See How a Stager Gave a Cluttered Dining Room a Downright Serene New Look

published Sep 4, 2023
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Cluttered white dining room before home staging

This charming 1949 house in Lake Balboa, California, had major potential when it hit the market. Listed by Christine Regan and Meghan Nyback with Equity Union, the home’s bones were solid, but there was more furniture than necessary crowding the space. It needed to be brightened up with home staging to appeal to a modern buyer.

The multi-purpose dining room may have worked for the previous residents, but it was doing too much to give buyers a clear picture of the space. A hutch, storage, a desk, dining table, and some side tables all had their own zones within the large room. But for someone trying to envision their future holidays being celebrated there, it was a distraction.

Luckily, Julien Bortz of Los Angeles-based Mid Modern Designs was brought in to give the space a minimalist refresh. Working off a renovation that included white paint and new flooring, the home was given a light, airy new look. “With high vaulted wood-beamed ceilings in the dining room, the space feels extra roomy, and we recommended to the client to whiten the wood grain up a bit so the natural light coming through the windows would really brighten the place,” Bortz says.

Another goal was to toss out the clutter and embrace serenity and spaciousness. “The furniture and decor are carefully curated to showcase the architecture without overwhelming the space,” he explains.

Bortz started with a smaller dining table, which is a strategic trick to create the illusion of more space in a staged home. “Typically in the more mid-century modern designs, functionality and minimalism go hand in hand. Opting for a smaller table opens up the room, making it feel more spacious,” he says. 

Here, it struck a careful balance between showing the room’s ability to comfortably accommodate furniture, while also creating a visually uncluttered, peaceful arrangement. The simple four-person dining table and open shelving sideboard is all that’s needed in this calming space.

That simplicity and minimalism is carried into the room’s window treatments, or lack thereof. “The decision to forego drapery aligns with the mid-century modern principle of embracing natural light,” Bortz explains. “This style often favors large windows and an open, airy feel.” It creates a connection with the outdoors and allows the maximum light to filter in through the wide window. The look also doesn’t create unnecessary clutter and layering in a space that’s all about clean lines.

When tackling light fixtures in a room that has such a striking ceiling, Bortz had to carefully select a fixture that would complement rather than detract from the architecture. “It’s important to hang lights at appropriate height, drawing the eye upward and accentuating the verticality of the space,” Bortz says. The simple black lantern light doesn’t compete with the space the way the chandelier did previously. Instead, it adds to the height.

This newly serene home went under contract in under two weeks for 10 percent over the asking price, which Bortz adds for context was $639 per square foot — much higher than the zip code median of $495 per square foot, according to Redfin.