How Staging Revived a Dated Listing

By Martin R. Delossantos

Skilled staging is essential in this unpredictable market with so much property for sale. A buyer needs to see and feel your property.

In my real estate and staging experience, I’ve discovered that it is always simpler to stage a unit when it’s bare, which allows the unit to become a clean canvas. When cleverly decorated, it can de-emphasize the lack of good space planning or it can highlight prime features in new or older construction.


Last year one of my clients tried to sell his condo. It was on the market for nearly a year.  First, he tried to sell it on his own. Next, he used a non-local REALTOR® that was not familiar with the building. He was beyond frustrated so he finally pulled the listing. A top-producing real estate agent stepped in and asked for the listing. The REALTOR® then brought me in to resolve the interior dilemma.

Problem areas: The condo was dated in style. It shrieked 1980’s with mirrored walls, grey marble floors, large wall vents, white Formica cabinets in the bathrooms, and old white appliances in the kitchen. A gaudy Lucite ceiling fan hung in the dining area with warm purple, puffy valences. In the living room was a wooden, sea captain spindled stair case rail with carpeted stairs leading to the bedrooms upstairs. The fireplace was back-splashed in cemetery green marble.

The best features: The home’s top assets were the living room’s floor-to-ceiling windows, and its balcony with panoramic views of New York City and marina views. The kitchen also had gorgeous custom cherry cabinetry.

What I did:

  • I removed the puffy valences to open the vista.
  • I had the place painted white to modernize walls and bring in the marina since the mirrored walls reflected the light.
  • The place was cleaned thoroughly.
  • I placed real plants inside and on the balcony.
  • I chose all modern furniture and artwork.
  • Splashes of color finished the look.

The result: The unit sold in four months.

Take a look at the slide show of images to see more of the transformation.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Martin R. Delossantos holds a real estate license in New Jersey and in 2001 founded a design company, Mdesign Studio LLC, in Hoboken, N.J., where he offers interior design for homes and commercial spaces, as well as staging for real estate. He worked for a decade as an art director for home design catalogs in New York City and holds a BFA in design from The School of Visual Arts. In 2005, he decorated the sets for an award-winning independent film, MUNECA. Contact: or 201-952-1088.

Melissa Tracey

Melissa Dittmann Tracey is a contributing editor for REALTOR® Magazine, writing about home & design trends, technology, and sales and marketing. She manages the magazine's award-winning Styled, Staged & Sold blog.

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  1. Great blog, lots of valuable information. I’ve tried some homestaging, it really does make a big difference in getting more interest in listings.

    If you are interested in Durango, Colorado check out my blog at

  2. Marla Williams

    Hi Martin…

    I love the work you’ve done on this unit…I have always felt an empty canvas was best, but after looking at your before and after pictures I can really see and feel what a difference it makes. I can actually see myself living in this space. Great job.

  3. What an incredible “canvas” you had to start with! You truly made the best of it. Great success story!

  4. AlinaPiech

    I cannot believe this is true!

  5. Properly “staged” even a challenged property can shine. Staging works! Very nice job.


  6. It’s quite amazing the world of difference some greenery from plants can make in giving a space some much needed “life”!