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Artwork Mistakes Homeowners Must Avoid When Staging a Home for Sale

Home staging is often grumbled about by homeowners as it strips their  home of personality for the sake of a generic look. However to this I have to say, “What’s wrong with generics if that’s what sells your home?” And while you cannot – and should not – strip your home for sale of everything that gives it some charm and personality – it’s very hard to sell a white box – you do need to be very careful. And that is especially true when it comes to any artwork that you use to liven up bare walls.

Usually a homeowner quite understandably wants the art on their walls to be an expression of their personal taste, but it better not be too expressive when it comes to staging a home for sale. And that is why I always suggest that, when it comes to art and home staging, generic is best.

One easy way to make your art more generic – and therefore suitable to share with potential homebuyers – is to avoid these mistakes common to these areas: Sports, vulgarity, politics, religion, and (weird but true) people’s faces.

Sports

Sports loyalties are a huge deal all over the world and across every sport. And fans often love to express their team loyalties via visuals in various forms, including pictures and artwork displayed in their homes. But as team rivalries are intense across all sports, and your Realtor may be showing to a fan every bit as passionate as you, but just for a rival team, so the safest route to a purchase offer is to keep your sports preferences a secret.

Why alienate someone interested in buying your home because they are offended by that big Blue Jays poster in your kitchen because they happen to be a Yankees or Red Sox fan? (it happens, I’ve seen it). Pack the sports memorabilia away until after you move to a new home and if sports happens to be important to the decor (around a home bar perhaps) make use of a nice, inoffensive generic sports watercolour that demonstrates no team loyalties.

Vulgar

Vulgar is a word that isn’t used too often anymore. Instead these days we tend to say “sexually explicit,” or even “politically incorrect.” However, they may not use the word but many people will tell you they know vulgar when they see it. Nudity is one of those controversial issues. As an artist, I certainly believe that nude paintings have their place in art history, but I also know that to some people even Venus de Milo would be embarrassing to even glance at if it happened to be displayed in a home for sale.

Always err on the side of caution whenever displaying artworks that include even vaguely might be considered sexually suggestive content. If you even think it might raise some eyebrows, then it probably will for some people and so you should take it down

Political

We all have political opinions and beliefs and some of us are very passionate about them, and there is nothing wrong with that for the most part. However, the time to spark even a little bit of political controversy is not when you are trying to sell your home. As we do live in a time of heightened political sensitivity almost anything – even a historical political piece – might cause offense to some so it’s best to take it all down.

Religious

I am going to tread very lightly here because I am more than aware of just how important faith is to people. However, if there is religious artwork displayed in a home for sale some buyers will make decisions about the kind of person you are – to your benefit or not, even though that’s morally not the right thing to do. So once again, to err on the side of caution, religious artwork is something to display only with a great deal of thought.

Faces

This one sounds a little crazy at first, but many Realtors have found it to be very true. People are hardwired to scrutinize faces, from critiquing tabloid pictures in a magazine to checking out the driver in the car next to us at the traffic light. We can’t help it, its the way we are. So if a home has a piece of artwork in which a face is very prominent it will likely detract attention from the only thing you want to draw it to; your home.

So what should you display as artwork to liven up your home in a best case staging scenario? As I mentioned at the start keep it generic. Basic landscapes. Still lives of flowers and fruits. Maybe animals. If you have a very contemporary decor, simple, block colored abstracts perhaps. And yes, it may all be very boring for an art lover to live with but just remember, the faster you sell your home, the faster you can get to the new one and if boring art will help you do that, why not?

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