The Use of Art in Homestaging

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Carlson Properties 325-721-2429 0528582


AS A beginning stager I didn't tackle using art in the home. This was because I didn't have many art pieces suitable for home staging and was investing in other staging inventory. Another reason is that I did not appreciate how art solves many home staging gaps, balances out furniture placement, and creates interesting pops of style and creates mood, drama and appeal. Now, that I am a little older and wiser or at least older, smile, I am starting to acquire an inventory of home staging art.

 SPEAKING OF GETTING OLDER - it's finally sinking in that someone who has a bachelor of science degree in home economics is almost extinct. A requirement at Oklahoma State University in the 70's was to take three credit hours of art. I got a "C" in my art class and my best friend got a "B" and I haven't ever forgiven her since for that higher grade. After all, she is the one who made her art project out of empty cardboard toilet paper rolls! How disgusting! So now you know one of my deep dark secrets. I am not an artist. The good news that you don't have to be an artist to stage a home to sell using art.

 ART IS VERY PURPOSEFUL IN HOME STAGING.I will talk about the purpose of art in home staging, the placement of art in home staging, and share some tips on how to maximize a few pieces of art on a limited budget. Oh, by the way, if you want to see how to frame wrapping paper for art or some other shenangians, you won't find that here. There is a place for folksy crafty stuff, but probably not so much for use in staging homes that need to sell fast!


The wall treatments that clients have in their homes prior to getting the house ready for sale are usually VERY personal, from photographs of family and children in the living area, to movie posters in children's rooms, to cutesy stuff in kitchens like roosters or ducks to even more cutesy stuff in bathrooms like shells and fish.


The purpose of art in home staging is to help the buyer imagine themselves living in the home, to help the buyer mentally move in. and most importantly to help the buyer want to make an offer! I know I know, it seems counter intuitive to take down all that personal art. Art is very personal. The secret to home staging art is to make sure it speaks to the style of the house in some way or is NEUTRAL. I can hear some of you groaning right now, here comes the everything- has- to- be- neutral stager!

WHAT IS NEUTRAL IN ART? First the easy NO-NO's.

No paintings of guns, swords, nude figures or someone bleeding. You think I'm kidding. I wish I were. I have been in some homes recently and have seen all of the above. Like I said, people pick art to be personal. In staging, pick art to appeal to a potential buyer. What really works is to mirror the style of the home. In a traditional home, go traditional but neutral. Use countryside landscapes, ocean landscapes, botanical prints, or simple florals that are not too fussy are all good choices. One wants to consider the colors in the room and the color of the frame as well. In a contemporary home, go contemporary. Bolder colors can be effectively used, as can less fussy landscapes, and floral prints, as well as abstract art, even some pop art.



Home staging is about appealing to buyers to envision their art in the space, their furnishing in the space, their feet on the coffee table. One of my pet peeves are sellers who think they are really promoting their home by promoting their decorator colors? I have seen enough navy rooms and burgandy rooms to last a lifetime. Not everybody is craving a burgandy dining room! No matter how much you love it, step outside the lines of the box a little, grit your teeth and paint it neutral ready for a nice pull-it-all together piece of art.


 A seller mistake I see a lot is that the art is too small and hung too high. For example two little paintings hung over a huge eight foot couch looks funny to the eye because of lack of balance. Another is that there is no balance at all. There is a big three foot painting with an eight by ten inch photo right next to it. This makes people feel queasy! It's a balance problem.


TRUST ME a painting is easier to fit in the back seat of your car versus an easy chair. One day I put an upholstered Parson chair to be the perfect desk chair for my staged office in the back of my car. When I went to try to get it out of the back seat, first one leg wouldn't clear the door and then another. It was quite an ordeal. I began to wonder if there were a 9ll for removal of furniture stuck in the back seat? Great places that art can create balance are in the Living Area, over the sofa over the fireplace, in the Master Bedroom over the bed, and now don't laugh - yes - over the bathroom commode.

TO MAXIMIZE YOUR ART BUDGET, THINK FIRST OF GOOD PIECES OF ART TO BALANCE A SOFA IN A LIVING AREA, then art for over the fireplace. Next I would think of acquiring 2-3 pieces of art to arrange over the Master Bed in lieu of a missing headboard. You can save your money on art for specialty rooms and use what the owner may have anyway. Here is where you may be able to reuse the homeowners art. However, one poster is okay for a child room, not 25! Use the owner's art to stage a family area or more casual area. One example is to stage a hobby or art studio room with a piece of art on an easel.

REMEMBER ART CAN HAVE A HIGH IMPACT ON THE EMOTIONS. The goal is to create the "I want to buy this house" positive type of emotion. Make it a positive impact by matching art to the style of the house that is for sale, and sticking to classic, clean, lines, neutral themes, coordinating the colors themes in the house, and balancing the furniture arrangement.


I bought a piece of art at half price that was perfect for the executive-style home I was staging at the time. I placed it in the home over the fireplace. At the very first open house with this piece of art in place, one of the visitors liked the painting so much because it reminded her of someplace else and she wanted it to go over her fireplace! She liked it so much that she persistently asked to purchase it. Unfortunately, I really needed some cash that day and went ahead and sold it to her for what I had paid for it. BIG MISTAKE! That was an ideal staging piece, and almost every fireplace I stage could have been staged with that piece. Since it had been a close out sale, that exact piece has not been replaced. Lesson learned. Staging Art is very valuable and creates desire. Don't Sell Your Staging Art! Use it to Stage Your Homes to SELL!!!

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Beverly Carlson,  REALTOR, GRI, ASP, IAHSP, RESA


Carlson Properties           

Abilene, Texas


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tbd tbd
Lake Mary, FL

I love this article.  It's fantastic.  The part about "don't sell your staging art" ... very interesting.  I would sell it to the buyers of the home or after the sale of the home.  However, you are right though, some pieces are invaluable and must keep'em!

Oct 08, 2009 01:17 AM #1
Beverly Carlson
Carlson Properties 325-721-2429 - Abilene, TX
Abilene's Staging Realtor

Thank you for your kind words and comments.  I learned my lesson.  Good pieces for staging that are at affordable  prices are not that easy to find, no matter what the home and garden channels may lead you to believe. 

Oct 08, 2009 02:32 AM #2
Deena Cottingham
GreenApple Staging & Images, Calgary Staging & Photography - Calgary, AB
Home Stager & Photographer

Beverly, We are definitely on the same wavelength! I love discovering like-minded people and appreciate the points you have brought up. Happy staging in Texas!

Oct 23, 2009 03:17 AM #3
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Beverly Carlson

Abilene's Staging Realtor
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