One on One With Amanda Rugg


The World Is Hers to Stage


By Gina Dostler


Selling a home these days can be quite challenging, with a beautiful house sitting on the market for months.

Staging a home to appeal to the broadest possible audience of qualified buyers is one solution. Rearranging furnishings in a professional manner provides the push to send a property to the top of available properties on the market.

Stagers know how to arrange furniture and utilize the right colors to bring a brand new feel to the home. This draws in the potential buyer with fresh, clean lines that direct attention towards the right balance of textures and colors. For the stager, the home becomes the canvas where artistic finesse takes place, and the best stagers make you want to stay in that room and say, “Home sweet home.”

Amanda Rugg, a business owner with a creative soul has taken her furniture company a step further by applying her talents to staging homes. She has furnished restaurants, B&Bs, a reality show and homes as far away as Mexico. And her client base includes sports and TV stars and interior designers.


Q:  Tell me about Aria?

A:  Aria Home Collection was started for several reasons. I see Aria Home Collection as a way to express my ideas and travel experiences through interior design and home decor. I have traveled extensively all over the world to find the little niches and out of the way places that the average tourist avoids. I see, feel, hear, and taste the local flare.

This all opens up into the type of furniture I purchase or the kind of décor I design. The furniture I sell at the store brings the look of a Mediterranean or Tuscan villa, but I am well versed and have many contacts in traditional, transitional, contemporary and modern decor.

The furniture comes from all over the world. Some furniture is from small factories and little villages in India. There are other pieces from South America. I also bring home one of kind antique pieces from Europe, Spain, and Italy. Aria specializes in custom upholstery, sectionals, sofas, banquets, beds, chairs, chaises, swivel cuddlers, and sleepers. Most of the upholstery we carry is exclusive designs that I have designed with my manufacturers. We can customize the colors, fabrics, and styles.


Q:  But you are more than just a furniture store, correct?

A: Absolutely. We have been in operation for over 12 years and though the store is a showcase of our furniture, we have expanded our business to include designers and just recently, home staging. Buying and selling furniture is a big part of what we do, but I’ve always been able to use colors to set moods, tell a story and create interest. I guess that is why I love to paint.

But my flair for staging definitely was garnered while working as a florist. It was there that my eyes learned how to blend colors by using placement and different shapes, sizes and textures to create balance. Balance is the key to floral arrangements as well as home decor. I find having the store allows me to use the multitude of contacts in the furniture business and this provides a great niche. A lot of home stagers work out of warehouses typically reusing the pieces over and over again. We have access to new and different inventory to make the staging more unique and personal.


Q:  What does staging mean to you?

A:  For a vacant home, staging gives the potential home buyer a better idea what the house would look and feel like. It gives them the ability to imagine themselves living in it, having dinner parties, or just relaxing after a hard day of work. It definitely sells homes. Without staging, a home would probably remain on the market for many months. Last year, I had a builder that needed to have a staging done within 24 hours for a mansion in Pelican Hill because the potential buyer was flying in the next day. We got it done, the home sold and the new owner loved the look so much he bought the furniture, accessories and all.


Q:  But staging can be used for reselling an already lived in home as well. How do you go about that?

A:  I come in with new eyes and see what needs to be done to freshen up the home. I walk through the house and notice where the eyes focus and address those areas first. Areas such as the kitchen, family room, master bedroom, formal dining room and fireplace mantel draw attention.

I rework these areas to capture a better feel or look. Many times I just repurpose the item or furniture to a different area or simply add some accessories such as pillows, rugs, mirrors, plants or floral arrangements. Sometimes it is as simple as changing the bedding to a different color scheme. Or, it could be more of a refit that requires changing out the entire home from a contemporary interior to a Mediterranean look that better compliments the Tuscan architecture.


Q:  A lot of homes in this area have that Mediterranean look. What works best with it?

A:  These homes tend to have very high ceilings, stone floors, and lots of scrolled iron work in the entryway and banisters. Big, dramatic, stand-out pieces are needed. Typically, a more rustic look works well in this situation. There is going to be a lot of wall space available for artwork, mirrors, and sconces.

The color palette tends to be quite neutral with rich warm colors of bronzes, browns, and deep gold for accent. Bedrooms might have more red tones. The downstairs will be the browns and gold. Then, it is just a matter of layering the colors for balance.


Q:  What recommendations for beach style homes?

A:  Beach homes tend towards fabrics and lighter colors with natural materials and fibers. I’ll use woven furniture such as natural rattan and banana leaf. Linens work well in these homes Natural elements such as lighter distressed reclaimed woods work well also.

I’ve found some beach homes are a bit eclectic in their décor and I pull things together with different textures and materials that bring splashes of colors such as oranges, blues and reds. For more neutral palettes I’ll use oatmeal colors and bring textures in browns for balance. Of course, it all depends on the customer’s likes, dislikes and the beach house itself.


Q:  You mentioned artwork. I imagine using art helps create the look and feel you want to create.

A:  Artwork is a wonderful way to bring in or tie in colors to the home. I like to use striking artwork to play off the colors of the home and pull it all together. Besides the color, the texture and element of the art can lend a great deal to generating the proper atmosphere within the room.

Floral arrangements also bring color and warmth to a room. And, plants bring softness. It is always my goal to make sure that the home not only exudes beauty and elegance, but warmth that invites and envelops people. It’s a coziness that says, “relax and stay awhile” which I think is a plus when selling a home.


Q:  If my house just needs a little updating, what is most popular today?

A:  Old Hollywood-style lounge furniture, beach-style reclaimed woods, and architectural wall décor featuring detailed scroll work. Also, going with a monochromatic color scheme. And crystals – they are showing up in everything from the traditional chandeliers, to crystal lamps and crystals embedded in picture frames. Crystals are found gracing every part of the home. Place crystals in an open, airy bathroom to make it more delightful for viewing.



Amanda Rugg

Aria Home Collection

26012 Marguerite Parkway, Suite P

Mission Viejo, CA  92692

Tel: 949.282.0105

Fax: 949.282.0095