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Softened space plays up formal view

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Home Staging of a home in Minneapolis, MN

The formal dining room in this suburban farmhouse boasted a great view of a secluded wooded lot and plenty of sunshine. But the bright green walls, mismatched furnishings and drab, dated window blinds grabbed more attention than the view. "Those walls over-powered everything," said Lori Matzke of Centerstagehome.com. "We wanted to soften the overall appeal of the space, so the view was the first thing you noticed and the last thing you remembered."

Matzke cleaned up the clutter and placed it in storage. The recycling bin in the foreground and the cat bowl went to the garage, and half of the contents of the corner cabinet were removed.

A small writing desk and corner shelf were moved to the kitchen area. The rocker, display table and lamp were moved to the living room. Other items were placed in storage.

Since the home is secluded, allowing in as much natural light as possible was more important than privacy, so the dated window blinds were removed.

The walls were repainted in a pale shade of warm cocoa in an eggshell finish.

The flat worn carpeting was replaced with carpeting in a creamy shade of speckled ivory with a soft looped texture.

To keep the dated upholstery on the chairs from commanding too much attention, Matzke reupholstered them with two yards of chocolate brown canvas fabric purchased for less than $10. The pattern is strong enough to add an interesting contrast to the space, but neutral enough that it won't draw too much attention away from the room's features.

Arranging the dining table at an angle creates a sense of depth by letting prospective buyers look into a bare corner, allowing for a more open and spacious feel.

An oversized mirror opposite the windows reflects more light into the room and offers more view of the yard.

A basket of fresh green pears in a wicker basket, along with silk vines and a taller marbled vase on the table, add color and help draw attention to the view.

A tall plant stand with potted silk greens balances out the built-in corner cabinet. Putting those greens at mid-level in the room creates the illusion of taller ceiling heights by drawing the buyer's eye to the middle of the wall.

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