See How a Home Stager Gave an Industrial NYC Apartment a Softer Touch

published Feb 15, 2023
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Messy living room before home staging
Credit: David Salvatore of EDGE MCM

Industrial, loft-inspired spaces have major design appeal, but they aren’t always known for feeling homey. The tall ceilings and open spaces can be difficult to envision as functional living spaces and, for that reason, Richard Fostek of Edge Mid Century Staging and Designs knew he had a challenge on his hands when he took on a two-bedroom East Chelsea apartment as a staging project.

“Our aesthetic design goal was to soften some of the visually blunt industrial edges and show the function and flow of this spacious, but not massive, loft-like space,” Fostek explains. 

When Fostek was brought in, the living space was minimally decorated, with its function as a playroom being top priority for the way the family lived. There were two striking blue chairs and a cozy sectional, but the space had room to improve. 

Credit: H5

Fostek envisioned a comfortable, lounge-inspired space that would contrast with the scale of the apartment and the show-stopping windows. “The furniture arrangement, art, accessories, and scale we chose were deliberately kept in a low-profile to give buyers a clear sight line to the abundance of large, tall windows,” he says. This way, the proportions wouldn’t disrupt the way someone’s eye would move throughout the room, and made the living space feel more relaxed and open.

A central feature in this lounge look is the sofa, which looks like one you could sink into and never want to get back up. Fostek explains what inspired that furniture choice: “We’ve been playing with modular sofas. They work in both modern and pre-war buildings, and the subtle contours in each seat give it a tailored and very luxurious look.” Choosing a heathered, textured fabric added warmth to the industrial space, as did layering monochromatic textiles and fabrics.

Credit: David Salvatore of EDGE MCM

In the bedroom, Fostek completely turned the furniture arrangement around to make it a more welcoming and functional space — and instantly increased the visual square footage. Previously, too much furniture, a bed pushed against the windows, and multiple small rugs made the space feel disjointed and less than relaxing. Fostek moved the bed away from the window, added a small yet functional bench and chair, and added a large area rug to ground the space. The bed and the front legs of the chair all touch the rug — a trick that makes the room feel cohesive, cozy, and calm.

Credit: H5

You might be wondering what happened to all the stuff — the toys, the games, and other bric-a-brac? “Clutter is the Kryptonite of any effective home staging presentation,” Fostek says. But you can strike a balance, especially in a space like this. There’s a line between lived-in enough, so the buyer can imagine moving their stuff in, too cluttered, thus overwhelming the buyer with someone else’s stuff. “We are constantly riding both the gas and the brake when installing a home staging project,” says Fostek.

In the end, Christine Collins with the Kyle Blackmon team at Compass who represented this listing, says that the sellers actually decided not to sell. “The sellers decided to rent the listing instead of selling because of the strong rental market, and, because of the staging, we were able to rent it quickly.