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Think Ikea When Staging A Home For Sale In Today’s Youthful Market

Staging a home for sale in today’s resale-home market involves a shift to linear and modern furniture styles.

“Antiques, traditional art, Oriental rugs, heavy draperies, cherry and mahogany furnishings, four-poster beds and grand pianos are out of style in today’s market,” said veteran broker Sara E. Benson, president of Chicago-based Benson Stanley Realty.

“Homes that are selling fast in Chicago’s spring market are professionally staged and designed in a modern, urban-chic style,” observed Benson, who recently hired Signature Staging to redo the interior of a client’s home.

“Visualization for a buyer is key, so we recommend you stage as many rooms as your budget allows to properly tell the story of the home to someone seeing it for the first time,” said David Cieslak, owner of Chicago-based Signature Staging, The company has completed $65-million in staged-to-sold real estate. In 2018, the average market time was 22 days.

Think urban “Ikea” furniture—clean linear styles—with a goal to minimize domestic clutter. The style appeals greatly to the under 30-year-old Millennial home buyer.

For Benson Stanley’s listing of a $720,000 4-bedroom, 3.5-bath, 4,000-square-foot home in the North Park neighborhood on the North Side, the staging goals were to create a “wow-factor” for potential buyers.

For starters in the living room, Signature Staging recommended removal of antique Oriental rugs, a grand piano, existing artwork, draperies, and all outdated furniture. In the family room, the designers suggested removing all existing furnishings. Only holdovers were two recently purchased love seats, accent tables, modern lamps, contemporary artwork, and some fuzzy throw pillows that look like poodle fur.

Highlights in the newly furnished urban living room, family room, media room, and master bedroom include:

• Neutral beige and gray leather or fabric couches and love seats floating on legs.

• Seating areas are clustered around a fireplace, and flanked by metal or glass-topped end tables and coffee tables with geometric brushed-nickel lamps.

• Abstract-patterned area rugs and bare hardwood floors are in, along with large framed Euro-posters and urban-themed abstract art.

• The stylish master bedroom features modern lacquered white wood night tables with white porcelain lamps. An upholstered chaise sits at the foot of the bed. The room is also appointed with a white dresser and pair of black club chairs.

Staging fees, which vary widely depending on the number of rooms staged and designed, include rental furniture move-in and move-out, 90 days of inventory rental, and design-team planning, consulting and styling.

After the home was professionally staged, Benson called digital photographer and artist Andrew Miller of (800-790-8687) to shoot more than 40 photos. Along with photography, the company does virtual staging, drone videos and photos, video home tours and architectural floor plans.

Final touches.

Since the North Park home was originally listed in late 2019, Benson brought back professional painters for final touch ups. She also asked granite expert Mario Lemoncello of Lemoncello Stone Restoration, a Bensenville-based company that specializes in granite and stone restoration, to repair a couple of kitchen granite chips and beautifully polish the travertine marble in the en-suite master bathroom. Call: 630-669-5711. Or visit:

For more housing news, visit Don DeBat is co-author of “Escaping Condo Jail,” the ultimate survival guide for condominium living. Visit

“The book is Escaping Condo Jail by Sara Benson and Don DeBat. I would say that anybody thinking about buying a condo, or even anybody serving on a condo board, or anybody who has any connection to a condo, this is must reading—all 600 and something pages. Thanks a lot for a great book!”


Steve Sanders, “Your Money Matters” WGN TV, December 22, 2014

By Don DeBat

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