Staging a model home with IKEA furniture... see the results!

Home Stager with Toronto GTA, Alliston, Newmarket 416.928.2999

Home staging in Vaughan is an adventure every day. I routinely stage 8,000 to 21,000 square feet homes and see some very spectacular properties.

Then there is the other end of the spectrum. First time homes that are stacked condos about 1200 square feet.

Todays challenge was definitely one for the books. I was referred by an agent from the Condo Store Canada to Jacob Buksbaum of Time Equities in New York City. He was looking to convert some rental townhouses to condo sales and wanted to know if I could stage one of the units as a model home for him.

His only request was that it have a young, modern vibe to it to attract the young families he was looking for to buy the towns. He thought IKEA was the route to go to furnish the model home.

I thought he had a good idea but wondered aloud about the practicality of ordering all the furniture, getting it delivered and assembling all forty four pieces. Have you ever tried to assemble Ikea furniture? If you have, then you can imagine my distress at the thought of it.

As the builder was in New York City and I was in Canada, the easiest route for ordering was to use our IPADS and catalogues to build our order list on line while on our cell phones. That went well for about an hour until we realized that most items we wanted weren't available on line. That's when I went in the store to buy the pieces instead.

That's when I discovered that Ikea has a personal shopper at no charge for commercial clients, plus they pick the order for you, deliver it and assemble it. Well that was more like it! Personal shopping and after sales service, a stagers delight!

The personal shopper was no charge, to have the order picked was a flat fee of $40, the delivery was $99 and the assembly was 15% of the items that needed assembling. All in all, I thought a bargain as so much time was saved.

This is what it looked like when it arrived on delivery day...

ikea delivery

That's right, a whole truck full!  Boy was I glad that I wasn't carrying it in to the house. The furniture is all MDF and it weighs a ton!

Next step was to wait for the people to arrive to assembly it. I waited, and waited and then finally I called to see where they were... lost, late or on their way. The customer service line assured me that I was not in their schedule for that day. Wait a minute, did they just say I wasn't in their schedule? 

Squeeze me? What did you say?  Can you repeat that?

That was impossible. The owner was flying up from New York City the next morning and he was expecting to see a model home staged with furniture. Uh oh!!! 

I asked to speak to  someone else and was put through to someone in Montreal. They also assured me that I wasn't in their schedule and that they would look into it. Well I couldn't wait and did what any good stager would do. I drove over to Ikea and asked to speak with the manager.  I explained my dilemma, he called right away and sure enough, the furniture would be assembled later that day.Phew!!  That was close. I think he managed to get it sorted so quickly as my children will tell you, when I give you the Mom look you better make sure you make Mom happy.

I couldn't stay any longer due to other staging commitments so my staff met with the assembly team later that day to let them in.This if what just one room looked like at that point. There was one really high pile of packing material when they were all done.


Our team showed up the next day to stage and here are the results. We purchased a few accessories and props at Homesense as well to round out the finished look. Here are the before and after pictures.

Living Room and Office Area Before

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Living Room and Office Area After

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Kitchen and Dining Room Before

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Kitchen and Dining Room After

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I love the new distressed "Restoration Hardware" look they are producing right now. Very on trend and price effective.

Master Bedroom Before and After

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Girls and Boys Room After

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The target market for these townhomes is a young family looking for their first home.

Using Ikea furniture and accessories, Advantage Staging has created a "just move right in" look.

Investment, minimal.

Impact, priceless.

If you have a new building site and would like to have it staged to attract your target market call Advantage Staging to get you the results you are looking for on the budget that works for you.

If you have a client that is interested in living in one of these sophisticated lifestyle condos at 2417 Finch Ave. West in Vaughan please call Bonnie Belfer at the Condo Store Canada to book your personal viewing appointment.

Michelle Finnamore   Advantage Staging    416.928.2999

77-9100 Jane St. Bldg. L  Vaughan

2010 National Home Builders Association U.S.     Silver Award for Presentation Showroom Design

2010 Ontario Home Builders Association             Nomination for Model Home Presentation Showroom Design

2010 Canadian Staging Professionals                 Entrepreneur of the Year Award




Comments (16)

Ginger Foust
Certified Staging Professional - Oakhurst, CA
Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging

It does look "just perfect" for a young family Michelle.  Love the modern look with the distressed pieces.  We don't have any such target market where I live, nor any such condos but I'm going to look into those Restorating Hardware pieces for myself.  Thanks for sharing a great job! 

Sep 18, 2011 03:09 PM
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

Hi Michelle ~ I was on the edge of my chair as I read through your post, hoping it was completed on time for you and your client!  (Whew!)  This townhome looks great with the IKEA furnishings and your excellent staging -- spot on for a young family demographic.  I'm sure your client and the listing agents were thrilled with the results!  BTW it's good to know that IKEA has personal shoppers to help us!!

Sep 18, 2011 04:08 PM
Kathy Burke
Sensational Home Staging~~Danville, CA - Danville, CA
S.F. East Bay Home Staging

Michelle.....what a FUN project!  And the Condo looks great with the IKEA for the young first time buyer!  I also like that reclaimed wood look and good to know that IKEA is offering it.  I need to take a trip (45 minutes each way) to IKEA soon to catch up.....but only during the week.  Weekends....OMG.....I won't go near the place!!!!  Congrats!!!

Sep 18, 2011 04:59 PM
Kathy Nielsen - Marietta, GA
Atlanta Georgia Home Stager

Looks great, Michelle. And like Maureen, I was on pins and needles reading your post to see if in fact they were able to get out there in time. The "mom" look was a great route to go. I know that look and so do my boys (smile).

Congratulations. Your home staging is being featured in the group Staging Before and After Pictures.


Sep 18, 2011 11:26 PM
Toronto, ON

Hi Michelle - IKEA is certainly a good way to go with the small condos and townhouses for the target market and it is so convenient.  IKEA furniture is very easy to assemble and their instructions are very well written. 

Sep 19, 2011 12:21 AM
Michelle Finnamore
Toronto GTA, Alliston, Newmarket - Vaughan, ON
Preparing your property for sale

HI Ginger, it was fun to stage a house for a first time home buyer. I created a family in my  mind and tried to imagine how excited they would be to move into their first home. Everyone dreams of being able to buy designer furniture and Ikea does such a good job of creating the look at a price point that most can afford. The distressed look has been around for the last three years but it just now being accepted on a wider basis by the public. Buyers usually want shiny and new. Ikea has hit the nail on the head with a weathered look finish with a smooth feel to the furniture.

Hi Maureen, I've been shopping at Ikea for years and never knew that they offered a personal shopper. It was quite frustrating trying to locate all the individual pieces in the vastness of the store. It really was a super time saver once we connected with the personal shopper.   When they said I wasn't in their delivery schedule I blanched. I knew the builder was flying up the next day and I had to get the job done.

HI Kathy, I know what you mean about shopping in the off hours. Ikea can be a overwhelming at times. Good luck on your trip to Ikea. The 45 minutes will be worth it.  The reclaimed wood pieces they are doing really are well done. I love the china cabinets. So much storage room and they look like anything you would see in decor magazine.

HI Kathy, I had to laugh when my daughter said that to me! All I know is that it works. I guess everyone has had a mother or father that gave you that look when you were growing up and you knew you had to do your best to make it right.  The owner from New York said could easily make a TV show following me around in a day. He was quite impressed with what a professional stager does to make a job come together on time. He had no idea we did it all in a few hours.  Thanks for the feature!  The sales team are thrilled with the end result. Now they have a model home to inspire buyers to make that offer.

Sep 19, 2011 12:45 AM
Michelle Finnamore
Toronto GTA, Alliston, Newmarket - Vaughan, ON
Preparing your property for sale

Hi Marc, thank you for stopping in to see this model home staging. I love the look of Ikea furniture, however, assembling it is another story. I see how quickly the company did it. I imagine after doing a few pieces you get the rythym of doing it and it goes a lot faster. Ikea furniture is the perfect size for smaller spaces with out the cost of shopping on King St. E or in Liberty Village.

Sep 19, 2011 12:50 AM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Michelle- I was on the edge of my chair as well, just like Maureen.  I'm glad to know they will assemble too. The look is just right for their targeted market.. the staging shows the possibilities of the rooms without using a lot of accessories.  Just perfect!

Sep 19, 2011 01:07 AM
Jo Potvin
Design To Market LLC - Cincinnati, OH
Home Staging Cincinnati - Design To Market

WOW!  This looks great.  It is also very helpful to know about the assembly team.  We have worked with investors to help select kitchen solutions for rehabs and many like the look of IKEA but do not like the thought of building all of those cabinets...sounds like a job for the assembly team!

Sep 19, 2011 02:29 AM
Wendy Tomm
Beyond the Walls - East St Paul, MB
CCSP, RESA-PRO, BBB - Wpg Realtors

Fabulous post and I was sitting on edge to hear how it all turned out.  You did a beautiful job and although we don't have an IKEA until 2012 I love the service they provide...however, I will be certain schedules are set and double checked. Great Staging.

Sep 19, 2011 10:31 AM
Chris Smith
Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage - New Tecumseth, ON
South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta

Great Job Michelle, I must remember to look you up the next time I get frustrated trying to assemble IKEA furniture

Sep 19, 2011 03:59 PM
Michelle Finnamore
Toronto GTA, Alliston, Newmarket - Vaughan, ON
Preparing your property for sale

HI Kathy, paying for assembly is the only route to go for sure. I kept the accessories to a minimum as that was the target market. Just starting out and building their life together.

HI Jo, they assembly team really was a time saver, somthing your investors will aprreciate. Time is money so anything you can do at a reasonable cost is well worth doing. Ikea now has some high end looking kitchen cabinets and granite counter tops so they definitely are in the running now for investors.

HI Barb, I had never considered Ikea before. I thought it would look too generic. I think it still comes down to the individual stager as to how the final look comes together. That's the wonderful thing about Ikea, you can use their products in so many different ways it turns out different every time.

Hi Wendy, you will like them for accessories for sure. They are on the modern side, clean look and always functional. When I booked the delivery I was with the Customer Service Manager. He spoke directly with the owner of the delivery company and the assembly company so was confident with the arrangements. When I double checked that's when I found out I was not in the schedule. Everything happened in 2 days, absolutely a speed staging, something we stagers do best!

Hi Chris, Thanks for stopping in to see this staging story. It really was a whirlwind event. I think the assembly team is such a good idea. Everyone that I have told this story to had no idea that Ikea would arrange for assembly. Missed marketing opportunity? Who knows how much more business they would have if more people knew about this service.


Sep 20, 2011 01:46 AM
Cathy Lee
CL Design Services Home Staging - Danville, CA

Looks sleek and so nice! Very beautiful! 

Sep 20, 2011 04:12 PM
Janet Jones
Just Your Style Interiors, LLC - Kihei, HI
Home Staging, Interior Redesign Kihei, Maui, Hawaii

Hi Michelle--I was a little hesitant about the results with a whole condo of IKEA furniture but, of course, you pulled it off beautifully.  Now if we could just get an IKEA anywhere in Hawaii. 

Sep 21, 2011 06:02 PM
Michelle Drewry
Signature Real Estate Group - Henderson, NV
Realtor - Signature Real Estate Group

Michelle - It all looks great and perfect for your target market.  Didn't know IKEA could look so good.  Of course, your staging makes it all look good.

Sep 29, 2011 10:05 AM