Decorate To Sell Your Home – Brilliant Decor Or A Disaster?

Hi Everyone,

Well, it is definitely SPRING here in Bronxville, NY. And, no time is more beautiful than early spring here.

Although, my apartment has a Bronxville zip code, it is not technically in the municipality of Bronxville. It is in Yonkers, NY but just over the line. In fact, I’m actually closer to the train station than at least 3/4 of Bronxville proper.


Bronxville and the surrounding Bronxville zip code is filled with many large, old homes, mostly built in the early part of the 20th century.


The styles range from Beaux Arts, Tudor, Victorian and Colonial. However some homes were built later in the latter part of the 20th century.

In addition, the beauty of the area is enhanced by a hilly terrain. And, there are many mature trees and gardens. I feel very fortunate to live in such a lovely place.

As it happens, spring is when I think of homes going on the market for sale.

It’s a great topic to address at least every couple of years because a lot of us are either in the process of, or thinking about selling our homes. OR, thinking about selling our home within the next few years.


And, there are a lot of homes for sale, right now in Bronxville and actually in all of southern Westchester County.


I don’t know if there are more homes for sale than usual, but it seems like a good many.

The other day, I was in town doing some errands and I walked past Sotheby’s Realty. I usually look in the window to see what’s for sale.

Much of the time, I’m shaking my head in disbelief because there is no way they are considering how to decorate to sell their home. We’ll see some examples later on.


You may recall that I’ve done some posts about homes for sale in this area. But these homes are apartments and are all well under a million dollars.


Here’s one that’s near and dear to me. Remember, the swinger’s pad with the poo pot virtually in the dining area? Yes, indeedy. As predicted three years ago, it has not sold. The owners took it off the market.

And then, there were these apartments with tacky kitchens.

And then, one of my favorite posts that’s from 2014 is my general philosophy on what it takes to sell your home. And, it’s not what HGTV is telling us.


The post here zeroes in on how to decorate to sell your home.


But, the homes I’m zooming in on, this time, are the luxury homes in Bronxville.

Some are stunning and some are well… quite frankly, scary.


They are scary because the decor is either really band and/or it does not go with the house.


AND, it is making what could be a stunning home, really ugly. And, therefore, not likely to sell quickly.

Some of these homes are on the market for several million dollars.

I mean, if you are selling a home for five million + dollars, why would you put in a glass and iron coffee table from Crate and Barrel?

And worse.

Much worse.

Besides, the C & B furniture is far better than some of the abominations I’ve seen.


The reality is… If you want a free-standing home in Bronxville, NY, there is nothing under a million dollars.


Or, if it is, it’s in Bronxville P.O. like my place. But, the municipality is Yonkers and it’s the Yonkers school district, not the Bronxville school district.

Big diff.

According to the 2018 US News & World Report, the Bronxville High School ranks #15 in New York State and #90 in the nation.


Bronxville_HS - via Wikipedia

Bronxville_High School – via Wikipedia

All school-aged children are educated in what looks more like a building belonging to a posh boarding school.

This superb and highly desirable school district, of course, drives up the prices of homes in Bronxville proper. Although, it is possible to pay (a hefty sum) to go to the Bronxville schools, residents of Bronxville municipality go for free.


But, as we all know… There is no such thing as “free.” The taxes in Bronxville are through the roof insane! Some of these homes have well over $100k a year in taxes!


However, you will probably save a lot of money by buying into a neighborhood called Cedar Knolls. First of all, the homes are about half as much money. AND, the taxes are a fraction of what they are in the tiny village of Bronxville. The reason is that Cedar Knolls is in Yonkers. And, Yonkers is the 4th largest city in New York.


Cedar Knolls borders Bronxville and it was where Charlie Chaplin built a home.


Jerome Kern (Charlie Chaplin) estate in Cedar Knolls (Bronxville, NY)

Actually, I just found it! And the home belonged to Jerome Kern, but Charlie Chaplin lived there too at some point. As the story goes, they wanted to live in Bronxville, but since both Charlie and Jerome were Jewish, and Bronxville did not allow Jews to live there, (back in the day) they built this relatively modest home a stone’s throw away.

If you’re interested in stalking me, staying around here, you can rent this place for $367.00/night on trip advisor. Not bad for an entire family.


Cedar Knolls is also my neighborhood, but I am right on the edge.

However, two blocks up the road is where the gorgeous homes begin. One of my favorite clients has a beautiful home in Cedar Knolls that I was lucky to get to work on a few years ago.

The first home I’m going to show you and actually, my favorite is in Cedar Knolls.

I’ve walked past it many times. As a matter of fact, early last December I went out on a dreary day to take some pics for a Christmas post. Well, that was the plan.

In fact, the first house I took photos of last December is the one I’m about to show you.


However, just as I was taking my phone out of my purse, I kid you not, a van pulled up; a man got out and then left the dry cleaning hanging on the front door.


haha! Damn. I kept that photo for a while, but erased it because I didn’t see how I was ever going to need it. It’s pretty funny. The rest of the photos were just so-so, so I never produced that post.

Oh, before I begin. If I like the home and what they’ve done, I’ll state where it is. However, if I feel that it’s a decorating misstep, I won’t give particulars.


Below is the house at 86 Pondfield Rd. West


86 Pondfield Rd West - exterior

And another view below of the pretty facade. I love the Chinese Chippendale balcony railings.


86 Pondfield rd west - Cedar Knolls (Bronxville) - home for sale

Well apparently, the current owners did a real number on this place. And, either they are designers or they hired one because the interior is amazing! And, believe me, that is very rare around here.


86 Pondfield Rd West - beautiful entry - Anthropologie wallpaper

We walk into the beautiful entry and we see dark walnut stained floors and new-trad decor. Look at that wonderful wallpaper from Anthropologie.


Everything about this place, says “cool-young-family-home.” And, that’s who is going to purchase the place, me thinks.

This is the thing that bothers me when the decorating shows talk about how to decorate to sell your home. And, particularly home staging.


They are always talking about BUYERZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

Like, just how many people are going to be buying this home?


It’s just like husbandzzzzzzzzzz.


You only need one.

Usually. ;]

Well, one at a time.

So, I say, decorate for yourself as well as WHO will be buying this home. And make it tastefully gorgeous, in keeping with the area and style of the home.


For instance, there’s another home in Bronxville that has gorgeous curb appeal. But that doesn’t mean that the interior is going to be as special.


Wowza! Right?

But then, we walk in and are met with…

this utterly bland living room with clashing beige shades and a waaaay too pale and too big area rug.


Compare this to a similar living room we did a few years ago, also in Bronxville. You can see more of this family home here.


living room layout-Laurel Bern Interiors Bronxville Living room-painting

Of course, it helps tremendously that the clients have this gorgeous art collection.

But, let’s go back to 86 Pondfield Rd. West because I have some more stunning rooms to show you.


There are many more to see on the listing, however. BTW, this home JUST went on the market, it appears.

I predict that it will be off the market by the end of the month; next month at the latest.


 Bronxville new traditional living room - decorate to sell your homeAbove and below, the beautifully styled and stylish living room. I mean, talk about move-in ready! Just leave everything as is, thank you very much! haha

86 Pondfield Rd W - Bronxville NY - beautiful young-traditional living room  - decorate to sell your homeLove how they styled the fireplace mantel.


86 Pondfield rd W new - trad dining room- decorate to sell your home

Way cool dining room. Love EVERYTHING. Please notice the exquisite detail on the draperies. But, all of it, is perfect, IMO.


And what about the kitchen, you ask?


After all, it’s kitchens and bathrooms that sell the house. Right?

Well, THIS is what caught my eye when I was walking past the realtor the other day.



Yes, there’s a bit of distortion in the image. It’s a real estate photo, after all. But those windows are amazing. There are more shots of the kitchen on the listing.  After all of the oak abominations around here, this is as refreshing as can be.

And, in case you are wondering, nobody is paying me to plug this home.

But speaking of… (and no one was paying me here, either) :]

Remember this beauty on St. Simons Island, GA?

Oh man! I forgot to tell you guys, but I heard from Cyndi, the homeowner shortly before I went to Las Vegas, last February.


Dear Laurel,

It’s Cyndi,  formerly of St Simons Island, GA. Wanted to let you know that my home sold January 31st! close to asking price. I took it off the market at the end of November and had three offers, immediately. The people who we settled on wanted the home totally furnished !  I did many of the things you advises me to do.  The plants, I believe made a huge difference. Thanks so much for your advice, now We can move on to the next phase.




Sorry, I forgot to mention that. But there were so many great ideas. And it goes to show that staging is super-important. However, I believe that a home should always look inviting and like the folks living there are loving it.


It’s the love that will sell the home; not some insipid, generic color scheme and furnishings that looks more like the lobby of a Ramada Inn.


86 Pondfield Rd W. guest - bedroom -girl's bedroom - decorate to sell your home - green grasscloth wallpaperAnd, how charming is this bedroom for either a teen-aged daughter or a guest bedroom. The fabric on the Roman Shade is Mary McDonald’s Bermuda Blossoms for Schumacher. (You can see it here in a different colorway.)


And you can see and purchase all five colorways here.

Design trade, of course, should order directly from Schumacher.

86 Pondfield Rd west - decorate to sell your home - stunning marble pale gray and black bathroomAnd finally, the amazing bathroom. How sophisticated! This is giving me great hope. Somebody not only gave a lot of thought to this place, they know what they are doing.


However, there are also homes in Bronxville that are so incredibly cringe-worthy, I’m loathe to show them to you.


But, when did that ever stop me? lol

There are many homes that have a lot of heavy, dark wood.

However, the last thing you want to do is decorate the living room to look like and Easter egg basket. Right? It would be so easy to fix this too.

Rip down those hideous drapes. They are totally wrong for the room.


The leaded glass windows are stunning. And instead of seeing the windows, I’m seeing what is reminding me of a tacky bridesmaid’s dress.

Take out the sculpted rug. Get a custom seagrass rug. Seagrass comes 13 feet wide, but then it can be made the appropriate length.

Then, have white slipcovers made for EVERYTHING. Well, all of the upholstered furniture.

Get a hunky opium table. And a glass and GOLD coffee table for the fireplace seating area.

Check out Mike Serratt on One King’s Lane. I would stick with blue and white and maybe a little beige. That link takes you directly to his blue and white pillows, but he has other colors. You could also throw in a surprise. They are having a sale and then you can use your promo code: OKL20CARD for an additional 20% off. (double dipping sales, I call it.) He has the best pillows.

Or, you can go look on Etsy for great pillows and see this post here, for some pillow advice.


So bad. So bad. The bordello dining room.

And don’t get me wrong. I’ve done a TON of red dining rooms in my career. A ton! But, they painted the mullions red too? Yuck.

And the draperies.

I can’t.

Those valances are so wrong and the fabric makes this room look like a circus.

However, I won’t subject you to the bright green library.


But, I’m not sparing you the kitchen. Sorry.


Guys. Please understand. This place is on the market for nearly SIX MILLION DOLLARS!


And, THIS is what they are passing off as a kitchen for a high-end home in a tony New York burg?

I found other atrocities, as well. One that never fails to baffle me is when someone takes a 100-year-old architectural gem and then puts in a Poggenpohl ultra modern kitchen.  That’s just so wrong. I saw a home like that here, but didn’t save it.

However, I can’t leave you with that bad image of how not to decorate to sell your home.


43 Prescott Ave - Bronxville - beautiful white kitchen - decorate to sell your home

I found another pretty home at  43 Prescott Ave in Bronxville. Love the kitchen. And there are other views in the listing. The furnishings are eclectic with a strong lean towards the contemporary. But it’s classic contemporary.

And one last home that I think got the over-all feeling just right.

20 park ave living room Bronxville, NY - decorate to sell your home
This lovely home is at 20 Park Ave in Bronxville.


Well, I hope that you enjoyed seeing some of the beautiful homes for sale in Bronxville, NY.





Welcome To Laurel Home!


Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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