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The ART Of Home Staging

Home Stager with Staging Places
 Often, when I am staging a home for sale I encounter a similar situation with clients. Either they have no artwork on the walls or they have WAY too much. There is seldom a home that has the perfect amount. Of course when staging to sell, artwork is used to draw attention to certain areas of the home and help to warm a space. Not because it is museum quality or has sentimental value to the homeowner.  Hanging artwork can add drama to a room without taking up valuable floor space. I love to use it in unconventional ways such as in place of a headboard or just above a nightstand. As I walk through a clients home for the first time I always keep my eye out for artwork that will work for staging.

The Good, The Bad,  & The Ugly

Subjects matter when using art to stage a house. There are good subjects such as landscapes, seascapes, fruit and vegetable still lifes, and flowers. Black and white prints are especially good because they work well with just about any type of décor and style. There are bad subjects like family and wedding photos, the all too familiar Olan Mills Portrait over the fireplace is especially bad,  nudes, (even the pregnancy nudes are a bad choice to have on display for the general public) and pet pictures. Personal photos are much too private and specific to your family to have available for all to see. Finally we come to the UGLY. This encompasses anything done in black velvet (Sorry Elvis) those crazy macramé owl things, fabric and paper 3D pieces that were popular in the 80’s and cheap poster prints that are framed in gold plastic.

A Place For Everything

Artwork should be hung where people expect to see it.  Randomly hanging pieces throughout a home will not help to create a warm cohesive look.  The best way to decide where to hang a piece is by looking around the room to see what spaces feel empty. Usually, over the sofa or fireplace is a natural choice to hang heavier pieces. This would include art with bold frames, and large sized prints. Small pieces, unless grouped together will just get lost on a large wall.

How to find Art

Decorative art is readily available at home decor stores such as Homegoods and TJ Maxx. When you are staging to sell, I don’t suggest you hit the art galleries to find pieces unless you plan to take them with you and know they will work in the space. If you are the creative type, making some simple art is usually cost effective. Depending on the space, framing fabric or specialty paper can have just the right feel. I once framed 2 leaves from the front yard when I was in a bind.  

Artwork can really help make a good impression when used correctly, and isn’t that what Home Staging is all about?

Yvonne Root
rooms b.y. root - Prescott, AZ
Home Stager - Northern Arizona
Heather, This simple yet important aspect of decor seems to me to be one of the areas in which many home owners have the most difficulty whether they plan to live in or to sell their properties. Loved your title and the excellent tie-in to good advice.  Way to go!
Feb 12, 2008 12:46 AM
Abby Roselli
ALR Home Staging and Showcasing, LLC - Staten Island, NY
Staten Island Home Stager
Hi Heather, yes, I've noticed that as well....either there's a ton of frames hanging from the walls or there's nothing.  One or two strategically placed pieces to reinforce, or create, a focal point is better than a museum-type wall.  Great post!
Feb 12, 2008 12:59 AM
Julia Maher
Nestings: Connecticut Home Staging and Model Homes - Fairfield, CT
Connecticut Home Stager
Well done, Heather!  Who is Oland Mills???  Julie
Feb 12, 2008 01:29 AM
Kathleen Garvey
HomeSmart Cherry Creek - Denver - Denver, CO
Denver's Neighborhood Expert - Listings & Sales

Hey Julia...the correct name of the company is Olan Mills.  It is a franchise photography chain which is known for its packaged family photos etc...a better version of the 'group photos' style available by JCPenney or Sears.

Heather-I agree with you.  Too many homes have varying degrees of wall art/or not as you mentioned.  Wall decor is very important and adds so much to the overall feel!  Nice post!  Regards-Kathleen G 


Feb 12, 2008 07:29 AM
Kathy Riggle
Houston Home Staging

Art can enhance or create a focal point, and is a great way to add color accent to neutral walls!  It is one area that is lacking in alot of occupied homes.


Feb 12, 2008 08:40 AM
Leslie Godbold
WZGM AM1350 Independent Asheville Radio - Asheville, NC
Motivation Speaker, Radio host "Positively Living"
Heather ,Thanks! You have addressed a very important point and a dfficult one for many home owners.
Feb 12, 2008 09:34 AM
Diana Young
Staging Seattle, King & Snohomish Counties - Edmonds, WA

Hi Heather,  I love your post and I love art!!!  You articulate very well the importance artwork in a staging design plan.  So many people "float" art, so it doesn't relate to anything, or they hang it too high.  We have been using large pieces recently above sofa tables in living rooms without fireplaces to create a focal point for the room.  Lots of newly constructed homes in our area have small living rooms with no distinct focal point.  Here is an example of artwork and a sofa table as the focal point:

Shoreline Living Room Viking 

Feb 12, 2008 02:34 PM
Kate Elim
Dockside Realty - Spotsylvania, VA
Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land a

Heather...Found the part about even using two leaves from your yard when you were in a bind. Years ago I used them also but not because I was in a bind. 

The leaves had turned and I found a number of different colors and shades of color.  These were from our home at the lake and were for our grown children, none of whom live with us.  I thought they would like to have a bit of Lake Anna with them wherever they lived.

It seems that just about everything has some artistic value and certainly sentimental value.


Feb 14, 2008 06:46 PM