See How a Home Stager Transformed a Kid’s Room


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Anyone who’s sold a home can attest to how stressful it is to get your place ready to be photographed and seen by a parade of potential buyers while you’re still living there. Add children and pets into the mix and getting — and keeping — spaces viewing-ready gets that much harder. 

Fortunately, the family living in this three bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom house in Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey had the help of Jodi Kelly, owner and lead designer at Kelly Home Designs Staging & Interiors in nearby Ridgewood. “Occupied staging is my specialty,” Kelly says. “I enjoy the challenge of working with homeowners who remain living in the house while it is on the market.” 

Striking a balance between keeping the space liveable for the homeowner and making it appeal to buyers trying to envision themselves there can be tricky. “The home was in a state of transition when I was brought in. A lot of furnishings and decor had been removed from the home already,” Kelly says. “When staging an owner-occupied home, it’s not about perfection, it’s about making it look its best within the timeline and budget.”

In this child’s bedroom, Kelly had two goals: Depersonalize it so buyers could imagine their own stuff there, and tweak the furniture layout to accentuate the expansive space. Just getting the clothing and belongings packed up and out of sight went a long way in enabling buyers to appreciate the large size of the room. The decluttered built-ins became a selling point for all the storage they provided, not to mention pretty details such as the arched design on the doors. 

Next, Kelly tackled the layout. Though there wasn’t a lot of furniture still in the room, what existed was not making the most of the space. “This room lacked balance and felt very heavy on one side,” says Kelly. “The bed was also too big for the space between the windows. Moving it to a large blank wall not only opened up the room and balanced it out, it also provided a wonderful view of the yard from the bed.” With the bed relocated to the larger wall, the desk fit perfectly between the windows.

The bed was the obvious focal point in the room, so Kelly pulled out her best moves for making it look clean, cozy, and camera-ready. Her number one tip: Incorporate some white bedding. “The camera loves white bedding,” she says. “It makes every bed look fantastic.” She added a white coverlet, stacked multiple fluffy pillows  (no “flat, sad pillows” here) and folded the patterned comforter at the bottom for a plush look. She always makes sure the bedding is free of wrinkles.

Kelly often recommends switching to a neutral wall color — Sherwin Williams’ Canvas Tan and Agreeable Gray are two of her fave go-tos — but in this case, the short staging deadline meant she needed to embrace the existing pink wall color. She removed the large area rug which was the wrong shade of pink for the wall color (and was covering up much of the beautiful dark hardwood floor) but kept the homeowner’s bedding and selected artwork. “The pink wall color works because it is repeated in the bedding, art, and decor which creates a cohesive feel,” she says.

With just six days from the staging consultation until the home had to be ready to be photographed, time was tight but Kelly managed to showcase the home’s full potential. And within a week after listing, the home was under contract for $46,000 over the asking price.


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