The project: A formal living room in an Eden Prairie house.
What worked: An open floor plan with lots of space.
What didn't work: The first thing prospective buyers see when they walk into this house is the formal living room, which had a poor furniture arrangement and unattractive plants that made the space feel frumpy and out of proportion.
"The sofa and loveseat seemed too small and dainty for the size of the space, and with everything pushed back and spread out on two walls, there was a large empty area at the entry of room that made the entire space feel lopsided," said Lori Matzke of Centerstagehome.com. "We wanted to give the room balance and give buyers a feeling that the space was easy to live in."
To accomplish that, here's what she did:
The entertainment center was a give-away from an acquaintance who also was moving and not planning to take the piece to their new home. The cabinet's bulk visually pulls the buyer into the room by adding both height and weight. And while the cabinet is actually empty, it helps create the illusion that the room is being fully utilized.
Matzke arranged the furniture for better flow by moving the sofa 18 inches in front of the picture window (no shown), leaving enough room to still get a good view outside.
She also replaced the loveseat with two occasional chairs from the lower-level family room to create color continuity (green) between the living room and dining room and add bulk to the space. The chairs were angled for conversation and pulled 12 inches from the wall to give the room a sense of depth.
Framed photos were put in storage to keep the buyer focused on the space and not on the current owner's family life.
Removed the small rug in front of the loveseat. Rugs over carpeting are never a good idea; they break up the flow of a room and make people wonder what you're hiding.
Put plants in storage. Matzke recommends getting rid of unhealthy plants, which create a negative first impression and "bad vibes."
To make the space feel brighter, Matzke vacuumed the heavy pleated lamp shades to let more light into the room. And a series of small pictures on the wall in the dining room (not pictured) were replaced with a large gold-framed mirror that helps reflect the light from the chandelier and window throughout the room.
Bold accessories help draw the buyer's eye around the room. Matzke used a colorful painting in a dark walnut frame and a large fern to soften the entertainment center. And a bright pink azalea in a decorative planter adds color and makes the room feel cheerful.