Home staging is the practice of decorating a home for the real estate market. The purpose of staging a home is to make potential home buyers feel comfortable and help them imagine what life would be like within the house. A home that is staged effectively can sell faster and often for a higher value than it would otherwise.

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Which of these open house showings do you think are most marketable and likely to sell for higher value?

  1. Home goes on sale while the owner is still occupying the home. Boxes of personal belongings stacked everywhere, laundry stashed in the closet, dishes on the counter.
  2. Home is unoccupied by the owner. No furnishings at all. Empty house.
  3. Home goes on sale while owner is still occupying the home. Owner keeps the home clean, picks up after themselves, has nice furniture and has tasteful fine art hanging on the walls.
  4. Home is unoccupied by the owner. The realtor hires a home staging company to decorate the home with modern furniture and garnishments. Tasteful fine art is placed in carefully selected locations on the walls.

I’ve purchased two homes and have been to my fair share of open houses. I’ve seen it all from 100-year old Victorian homes needing a total renovation, bank-owned foreclosures, townhouses to $2 million-dollar homes. Some of these homes were totally empty. Some were staged professionally. Some were tastefully decorated by the owners. Some were a mess. Some homes had no other visitors. Some were jam-packed with prospective buyers. First impressions matter. The homes that turned me off were the empty homes that looked and smelled really old. Potential home buyers shouldn’t feel nauseous while walking through the hone. Simply put, you need to clean up and stage your home if you want to get the most value out of your home. I’ve come away from some open houses feeling excited and invigorated. That’s the feeling you want to create for potential home buyers. You want to motivate them to take the next step by putting in a good offer as soon as possible. Homes that stay on the market for too long inevitably either have to lower the asking price or get pulled from the market entirely to save face. Since this is a fine art photography website, I’ll focus on the art aspect of a home staging rather than furniture and home furnishings.

7 Factors to consider when choosing art for home staging:

  1. Does the home look older or does it have a modern look?
  2. The color palette of the home.
  3. How much empty wall space is there?
  4. What type of furniture will the home be staged with?
  5. The location of the home
  6. Choose art that isn’t controversial and most likely to appeal to your audience.
  7. How much your home listing for?

Older-looking homes or homes with historic architecture are probably best suited with framed fine art photography prints. Contemporary homes with a cozy feel are probably best suited with canvas gallery wraps. Modern, luxury homes are best paired with high-end, exclusive Lumachrome HD acrylic prints. Million-dollar and above homes need to look worthy of the price tag so the art selection should reinforce that.

As for color choices, I wouldn’t go crazy with rainbows and garish colors. The art should enhance the home and not draw too much attention to itself. Remember that you’re trying to sell a home here, not the artwork though if the buyer really wants you can also include the art with the sale. A friend of mine sold his home which included an extensive wine collection to help close the sale. That was a high value home so it was appropriate for the context.

The size of artwork for home staging should be dependent on how large the empty walls are. For big walls, it would make sense to either have 1 large fine art print or multiple medium-sized prints. You want to give the wall room to breathe though so don’t overdo it.

Basing the art choices on the type of furniture in the home is similar to factors #1 & #2. You want colors that complement and don’t clash with each other. Grays and blacks are probably best paired with bright pastel colored art. With a brighter home you could go with more subdued colors.

The location of the home should factor into the art choices. If the home is near the coast then coastal art would make sense. If the home is in the mountains then go with trees and mountain landscapes. If its in the desert then you can use desert imagery or show water. You don’t necessarily need local artwork however. Its more important to choose a relevant theme. For example, staging a desert home with Pacific Northwest artwork is risky as it’s not as likely to appeal to the local audience. You also don’t want to shock people with the art choices either. Landscapes, flowers and water are all safe subjects as are some types of abstract photography prints.

If you’re about to sell your home or if you’re an interior designer working for a home staging firm then please feel free to contact me at any time. I have nearly 1,000 fine art landscape and nature photos to choose from on my website that range from ready-to-frame photo prints to ready-to-hang canvas gallery wraps and luxury acrylic face mount prints. I’m here to answer your questions every day of the week.

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