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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Making my living room have buyers appeal??

lesliexweslieFebruary 18, 2013
Yikes, my living room hasn't changed in what like 10 years! I've never had a problem with it during that but now that we're trying to move, it's become quite a problem. We love our fireplace but the brass is so drab and yeuch. How can I update it/make it have way more buyers appeal than it does now without spending a lot of money? thanks so much.
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My two fastest and least expensive suggestions would be:

Spray paint the brass fire screen. Use black HEAT PROOF paint - it is a special paint marked for fireplace use.

Remove all personal, family items from your mantle including books, tapes, etc. Find the largest piece of art or mirror you have that will fit between the sconses and hang it there. Perhaps put a grouping of 3 tallish vases/candlesticks on the left side of the mantle.
7 Likes    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 11:10AM
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I agree with the above poster. I'd also remove that TV. I know everybody has one sitting out, but your eye goes straight to that big black rectangular hole in the room. And the fireplace is really a nice focal point in that room. You can't see it now, because of the clutter and the TV-- but one you remove all that, it would make such a big difference. Also, the TV squeezed in that corner makes it look like you have no room. Even though the photo looks like it's a nice big open space, it looks cramped, because the TV is jammed in there, even cutting off part of the fireplace. Just store that TV some place and eliminate the clutter.

Oh-- and I love the medium format (Rolleiflex??) up there on the mantel-- though you should probably put it someplace else, but love seeing that.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 11:29AM
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You might also remove the window valance. It cuts off light and makes the windows appear small.
4 Likes    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 11:34AM
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Many easy fixes for you, as stated above, also place your rug under the front legs of the couch. the room to the left in the pictures will need to mimick the living room. The red chair looks interesting!
    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 11:44AM
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I agree with spray painting the fire screen using black heat resistent paint. That is a good place to start.

Next, remove everything on the mantle (I mean Everything!) and hang the TV above the firplace. Then remove the TV stand.

Next purchase a large basket to sit on the left side of the hearth to hold the fire wood. Then remove the valances as they actually make the ceiling look lower.

The existing rug is a bit too small and the colors don't work well with the sofa's...so out it goes, too.

Turn the sofas so they face each other and run perpendicular to the firplace. See attached photos.

Painting the walls would make a huge difference in the space. Winds Breath by Benjamin Moore would breathe new life into the space and would work beautifully with the fireplace brick and the sofas. http://www.benjaminmoore.com/en-us/paint-color/windsbreath

winds breath

There are lots of ways to market a house and the best one is to make it a neutral territory. Remove every family photo, books, CD, etc. that reflects your taste. You want others to imagine their items in the space. Anyway...if you want to show the rest of the room or other rooms I know several of us would be glad to help you stage it. :-)
5 Likes    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 11:47AM
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Christine Curry
Re position the couch that's under the window to adjacent to it, to not have it SO big and open
    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 11:49AM
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Agree, agree, agree! Staging = removing yourself and your stuff from the equation, letting in all the light you can and having it simple and so clean (inside and out) that they believe they can eat off your floors or even your driveway! That means the FP too. Since you're moving anyway, box up what you're taking and get it into storage. What you don't want, deliver to Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. Your personal photos, items and nik-naks will blow a sale - get them out of site and minimize so the prospects can visualize their stuff in your space. Don't hang mirrors that can't reflect something beautiful or interesting. They can just double your trouble by doubling poor subject matter. Get a baking, cinnamon or chocolate scented oil and use a cotton ball to dab it on every light bulb before you turn them on for showings! Don't put on hot bulbs though! Best wishes for a quick sale!
1 Like    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 11:53AM
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Judy M
It is not that easy to hang a TV over a fireplace, unless you can address the issue of cable wires and plug for TV, plus DVD player etc.
But, i agree, lose the TV from that room. Where is the coffee table?

We only see one view of the room, but I agree about painting the fireplace screen, just use a piece of newspaper and tape off the glass part then spray with black heat resistant paint, cheap fix.

Too much clutter on FP and get a larger piece of art work over mante;. It's hard to tell the wall color on my computer monitor, might need to repaint.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 11:56AM
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I agree with all of the above, especially about the furniture placement (janishill has stated it perfectly and her choice of paint is perfect). I would also change out the sconces. Right now their style does nothing for the room. Good luck with "staging" your home. My husband and I will probably be going through this within the next year and like you, after twelve years here we are not looking forward to it. But I do see goodness in the part about getting rid of accumulated clutter, etc.
    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 12:02PM
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janishill: I literally just picked up a sample can of Winds Breath this morning. I just put it on my wall to see how I liked it. Surprising-- seems so off-white on the chart-- but really a mix of beige and grey, but light (not dirty looking). I really like it, too. It's a subtle complex color, but wouldn't compete with anything.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 12:02PM
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dianahb, it compliments every aspect of the above room; brick, furniture, and woodwork..
    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 12:18PM
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Brass insert should pull out for spray paint - and go back in or you can mask a lot of stuff and plastic the rest of the room to do it in place. Good suggestions for mantle - one big piece of art - can even purchase wrapped canvas print from local home goods / art.com / etc. Look for something with red in it to echo your brick and rug.

Rug would be better if couches faced each other next to / over fireplace because it would fit - it is too small floating out by itself. If you don't have a coffee table, consider buying two inexpensive wood stools from Pier 1 (with flat seats) and using them in a pair like dual use in front of fireplace.

TV and speaker are particularly troublesome where it is because it detracts from focal point of fireplace wall. If you are willing to rework your couches w/ loveseat having its back to dining / across each other closer to the fireplace, then move the tv to the other end of the room while you are selling. Eventually, the tv is to wide for the piece you have it on - need a wider media cabinet or old sideboard repainted to hold it. For the living room staging, go shopping in your own house.

If you can change out little cabinet under it with a wider chest of drawers from a bed/guest room, and put it at the other end of the room, you can shift the loveseat to the fireplace so you'll still have a path to dining at this end and the whole room will open up. Just pull the loveseat and sofa 8" off the side walls towards the fireplace so it feels like they are floating. You can use the current media piece like an end table at this end of the larger sofa which will help you have balance in front of window. Put the couch ends just 4" off the hearthwall - At this end of the room, add a pair of your own dining room chairs / maybe buy inexpensive parsons covers for them in off white with their backs angled to the camera man and the room will feel bigger / fuller.
    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 12:23PM
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janishill: Yes-- don't want to hijack the thread, but the Winds Breath is really so surprising. I got it for a bathroom that has a beige marble with deep blue/grey veins in it (wainscoting) and a pencil of smokey blue/grey glass running through it -- so I didn't really want blue or grey and didn't want anything competing with all those veins in the marble-- and this color works out so well. Again, surprising depth given the seemingly neutral off-white color.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 12:26PM
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Please DO NOT use spray paint in your house!!! Simply remove the fire screen and take it into a fully ventilated area! Outside would be best, but the garage will work. And please use appropriate precautions; wearing a respirator and safety glasses.
    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 1:41PM
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Danielle B
Brass is making a comeback, so I wouldn't paint the brass if It is in good shape. Instead, I would change the sconces for brass picture frame lights; reposition them higher and place artwork underneath. Find another spot for the TV, if necessary move it to another room. Your valance looks old-fashioned, I would remove it and put some nice wooden horizontal blinds that will match the wood frame. The mosaic in front of the fireplace could be replaced with some more current tiles. Find a coffee table or large ottoman to place in front of the couches I would definitely paint or stain the brick to match the walls.
    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 1:58PM
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Sorry for the off topic - but do you think this winds breath would look good in a contemporary kitchen with gloss white cabinets? The marble and stone backsplash sounds a bit like the bathroom tile described above - a mix of white/grey marble and tan and grey limestone. Also don't really want grey but not sure if I can go off white or taupe and still retain the modern look. Also don't want to look just like a dirty white grey which is what I have now and need to repaint. Thanks!
    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 1:59PM
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sam0705: Well, janishill probably knows more about it than I do, since I just discovered it only this morning. But I had the same issue. I didn't necessarily want grey, because I think grey is too hard to match and ever-changing, depending on the light. I knew I could never match what was in that marble and didn't necessarily want to, either. Off-white seemed blah, and taupes often seemed too dark.

But this color is very surprising. I put swatches on my walls above this marble-- and depending on where the light is coming from, it can look very light-- but in all cases, it was perfect. It looks like a beige to me, with grey in it-- but you can't really nail down the exact shade or tone-- which is what I wanted. It seems to go with the tans and the greys in the marble, without trying to be a perfect match. So hard to describe, but I didn't want something that was dirty looking, either. This seems to really fit the bill. Light enough to be uplifting, but not white or even off-white.

You should pick up a sample and just put it on the walls and live with it. My light changes so much that i have to do that. But I always feel there can be so much movement in those marbles, with the veining, that I didn't want anything competing, but I didn't want something blah, either. It's a terrific color.
    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 2:21PM
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sam0705... please start a new thread and include pictures of your room. That way Houzzers can better help you. :-)
    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 2:30PM
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Thank you - that sounds like what ive been thinking of - I will get a sample!

I have started a thread with a link to the backsplash but no comments. I'm not comfortable posting pics of my actual home.
    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 2:39PM
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Agree with the suggestions aboveā€¦painting the brass, removing the valance, etc.

If I were coming to your home, as a prospective buyer, what would attract me the most is your hardwood floors. But right now there is a lot of floor and sofas too far from the fireplace.

I would remove one sofa, the t v and stand, the speaker. Try turning the rug horizontally to the fireplace. Now a sofa toward the fireplace. Find two chairs at some place like Home Goods or Overstock and place them on either side of the fireplace.

A coffee table and a sofa table with two hurricane glass vases with candles and a tray atop. Paint the mantel creamy white, add a mirror and replace the sconces that are more modern. Sounds like a lot, but I think you could do a lot with $500.00.
Wire Capiz Sunburst Wall Mirror · More Info

1 Like    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 2:46PM
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I like the hardwoods, too-- really warm and beautiful. And I'm just guessing here, but I suspect the sofas are actually 'closer than they appear' to the fireplace. I'm thinking the lens is distorting the distance quite a lot, because I don't think anybody would put seating that far away from either the TV or the fireplace.

I'd also remove the valance type curtains on the window. Just don't put anything on the windows.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 3:12PM
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Sorry-- I meant to add one other thing here, and you may not want to do this, since you're moving. But I think painting that brick would modernize and uplift things quite a bit. Is that heresy?
1 Like    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 3:18PM
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About the brass fireplace..the rustoleum high heat paint also comes in a can. Just roll it on. I just painted mine. Would never spray paint in the house!
1 Like    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 3:20PM
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Mike Slater
It seems that painting the fireplace brick or brass insert, which makes sense if you are staying, makes a decision that a prospective buyer might want to make on their own.
    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 3:45PM
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dianahb, painting the brick works for me, too. Those bricks are not anything special and a lighter color would look great.

I first suggested painted the mantel white, but dianahb's suggestion to paint the bricks white, changed my mind. Maybe blackā€¦

Bright White Fireplace · More Info
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 3:50PM
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The Creative Man
Hi, Everyone is on the right track. Room needs to be updated. Large colorful picture above the mantel. Take the glass shades off of the scones and use some type of shade. Remove brass screen and purchase a more modern version from Target. Move both couches away from the wall into the room so one can walk around them. Remove TV or move it across the room. Remove the curtains and put up bamboo shades or roman shades. Paint all moldings and mantel that is natural would a color. A new color on the walls would be helpful as well. Add colorful throw pillows to the couch.
    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 3:52PM
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Remove ALL the clutter on the mantel. Picture with hits of color in between sconces.
Grouping of three on left side of mantel. Something longer and lower on right side of mantel.
Remove TV, stand and the floor speaker?
The rug isn't "great" either. If you're not putting a coffee table on the rug you might as well remove it all together.
Or, buy a larger rug in a solid color (pull a color from sofa, pillow or picture). Large enough that furniture sits on top of rug by about 6" and then put a coffee table on it.
A small chair with a throw or nice pillow on the left of fireplace. Will draw your eye away from the fireplace a bit.
Walls look almost white. You could paint out the wall above fireplace to a darker color so it blends in more as well.
Happy house selling!
    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 4:04PM
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Clare Michael Interiors
second the throw pillows............bright colors but what they don't make the sofas look dirty.
    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 4:09PM
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Thanks judyg. And that's a good photo to show what it could look like.

Also, I noticed that there is slate (?) or some sort of stone on the brick hearth. Is that right? When we first moved into our house, the fireplace had a beautiful wood surround, but the fireplace itself was fronted in this brick that wasn't attractive in any era. This living room wall with the fireplace backed on to a sunroom, which we were re-flooring with slate. We decided to cover that brick on the fireplace with the same honed slate we were using in the sunroom, so it all tied in-- and made such a huge difference in how the room and the fireplace looked. It was completely transformative. Again-- you might not want to do that since you're leaving, but the painting would be huge for that space.
    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 4:11PM
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Kevin Retired Decorator
All good comments, Your selling the house so remove the TV and speakers and all the stuff off the mantel. Replace the fixtures with black rod iron candle sticks or paint the ones you have and better yet just remove the fireplace screen all together would be best. The glass doors are very dated. Stage it with some birch logs or candles & black fireplace tools. Add a Large mirror between the wall lites with rod iron touches too. Bring in the red chair and place it where the speaker was to round out the conversation area. Remove the valances. Paint the curtain rod black. Add some some cream , tan & red stripe color curtains to each end of the window floor to ceiling. Matching pillows in the stripe on the sofa's that would match the rug. Bring the sofa out a bit so it's not touching the window. If you could also add a coffee table from a thrift store in rod iron too. It could be freshened up with black paint too. Add some new larger plants live or silk. You could add some pillow fill to the back sofa cushions to plump them up.The table between the sofa & L/S is to small you could always buy a cheap round table for there with a table cloth to the floor. Or swap one out in the house from another place. Clean ,organize & polish everything including the closets and garage. Turn on every light in the house for showings. Remove any thing that all people wouldn't might like personally. Like all knick knacks ,photos ,collections, old throws,place mats, religious things, even alcohol related things.,reading materials, etc. though out the entire home. Think about it as packing up for the move soon. I have done home staging and people can be turned off by so many kinds of personal items. Removing all of them will let them picture their own personal things & taste. A minimal amount of unscented white candles & fresh simple flowers or flowering plants are a good choice to replace what you have removed on large table tops & surfaces like the bathroom vanity and kitchen counter tops. This will sell your home ! Kevin
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 4:49PM
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Laura Stermer
You might want to get some slipcovers for the sofa in more neutral color, and then you can add a few red pops of color - like pillows that don't fight the brick, but compliment...

Robinson · More Info

the cheapest thing to do? find out what is also listed in your immediate area, and a little further out in your price range. check out the photos of your competition, maybe do a quick walk thru of a few comps during open houses to get a feel for what the sellers are doing as far as updates and staging for houses of your era, and location. :)

good luck!
    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 5:00PM
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studio | FORMA
The most inexpensive thing to do is to spray paint the brass black or a dark charcoal (best) color and paint the brick white. The light sconces could also use an update.

However since you are selling the house I would leave that up to the new home owner in case they like the brick but do change the wall sconces.

Another idea to show off the fireplace wall is to have a wall to wal picture rail where you can display leaning art.

Here are a few inspiration pictures:
1 Like    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 5:53PM
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studio | FORMA
A few more
    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 5:54PM
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Paint, paint, paint. INEXPENSIVE............glaze the fireplace bricks with an off white color. Paint the walls a neutral color, as stated above, heat resistant paint for the gold fireplace surround. If you can, remove personal items and add the sunburst mirror suggested above, modernize a little bit, the valance on the window and get a neutral area rug if possible......(you can take it with you too.) Your walll sconces are completely fine with the transitional style.The majority will be able to see their own belongings in a neutralized space that doesn't offend or favor any style.
    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 5:56PM
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Kevin Retired Decorator
I think you would be making a mistake by painting the brick to sell the house. Many new buyers are buying retro looking homes and red brick, stacked stone and flagstone are all making a come back. Especially if the exterior has red brick on it. Everything from the 50's , 60's & 70's are back in style Yes I would say paint it. If I owned the house , personally I would paint it all out even the trim in the room. Add crown moldings and new windows darken the floor color. Leave that to the future buyer as a option. Do look at homes in the area that are your comps that the realtor could show you to make that big of a decision that can't be reversed easily. Kevin
    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 6:23PM
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