See How a Home Stager Turned a Neglected ‘80s Property into a Comfy, Modern Oasis

published Mar 20, 2023
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Empty home without flooring before renovation
Credit: Acre Seattle

When a buyer snapped up a neglected four-bedroom, three-bathroom split-level home in Washington state at an incredible price through a foreclosure auction, it seemed like a straightforward property flip. Though the home was filled with the previous owners’ discarded furniture and belongings and a broken toilet, its location in Bonney Lake, a desirable suburban community about 15 miles from Tacoma and 40 miles from Seattle, was a huge plus. The new owner cleared out the clutter and attempted to sell the house but had no luck.

With no takers, the owner decided to renovate and stage the home. Time is money with any flip, so with the number of days on market ticking higher and higher, the owner called in the team at Upstaging Seattle. The experienced stagers were up for the challenge of transforming the home quickly and on a tight budget. 

The home was built in 1980 — the same year CNN began broadcasting and Post-It Notes were introduced, if you need a frame of reference — so to say it needed some freshening up is an understatement. “The house hadn’t been updated since it was first built, and there were many opportunities for improvement,” says Flavia Vigorito, co-owner of Upstaging Seattle.

Vigorito and her team launched a whole-house refresh to create rooms that felt spacious and inviting but were still essentially a blank canvas that buyers could style their own way.

Credit: Acre Seattle

“In the main living spaces, we began by painting the walls a bright white which gave the rooms a crisp and fresh look. To further enhance the sense of openness, we opted for consistent flooring throughout the living, dining, and kitchen areas,” says Vigorito. With a solid foundation of white walls and luxury vinyl plank flooring throughout, the team began adding furniture and decor to help potential buyers envision themselves curling up on the couch across from the wood-burning stove or gathering at the dining table overlooking the outdoors. 

“Neutral-toned furniture was chosen to appeal to a broad audience, while the use of various textures on the couch, rug, and pillows added interest,” says Vigorito. An indoor tree positioned in the corner added some life to the space and artwork and baskets on the walls provided a pop of color without being overpowering or too taste-specific. “With small updates and appropriately-scaled furniture, we were able to create a sense of spaciousness without adding square footage,” Vigorito explains. 

In the kitchen, a full reno was not in the budget so they called on white paint once again, this time to give new life to the dated cabinetry. In the dining area, a dark, round table played off the tones of the wood-burning stove in the living room and improved the flow in the open concept space.

After six weeks of work, the refreshed home was back on the market — with lots of interest this time. The formerly stale listing received multiple offers and sold within 24 hours. The seller accepted a bid that was $26,000 over asking. With this ’80s beauty back in action, can the return of leg warmers and big hair be far behind?