Last minute staging question about artwork

LoriFLAAugust 19, 2012

This is my living room a few years ago. The white paint was pretty while it lasted. I have two boys and it quickly became dingy. We are painting over it with Sherwin Williams Softer Tan. I now longer have artwork over couch (decorator friend said it was too heavy). I had new artwork over couch but put it in storage because we filled nail holes and are painting. The paintings that are in storage are very similar to this:

Should I bring them back and hang them?

Area rug gone. It was getting dingy, too. Threw it away. I have no rug to replace it and I really don't have time or desire to get new one.

Mirror over entry table in storage. Print over keyboard long gone. Leather storage ottomans are in storage. There is a rectangular coffee table in its place. The seasonal accessories are gone. I am replacing with neutral impersonal accessories such as plants and orchids.

My question: Do I have to rehang artwork? I was thinking about leaving no nail holes and just leaning a piece of artwork against bookcase and using plants and accessories to infuse some pizazz. Is it a bad idea to leave walls empty when staging? Thanks so much.

I will post pics as soon as possible with how it looks now. Worried about leaving walls blank but want to.

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I really like that picture that you linked. What size is it? You need something big. I do think you need a few things on the wall. The pictures you had were in competition with the couch. You need artwork that is more of a focal point. You don't need to put pictures everywhere, but I wouldn't hesitate to add them to make the house look good.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 12:42PM
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I like the art that is currently over the sofa, however it needs to be centered over the sofa, it looks like it is currently off center.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 1:35PM
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thanks all! Going to put some up. Will have pics.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 6:24PM
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Use hooks with Command adhesive. They will come right off and not leave a mark when you want them to and no holes needed.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 7:01PM
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I decided to go without the artwork. Hope it isn't a mistake. Realtor here this morning. This is my photo. Realtor took similar shot and will be on MLS. She is coming back this afternoon to take more pics when afternoon exposure is bright in this room. Thanks for all advice. Still have some more work to do as far as pre-packing and making sure garage is clean.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 1:46PM
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I like the "before" picture much, much better, except for the off-center couch pictures. The new paint is nice, perhaps a bit bland, but better than white.
I think the rug defines the space nicely and the ottomans were better than the coffee table.
Except for the stuff on all the horizontal surfaces, I think you were better off "before" than "after".

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 8:59AM
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Any chance of bring back at least the rug and the ottomans?

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 9:43AM
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I think your "after" is beautiful, Lori! I don't miss the art at all. The room looks less cluttered, more spacious, and serene. The pillows add interest and coziness. The paint color is warm and appealing.

You are staging, not decorating, so for the purpose you are working toward, I think you're picture perfect (no pun intended!). What sells a house most, from what I have read, is: clean, uncluttered, and well-maintained. If the rest of your house shows like this get 5 stars on all counts! Good luck with your sale!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 9:45AM
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Cleaning and decluttering are only the first steps to staging. The second steps are to use accessories to sell a lifestyle that they buyer can imagine living. What's being sold here is cold and colorless, despite the new beige paint job.

You need the art and the rug to provide some softness to the austerity. And it needs some color to give it some life. It an be "neutral" like the soft yellow of the pillow, but it needs color and art to avoid sterility.

Staging isn't about erasing personality. It's about giving a room a neutral---but appealing-- personality.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 12:20PM
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I agree with everything livewire said. Bring some life back.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 12:35PM
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Awesome, and this is a case where less is more. Allows your buyer to use their imagination and make it theirs.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 8:40PM
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I agree with live-wire. Do you still have the rug? The room went from cozy to cold. It looks like the wall is too big now.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 10:00PM
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The "before" photo is so much better than the "after" one. The "after" one looks unfinished, boring and sad. The paintings provided much needed height, the rug and ottomans defined focal point, but they are all gone now.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 10:45PM
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Circus Peanut

Bring back the rug and ottomans! You need the rug to ground that space, and to my eye, it was more charming and cohesive before -- funnily enough, a rug makes a huge difference; the 'after' shot looks a bit like a rental where nothing quite goes together.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 7:07AM
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Circus Peanut

PS: if you're worried about buyers thinking you're covering up problems with the wood floor, give your agent permission to fold back the rug if buyers ask. We've done this and it seems to suffice.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 7:08AM
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Having just gone through buying one home, then selling another, my take:

When I saw pictures, artwork, etc on walls, my first thought was 'Oh, no, this room is going to have to be spackled and painted before we can use it'. Do leave the can(s) of new paint you used, labelled by room, if you can, for the buyers.

As a seller, we took everything down, spackled and painted all the rooms. Not necessarily in neutrals, but in nice, colors that were modern and went with the house/rooms, etc. The only decorating we did for staging was things that weren't attached.

Couldn't have been a wrong decision--in the short time our house was on the market, we had over 2 dozen parties go through, several came back for 'second looks' and we signed a contract to sell 6 weeks after we listed. Mind you, that was in this awful economy, in a declining neighborhood, and we got $50,000 more than a very similar house that had sold a few months before ours did. Not saying the clean walls were the ONLY reason for that, but they certainly didn't hurt.

I think your second picture looks fine. The chairs no longer go well in the room, but you can't help that and lookers aren't going to care about your furniture. Bare floors are much better for people looking--we also had most of our floors bare. Potential buyers appreciate being able to see the condition of the entire floor. The one thing that you might change is the conversation pit. It looks very odd in the picture, to have so much space, but then have the chairs and sofa so smooshed together, so that you couln't even walk past someone sitting in one of the chairs to get to the sofa. Makes one wonder if there's either something being hidden, or if it's impossible to arrange the furniture in a more comfortable way in the room. Look, I know conversation areas are the 'in' thing, but just pulling the furniture out a foot or so isn't going to hurt anything and it's going to look a lot less cramped. And remember, not everyone reads the style mags, and many don't have the imagination to picture other options than what you're showing. A more traditional arrangement (even if it's not trendy) may be a better choice for interesting buyers of all ages.

But bottom line? No matter what anyone here says, your best resource is your agent. He or she knows what buyers in your area are likely to be looking for, how other houses compare to yours. Let her/him be the one you really listen to.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 8:13AM
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I think the room looks better with the twin ottomans and the rug. I think the reason is the ottomans don't have skinny legs, like the coffee table. You need a mix of leggy stuff and softer stuff that goes to the floor, the way the ottomans do. It looks friendlier in the before shot. Plus, the rug added a soft texture.

I would take the pillows from the couch, because without them the couch has a clean, horizontal line that expands the space.

The new art should look terrific provided it's big enough. Good for you for taking the time to do this right.

Also, the room would look better if the photo was taken from a lower angle, but I don't know if your realtor does that.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 4:34AM
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