Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Story Behind My Staging Location

When I first started refinishing furniture and selling it, I noticed that the furniture that is staged in my bedroom with my laminate wood planked floor and very light grey wall seemed to sell best. In my opinion, the staging is extremely important if you are trying to sell your items. So I thought I would go into a little more detail about the location where I like to stage my furniture in hopes that this might help some of you fellow DIYer's that might be inspiring to make changes to your home.

When I first bought my condo, it was all carpeted with this nice plush beige carpet. It was very nice carpet, but just not the look I am trying to achieve for my condo and decor. So before I moved in, I wanted to install some sort of wood floor throughout my condo. Well, after doing some research about having it professionally done (laminate or hardwood), it was way out of my price range. Then I started Googling how to install laminate wood flooring and watching YouTube videos. It actually didn't look all that bad and I somehow convinced my dad to help me with this as long as we started with my bedroom. I figured if we royally messed it up, it wouldn't cost too much to have someone professionally do it if we kept it just to my bedroom. So I originally envisioned nice grey walls and a really dark wood floor. I bought a box of dark laminate planks home from Home Depot and laid them out to get an idea. I liked it, but couldn't convince the rest of my family (my parents and little brother who won't even be living here). They all said I need to go lighter with the whole "dark floors make the room smaller" mentality. So next I found Distressed Brown Hickory laminate flooring at Home Depot. Unfortunately I did not take a picture with this laid out, but I did like how it looked. So the next steps were to paint the walls and rip out the carpet. For the paint, I made a decision way too quick and wish I would have went with a darker grey. But I was not about to ask my dad to repaint (this was my housewarming gift) my bedroom. I still might do that soon.

So here is what my bedroom looked like after it was painted. I was expecting the grey to pop a little more than it had assuming all my woodwork was white. I should have paid more attention, it's all a very light almond color. Lesson learned. I ripped up the carpet and foam all by myself one night in my effort to help. It was fairly easy to do, you just want to be very careful of the tack strips. Those can do some damage. I would highly recommend wearing gloves and a long sleeved shirt or coat when ripping up carpet with tack strips underneath. The other item I did to help get everything ready for the big weekend of installation was buying quarter round molding and painting it to match my other wood work. It was nice because the previous condo owners left me all the touch up painted needed. Only issue, there was about three can of very similar looking white/almond paint.

I set these up with horses and painted them with two coats of paint. Finally got it right on the second can of paint. I left them all full size until we were done with the floor and then we cut them down to size to fit my bedroom.

Once I ripped all the carpet up, it turned out it was all concrete underneath my carpet for the sub-floor, which made it pretty easy. I made sure to vacuum and use the Shop-Vac continuously to get all the dust and debris gone before we started. I read a ton of reviews and other blogs about installing this floor to gain more confidence for doing this ourselves. I had to buy a few other items to make sure we were all set for installation on the weekend. We already had an older miter saw for this. I bought this underlayment from Home Depot, which was recommended. I also bought this kit that includes spacers for the pieces of laminate that get closed to the wall and a rubber block which helps you snap some pieces together. You essentially want your floor to float, I would recommend leaving about a 1/4 of an inch between the laminate and the wall. This will leave room for some contraction and expansion due to temperature and humidity. I also needed a hammer and a door jam cutter as well. Home Depot rents out electric door jam saws. I actually purchased this hand door jam saw from Amazon since it was way cheaper and we wouldn't have to feel rushed with it. It worked extremely well. I practically lived at Home Depot all of last summer with this project and painting.

So then came the weekend of the installation. We started very early Saturday morning on a hot summer day here in Wisconsin. We cut and laid down the layer of underlayment first and then started with the laminate planks. The first row was a bit intimidating. We started at the corner of the wall near my window and went through to my walk-in closet. So we had to cut the door jam on the first row, which was nice to get it out of the way and learn how to do it. It worked well, but you need to be careful when you get down to the studs of the wall after the jam and then carefully cut the laminate floor plank to fit. We used a little old jig saw my dad had for a lot of these little cuts and the miter saw for cutting the large planks. My dad read that you should stagger the planks at least 16 inches for durability and strength. Looking back, I wish I would have pushed harder for more staggering, we were very uniform with the 16 inches. We got the first few rows set for the closet. The planks didn't just "snap together" as I was hoping. They need to be clicked in to place and some tend to start to curl up. As soon as you lay down the next row, they do start to go straighten out, thank goodness!

In the above picture, you can see how we have those spacers up against the wall. This helped, but was also a bit stressful wanted to ensure that we were leaving enough space while also maintaining straightness as well. Once we got going, it actually went pretty quick. I would have to say the toughest parts that take the longest are the door jams. 

Since I was leaving the vinyl flooring in my bathroom and the carpet throughout the rest of the condo for now, we had to do transitions for these door jams. They take some time as you need to glue down or nail in the metal strip to the floor. We used liquid nails for this since my subflooring is concrete and then had to wait for it to dry over night. It is also very tight where the transitions are with the door jams. So just be patient and take your time. The last piece of laminate is also very hard to lay since you are right up against the door jams with not much space and room to move/angle the plank all while trying to get the plank to click into place. Here is the transition strip we used for the bathroom with a picture below.

Two little tips I would have for anyone doing this:

1. If you are cutting the pieces inside, it gets very dusty. So make sure to have a good vacuum and broom for clean up. 

2. Make sure to buy at least two more boxes compared to what you calculated for square footage to cover your room. With the 16 inch staggering, you loose a lot of square footage and get sizes that you can't use.

The last part of this project was taking out the spacers and installing the quarter round molding. We used the miter saw to cut the pieces and corners. We then used an air compressor and brad nailer, which made this very quick and easy to do. Once they were installed, I used wood putty to fill the holes, sanded it smooth and touched up the paint after.


I would love to do this floor throughout the rest of my condo. It does take a lot of time with the meticulous cutting of the planks and the door jams. It is very durable and very easy to clean, which I love. I saved a lot of money with having my dad help me install this vs. hiring someone. Hoping to get the rest of my condo finished soon, but it entails a lot of doorways, a fireplace transition, and a lot of stairs. Not quite ready to take that on yet, but hopefully soon!

And now you know the story behind the flooring in all my furniture pictures.

Thanks for reading!

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