This 1 1/2-story Tudor-style house in south Minneapolis boasts several popular selling features, including a living room with hardwood floors, fireplace and lots of windows. But a heavy area rug and too much furniture downplayed the room's selling points and made the space seem small. "Buyers are attracted to bright, airy and spacious rooms," said Lori Matzke of Centerstagehome.com. "Our goal was to add visual square footage to the space and take advantage of all that natural light." Here's how she transformed this living room:

Heavy area rugs can visually absorb a lot of light, so the rugs from both the living room and adjoining dining room were rolled up and stored. Removing them also showcases the wood floors.

A small decorative rug in front of the coffee table adds weight and balance to the center of the room and creates a contrast between the wood grains of the coffee table and the floor. Silky, muted green pillows visually help soften the look of the large leather sofa and pull together the colors in the rug and new print.

To create a more inviting furniture arrangement, the sofa was pulled 30 inches away from the wall to create a path behind it to the window for a better view of the yard. Pulling the sofa away from the windows also brought in more light and created a more open floor plan. An occasional chair and side table where the entertainment center was add balance without blocking the entry. Allowing buyers to see around the furnishings with this new arrangement creates the illusion of a larger space.

An oversized entertainment center that was no longer being used was blocking the entry, so it was moved to a side wall in the dining room (not shown) and used as a buffet. When rooms are open to one another, it makes sense to paint them the same color, so the dark burgundy walls of the dining room were painted the same creamy shade of beige that is in the living room.

Replacing large artwork with smaller pieces can make a room feel larger, so the large horizontal print that dominated the far wall was replaced with a lighter, brighter piece of art. The smaller size and vertical shape of the new print reveals more wall space.

Removing the heavy metal fireplace screen lightens the hearth. A medium-size picture in a gold frame and soft grassy greenery replace an array of smaller accessories on the mantel. Fresh flowers on the coffee table add a shot of color to the space and draw the eye inward.