There is a perception paradox that sometimes exists within real estate: the idea that an empty minimalist home offers a blank slate for potential buyers to imagine their perfect home. While a small slice of the general population may have the unique vision to picture a space with cascading light features, warm and inviting furniture arrangements, or eye-catching objets d’art, the majority of buyers look to experts in interior design for help. The truth is, the benefits of staging your home are extensive. Properly staged homes spend substantially less time on the market, routinely sell for more money, and frequently end up on must-see lists.
Now, how-to-stage-your-home lists are plenty, with most touching on curb appeal, making the most of challenging spaces, and striking that perfect balance between clean and lived-in, not to mention an emphasis on neutral, approachable décor. But, not all will mention the unparalleled impact of adding artwork—a fairly crucial element to a staging environment, since it can cue subconscious feelings and connections in buyers and create emotional attachment to your space. Here’s how to use art staging to create allure and further impact the sale of your home.
Know Your Audience
This may not be the time to hang up a politically-charged Basquiat or that powerful original Mapplethorpe. While it’s true that you never know someone’s particular tastes, erring on the side of caution is wise. Steer away from family photographs and images of people, leaning instead to abstract work, nature images and landscapes, and interpretive silhouettes or figurative renderings to appeal to a wider set of buyers.
Work With the Architecture
Many homeowners have a tendency to hang art too high, which can mean people pass right by the work. The point is to have buyers pause in your space, and to do that, they need to have a direct eye line to it. Follow the unspoken gallery rule of matching the center lines of your artwork if you have pieces close together. Most galleries will hang bigger works with ample space around them at 58-or-so inches off the ground. Use beaming, feature paint walls, and any kind of architectural framing as prime space for your artwork.
Complement the Décor
Consider the mood for each room—is it a relaxed and inviting sitting area? A studious and productive study? A bright and buzzing kitchen? Color plays a very important role in home staging, with neutrals ruling in most cases, but don’t hesitate to mirror the punches of color found around your rooms in pillows or accessories.
Allow the Eye to Travel
How do you want buyers to feel leaving your home? While they will of course be evaluating many aspects of the property, it’s likely that your home may have extra appeal for a particular subset of buyers. Have a fantastic wine cellar to show off? An abstract work with a spiraling stroke pointing to it will let the eye bounce into the next beautiful space. Outdoor infinity pool a big draw? Complement its tone with pale blue washes on the walls in surrounding rooms or with striking outdoor sculptures.
Many buyers may not consider the art outright when viewing a home — after all, it doesn’t come with it as part of the sale — but creating a mood and feeling of positivity, relaxation, and an overall inviting mood will stay with them far longer than they realize, and likely result in less selling time and more offers coming through your door. Connect with one of our top real estate agents to learn more about how Sotheby’s International Realty Canada can help you market your home.
This article was originally published in Sotheby’s International Realty’s Extraordinary Living Blog and was adapted for Sotheby’s International Realty Canada’s Insight Blog on April 23, 2021. It was recently updated on May 17, 2022.