The owners of a condo in Brooklyn had been renting it out for several years before they decided they should sell it. But they realized there was a lot of work to be done before that, especially after the wear and tear left behind by former tenants.

So they called in Terry Mainord, of Terry Mainord Design in Brooklyn, to stage the two-bedroom, three-bathroom home and prep it for selling. Overall, the 1,720-square-foot condo needed a refresh.

“The living room and stairwell floors were quite scuffed,” Mainord says. “I directed the contractors in the selection of paint colors for the walls and kitchen cabinets, new lighting throughout the apartment, and a lighter color for the newly sanded living room floors.”

Still, there were some issues with the condo that couldn’t be easily remedied. One bedroom was situated below ground level. Thanks to its location and some small windows placed high up on the wall, the space was gloomy and received little light.

The primary bedroom on the main floor, meanwhile, had the opposite problem: Because it was at street level, it lacked privacy. However, it received plenty of natural light throughout the day. “In staging, I tried to focus on the beautiful light that the main floor windows allowed, with the use of faux plants and trees to emphasize the sunny exposures,” Mainord says. 

Throughout the main level, including the bedroom, she painted the walls a light white (Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace) to brighten the space, and updated the light fixtures for modern appeal. “I think updated lighting is an inexpensive update to any home, as is fresh paint, and these are both critical in staging to get the most return on investment,” she says.

Although the primary bedroom was a good size for a New York apartment — complete with an en-suite bath — it needed some tweaks to truly make it shine. In the center of the ceiling, a drum light that seemed too small for the space was replaced by a sputnik-style chandelier of black metal that serves as a dramatic focal point and ties into other black accents in the room.

Although the bed could’ve fit on either of two large walls in the room, Mainord chose to place it against the wall opposite the doorway. “I like to see the most important piece of furniture facing the entry of the room,” she explains. “I also knew that the room would be photographed from the doorway.”

She selected a metal-framed walnut bed and a coordinating dresser, which matched the walnut dining table in the adjoining room. “A king-sized bed could have worked in the room as well, but after consultation with the broker, we decided that a queen would better show off the room’s scale,” Mainord says.

Opting not to go matchy-matchy with a complete set of furniture, she instead chose black metal tray tables on either side of the bed that complement its black metal frame. To offset what she describes as the “masculine” vibes of the bed and dresser, Mainord placed sheepskin rugs on either side of the bed.

Other soft, textural elements that she added to provide balance include a seersucker duvet cover, crisp white sheets, pink linen pillows, and a linen throw with whimsical oversized coral tassels.

Near the window, a rattan chair with a blanket draped over the back “shows a potential buyer that there’s room for seating,” she says, while the white curtains can be drawn for privacy.

After Mainord’s meticulous work, the sellers got an offer they couldn’t refuse: a much higher rental price. So, after taking it off the market and renting it for a while longer, they eventually sold the property in fall 2021.