Staging Tips: 5 Rules for Tackling Walls

By Erica Christoffer, Contributing Editor, REALTOR® Magazine

Walls are a key element of home staging. They are the canvas showcasing the greatest attributes of a house. But where do you start when preparing a home for sale? Staging Diva Debra Gould, president of Toronto-based Six Elements Inc., offers up five rules of thumb for handling walls in home staging.

1. Remove personal pictures: Those wedding portraits and baby pictures have to come down, as do diplomas and awards. Personal items such as these are distracting to potential buyers. You want them to focus on the home itself, not who the current home owners are.

2. Pay attention to the condition of the walls: If the walls are beat up, dirty or chipped, it can distract a buyer and negatively impact the sale price. “Paint is the cheapest, easiest, and fastest fix you can do on a house,” says Gould. The colors, she says should be fairly neutral, but not to the point of boring.  Select an interesting neutral color palette with three to four tones, or colors that compliment the existing features of the room.

3. Hang mirrors: Big or small, round or square—there is a mirror out there for every style of home. “Mirrors are a great way to visually enhance a room and to help the room appear brighter,” says Gould. Mirrors can provide subtle stylish appeal or an anchoring focal point. Another benefit: they don’t cost a lot! But it is important to think about what the mirror will reflect—avoid unattractive or cluttered areas of the home.

4. Get some art: Select art work that accents the best qualities of a room. No controversial pieces, violent scenes, or religious art. “With staging, what you want to do is enable the buyer’s eye to move around the room and take in everything,” says Gould, and the art should help achieve that goal, not hinder it.

Don't hang art too high. It must visually relate to the furniture under it. Photo Courtsey of Debra Gould,

Don’t hang art too high. It must visually relate to the furniture under it. Photo Courtesy of Debra Gould,

5. Stay in proportion: Small pieces of décor get can get lost on large walls, while giant prints can be overbearing in an area with only a little wall space. Mirrors, paintings, and other elements of décor should relate to the furniture around it, Gould says. Consider the composition before you get out the hammer.

Internationally recognized home staging expert Debra Gould is president of Six Elements Inc. and creator of the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program. An entrepreneur for 20 years and author of several guides, Debra has staged millions of dollars worth of real estate and uses her expertise to train others worldwide. She also offers a Directory of Home Stagers and a free home stager locator service. For more information, visit

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This post was contributed exclusively for REALTOR® Magazine.

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  1. I totally agree, needs to remove mostly personal pictures. When I went to somebody’s house full of personal pictures, I felt so overwhelmed.

  2. Vicki Olson

    I agree that paint is one of the impact full things you can do for a room. The right color makes a huge difference. Always make sure you take care of blemishes and holes before you paint. I recently did a small bathroom for a couple and they were afraid because I wanted to use a caramel color, they thought it would be too dark. They let me have my way and absolutely loved the change. They said it felt warm and cozy and didn’t make the room look small at all. A new shower curtain and a few smaller art pieces and the bathroom was a hit!

  3. Paint color makes a huge impact on a room and a home. It conveys a message to visitors, homeowners and buyers alike. I have seen plenty of homes with dreadful colors and in terrible condition. After recommending color choices to one client I received a call complimenting the color choices for her home. It totally changed the feeling of her home.

  4. A small investment in paint definitely makes a huge impact! I staged a home with bold colors in many of the rooms. We chose a palette of neutrals in a flat sheen(to cover blemishes). Splashes of color with throw pillows and accessories made each room feel inviting to potential buyers!

  5. Wall art can often be the piece that ties all the colors in a room together. I staged a master bedroom that had light neutral walls, but had dark, bright royal blue carpet. With no budget for new carpet, I had to make it work. So, I made some fabric wall art to hang above the bed. I used a piece of fabric that cost $2.50. It had a light neutral background with large retro flowers in green and royal blue. Against the light wall color and with light neutral bedding, all I added was a blue vase on the dresser to carry the blue to the other side of the room. It turned out great ! And the blue carpet was not so intimidating to buyers. They could see how to could make the carpet work. The house sold 2 weeks later.

  6. Tracey Phillip of S.O. $. home staging

    A freshly painted room speaks volumes when selling your house. One of the bedrooms of a house I staged had a several different shades of green and yellow as the “feature” of the room. All I did was suggested to paint the room a neutral colour and BAM….what a difference! That’s all we did with that room and the house sold within 10 days!

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