See How Home Staging Neutralized This Living Room in the Best Possible Way

published Feb 14, 2021
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Before: Living room with zebra rug and pops of orange

In the grand scheme of things, this home in Oakland, California, wasn’t in such bad shape when Janci Deetz, a San Francisco Bay Area designer and stager with Studio D, was tapped to professionally stage it.

The four-bed, three-and-a-half-bath house — which is perched on a hillside with incredible canyon views — needed a sense of cohesion among its disparate spaces. “The biggest obstacle was making the house feel warm and connected and bringing light into the side of the house,” Deetz says. “To do so, I united it with warm neutrals and a cohesive aesthetic and used mirrors to draw the light and view throughout the house.”

In the 3,833-square-foot home, the living room had modern feel, with neutral creams, grays, and blacks punctuated by pops of orange via throw blankets, an accent chair, and wall art. “The living room reflected the owner’s personal style, which can sometimes be hard for a prospective buyer to see beyond,” Deetz says.

The bold colors drew attention to themselves and away from the perks of the space itself, such as its ample windows, high ceilings, and stunning views. Deetz knew immediately that needed to change. “My staging goal is always to have the house and the surroundings be the star and have our staging be the complement,” she says. “Neutral colors help to keep your eye moving throughout the space and help it feel larger while also drawing your eye out towards the view.”

To achieve that, the animal-hide rug had to go. It contributed to the busyness of the room and made the space look smaller, especially with furniture hugging around it. Instead, Deetz chose a large neutral rug to ground the room and make it feel more spacious. The fireplace, previously featuring an earth-toned surround, was redone in pale neutral materials that further complement the new serene aesthetic.

A big priority was choosing the right furniture for the room and orienting the pieces to capitalize on the striking view. So, Deetz replaced the multicolored sofa and chairs with a sectional sofa with a chaise, a loveseat, and an animal-hide ottoman (in place of a traditional coffee table) — all in the same neutral hue. The goal was to “reinforce the spaciousness and create a relaxing space,” she says. Then, for a bit of whimsy, a hanging chair was installed in the corner to help round out the space, she says.

In terms of accents and accessories, the wall art and mirror originally in the room “were not an appropriate scale for the volume of the space in this room,” Deetz says. “I added two black-and-white graphic pieces above the mantle to add interest and nod to the windows’ architecture, which is the best feature of the room.” A large mirror was leaned against the wall to the right of the fireplace, adding further depth and bringing in light. A wall-mounted light above the mirror draws the eye upward.

Details make all the difference, so Deetz wanted to finish off the staging with an appropriate number of accents that wouldn’t overwhelm the room. “Pillows, a sheepskin rug, plants, and accessories add the final layer, bringing warmth and personality,” she says. 

The last finishing touch — like the cherry on top of a sundae — was a modern, arching, chrome floor lamp that reaches from behind the loveseat toward the center of the room. “It creates a bit of intimacy in an otherwise very open space,” Deetz notes.

Thanks to her work, the room looks larger, higher, brighter — and more much inviting for today’s savvy homebuyer.