Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

July 8, 2013

How to Stage a Living Room and Dining Room for Sale

Finally the fireplace is a focal point!   Remember how I struggled with it?  Once the DIY antiqued mirror with the Hungarian stenciled poem was hung, I thought I'd found the right piece.  The fireplace has a weird little brick bump out that I thought prevented anything larger from being hung there.  But when we listed the house, I asked our realtor (who is also a home stager) if she had anything more neutral for the fireplace.  I didn't want people distracted by the poem, trying to figure out what language it is and what the heck it means (it draws dinner guests to it like a moth to a flame, it's kind of comical).  She brought over this behemoth of a mirror that I am madly in love with:

How to stage a living room for sale
How to stage a living room for sale
How to stage a living room for sale

The bump out still poses a bit of a problem, but this mirror is so beefy it really disguises it.  I think I should have gone bigger with the poem mirror . . .

How to stage a living room for sale

Along with removing any Hungarianness, I also de-cluttered the living room a little.  The realtor never asked me to do this (although she did have a hate-on for the puffin candle holders), but I think it just looks cleaner now.

I think the key to staging a living room is to de-personalize, without removing too many of the accessories that make the space feel homey and comfortable.

Here's a list of what was edited:
  1. DIY felted wool billy buttons (end table)
  2. Pottery dish (end table)
  3. Hand-sewn crow pillow (from tweed chair)
  4. Houndstooth throw (from tweed chair)
  5. Puffin candle holders (realtor made me)
  6. Wood box for kindling
  7. Vintage side table/stool
  8. Hungarian poem mirror
  9. Ottoman (swapped for mint coffee table)

Long before we decided to list the house, I gave my Mom the vintage cat print I had carefully chosen a frame for (that replaced the chair watercolour in the first photo), because it just wasn't jiving with the rest of the space.  Sometimes things I love just won't work!  Because the empty wall looked weird, I hung my displaced tree painting there because I was too lazy to take it all the way down to the basement.  I wish I was kidding.  It's too low, but was never supposed to stay there.  I had a really cool art project planned that would take up the whole wall, but I just never had time to finish it.  Or start it.

Here's a peek at the photos the photographer took for the listing:

The dining room looks identical, but for the listing photos my beautiful Shane Norrie pottery bowls were swapped out for flowers and the realtor added a plant stand my Papa welded.  It's so weird to see the townhouse through the photographer's lens!  Turning every light on and using a wide angle lens really changes things.  I think maybe he uses a flash, too? 

The dining room as it normally is:

The dining room in the listing:

How to stage a dining room for sale

It seems like a small change, but swapping out some pottery with fresh flowers make the space seem more lively.

I plan on doing a full post on the ins and outs (and ups and downs) of selling the townhouse but I know some of you are itching to know what's been going on.  It was listed for sale on a Friday and the next Monday we had a showing which resulted in a strong offer two hours later!!!  Unfortunately, we couldn't settle on a closing date or price but I think the quick offer means the townhouse shows really well, because the potential buyer wanted it immediately.  I'm hopeful the right offer is around the corner, but we're lucky enough to be in a position that we're not desperate to sell, even though we take possession of the lake house soon.  We can wait for the right price.


  1. I hope you get a great offer soon! I can't wait to see the lake house :)

  2. Thanks!! I didn't realize how difficult it would be to actually think of another person/couple/family living here until we got the first offer. I freaked out a little. And it felt like it was happening too fast - but there's no such thing in real estate, lol. I think I'm more ready now to think about someone buying it! I hope we find the right buyer, that would make me so happy :)

  3. That mirror is gorgeous. While Mike and I were away last week, the inn we stayed in had a steam shower in our en suite and I thought of you and the spaceship shower at the lake house! You may end up liking it, T - yes it's a hard design to work around, but it's pretty cool. It was nice not to get hit by a cold breeze mid shower, and to step out to a mirror that wasn't all fogged up. Looked crazy easy to clean too, since its one seamless unit (instead of the Tile City we have happening at home).

    1. And she says she got it for $200! What a steal, right?

      Thinking of me in the shower, eh? LOL. You know, I'm not totally opposed to the spaceship, but ours is bisque and old and gross. I've been thinking a fresh, modern white version would be cool because our water does have some iron in it. Not a lot, but I'm worried grout could get stained in the future. Happy to hear the shower is lovely to shower in! I would be open to checking out contemporary versions of the seamless units. I think they can be pretty affordable (bonus!).

    2. That did come out abut naughty, didn't it?

      Yes, this one was new, and bright white - it was still spaceship-ish, but I could definitely see the benefits. We also have hard water and the calcium deposits are gross. I gave up on our shower the week we moved in, since only a sledgehammer will work at this point.

      $200? Seriously? Where was this when I splurged on a set of Ren-Wil mirrors last year? (That now sit in the corner of the junk room...oops).

    3. Are you thinking of a spaceship when you renovate?

      I know - $200!! It was in a shop in Montreal. She heard the price, paid and RAN in case it was a mistake. Blind luck, I think!

  4. wow that was fast to get those offers! don't worry, i'm sure the right one will come along at the right time.

  5. I like the subtle changes! That cocktail table rocks! good luck on the selling process!

    1. Thanks Tiffany! I am actually liking the living room paired back a little and think when I decorate the lakehouse, I am going for fewer, bolder accents, instead of lots of little bits here and there.


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