See How a Home Stager Transformed a Cluttered Bedroom into a Cozy Sanctuary
This three-story townhouse in Toronto’s High Park-Swansea neighborhood had a lot going for it: an amazing location, great bones, and a good amount of living space. The only problem? It was hard to see those assets behind the clutter of the current homeowners. (Hey, they had two young kids at the time — clutter happens!)
Many of the rooms in the three-bedroom, three-bathroom home weren’t arranged in a functional way, either, and some of the furniture was pretty dark. Add in some dated light fixtures and the resulting look was drab and unappealing.
Elena Gouchtchina, design principal of The Staging Expert in Toronto, could see past those cons to the potential of the 1,900-square-foot home. Her goal? To help buyers see that potential, too, through strategic staging.
“It would be hard for a buyer to see the house in its original state and imagine themselves living in it,” she says. “I suggested to declutter the entire house and keep only things that the family would need to live for the time of the house sale.” She guided the homeowners in choosing which pieces to put in storage and opted for modern light fixtures that provided much-needed illumination and a chic touch.
These changes are most evident in the primary bedroom, which is a generous size for this type of property, Gouchtchina says, and thus was also being used as a home office. In its original state, the space — which includes a walk-in closet, a spacious en-suite bathroom, and an exit to the balcony — looked dated and didn’t flow well.
“When I saw it for the first time, I knew this space had so much potential, and I was excited to bring it to life,” she says. “Our main goal was to create a cozy, comfortable, and modern space that feels airy, welcoming, and relaxing.”
When choosing the color scheme, Gouchtchina opted for neutral hues to appeal to most buyers and brighten the space. In addition, she added some blues, blush pinks, and light greens for soft color and to complement the warm wooden tones of the floors and furniture.
After decluttering the room, her thoughts immediately went to furniture placement. “I wanted to achieve a more functional layout and create an easy flow through the room,” she says. “I wanted to make different zones to maximize its potential.”
To add storage space to the office area, she relocated a shelving unit from the entrance of the room, which was obstructing the view of the space from the doorway, to a spot next to the desk. The second desk was removed, and a chair from the living room was added, creating a functional and aesthetically pleasing workspace in one corner of the room, right in front of a large window.
Although the bed and bedside tables were a bit traditional, Gouchtchina kept them in the room and worked around them. “My rule of thumb when dealing with traditional furniture is to dress it up with modern accents and textures,” she says.
That included replacing the dark red Persian rug with a textural, cream-colored rug, which immediately brightened the room while contrasting nicely with the dark wood floors. As for the bed itself, she dressed it in layers of linens with soft textures and subdued colors, creating “an oasis of relaxation after a busy day,” she says.
Meanwhile, the old artwork over the bed was replaced with a minimal print that Gouchtchina hung off-center for a modern touch. Minimal matte-black bedside lamps, which match a nearby floor lamp and the desk lamp, provide illumination and a Scandinavian look.
Another zone she wanted to create in the room was a cozy nook for reading or watching the wall-mounted TV. So, a seldom-used brown armchair was removed to make way for a blue velvet chair from another room. Gouchtchina topped it with a soft-textured throw and a round velvet pillow that echoes the shape of the window behind it.
Finally, a bench under the TV, an acoustic guitar by the shelf, and a full-height mirror placed by the doorway “suggest additional ways of using this space,” she says.
So, did Gouchtchina’s staging help buyers see her vision of the home’s potential? The proof is in the purchase: It was on the market for a mere four days before it sold for about $100,000 over asking price.