The Art of Selling a Home

The Art of Selling a Home hero image
We all know how important home staging is in selling real estate – but increasingly, art is playing a crucial role in home staging

Selling a home is like being on stage. Home stagers, builders and real estate agents know all too well that you have to set the scene for every different act, for every room. Everyone also agrees that there are certain basic tenets to selling your home – clean, declutter, depersonalize (no personal photos on the walls), paint and fix broken things around your home.

However, have you ever considered that original art can play a role in selling your home?

“Art can make or break the mood when a potential client views a home,” says Laura Davis, of Laura Davis Designs. “It is important that the art showcased in a sale situation be tasteful and neutral. You want to create a sense of anonymity.”

Jean Burns, home stager and owner of JB Home Staging, agrees. Beautiful artwork is a major contributing factor to many of her home staging projects, she says.

“Art brings energy and soul to a home,” she adds.

Specialist Home Staging Art Rentals

When Davis or Burns need to rent original art work, they call upon Fort Langley artist Lori McPhee.

A transplanted Montrealer, McPhee has been painting for more than 25 years. An Emily Carr University of Art + Design graduate, the artist rents her paintings to help enhance the beauty of each home. McPhee creates many acrylic paintings specifically to match a wide variety of decoration styles and colour palettes.

She has more than 800 paintings in her rental portfolio – abstracts, landscapes, florals, modern and textured art, to name a few. Typically, each home requires between six to 10 pieces of art work.

“I began by creating art work for lottery homes, such as the Hometown Heroes,” says McPhee. “I also knew a lot of interior designers who believed in original art work and we started collaborating together. It snowballed from there”

She works with numerous interior designers, builders and renovators across the Lower Mainland, charging a rental fee anywhere from $10 to $35 per month (depending on the size of the canvas).

Her art for staging is appropriate to any size and style of house or condominium. If a home needs a splash of bold colour, she has it. If a home needs a touch of modern elegance, a traditional look or a dash of rustic, she has paintings to suit all three styles. If whimsy is required, she can paint it.

Marketing a Vision

Both Davis and Burns say staging art is simply another component in marketing someone’s home so that it sells quickly and for a good price. It's used to fill empty walls with the right size, colour and style that will create excitement in a prospective buyer and make them want to purchase the house.

This is how it typically works says Burns: “After meeting with the client, I assess their home and style along with what will work colour wise in each room. Then I engage Lori.”

For Burns, she describes to Lori the colour scheme and fabrics she plans to use. Then Lori visits the house and/or visits the warehouse to see the furniture, and from there she has a clear idea of what art will work best in the home Burns is staging.

With all stagers, McPhee also collaborates with the client on the art sizes, style and overall attractiveness so that it blends well with their existing furnishings. “They always love and appreciate how we integrate everything especially as they are often living in their home until the sale and are paying for the rental,” adds the veteran stager. “It's a fabulous way for them to have customized artwork for a fraction of the purchase cost.”

Tricks of the Trade

So how does McPhee choose what art will work best? “I pick up details from the home or its location, whether it’s the detailing on a fireplace, a wall or window treatment or from the nature outside a beachfront home for example,” says McPhee, adding last year she worked on 80 homes.

Inspired by those elements, she will go through her portfolio to find the best pieces, or if McPhee can’t find a suitable one, she will create a new piece of art work.

“Lori has an amazing talent to do just about any art style or medium you ask her to do. In a situation where we are creating originals, what I love about Lori is that she does not take it personally when the client is not feeling it yet,” she says, adding art is very personal and it varies depending on the space.

Top Tips For Using Art in Home Staging

  • Bold, brilliant, alive colours have a wow factor.
  • For the best impact, incorporate the colours within the room in the art work.
  • Choosing frames that are similar can make your art stand out more.
  • Stick with a coherent theme in the artwork.
  • Think of the art and the furniture it is closest to as a single component.
  • Hang pictures within four to six inches of the furniture.
  • Mix up small, medium and large art works.
  • Don't overdo it by covering the walls with too much art … less is more!
  • Include at least one substantial piece of art on your largest, most visible wall.

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