See How a Stager Used Paint to Transform a 1950s Living Room (Instantly!)
No matter how many room makeovers and professionally staged spaces we see — and we’ve seen a lot — we never fail to be impressed by the power of a simple coat of paint to breathe new life into a home. “Paint is the most transformative tool,” agrees professional home stager Daniel Coffman of Staged Spaces in Monrovia, California. “I always say, ‘new paint … new house!’” And that was certainly the case with this three bedroom, two bathroom home that Coffman and his partner Jacen Crehan took from dingy and dated to fresh and welcoming.
Realtor Jack Harriman of John Hart Real Estate brought the project — a 1957 Southern California Rambler Ranch in Arcadia, California that he was selling for a family member — to Coffman and Crehan for their makeover expertise because the home was in need of a significant amount of help. “This place needed work! The owner had smoked in the house for over 20 years and had left the walls thick with smoke stains,” says Coffman. Adding to the challenge was the fact that the sellers had only a limited budget to improve the space. That’s where paint — the least expensive yet most impactful decorating tool — came in.
The living room, which Coffman envisioned as an updated hang-out space for relaxing at the end of the day, got a new, warm gray color scheme on the walls and fireplace. The walls were painted with Benjamin Moore’s “Coventry Gray”, while the trim was freshened up with Benjamin Moore’s “Chantilly Lace”, a classic white. The biggest paint transformation was the fireplace. “The fireplaces in these homes are quite large and always take up space in a dark, ominous way. And the contrast of the original red brick and the yellowish wall color was jarring!” says Coffman. “A smoother connection from wall color to fireplace — which was painted Benjamin Moore’s “Temptation” in a matte finish — left it looking like a connected piece of the room and a welcome focal point.” Completing the new color story, the floors were refinished with a darker stain. “Even after sanding, lighter was not an option with the amount of wear,” says Coffman.
With the painting finished, the staging team layered in furniture and decor to show potential buyers how the living room — the first space anyone visiting the house sees — could be arranged. “Since this house was built in the 1950s, we wanted to keep the furnishing mid-Mod inspired,” says Coffman. In addition, dated vertical blinds and too-short drapes were taken down and replaced with longer dark blue drapes that echo the color in a pair of chairs positioned opposite the sofa. The design relied on mostly solid fabrics with some pattern just on the sofa throw pillows. A neutral, textured rug added warmth and the space to the left of the fireplace became a stylish moment with a console, mirror, lamp, and vases.
The newly-refreshed home was ready for its next chapter, and sold within 30 days for more than its one million dollar asking price. Talk about an instant transformation!