What was meant to be a primary bedroom in one Rockville, Maryland, home was anything but. The mostly empty space, cluttered on one side with various odds and ends, felt more secondary than anything.

Maureen Weaver, a real estate agent with Compass in Maryland and Washington, D.C., knew that had to be remedied when she staged this 4,350-square-foot home for sale. (She includes staging in her agent fee.) Built in 1972 and partially renovated in 2011, the five-bedroom, four-bathroom home had been impeccably maintained by the owner of 43 years.

“The seller had decorated the home beautifully to match her taste,” Weaver says. “I often find myself telling sellers that it’s not that the decor they have isn’t beautiful. But, in general, buyers want to see a blank slate.”

Her mission was to give the home a fresh, modern feel with neutral paint and more modern furniture. “When selling older homes, the goal is always to draw attention to the charm of homes built in the ’70s while also making buyers feel like they can move right in and won’t have to do a thing,” she says. “The more amenable sellers are to give buyers what they want, the higher buyers are willing to pay.”

To create a fresh and cohesive feel throughout the home, she painted all the walls, trim, and ceilings with Benjamin Moore White Dove paint. “A simple white wall allows buyers to walk in and imagine living there,” she notes.

As for the upstairs, the dated wall-to-wall carpeting was hiding a huge asset underneath: stunning hardwood floors that Weaver stained with a dark finish to match the flooring downstairs.

In the primary bedroom, the rejuvenated wood flooring and fresh white paint (which replaced a baby blue paint job) set the stage for its modern makeover. The white built-in cabinet in the corner was kept for storage purposes. The drapes and roller blinds, which made the room look dark and dated before, were removed to let natural light flood the space and further emphasize the airy aesthetic.

Next came the staging. “I cannot stress enough how much modern furniture can transform a space,” Weaver says. “I offer professional staging to all of my sellers because I believe so strongly in the impact it has on how buyers view a home.”

An oversized area rug with plenty of texture grounds the furniture arrangement, made up of a crisp white bed with black and gray accents, including a chunky throw blanket. Above the bed, a large piece of modern art creates a focal point. 

A pair of wooden nightstands that match the stain of the flooring flanks the bed, and they’re topped with neutral lamps and gold-toned accessories. In the corner, the built-in cabinet was filled with more accessories and a touch of greenery.

Two weeks of work later and the home was ready to list — and Weaver’s phone rang off the hook. After receiving 31 offers, they ratified a contract on the sixth day after hitting the market. The buyers went $175,000 over the initial asking price of $925,000 and waived their contingencies.

Weaver feels that the changes made all the difference in this successful sale. “I have found that, for the most part, it is very difficult for the average buyer to see past cosmetic repairs. Whether it is paint color, wall-to-wall carpeting, older drapes, or the dark wood furniture that all of our parents and grandparents collected over the years, buyers have a hard time envisioning living in a home that doesn’t meet their expectations of modern,” she says. “When sellers are open to making these simple cosmetic updates, they, on average, see a two- to three-time return on their investment. Staging the room is just the cherry on top!”