On the chance that you haven't discovered the beauty and versatility of scrapbook paper, let me introduce you to your new best friend. These colorful sheets of paper sold as pages for scrapbooks and photo albums can be your go-to source for a variety of craft and decor projects, helping you solve some of your staging dilemmas. 

The benefits of using precut sheets of printed scrapbook paper are obvious. They are easily available at craft stores and online. They are inexpensive. The colors and the patterns number in the thousands. You can buy individual sheets or curated sets of designs that share a singular motif or set of colors. And the designs are varied and decorative.  

Scrapbook paper comes in different sizes, but the most popular ones are 8 1/2  by 11 inches, and 12 by 12 inches. The larger size sheets cost just 69 cents and the smaller ones cost 59 cents at Hobby Lobby. Foil, glitter, and embossed sheets can cost as much as two dollars. All are often on sale for half that price. 

You can buy the sheets individually or by the pack. Amazon sells a 30-sheet pack of cardstock weight papers for under $8. Some sheets are double-sided with a different color or design on each side, but for homestaging crafts, one-sided designs work fine. This scrapbooking company offers over 2,000 different packs. Michael's offers hundreds of beautiful 12- by 12-inch squares.   

Most sheets are medium-weight paper, 50- or 65-pound paper. The sturdier sheets are card stock weight, or 80-pound. Paper trivia: This means, for example, that 500 sheets of cardstock weigh 80 pounds. 

Here are some of the ways you can make scrapbook papers part of your toolkit for home decor when you stage. 

Dress up ordinary containers

One of your first steps in staging will be selecting a simple color scheme. If you look around your unstaged rooms, you'll probably see furnishings that don't fit with your new, simplified color palette. Scrapbook paper is one temporary way to covert things like boxes, bins, cannisters, and vases into containers that fit your plan. 

When you wrap pretty sheets of paper around an oatmeal box or cardboard milk carton, you've created one of the most frugal staging props ever. If you want your container to be sturdier or waterproof, insert a plastic or glass or metal container inside.  

To cover larger boxes or vases, you may have to overlap or tape two sheets together, but often the seam will be inconspicuous or else can be hidden on the back or underside of your container. For the half-gallon container shown here I used one 12- by 12-inch sheet. I trimmed the sheet to wrap around the carton and used the trimmed piece on the unseen backside. I used a glue stick, but you may prefer tape or a hot glue gun.    

A half-gallon milk container can be the start of something
new. For filling with fresh flowers, or to make it more stable,
use a glass or metal insert for your paper-covered carton.  

Cover hardback books

For a number of good reasons, books are always an essential element of smart staging. One reason to cover them is titles become unimportant. Even their condition isn't important. So, you can use books from your own (decluttered!) bookshelves, or books from the $1 bin at your favorite thrift store. 

Making jackets for books you want to use for staging couldn't be easier or quicker to do. Here is a 1.18-minute video that shows you how to cover a hardback book

You'll notice that many books come in a standard size, a cover that measures 8 1/2 inches top to bottom. That means many books can be covered with the common 8 1/2- by 11-inch size paper if you tape two sheets together to make it wrap around the front and back covers and the spine. Covering a book this way means you won't have a folded edge on the top and bottom of the book cover, but you won't have to cut or fold paper carefully to fit either. It will look more like the dust jacket you get on a new hardback book, and less like the way students cover textbooks. Either way looks good for staging. 

The top book took two sheets of paper, and the
cover on the bottom book is the original dust jacket
turned inside out. A tube of scrapbook paper
changed the look of the clean glass vase.

Most books will require two sheets of scrapbook paper. If you can cover a book with one sheet, that book is probably too small to use for staging. Usually, a seam is undetectable and can be hidden on the underside of the book. 

A small stack of bundled books looks special as part of a tabletop vignette. To make it look more interesting and intentional, you can either coordinate your own mix of paper patterns, or use papers from a manufacturer's curated collection.  

Bonus tip: Some books you'll use for staging may already have their original dust jackets on them. If they are in good condition, you can just turn them inside out to let the blank (usually white) side of the paper become the new cover.   

Combining patterns of scrapbook paper to create
a shelf arrangement of book covers is fun, once you
know the simple formula for mixing patterns

Update a tray

Trays can simplify your homestaging tasks. On a vanity (top photo), a coffee table, nightstand, or kitchen counter, a tray can corral a grouping of assorted objects. The right tray has the power to make a mismatched assortment of objects look logical, and the power to make a bunch of small objects read as one. 

It's easy to find trays to use for staging, but not so easy to find trays that work with the colors and style you've established. Scrapbook paper to the rescue. Just measure the flat area you plan to cover, trim your paper to fit, and either glue it in place with a glue stick or just lay it there, keeping it in place with the objects you'll arrange on the tray. 

Bonus Tip: Since many scrapbook sheets feature a small design, it's easy to choose paper that you like that can then be trimmed to any dimensions and still look great. Even designs that are off-center or have a "large repeat" can be trimmed to look good on a tray. 

There was nothing terribly wrong with this distressed
mosaic tray, but I didn't want the beachy look. 
All I did to the beachy tray to give it a new look was to lay
in two square sheets of an animal print scrapbook paper.  

Add interest to place settings

A naked dining table in a staged home isn't doing its job. When they tour a home for sale, people think about sitting down to family meals and hosting friends. Why not take the opportunity to help buyers envision the life they will have when they buy your home? Place settings, simple ones, can help. 

You can use scrapbook paper to make placemats, chargers under plates, or napkin rings. None of these projects takes much time or skill or expense, yet they dress up a tabletop to make it more interesting. 

I've blogged about how to make napkin rings from tin cans, using aluminum foil or duct tape. But scrapbook paper makes it easier, faster, and gives you more options! 

I brushed the rims of this can with some metallic
gold craft paint before wrapping it with paper.

Start with a set of cans that match, ideally the 4 or 5-ounce ones for evaporated milk, mushrooms, and green chiles. Once you have collected enough of them to stage the table you plan to dress, you're ready. Remove the labels and the bottom ends. Wash them well.  

You can use either hot glue or glue sticks to affix the paper to your cans. I prefer glue sticks because you get a chance to fine-tune the fit. The disadvantage to glue sticks is that you'll have to place a rubber band or clips to hold the paper in place while the glue sets. I've used paper clips, binder clips, and clothespins, all with success. 

The choice is yours whether to wrap the inside of the paper-covered cans, or just the outside. Once a napkin is arranged in the ring, the inside isn't seen, so I recommend the simple route of outside only. 

Scrapbook paper doesn't have quite the flexibility of paper you might use for decoupage projects, so be prepared for a more wrinkled look when you are wrapping the can's round rim. My preference is to let the metal edge of the can be visible on the finished project, as shown on the two front cans below.  

One can is wrapped inside and out, adhered with ModPodge, 
and top-coated with ModPodge. The other map-design scrapbook paper is
just glued on the outside of the can. The front can is just wrapped,
glued and then decorated with beads using a glue gun. 
The heavier weight of cardstock scrapbook paper is 
 sturdy enough to use as placemats. The paper in this photo   
is embossed and has a sheen. I used one and a half
12- by 12-inch sheets, slightly overlapped and taped underneath. 

Create instant  art

Framed artwork is an important component of effective home staging. I've blogged about the importance of wall art and about how to make a collage of paper

The easiest way to use scrapbook paper for framed artwork is to simply insert it in a glassed frame you have. If the frame has a good, clean mat, tape the corners of the scrapbook paper to the backside of the mat, lay it on the glass, place the glass in the frame, fix the backing onto the fame, and you are ready to hang using whatever method you'll use for hanging. 

The fact that most scrapbook papers have a small, all-over design means that centering the paper or getting a mat sized to match perfectly isn't a problem.

Bonus Tip:  When you are thrifting, be on the hunt for square picture frames in good condition and with square mats, since many scrapbook papers are sold as squares.  

It's easy to imagine scrapbook paper sheets like this,
matted and framed like watercolors. Photo: Hobby Lobby
Even without a mat, a square of scrapbook paper
centered on a square of framed, white foam-core is a
simple solution to creating economical artwork.

Make unique decor props

Professional stagers have their arsenal of decorative objects that add the finishing touches to a room -- ceramics, baskets, pitchers, candles, pillows. But probably the most economical, pretty little addition to a room is a small box wrapped as a gift. 

Why not take advantage of scrapbook paper's versatility to wrap a box to be part of almost any room's staging? A little gift looks right at home on a side table, bookshelf, coffee table, or desk.  

To cover an ordinary box, make sure it is in good enough condition that it sits square when you tape it shut. Rather than flimsy boxes like cereal boxes, stronger ones, like what you'd get from an online purchase, work best. 

Even if your scrapbook sheet doesn't cover the entire bottom of the box, you can still use it where it won't be handled, such as out of reach on a mantel, or else hot-glued to a tray. A box doesn't have to have a removable lid. An unlidded, empty box can be wrapped and placed open side down. 

If you have plain jane decor props like clear glass vases, or candlestick lamps, you can make them part of your color scheme by wrapping a strip of colorful or textured scrapbook paper around just part of the vase or lamp. 

Other pretty props to make with scrapbook paper include a chain of scrapbook paper links or a pennant banner that could dress up the wall over a bed. Or styrofoam balls decoupaged with scrapbook paper and arranged in a glass bowl or a basket. You can also use it to line the backs or the shelves of book cases or cabinets. 

Bonus Tip: Wired ribbon will add structure, height, and an extras special touch to a gift-wrapped box. 

Boxes wrapped with scrapbook paper make lovely
props for table vignettes and centerpieces.
I changed the look of the frosted glass vase with a strip
of scrapbook paper, coiled and placed inside.  

Disguise storage boxes

When you stage your home, it's better to have opaque containers for storing all kinds of unglamorous things. Containers like wastebaskets, desktop accessories, medicine kits, or cord storage boxes look better when people can't see what's inside. I like to use clear plastic boxes for all kinds of things because contents are easily visible. But for staging, I like to use opaque containers. 

Changing transparent containers to decorative ones is easy with scrapbook papers. Usually, you can just slip a piece of paper trimmed to fit the sides of a see-through box, and you're done. If the lid is also transparent, it might call for another sheet. 

This trick comes in handy when you have a collection of small tools, manicure equipment, nutritional supplements, cosmetics, socks, underwear, or small toys. These are the kind of items that people on tour don't need to see.  

Bonus tip: Save the scraps and partial sheets for smaller craft projects, like holiday and party decorations, bookmarks, gift tags, notepaper, greeting cards, and... scrapbooking!  

There's no shortage of paper designs and colors
in the scrapbook aisle of Hobby Lobby.

Get the look, get the book

When you are staging your home, it's refreshing to have some projects that are this simple and quick to do, and yet are as effective as using scrapbook papers to decorate, unify, and conceal. 

I hope you'll have fun seeing how you can use pretty scrapbook papers to make your home more interesting to buyers. Need more ideas and tips for economical home staging? Don't leave here without downloading my home staging eBook, DIY Home Staging Tips for Sell Your Home Fast and For Top Dollar.