A Staging and Interior Stylist Welcomes Us into Her Sprawling Chicago Home

living room

I read somewhere recently that pictures of before-after makeover of homes are a huge hit with readers because when the transformation is visually appealing, it leaves a huge impact. Often, we are inspired to try an idea or two like painting a cabinet, or a triangle decal to a wall, or picking a certain patterned fabric in a certain color for a space. It could be simple, creative, wacky, but these pictures move us. So why not begin the new year on that note with the before-afters of not a single room, but an entire home. Yes, you read that right.

A home that saw this amazing transformation when the owners changed. The image above popped up in my social media feed and something piqued my curiosity to know the story behind this space. As luck would have it, Chitra, the owner, is an interior staging cum stylist by choice and a business analyst by profession. She runs a staging business to called Artfully Staged Abode.

Name: Chitra Seetharaman with her husband and 2-year old daughter

Location: Suburbs of Chicago


Her design ethos:

I wanted my home to showcase my creativity and my love to “stage” homes. I would describe my design as global eclectic with lots of color. Our home is filled with things we love, things that grow with us.

I am not a minimalist by any chance but I love a clutter free environment that invites people. Come on in, be our guest.

Front yard


Every piece comes with a story. Chitra unravels hers:

When we did our walk through of the then empty house, I started placing our furniture, picked paint colors and rearranged a few things in my head and it felt right. Once the deal went through, my husband and I worked through the different design aspects, agreed on what we both liked and worked together to make our tiny American dream a reality.

The entire house was a project. Right from a bare kitchen to our current kitchen with new appliances, new counter tops, back splash, ambient lighting. Our prayer room was a project I was so looking forward to (more on that later), my daughter’s nursery, our peacock themed master bedroom and the guest bedroom I recently redecorated. I’ve enjoyed working on all these projects and I know I have a huge list of things to do ahead of me like finishing up the basement, revamping our garage and working on our closet space. But a small project that I enjoyed working on was my wander lust wall. It hosts some of our favorite travel finds. We aren’t in any hurry and our house will always be a work in progress.

Living Room

Before:living room before makeover


living room

living room

Family Room:


Family room before renovation


family room

Family room

A closer look at the wanderlust wall.

wanderlust wall

Formal Dining Room


Formal dining room


Formal Dining Room

The wow factor  – The house has a flow to it and everything was curated with love and passion and I hope you can tell that a lot of hard work and happiness went into creating it but the two places I get a wow when guests request a tour are my master bedroom and my prayer room. The larger than life size four poster plantation style canopy bed did the trick and my prayer room mimics my grandparent’s prayer room. As a child, I remember looking at all the lovely hanging lamps, bells, brass artifacts carefully collected, and the beautiful painting that adorned the walls. I was always in awe and I promised myself as a child that one day I would have a prayer room of my own that looked like theirs. I tried to recreate some portions of it.

 Master bedroom


master bedroom


Master bedroom post makeover

Pooja Room

There is a certain serenity about this space. The images of Kamadhenu, the cown and calf in brass, Lakshmi on lotus, and the Tanjore painting of Lakshmi are breathtaking.

Serene pooja room

pooja room

pooja room

Couldn’t agree more to Chitra’s thoughts on “what is elegance to her in a home“:

I strongly feel that a clean and organized home is an elegant one. Cleanliness is truly next to godliness. I don’t think you need fancy furniture or a royal piece that was handed down to you for generations to have an elegant home. By simply keeping it clean and organized you show the world you respect where you live and that is true elegance.

Guest bedroom before and after:

guest bedroom before and after

guest bedroom







Home to me is.. where love grows and happiness lives. I wanted my home to be the perfect oasis my family would crave at the end of a busy day. It reflects who we are and brings positivity to everyone who enters it. A place to showcase our lives that we share with family and friends like family. No matter where life takes you, you always come back home.

Breakfast Nook

breakfast nook

Thank you Chitra for letting us take a peek into your home. If you would like to consult Chitra over e-mail or in person for staging or styling your home, reach out to her at Artfully Staged Abode. Or if you are just looking for bite sized inspiration daily,  follow her on Instagram.

Image courtesy: Chitra