So you know you’re supposed to take down family photos when you sell your home. The reason is so prospective buyers can imagine themselves living in your home. But what do you replace family photos with?
I have a lot of experience with this because my favorite thing to decorate my walls with is family photos. I had my work cut out for me when we decided to sell our home.
We didn’t just have a few small, framed photos to take down. I used large canvas photos in several key spaces and had some big gallery walls featuring my kids.
In some places, I removed the family pictures and left the wall blank. But there were several other places where the wall felt naked, and I had to find something to hang on it. As much as possible, I repurposed other wall decor. I bought a few pieces but spent less than $100 total, and only invested in wall decor I knew I wanted to take to our next home.
Below are my favorite ideas to replace family photos when selling your home. I included before and after photos so you can see what our home looked like while it was for sale vs. what it looked like while we were living in it.
1. Decorative Mirrors
Mirrors are a life-saver when you need to replace a large canvas or frame. And the mirror doesn’t need to be as big as the piece it’s replacing. In our living room, we had a family portrait hanging in the built-in. I replaced it with a smaller starburst mirror. Not only does the mirror fill the void left from the portrait, but it also makes the room feel bigger and reflects light.
2. Framed Fabric or Decorative Paper
If you have large frames or a gallery wall with many family photos, replace the pictures with pieces of pretty fabric or paper. I’ve done this in the past to create inexpensive art for our guest room. For selling our house, I used fabric in one of the frames in my office.
3. Printable Quotes
For the two larger frames in my office, I designed a pair of printable quotes. One says “Do what you love.” The other continues with, “Love what you do.” They fit the theme of a home office and allowed me to keep the picture ledges and frames in the room. I made my printables in a word-processing program. Etsy is a great resource to find affordable printable art if you don’t want to design your own.
4. Decorative Sign
When I took down the gallery wall in our family room, the wall above the end table felt bare. Instead of getting a large piece to fill the space, I used a sign in a script font that says “gather.” It fits the theme for a family room hang out space. Because it’s an interesting shape, it looks good with a lot of “white space” around it.
When I found the gather sign, I also found this happiness sign. I didn’t need it, but I couldn’t pass it up. It found a temporary home in our mudroom.
On our mantel, we used to have a framed photo of our dog Ryder. For home staging, we removed all pet photos and pet clutter. I replaced the framed photo with this “Let’s Get Lost” sign.
5. Wall Plaque
In our dining room, we had a family portrait and a monogram above the armoire. I removed both and hung a wall plaque in their place. The plaque looks like the top of an old, arched window. I chose one without glass so it’d be easier to pack up later. I like how the arched window mimics the arch of the niche.
6. Local Photography
Sometimes removing your family photos feels like erasing all the personality from your home. But I don’t think that has to be the case. One way you can keep some personality is to swap out family photos with photos of local landmarks. In our basement bar area, we have a gallery wall featuring some of our favorite places in Minneapolis. We left these up when selling our home. I think they’re a fun nod to our home’s locale, and remind buyers how cool it will be to live here.
Sometimes you don’t need a replacement, or it’s not worth worrying about. I couldn’t find the right piece to replace the family portrait that hung in our foyer, so I just left the center niche empty. The new homeowners are keeping the round mirrors in the other two niches and can add their own family portrait in the middle.
Another spot I left empty was this wall in our kitchen. It’s not a main focal wall, so I removed the set of canvases that were hanging there and left it blank. I also removed the chalkboard vinyl on the pantry door.
Here are a few more easy wall decor ideas for home staging:
9. Wall Clock
11. Wall Tapestry
12. Large Map
Remember, your goal with staging a home isn’t to erase your home’s personality. No one wants to buy a boring home or one that looks like every other house in the neighborhood. The goal of home staging is to appeal to as many buyers as possible And to help them imagine themselves living in the home. The seven ideas above are an easy way to replace family photos without losing your home’s personality or style.