See How a Stager Used Paint to Transform a Dark, Dated Living Room (Instantly!)

published Feb 8, 2024
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Messy living room before renovation.
Credit: Mike Park

Tired white walls, wall-to-wall carpeting, and a popcorn ceiling made it hard to focus on the large windows and corner fireplace in a townhome located in the Mar Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles. This two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom townhome clocks in at just 1,343 square feet, however the open concept living and dining area could make it seem like a more spacious retreat — as long as the dated and dreary interior didn’t actively work against itself.

When Eugene Ridenour of The Local Real Estate Group listed the home, he first tackled the necessary cosmetic updates to breathe new life into the living area, including adding new flooring, fresh paint, and light fixtures, and waving goodbye to the popcorn ceiling. Immediately the space seemed to double in size, taking on a bright and spacious new look. But the real changes happened when Ridenour brought in Meg Pearson, owner of Boheme Home Staging, to give the home personality and a story that would resonate with buyers.

Credit: Mike Park

The previous furniture arrangement had a sofa, lounge chair, and coffee table in the center of the room, which actually worked in terms of flow, but the heaviness of the pieces drew the eye away from the windows and the fireplace. Pearson brought in pieces that felt lighter, more organic, and more open. 

“Light and bright is still the steadfast rule for getting a house ready to sell. We want potential buyers to feel weightless in the space, like they can move through the space,” explains Pearson.

This included outfitting the living area of the room with a sink-into-it white sectional, black woven chairs, and a metal coffee table. End tables in natural materials helped tell the story of the space, helping buyers envision exactly where they’d kick back with a cup of coffee and a book. Pearson felt this arrangement staged the space for optimal flow. “We wanted to show that a large sofa would fit easily in the space and we oriented it against the far wall to open up the space.”

Adding plants, rustic textures, and wall hangings bring life to the space, while dramatic, bohemian-inspired wall art above the fireplace finally lets the awkward corner placement get its moment in the spotlight. All of the light colors draw the eye towards the large windows and also let details like the ironwork on the stairway stand out.

Credit: Mike Park

Finally, Pearson turned towards the dining and bar area, which was a previously forgotten spot. “We wanted to show a designated space for dining, and a pendant light completed the look.” Pearson also removed the doors that were hiding the bar area, giving it a retro feel that’s perfect for entertaining. Buyers could envision pouring their guests a drink and guiding them over to the inviting and open living area.

Credit: Mike Park

With its smaller footprint, open layout, and a price that felt incredibly competitive for the area, Pearson had a first-time homebuyer in mind as her target persona. But, thanks to the pre-listing updates and the light and airy staging, the now-charming home went for $259,000 over asking.

But besides all the stylish staging, Pearson has one key trick for perfect listing photos: “A good professional clean, including the windows, is essential, and remove all window screens for photos.”

Credit: Mike Park