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Home Staging of a Family Room in Excelsior, MN

This small, cottage-style home in Excelsior was suffering from an identity crisis.

The overall decor was a mixed bag of styles that made it easy to overlook the home's positive features, including original hardwood floors, built-in window seats and good storage.

"Strong colors and inconsistent decor made the whole house look choppy and feel even smaller," said Lori Matzke of Centerstagehome.com. "No matter what style of home you have, you need to create a continuous flow from one room to the next, especially between rooms that are visually connected."

A creamy white satin paint on the trim and doors complements the hardwood floors. Pale taupe with a soft yellow undertone in a flat finish on the walls and ceilings make the space feel more open and connected.

The unfinished faux crown moldings in the living room were removed to give the room more visual height and the rugs were removed to help showcase the hardwood floors.

Off-white velvet sofa pillows to give the room texture and soften the leather furnishings.

Matzke replaced the overhead dining room light fixture with a more contemporary $60 chandelier that matches the updated kitchen cabinets and other light fixtures.

Excess furniture, including a clunky kitchen cart and a corner display shelf, was removed.

Moving one of the leather chairs from the living room into the front entry unclogs the living room and creates continuity. A cabinet in the corner added weight and height to the room.

Woven baskets draw your eye through the space and a large Boston fern draws attention to the window seat. Fresh-cut mums add cheer.

A smaller dining table helps break up the depth of the rooms and provides a better view of the built-in window seat. A $75 seagrass rug helps anchor the table.

Swapping and repositioning the sofa and love seat gives the room proportion. "People think pushing furnishings up against the walls will make the room feel more spacious," Matzke said, "It just creates a lot of funky, unusable space in the middle of the room."

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