Saturday, October 25, 2014

Five Mistakes Home Stagers Can't Make When Choosing Art

Sex and religion: a double whammy!
Home staging has been bashed for stripping a home of personality for the sake of a generic look. To this I say, “What’s wrong with generics if that’s what sells your home?”

There’s no accounting for taste. Or, as my grandfather would say, (rather than say “What the heck was that guy thinking?”)De gustibus non est disputandum,” which translates from the Latin as, “In matters of taste, there is no logic.”

He loved Latin

You might want the art on your walls to be an expression of your taste, but it better not be too expressive.

One easy way to make your art more generic is to avoid the mistakes common to these subject areas: Sports, vulgarity, politics, religion, and (surprise!) people's faces.

Sports

Sports loyalties are a big deal all over the globe. Some team rivalries are intense, so the safest route to a purchase offer is to keep your sports preferences a secret. Why alienate someone interested in buying your home? There are so many posters and paintings that are suitable for staging, ones that are easy to DIY or easy to buy, that hanging a NASCAR poster doesn’t make good sense. 

One exception might be vintage sports photos or similar archival images (not you in your high school basketball uniform). 
 
Vulgar

Vulgar is a word we don't hear that often. Instead we say, "sexually explicit," or even "politically incorrect."

Like obscenity, you know vulgar when you see it. Nudity is one of those controversial issues. Nude paintings have their place in art history, but to some people even Venus de Milo will be embarrassing. 

Always err on the side of caution whenever displaying artworks that include even vaguely sexually suggestive content. If you even think it might raise some eyebrows, then it probably will for some people. Remember that buyers often come from other cultures and other countries. We all have different sensibilities. 

So wrong on so many levels.
Political

Maybe you are the precinct chairman of the local GOP.

Maybe you worked on the Al Gore campaign. 

Let’s just say you have the posters or photos declaring your political passions. Even if you have a photo of you shaking hands with JFK, Ronald Reagan, or Martin Luther King, now’s the time to pack them into storage. Or cover them up with other, more benign, art for the time being. When your home is on the market is not the time to win votes, convert the undecided, or announce your political persuasions. Sorry.

Religious

I’m going to tread lightly here because I know how important faith is to people. It’s your call if you want to share your belief system with the art in your home when it’s for sale. Buyers will make decisions about the kind of person you are – to your benefit or not. My personal opinion is that the less the buyer knows about you, the seller, the better. It’s a factor of successful negotiating.
 
Buyers may not want to deal with someone they feel is either condemned forever, or else someone who would judge them negatively for their own personal religious beliefs. Spiritual beliefs run very deep, understandably so because along with our social mores, they form the core of value system and therefore our actions. 
  
Faces

Have you ever driven in traffic and suddenly become aware that the driver in the next car over is looking at you? Yeah, even our peripheral vision is attuned to full front faces. It must be hard-wired in our brains.

Faces command attention, so for this reason, I always suggest that if you are staging your home, you should avoid using artwork that includes faces.

Your job as stager is to keep people noticing the assets of your home, uninterruptedly.

People touring a home want to “own” a room as soon as they enter it, not enter and be confronted with the presence of a stranger. It’s subtle, but that’s what home staging is all about – subtleties.
   
Does this “rule” apply to pretty watercolor paintings of children playing at the beach? Or etchings of Classical Greek statues? No.  I’m referencing pictures like the examples shown here.

You’ll know when a face takes over a room.

My Message
Political opinions are a hot button topic. 

Do not fear the generic. It keeps you out of land mine territory.

If making your home a house rather than a home bothers you, remember that it’s only temporary. "Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis," means "Times change, and we change with them." [winking to Grandpa]

I hope your home staging efforts are making your home more beautiful and a pleasure to live in. For more encouragement, tips on cleaning, decluttering, furniture arrangement, window treatments, curb appeal, and everything else that makes a home attractive to buyers, download my $4.99 eBook, DIY Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home Fast and for Top Dollar.  

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