Depersonalizing a home is a crucial step when it comes to preparing a house for sale, so it’s no wonder most home stagers ask sellers to take down family photos, kid’s artwork and other odds and ends hanging up on the walls.

For many buyers these items can distract them from focusing on what’s important – like square footage or storage. But a blank wall can be just as detrimental, leaving a space feeling empty, boring and much to be desired.

Artwork can, of course, be tricky when deciding what to display because a seller has to assess whether the prospective buyer will be drawn in or put off. From framed photos to contemporary wall art, there are many ideas a seller can use to transform the space.

[See: 13 Photography Tips When Shooting Your Home to Put It on the Market.]

When selling a home, choosing wall art should involve pieces that show off the lifestyle of your home's architecture, design style and neighborhood. Wall art is one way to bring flair, personality and style to each room. If you have a room with an empty wall, why not dress it up with these simple tips to bring in personality without being too personal.

Try abstract art. Swirling shapes, splats or colors and lines take form into whatever you see when it comes to abstract art. Since there is no right or wrong answer to this form of art, it’s open to interpretation and doesn't distract the buyer during a showing. Instead, abstract art is inoffensive and the perfect fit to display when selling a home.

Hang landscape art. Landscape art refers to artwork consisting of natural scenery, such as mountains, forests, cliffs, trees, flowers, rivers or valleys. This type of artwork can be realistic or abstract and provides a sense of escape, peacefulness and even serenity when someone stops to gaze into the scene. Landscape artwork can be used in many rooms including a living room, family room or bedroom.

Show off where you live. Like landscape art, sellers can use images of where they live – like in the desert, city or on the beach – to bring the outside in to remind buyers of where they’re planning to live. Photos or art of the area show off the neighborhood’s beauty, and replicate the excitement of being in that location.

[See: Weird Home Features That May Confuse Homebuyers.]

Take a cue from the room's activity. Not sure what to hang in a room? Take a cue from what the purpose of the room is. Are you eating in the space? Choose food, wine glasses or a café scene. In a bedroom, use black and white images of flowers, a nude or sleeping abstract. A seller may even want to use an image of peace and relaxation, like a beach shoreline.

Use a map. Maps are an inexpensive way to add color and interest to a wall. This type of wall art is also a conversation starter and sellers can even use it to keep track of their travels – functional and beautiful, what's not to love? Depending on the home’s design style, the seller can use a traditional map that's detailed or a more modern version outlining the continents to hang in a family room, den or an office.

Add lettering. Art doesn't have to be an image – it can also be a word. Add a subliminal message of how a person is suppose to interact or feel in a room. Plan on using an inspirational quote on the wall to trigger the mind. Word art is a popular trend right now, especially when added to a collage wall.

Use lifestyle photos. Rather than displaying a headshot of your family, hang a lifestyle photo that a buyer could connect to – for instance, a day at the beach, a ski trip, hiking or even running a marathon. It not only grabs the buyer’s attention, but you can show what type of life is being led inside this home, even if it’s less accurate and more aspirational.

[See: 8 Types of Roads That Can Have a Big Impact on Home Sales.]

Once a seller decides on what type of art to showcase in the home, it’s important to make sure that the pieces are hung properly. Many homeowners hang their artwork too high, which doesn’t allow anyone to admire the image. Hang the art at eye level, or about 60 to 65 inches from the ground. With large pieces, remember to hang the center of the piece at eye level, rather than the bottom of it.

A seller can also refresh a piece of art with a new frame. Try unifying a collage wall by using the same color or size frames. Regardless of the amount of art being hung on the wall, though, it’s important to choose art that brings out the best in a room, so it can highlight the positive while downplaying the less inspiring elements of that space.

Tags: real estate, existing home sales, home prices, art


Tori Toth is a best-selling author, DIY and lifestyle expert, award-winning home stager and lifestyle authority. She can show anybody how to add more value to their home by giving the tools needed to prepare and showcase any home for sale. She works with consumers, real estate agents, or anybody else who wants to make their home look its best quickly and easily. Home staging is a strategic marketing tool for the biggest return on investment of a home, focusing on renovation and creative design. By creating a lifestyle that buyers will find aspirational, Tori Toth will demonstrate methods of rearranging, organizing and in many cases, adding or editing furniture and home décor. The best, clearest, most helpful information of how to stage a home with and be an immediate success can be found in Tori’ best-selling book "Feel at Home: Home Staging Secrets for a Quick and Easy Sell."