The project: A loft in Minnetonka
What worked: Bonus space overlooking lower level with an extra closet and neutral walls and carpet.
What didn't: Poor traffic flow between loft and main level, awkward furniture arrangement and too much undefined space.
While the current owner was using a crammed corner of this loft as a home office, the rest of the room had been set up as a seating area using excess furnishings from the rest of the house. Because this house already has a formal living room and a lower-level family room, another seating area really wasn't necessary, said Lori Matzke of Centerstagehome.com. "The space felt undefined," she said. "Was this a family room or a home office?"
Matzke said that you always want to give buyers a clear definition of how a room can be used, so here's what she did to achieve that:
She removed the cane chairs, matching sofa and large glass coffee table. Because the plan was to give away the complete set of furniture in the lower-level family room once the house sold, Matzke prompted the owner to get rid of it sooner. After the lower-level furnishings were removed, those in the loft took their place.
The computer desk, which was dated and in tough condition, also wasn't going to make the move. Matzke bought a white enamel desk and bookcase for less than $200 that will be used in the owner's new home.
"It's a little inconvenient to replace things before you move, but if you're already planning to invest in something new, and what you have now makes for an unappealing presentation, it's worth the extra effort," she said.
Matzke pared down the computer components, including several unused printers (not shown), to make the room feel lighter and less utilitarian. She used a power strip and secured cords to the desk with clear packing tape to make the room tidier.
The new bookcase and desk were arranged to greet potential buyers as they enter the space, because you never want the back of your furnishings to face the doorway. Some of the shelves are bare to create a sense of spaciousness.
To give the room purpose and add much-needed color and texture, Matzke bought a secondhand office chair for $3. She painted the woodwork with white enamel to match the desk and bookcase and reupholstered the cushions with a piece of $9 quilted striped fabric that coordinates with the lower-level colors. A small antique side table adds contrast.
Mixing modern and vintage accessories, including decorative shelves and a cut-glass mirror, with the contemporary furnishings blends with the more traditional decor on the main level. Asian artwork, a ceramic table lamp and bright greenery draw your eye into the space and around the room. Fresh flowers on the desk are a friendly final touch.