Here's How to Pick Art for Your Home When Staging

This article has been reprinted with the permission of Redfin and the article's author, Hanna Tan.

Deciding to finally put your home on the market can be both an exciting and daunting experience. And, with an increasingly competitive housing market, a well-staged home can make all the difference in placing your home on a buyer’s “must-have” list. Artwork plays a critical role in adding the finishing touches when prepping your home for sale, and you’ll want to make sure you’re picking the right kind to create a polished look. To help present your home in the best light possible, we reached out to design experts from Seattle, WA, all the way to Cambridge, ON for their top tips for choosing wall art when staging a home.


Bigger, more abstract pieces show better while smaller artwork makes a space look cluttered and busy in pictures. Less is always more in staging, meaning don’t forget to leave plenty of negative space in order to give the eye a place to rest. There is no need to fill every wall; it’s good to give potential buyers plenty of room to envision their own pieces in a space. -Decorate to Show

Make sure you scale the size of the pieces to the individual spaces. Including neutral, monochromatic pieces usually work best. And popping in metal colors can really help draw the eye to optimally focus on architecturally appealing features of the home. Lastly, be careful not to overdo it with too many pieces or very personalized art, as this ultimate goal is for your buyer to picture themselves living in the home. -Elm Tree Design & Home Styling

When choosing artwork to hang above a sofa, be sure to select the right size. If a piece of artwork is too big or too small, buyers may get a sense that something just feels off in the room (and the home), even if they can’t put their finger on it. Follow the 75% rule: the length of artwork should be at least 75% of the length of the sofa. Try coordinating the artwork with the throw pillows on the sofa to create a cohesive and pleasing look. -BA Staging & Interiors

If you’re stuck on how to pick art for your home when staging, look to the house as a guide

Look at the era of the home, the furnishings, and decor as a guide when picking artwork. From there no matter what style, keep it simple. Remember that less is more, and it can also make a statement. I also like using color theory in my art selections, so if my furnishings are very colorful I typically choose a monochromatic piece to balance the room. -Aisling Designs

Choose artwork based on the décor of the entire room as it will be seen in a photo, not as a “stand-out” piece on its own. Remember that 97% of homebuyers start their home search online, so the artwork they see is part of a photograph and not viewed in person at first. Also, be aware that viewers form an opinion of what they see in the first 90 seconds, multiple studies show that between 62% and 90% of the opinion is based solely on color. Our recommendation is that artwork supports the look and feel of a room, blending in but also completing it, rather than making it a focal point. -TruPlace

Artwork should be in keeping with the style of the room. In other words, don't use coastal art in a rustic or sophisticated room. Instead, bring interest and variety into the space with art while also being careful that there’s a common theme throughout the pieces being used. Color, style, and size all play into creating a cohesive look. -Bobbett & Associates

How to Pick Art for Staging Your Home


Be selective with your artwork choices

Stay away from artwork that might be considered controversial. One man's fine art might not suit other people’s tastes. Also, stay away from visually busy pieces that draw the eye away from the viewer. -Andrew McGibbon Photography

Having an idea of the demographic is the first step when selecting artwork for your home staging. Ask yourself, “what kind of person is most likely to purchase your home?” Is it a city lights lover? Perhaps a mountain range hiker? Or maybe a rancher in the midwest? Put yourself in the shoes of the buyer and envision what they would like to see. -Brent Loe Photography

When deciding how to pick art for your home when staging for sale, ensure that it fits the feel of the room and isn’t too personalized (like a family photo). For example, if it's a traditionally furnished living room, choose traditional artwork vs. something overly modern. Or, if you are hanging pieces in a child's bedroom, choose something that’s more fun, artsy, and colorful. -Iconic Real Photography

The most important thing to remember when selecting art for staging, is that it needs to be appealing to the masses. Not everyone has the same taste when it comes to art, so select a piece that is simple and neutral, such as an abstract or landscape. Try to avoid anything that may be considered controversial, quotes, or pieces that are overly traditional, which may turn buyers away. -Designs by Bishop

Use art to help you sell the home, remove art that sells you or your story, and instead hang only the art pieces that create feelings of happiness to people outside of your family. Art evokes emotion, and so when staging a home, use art to evoke emotions of happiness, welcome, peace, light, and “upscale style.” For example, remove wedding pictures and personal photos from a bedroom, and hang art with subtle colors and shapes. Softly colored landscapes or abstracts create feelings of peace and light that are very calming and are not too personal. In a living area, use more lively colors and larger pieces, and place them strategically within the room to bring the buyers’ eye to the selling features of the home, such as a fireplace, a wonderful view out a window, or some wonderful built-in shelving. -Home by Hattan



Use artwork as an accent

Use art to speak to buyers without shouting. The art chosen for your space should enhance and showcase the architectural features and decor style of the home. An original abstract art piece can glam up a transitional or modern neutral space, plus add inspiration and color. Having the right style, scale, and color in your art will also trigger a positive psychological response. Medium blue tones are attractive and attracting, plus it’s a calming shade that offers stability and security. Medium blue is a great accent color choice to keep your buyers in the right mindset to determine their purchase offer and get your home sold faster. -Domaine Luxe

Choose art that accents, not interrupt, your space. When selling your home, art should be the accent, not the main focus. Buyers want to feel and appreciate the main features of your home when it's for sale. To support this desire, choose art that's in the right scale/size for a wall or room. Also, make sure the art has mainly neutral colors (beige, grey, black and brown tones) with one or two color elements that complement a color in the room. That way, the buyer can focus on the gorgeous wood floors and the airy high ceilings versus the bright orange painting that you would hang on the wall if you weren't selling your home. -Hart of the Sell

Use artwork to accentuate a home's architectural features. Artwork has the power to guide viewers through the tour and call attention to a home's best features. Choose vertical art pieces to draw eyes upward towards high ceilings and unique moldings. Style a decorative fireplace mantle with a few pieces of art in varying styles and sizes to show the potential of blending historic features and modern styles. -A&S Realty

You can add personality with some drama and color, but do so thoughtfully

Keep it simple, but make it grand. Strategically place large-scale and simple abstract art to create interesting focal points and give buyers a sense of grandeur. Go as big as you can as long as it doesn't distract buyers from a feature. Try to steer away from pieces that are busy with lots of contrasting colors, because that can also distract buyers. -Ball & Jacks Designs

Use abstract art featuring bright and bold pops of color such as teal, mustard, cobalt, or fuschia. These colors catch the buyer’s eye as they search pictures online, while the abstract style lacks distracting or taste-specific details that could potentially turn off a buyer. Also, keep in mind that heavy or dark frames tend to age a home and drag down the overall look of the room, so we usually choose unframed canvas art. This streamlines and unifies the look while remaining fresh and light. -Texas Best Stagers

Go big and bold. Large canvas artwork with a modern element tends to look better on camera than multiple small photos displayed behind reflective glass. More important though is not hanging your artwork too high. Artwork should be hung around eye level with the midpoint of the piece about 57”-60" from the floor. -J.L. Jordan Photography

Don’t be afraid to go the DIY-route

If you’re finding it difficult to locate artwork in the style, size, or color scheme that you need for your space, consider making your own. You can purchase a large, inexpensive canvas, or several canvases in order to make a collage effect at your local craft store. Plus, you can use any leftover wall or craft paint to create an abstract design in exactly the color, size, and style that you need. -Gate City Design

Keep other decor elements in mind when hanging your own artwork. When hanging artwork on your own, it should be 2/3 the width of the furniture it’s hanging above so that it connects with other decor elements in the space. Also, the center of your artwork should be 57-60 inches from the ground. This is the average eye level (and the height art galleries use). Artwork 4-6 inches above your furniture otherwise it will look as though your art is floating. -Delta Home Staging & Redesign

Originally published by Redfin