See How a Home Stager Used Kids’ Artwork to Create a Colorful, Vibrant Bedroom

published Aug 1, 2023
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orange accent wall, pink carpet, alien poster banner, kids art on the walls, white dresser, knickknacks on dresser, play tent, twin bed against window, blue curtain, standing paper mache lamp
Credit: Terry Mainord

Home stager Terry Mainord of Terry Mainord Design isn’t put off by an occupied real estate listing. That’s exactly why Realtor Jessica Buchman brought her in to stage this stunning apartment in Brooklyn’s historic Park Slope neighborhood.

The homeowners were a couple with a young daughter, and the prospect of living in a staged listing with a child seemed intimidating. Living in a veritable showhome can feel like tiptoeing around a museum, totally devoid of any personality and ready for a potential buyer to walk through the front door at any moment. 

Mainord wanted to respect that feeling, even though she knew the sellers’ top priority was, of course, finding a buyer. “I know it’s difficult to live in a staged property, especially with children, so I try to be sensitive to that when I decide what changes to make,” Mainord says.

Throughout the apartment, Mainord incorporated and edited the sellers’ own furniture. She says she evaluates whether the furniture feels relevant stylistically and whether it will help make the rooms feel as large as possible — which is always the goal when staging. If it meets both of those criteria, then she can skip bringing in staging furniture. “Using their furniture helps keep the budget down,” she explains. “Plus the sellers feel good living with their own pieces rather than rental furniture.”

Part of retaining the sellers’ identity and connection to the home included keeping most of the paint colors; Mainord didn’t need to erase their personality. One of the colors that stayed was the vibrant orange accent wall in their daughter’s bedroom.

The bedroom reads as a rectangular exercise in color blocking, thanks to the orange wall and the hot pink rug. Because it was being lived in as a child’s room, it was also a lively space full of trinkets and treasures. But for the purposes of staging, Mainord had to strike the right balance between allowing the family’s personality to remain while living in the unit, yet also creating enough “white space” for a new family to envision themselves in the home.

Because of the long and narrow layout of the room, Mainord had limited furniture layout options. “I pretty much kept the layout like they had it, but I edited a lot out of the space,” she explains. The bed and dressers remained, while a whimsical tent had to be removed to create a better flow for buyers as they viewed the bedroom. All-white furniture helped draw attention to the bold color choices, while not letting them overwhelm the small space.

Credit: Allyson Lubow

Mainord echoed the hot pink and orange in her soft goods and textiles. She selected a colorful floral comforter and accented it with printed sheets. Then, she brightened the window up by choosing white drapery with vibrant pom-pom trim, which still allowed light to filter in. A pink accent pillow, unicorn plush toy, and floor pouf helped add more warmth and texture to the space.

Because a move can be hard for anyone, especially a child, Mainord made a special effort to help the daughter feel seen within the space. “I went to IKEA, bought the largest white frames, and framed the daughter’s art. The little girl was really happy to have her art remain on the wall — and it was ready to take with them to the new house when this one sold!”

Buchman reports the Brooklyn apartment went under contract in 23 days. And, for those looking to bring the idea of editing furniture into their own home, Mainord says, “Almost every home I go into is too cramped with furniture. It’s out of scale for the space or not well-placed in the room. I suggest people look objectively at their furniture and question whether it’s making a room look small. Pare down the decorative items you’ve placed on dressers and desks. Focus on the editing.”