See How a Stager Toned Down a Statement Wall in This Utah Living Room

published May 2, 2022
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Credit: Courtesy of Sway Staging + Design, USA

Sometimes, creating a feature wall can work wonders to add visual interest and establish a focal point in a space. But if you weren’t the one who designed the wall in the first place (and need to work around it), things can get tricky.

Maria Pappas and Kamilla Romankowski — home stagers and cofounders of Sway Staging + Design, USA in Salt Lake City, Utah — accomplished this feat masterfully in a four-bed, three-bath home in nearby Murray.

The 2,670-square-foot home was a great blank slate for staging since it had been recently remodeled with an updated layout and new finishes. “Our overarching goal for this staging design was to create an emotional connection with potential buyers and define each space,” she says. They did so by complementing the existing features, highlighting the generous square footage, and adding warmth and texture. 

“We want a potential buyer to walk through the home envisioning themselves living in it rather than being distracted by thoughts of uncertainty, wondering what they would do with each space and how they would furnish it.”

One space that needed direction was the living room with the aforementioned feature wall. It was an important spot for Pappas to get right since it flowed into the kitchen and dining area, essentially serving as the heart of the home. 

The wall itself is, indeed, striking, with charcoal gray paneling and a cross-hatch pattern. The only problem was that it competed with the tiled fireplace to be the focal point of the room. A tall window in the feature wall, near the corner, as well as a large picture window on the opposite wall allowed for plenty of light but made furniture placement tricky.

Given these issues, and the fact that the space was also quite long and narrow, Pappas knew that potential buyers would have trouble picturing how their furniture would fit in the room. Defining an appealing yet practical layout that allowed for various activities was crucial.

Credit: Courtesy of Sway Staging + Design, USA

After designating the ornate fireplace as the focal point, she played down the feature wall by placing a cream-colored sofa along it, next to the tall window. The light color balances the dark gray and adds a sense of openness, and the placement leads the eye to the fireplace. On the opposite wall, a matching sofa adds symmetry and fits perfectly against the large picture window.

Pappas tapped their inventory of throw pillows and blankets to add “texture, color, and comfort,” she says. These accessories make an impact but are subtle enough that they don’t detract from the room’s highlights. 

A smoked-glass coffee table and side table coordinate with the gray statement wall, while a pair of nesting wooden side tables nod to the new wood flooring. That beautiful flooring is also the reason she decided not to use an area rug. Pappas wanted to let it shine.

The fireplace is flanked by two black, glass-front shelving units, while a curved mirror above the mantel lends a vintage vibe. Flush-mount ceiling lights and a pair of wall sconces provide illumination, however, the former disappears into its surroundings while the latter adds a touch of industrial chic.

Credit: Courtesy of Sway Staging + Design, USA

Finally, to add further life and color to the room, several plants are placed throughout, including a faux fiddle-leaf fig in a wicker basket that helps define the space with its height.

Now, Pappas thinks the living room speaks for itself. “The furniture layout offers options to relax by the fire, enjoy the views out the large picture windows, watch TV, entertain multiple guests, or just lounge on the sofa with your family,” she says.

The home was a finalist for Best Home Staging Transformation Project in the 2021 International Staging Awards, so it’s no surprise that it sold for over asking price in less than a month.