Staging Secrets

An expert stager shares insider knowledge on how to love where you live.

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Todd McAllister (above) knows how to make people love a room. The founder and manager of OnStage Inc., a company based in Portland with outposts in Seattle and San Francisco, heads up a team that stages as many as 140 houses a week during the high real estate sales seasons of June and July.


1. Create an entry when you do not have one.

Many new homes today have a great-room concept where you walk right into a space. If you don’t have a traditional entry, create one with the placement of a sofa or a pair of size-appropriate accent chairs. Above, OnStage placed the sofa across from the focal point, which is the fireplace — also creating the feeling of an entry.

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2. Incorporate modern furnishings in a traditional home.

Homeowners who own this type of home often think that they need to fill it with period furnishings. “When you add period furnishings with a period home, in essence, you are adding more of the same,” McAllister says. By adding contemporary furnishings, you are bringing new life into the space. 


3. Select the correct size area rug.

A right-size area rug helps anchor a space and keeps the furniture on it feeling cohesive. Floating the furnishings in a room helps create flow and will make the room feel larger than it is because your eye can travel around the entire piece of furniture.


4. Mix finishes.

A pleasing combination of woods, metals and fabrics create an interesting, balanced interior.


5. Use small-scale furnishings.

For people living in small bungalows where space is at a premium, choose smaller furniture. In the room above, the 8×10 rug and the small-scale furnishings help make the room feel larger than it actually is but still keep it functional.