The use of artwork is a powerful tool in the home stager’s arsenal and often seems to be under utilized. Nothing is more welcoming and appealing than a beautiful piece of art. Keep in mind not to get too way-out or avant-garde. A great poster is an excellent choice. I have never seen a good colorful poster evoke a negative reaction. If you are working with all traditional furnishings, then a traditional looking poster or picture will do the trick. Think of turn of the century Art Nouveau. If, however, you are working with a more eclectic look most genres will work.
When it comes to artwork, size is important.
In average to large size rooms the use of large pieces can create a huge impact and make an otherwise plain room pop! On the other hand, small insignificant pictures often create what I call “vertical clutter”. After spending time de-cluttering “stuff” from all the horizontal surfaces in a home, the last thing you want to do is create “vertical clutter” on the walls.
This is a great way to bring color into an otherwise neutral setting.
When using large pieces, one or two in a room are all that are necessary. Use the artwork strategically to emotionally and physically draw the buyer into the room, but don’t use anything that overpowers the room. Remember proper scale is important. If you are lucky enough to have high ceilings use a long large picture or wall sculpture to accentuate and emphasize the ceiling height.
Another good trick in lieu of a large piece is to group smaller like looking pieces together to create a cohesive arrangement or “block” of pictures. I like to purchase a collection of 6-12 pieces of similar works and frame them all the same. Hanging them in rows of 3-4 pictures creates an organized grouping that the eye sees as one cohesive unit. This also works well when you have budget considerations. I have found that even a dozen small frames are much less costly than one very large one!
Small pieces should be avoided and should only be used in small areas where, when grouped together make a big impact. Bathrooms and small hallways are areas where small pieces are applicable.
Turn a hallway into an art gallery.
Speaking of hallways, pictures are a good way to utilize a space that would otherwise look like un-used square footage. People buy square footage and they don’t want to buy any un-usable space. Give the hallway a purpose. Turn it into a mini art gallery! In narrow hallways where you are unable to place any furniture hang pictures in a single row, gallery style. Black and white photographs are an excellent option. Use of 11”x14” or 16”x20” gallery frames in black or white are a great choice. Pictures, as always, should be hung at eye level.
Bedrooms sometimes create a special problem.
When hanging pictures above a bed keep the pictures at eye level, or only slightly above eye level. If you are using a high headboard forego artwork above completely. If you hang pictures over a high headboard the artwork tends to get hung too high, making it look esthetically out of place. It also takes the focus away from, hopefully, an otherwise inviting bed. Think instead, about placing pictures or hanging accessories on each side of the bed above the night stands. I tend to prefer similar items or ½ pairs on each side of the bed.
As stated above, pictures should always be hung at eye level, unless you are hanging them is what is called “salon style”. This is when pictures of different sizes and genres are arranged in groupings from floor to ceiling as they were traditionally in the art salons of Europe during the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. However this method should never be used in a staged setting for obvious reasons – That’s right, “vertical clutter”.
Don’t be afraid to make use of larger pieces of artwork when staging. Art is a wonderful thing that enriches everyone’s life and can evoke strong positive emotions and create a positive experience for the home buyer.
About the Author: Gary Sefferman is President and Creative Director of Nickian Home Staging, a boutique style home staging company serving the New York City Metro area, including Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Westchester, Northern New Jersey and Fairfield County Connecticut. Nickian’s focus is working with home sellers and their real estate agents to prepare their property to appeal to the most likely buyers. As Certified Advanced Stagers Nickian Home Staging transforms a property into a buyer’s must-have through the use of targeted lifestyle marketing techniques.
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