See How a Home Stager Transformed a Dining Area Without Painting or Renovating

published Sep 13, 2022
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Credit: Love Ding

Light, airy, and with bohemian touches, this Austin, Texas, dining area looks like a space where you could enjoy a cup of coffee while you fill out the day’s to-do list or tackle some journal entries. It has fresh, modern, and open vibes that appear perfect for entertaining, too — you can picture that first dinner party with a chilled white wine and passed family-style dishes.

And that’s exactly the vision Denise Roberts of Love Ding hoped to create when staging this small space. A home stager, stylist, and designer who started as the owner of a curated brick-and-mortar home goods shop in South Austin, Roberts’ goal in each project is to design a neutral yet delightful space that a potential homeowner can see themselves living in. Without making major changes, she highlights the home’s best qualities — in this case, tall ceilings, built-ins, and tons of storage — while distracting from the not-so-perfect elements, which, in this dining area, was a lack of square footage.

This 1,200-square-foot, 1970s home had good bones, as they say, including dramatic vaulted ceilings that add height to the late mid century ranch. But the furniture wasn’t appropriately scaled for the space and, as is often the case, there was too much stuff. A large rectangular table took up most of the dining area and the dark colored wood, as well as the abundance of frames, art, and objects, made the space feel comfortable and lived in, but prevented a buyer from seeing the potential.

“In my mind, [the potential buyers] were a young couple, so I chose furniture with a young and hip vibe,” Roberts explains. “I can get a good idea of who the current owner is and how they use the space, which is helpful in dreaming about who the next owners could be!”

This young, hip couple would probably spend a lot of time cooking, eating, and spending time in this light-filled dining area immediately off the kitchen. Roberts had to figure out how to convey that to buyers, and she needed to do that without paint, trim, or changes that would require renovations. Everything had to be accomplished with furniture, decor, and art. 

Credit: Love Ding

First up was tackling the oversized table. Roberts swapped in a minimalist white pedestal table with an oval footprint. It sits the same number of people as the previous table, yet the room looks like it’s gained serious square footage. “The table having rounded edges helps the space feel larger by keeping your eye moving around the space,” Roberts says. 

The choice of white for the table and light wood caned chairs was purposeful. Roberts used light-colored furniture and decor to brighten up the area against the dark flooring, which was previously overpowering. Now, it provides a stylish contrast to the light table and chairs. The cane chairs are also a nod to that young, hip buyer persona.

As a finishing touch, Roberts honed in on the built-ins. She re-styled them with sculptural items, pottery, objets d’art, and a few potted plants. Styling is all about restraint, and Roberts explains, “I use the negative space in the built-in styling to create balance and keep the space feeling open. When you have too much decor it makes the walls feel heavy, almost creating a cave-like feel.”

So did the staging resonate with buyers? The home was listed at $575,000, and went under contract in just 11 days.