A small den in this Lake Calhoun area home would be a bonus to anyone looking for an in-home office space, but the low ceilings, dark paneling and dated carpet did little to show buyers its full potential. "This room felt detached from the rest of the main level," said Lori Matzke of Centerstagehome.com. "Brightening up the walls and adding lighting and furnishings created a much better flow between rooms while giving buyers a more cheerful and functional space to consider."

After washing down the paneling and trim, the walls were given one coat of primer and one coat of latex paint in a shade of creamy vanilla with an eggshell finish.

The ceiling and a radiator cover under the window (not shown) were painted to match. By choosing a paint color that was slightly softer and warmer than the two-tone carpet, the contrast between walls and floors is much less stark and helps to downplay the dated flooring. Painting the trim and ceilings makes the space feel much larger.

Brown switchplate and outlet covers were replaced with white ones to make the space appear more finished.

To help buyers get a sense of how the room could function, a side table from an upstairs bedroom was placed next to the desk to hold the printer.

Matching bookcases that were stealing attention from the living room fireplace were used to show off the room's potential.

A black leather club chair that had been taking up space in the living room was positioned at an angle in the corner to fully utilize the space.

Since the den had no overhead lighting, a large floor lamp (not shown) that had been positioned in the entry was placed behind the club chair to add a bold shot of light.

Matzke added artwork, books, candles and a set of brushed silver vases to the bookcase for color and interest, leaving some of the shelving completely bare to make it look like the room had plenty of storage.

A bright green fern on the desk adds color to the room, and a silk ivy in a wicker basket (not shown) in the opposite corner of the room provides balance.