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This article was published on: 04/01/2003

APRIL 2003 Cover Feature: Setting the Stage

Empty rooms are an artist’s canvas for some homeshoppers, but most people have a hard time picturing the options. Below, borrowed furnishings help people picture where their furniture might go and draw attention away from cosmetic problems, such as an exposed grate on the floor. To add the interest of varying heights without damaging freshly painted walls, artwork is leaned against the wall from a tabletop. Lamps add height and give a soft glow to the room’s natural light.
Furniture and accent pieces: Marshall Field’s

In a vacant house, you don’t need to completely furnish rooms. In a bedroom, a small upholstered chair, rug, and surface for books will be enough to send buyers’ minds to thoughts of nesting. We added an air mattress draped with a rich blue comforter: It’s a quick, easy way to give a bedroom feel. Props such as potted plants and a small teapot suggest a room ready for living. Pictures help bring the room to life—but always ask the owners before you start making nail holes.
Furniture and accent pieces: Marshall Field’s

WELCOME BUYERS HOME Foyers and entryways are your chance to make a good first impression on buyers. Below, a runner adds a rich base of warmth to a stark, small entryway. A shear is hung over the window using a tension rod to avoid unwanted nail holes around the window frame. The painted chest and chair represent an invitation to stay and linger. Fresh flowers add a touch of life.
Furniture and accent pieces: Marshall Field’s

© 2003 Photos for RM by Cynthia Howe

© 2003 Photos for RM by Cynthia Howe

In an occupied home, look for focal points to play up. Here, the fireplace is the obvious focal point, but it’s hidden by artwork, papers, and books on the mantle and surrounding bookcase. Mismatched furnishings make the room feel complicated. The solution: Remove clutter to make the bookshelves look spacious and the room appear larger. Edit furnishings and arrange them to emphasize a cozy conversation pit and to draw eyes to the paneled ceilings, which previously went unnoticed. Replace a too-small black-and-gray throw rug with a more proportional red rug, picked up from another room. A colorful framed artwork—found unused in an upstairs closet—and a single stem of ginger flower add a touch of drama and help carry the room’s warm red color scheme, which plays up the beautiful oak floors.
Accent pieces: Marshall Field’s

© 2003 Photos for RM by Cynthia Howe

The focal point of this room should be the interesting angles. But the slanted ceiling, heavy furnishings, and nondescript layout make the walls seem to close in on this tiny, makeshift office. The solution: Remove the television and stand to add much-needed space. Empty the bookcase and move it to a taller wall to add height to the room. A tall, thin lamp emphasizes the height. Set the desk and computer at an angle to give the room depth. Separate sections of the small sofa, a vintage patio piece, to create more versatile seating. A room that once felt claustrophobic now feels stylish, fun, and functional.

The paned windows that should be this room’s focal point are partly obscured. The colorful geometric rug appears detached from the room and distracts from the sunny view. The solution: Open the room by editing and rearranging furnishings. Rather than using the sofa to hide a radiator, angle it to draw eyes to the windows. A borrowed rug and colorful throw pillows help tie together furnishings and provide a nice flow of color from the adjoining living room. A chest of drawers moved from another part of the house, right foreground, adds height and offers a place to display a splash of color—an artificial orchid. The room practically beckons buyers to sit down and enjoy the sun.
Rug: Marshall Field’s

April 2003 Feature Article: Setting the Stage
Before and after photos featured in the print magazine
Online exclusive: Choosing and Using a Professional Stager
Online exclusive: Before and after photos for online article

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