See How a Stager Transformed a Cramped Family Room (It’s So Open!)

published May 21, 2024
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White living room with gray sofa before home staging
Credit: Courtesy of Heartfelt Homespace, Inc.

Erin E. Bergant Harrod, owner of Heartfelt Homespace, has a particular way of staging homes: She uses feng shui principles when she’s designing a space. Feng shui is an ancient and traditional practice that focuses on “harmonizing life with the geophysical energies in the environment such as Earth’s magnetic field, the vibrational energies of elements, and cosmological influence of time,” and in the interior design world, it’s often used to create balance in a design space.

Bergant Harrod pulled off a feng shui masterpiece with a home she was staging in Concord Township, Ohio — and what she did transformed the space from a blank slate into a cozy, calming, and uniquely filled canvas, instilling the space with good energy.

“My client had bought a previous neighborhood model home, and while she liked the bones [of the house], it lacked the drama and character she dreamed for,” Bergant Harrod says. “I was hired to help her take the home from one that was ordinary to one that she could truly call her own. After discussing the problem areas and her personal preferences, likes, and dislikes, we were ready to get started.”

Bergant Harrod started with the family room. Prior to her redesign, the flow of the furniture arrangement and the old furnishings were creating energy blockages in the home.

Credit: Courtesy of Heartfelt Homespace, Inc.

“From a feng shui approach, it’s imperative to look at the flow of furniture and major items in the room before even digging into the design details such as materials,” she says. “Rearranging and purchasing new furnishings for the family room were No. 1 on the list. Walking into the back of a sofa when entering a room is a huge no-no for the flow of energy. This can create a physical block, so it’s imperative to be able to walk into a room without bumping into or squeezing through furniture.”

Instead of segmenting the room off from the doorways of the home, Bergant Harrod reworked the family room’s layout — the focal point of the space moved to the fireplace, and the furniture was rearranged so that it opened toward the walkway and entry into the room.

Credit: Gabby Mae Photography

“When spaces are open on two sides, sometimes it can be hard to arrange for nice flow, but smaller club or low-back swivel chairs are softer and lighter than adding in a sofa in these particular spots,” she says.

Next, she added in other design features, like a board and batten wall topped with a wall painted in Sherwin-Williams’ Iron Ore to both add drama and to break up the oversized space — a move that helps bring the entire space, with its two-story height, into scale. 

Credit: Gabby Mae Photography

“Two-story great rooms are nice architectural features for resale, but people often don’t know what to do with all of that space,” Bergant Harrod says. “Without adding something to break up the space, it can make a person feel, sometimes even unconsciously, too small in the room. This can make it hard to get comfortable or really let your guard down in that space, but never know why it wasn’t feeling cozy enough.”

She also added two-story draperies to the room, an area rug, some sconces to boost the drama and warmth, and accessories the client loved: animal prints, gold, leather, and scenic nature artwork.

“With Feng Shui, using a space alone is enough to help with the flow of energy, but loving a room and each element within it helps to keep the energy in that space high,” Bergant Harrod says.

Thanks to the changes Bergant Harrod made according to feng shui principles, the homeowner feels much more comfortable in their space, surrounded by good energy and things they love. Rearranging the furniture to transform the focal point of the space, and using a board and batten wall alongside a darker and dramatic paint, brought what felt like a two-story cavern down to scale. Now, the owner actually feels at home, instead of stuck in a space that had potential but felt a little off.