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Fewer objects, lighter paint create feeling of space

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Home Staging of a home in Eden Prairie, MN

The project: An Eden Prairie family room.

What worked: Plenty of space, a natural fireplace, built-in bookshelves, backyard views and a deck.

What didn't: Forest green walls and a bad furniture arrangement stopped prospective buyers at the door.

"The first thing you saw through the doorway was the side of the very large sofa and a lot of messy cords," said Lori Matzke of Centerstagehome.com. "The goal was to direct the buyer's attention immediately to the fireplace and built-ins, and to make the rest of the space feel a lot more spacious and inviting."

Painting forest green walls pale champagne with a flat finish brightens the space and reflects more natural light. The lighter color compliments rather than contrasts with the faux painted finish and helps define the bookshelves and frame the fireplace.

Removing two-thirds of the contents on the built-in book shelves and keeping only a few large pieces creates the illusion of space. Removing the silver-framed picture over the mantel draws attention away from the artwork and back on the fireplace.

An area rug over carpeting makes potential buyers wonder what you're hiding and removing it makes the floor plan seem more open.

Green ivy draws attention to the fireplace mantel, while a small pot of greens on the coffee table adds a pop of color. The picture above the mantel was moved to the other wall at eye level to create more visual proportion between the ceiling and the furnishings.

Opening the blinds makes the space feel brighter. A floor lamp provides additional impact.

Positioning the sofa toward incoming visitors makes the space feel friendlier and directs sight lines toward the fireplace without hiding the view. The overstuffed chair is angled in the corner and pulled a few inches further into the room.

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