For the last 5 years I have been fortunate to work on some great HGTV shows including with the Property Brothers and For Rent. While some timelines on design shows are slightly altered for story telling purposes, one thing that is 100% factual is I usually style the space 48-hours before they are revealed on camera due to back to back renovations and crazy timelines. 

What does "style the space" mean? It means that I begin with an empty room, and then in 48-hours it is brought to camera ready perfection including furniture, accessories, drapery and artwork. It's normally a team of at least 3-4 people including an art installer and handy person for furniture assembly and other odds and ends.  

This experience has been really helpful to me as last week we finally, actually, completed our #canningreno. Pictures are hung, pillows are placed, all the little details that go in to making a space have personalized character are finally here. We did it all for a fun media project I am working on (more on that in a future post!) but because of that I was on a crazy deadline and the bulk of it happened in a 48-hour frenzy. 

So for today's post, I thought I would share some tips that might help you finish off a project in your house that you haven't been able to commit to finishing. You don't need a media deadline to make a deadline happen (although it is helpful let me tell you!) but to give you a push here are some strategies to help you style and finish a room in 48-hours.


For me it was media deadlines that got me mega motivated to finish- but it can be something as simple as a birthday party, long weekend, or maternity leave that can be a hard deadline and motivate you to finish. Experience has shown me with clients, that once you move in to a space and you get used to seeing it a certain way (i.e. ugly: no drapery, original light fixtures, original paint, no art, etc) you get so used to it and it becomes normal. If you're a new homeowner and you have just moved in, resist the temptation to wait. Because you won't do it. Set a deadline and stick to it- you will be so happy you did! 

Then if you are going to do the whole 48-hour thing, book some friends, book time off work, for the 48-hours before this deadline and get her done! 


For the purposes of this post I am going to assume major items have been completed in your space: all renovation type stuff like painting, millwork, any construction. This needs it's own timeline beyond the scope of this post, Move in your major furniture pieces and then take stock of what is missing. In our experience working on TV shows and going through what I did last week, here are the major items that contribute to styling: 

major furniture (sofas, tables, principle chairs, etc)
side tables
art on walls
frames on surfaces
table top accessories (trays, books, candles, sculptures, clocks, cloches, vases, etc)
accent furniture (ottomans, poofs, accent chairs, small side tables, etc.)

Make your list of missing items and then divide them by retailer. For example, this past week to get my house done for my shoot I made trips to the following retailers for all the small items (basically everything but furniture): Elte, Elte Mkt, Bouclair, Indigo, HomeSense, Michael's, Home Outfitters, and then HomeSense 5 more times (just kidding, but not really). 

When you are working with a 48-hour period, you have got to grab stuff that is off the rack and ready to go. These retailers above all fall into that category. Also, they all have good return policies so buy more than you need and return stuff after.

You always need more than you think. 


In point 1 I mentioned book friends to come over for the 48-hour period. Make sure one of them is handy, or hire a handy person to bring tools over and do some of the installation related things if you are not handy yourself. This is the order I typically do things, and I usually divide my team accordingly:

Phase 1: Put in all major furniture. Assemble as needed.

Phase 2: Lay out rugs, select from options. If you are 100% certain about the rugs do them first- you may have to pull out all the furniture in order to lay the rugs properly. Use an underpad. 

Phase 3: Hang drapery and install art and any hanging shelves or mirrors. I do this before accessories as I want to pull accent colours out of the artwork and use in pillows, throws, accessories, etc. 

Phase 4: plop in what I call "grounding" accessories like pillows, throws, trays on tables, books on side tables, lamps.

Phase 5: layer in small layering accessories like vases, small sculptures, picture frames, other shiny things. 


On Property Brothers especially, this is how we scheduled our 48-hours. It totally works as a schedule for a 48-hour marathon decorating bonanza.


9am- arrive to site, unload cars, note any random deficiencies or paint touch ups you will have to take care of later. 

10am- if furniture is not in the space already, load in all major pieces. I love working with Home Installers, Avery Moving, and Metric Movers for pick up, drop off and installation of large pieces. 

11am- take stock. Look around and make a list of all the stuff you still need to grab from the accessories list. Arrange by retailers and get in to cars and go!

12pm- eat on the run! I love grabbing a quick lunch at Elte when I can swing it! 

5pm- return home with all your goodies. Unload. I like to organize everything into like items: pillows, small accessories, shiny things etc. I also like to put them in an area out of the way so you aren't moving things 10 times- like a hallway or foyer. Eat a power dinner!

Start to style- Move things around, keep trying things until you are happy with groupings. I try to work as long as I can into the evening so you can be far ahead for the next day.


9am- With fresh eyes, look at the space and see if there are any holes you need to fill- what else do you need to find or buy to make the space feel complete? 

10am- Shop again to fill in any gaps you might be missing. Return anything that didn't make the cut. 

1pm- Come home and style again. Just keep working until you are happy with compositions, try things in different areas, styling really is part instinct, part experience, part trial and error. 

Work until you are happy! Not that I suggest this, but there were definitely some VERY late nights working until we were satisfied. It really is a bit of a process to get a home totally styled- and you will continue to add an edit post your 48-hour deadline for sure- but working with a deadline gives you a solid foundation to tweak your home. 


Here are some "secrets" that our team cannot leave a space without doing:

Steam everything: drapes, sofa, pillows, throws- you won't believe the difference it will make! I almost always have a travel steamer in my car for styling "emergencies"!
Lint brush everything: I use painters tape if I don't have a lint brush.
Goo Gone everything: I love the Goo Gone in spray format- super convenient for getting off price tags, etc.
Flowers everywhere: flowers add such a nice final layer, a little element of life and colour in a space- flowers go in every room we do.

Whether or not your home is appearing on a TV show or you just want a TV worthy space, it won't feel this way without the finishing touches listed above. You won't believe the difference these finishing touches make- they are worth all the time and energy to create a space that is inspiring, comfortable and yours. 

Styling a room in 48-hours is a service we provide as an option for clients. If you'd like to know more about our 48-hour styling service please contact us– we would love to help you finish off your home!