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The Home Staging Expert

Focus on enhancing space rather than on contents

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Home Staging of a home in Minnetonka, MN

The room: A formal living room in a 3,500-square-foot Minnetonka house.

What worked: A unique tray-vaulted ceiling, a wall of windows and a marble fireplace.

What didn't: Too many furnishings, a poor furniture arrangement and window treatments that blocked the sun and made the room feel too cramped.

"Too much attention on the decor and not enough attention on the actual features of the space," said Lori Matzke of Centerstagehome.com. "Staging is not interior design. It's all about thoughtfully showing off the positive selling points of the structure itself."

Here is what she did to enhance the features of this room:

Matzke replaced the oversized artwork over the fireplace with an ornate gilded mirror from the dining room to draw more attention to the fireplace. The mirror adds some much-needed dimension and presence to the fireplace. It also keeps the fireplace from blending into the setting, but still reflects light back into the room.

She repositioned the loveseat on the opposite end of the room, 18 inches from the windows. The sofa was pulled 10 inches away from the wall to give the space more depth. A long, narrow coffee table (not shown) was replaced by a larger, square coffee table that the owner had in storage, to give the layout balance. The small occasional chair and an extra dining room chair add seating without taking up too much space or blocking the outside view.

Removed the drapes, swags and hardware to flood the space with natural light and give buyers a better view of the beautiful back yard. The pleated shades were pulled open but left in place to provide evening privacy. Potential buyers often appreciate window treatments being left behind until they can be replaced, but Matzke recommends removing them for showings. Have them professionally cleaned, as well, and let the new owners decide what to do with them.

Matzke edited the furnishings and accessories. She removed the small throw rug in front of the door leading to the deck and boxed-up several of the throw pillows on the sofa and loveseat.

For added drama, recessed lighting over the windows and fireplace should be kept on to highlight those features.

A brass planter filled with tall dogwood stems softens the wall of windows without hiding the view. The tall crystal vase filled with red roses and greenery adds enough punch and draws a prospective buyer's eye into the space.

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