lose a finger’ in a more profound way. Start slow Sister, and know you probably CAN tackle just about anything armed with the right information first. xoT.

      • Tracy, Thanks for taking the time to respond to me. I totally agree with you that we have to respect power tools. I am not the adventurous kind anyway 🙂 Reading yours posts and replies really encourages me to try something new, I feel like I can do it! Thanks for that priceless encouragement 🙂


  1. Tools for DIY, Home Staging, Interior Decorating | Musings on the … | TMID Design News says:

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