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Emily Henderson’s tips for staging a living room to sell a house

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Go from clutter to fresh and contemporary

Watch Emily Henderson turn a once-cluttered family room into a fresh and open den.

Staging a room—or an entire house—is one of the most important steps you can take when preparing to put your property on the market. Though it’s no secret that homes are meant for real-life living, you still want to put your best foot forward, which means keeping up the illusion that your abode exudes energy—without the clutter.

Here’s where designer and TV personality Emily Henderson comes in. Last week, Henderson, who recently sold her Los Angeles midcentury above asking, showed us how to transform a nursery into a stylish guest room to attract the most buyers. Today, she walks us through how to take a crowded family room and turn it into a fresh and contemporary den.

Eliminating clutter by swapping out bulky furniture for clean and simple pieces will create more open space. But you don’t want the room to feel like a museum, so add personal touches like art to imbue a little soul. Next, accessorize wisely—with books, textiles, maybe a houseplant or two—and lots of cushions.

“Here’s the key thing,” says Henderson. “You want it full of life, but not full of stuff.”

Shop this look

District Dove 2-piece sectional sofa, $1,999, CB2
Shaba bolster pillow, $150, Nickey Kehoe
3 Tier Accent Table, $99.99, Target
Jones Single Sconce, $675-695, Katy Skelton
Mid-Century Media Console, $799, West Elm
Round Pintuck Pillow, $39 (2 for $70), Urban Outfitters
Woven Round Rattan Basket, $34.99, Target
Skyline rug, $299, Rejuvenation