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  • Writer's pictureDebbie DeMarais

What to Do With Your Art Studio When You Sell Your House

As a home stager in Santa Fe, I’ve seen plenty of homes with artists' spaces. These are perhaps the most personal rooms in the entire house and it can be tough to dispassionately look at the space through the eyes of a potential buyer. But when your home is on the market, every space matters.

If you have an artist studio or craft space, here’s how to make sure it looks its best—so your home sale pulls in top dollar.

Vacant or occupied?

The first consideration is whether you’ll be living in your home while it’s on the market. If the home will be vacant, a home stager can turn your art studio into what most appeals to buyers.

In cities with a strong art community like Santa Fe, I often recommend staging certain spaces as art studios. Remember, home staging is often aspirational, helping buyers see potentials and possibilities. While everyone may not be an artist, having people associate your home with creativity can be a very positive thing.

Fiber arts studio with neatly arranged yarn, shelving, and a worktable with computer.
Still need a working studio while selling your home? That's fine. Just make sure it stays tidy.

Your art studio while your home is on the market

If you’ll be living in your home while it’s on the market, you don’t have to decommission your studio entirely. But some changes will have to be made.

Art-making is inherently messy, so this poses a problem. To make sure your place of inspiration is an inspiration to others, the first (and probably toughest) step is paring down what’s in there. I recommend removing 70 percent of what’s in the space. That’s a lot. That means for every ten items, seven should be packed up.

One big benefit here is that you’ll have a major jump start on packing for your eventual move. The guideline I recommend is boxing up everything you won’t use in the next two months. Inspirational magazines or clippings. Older pieces you’ve finished working on. Less-used supplies.

Beautiful home studio in Santa Fe with clerestory windows, vigas, a tidy work table and an easel.
In an art town, showing a potential studio space to buyers can increse the appeal of a home.

Clear, open, empty spaces

The amount of time buyers spend in a home at an open house is relatively brief, generally around 20 minutes. Divide that by the number of rooms, the outdoor spaces, etc and that's only a few minutes per space. On first glance, the buyers should see clean, open surfaces with very little on top of tables and counters. Anything that can be kept in drawers or cupboards, should be tucked away.

The same general principle applies to your walls. While they shouldn’t be totally empty—this is an art studio—the selection should be pared down to a few pieces. Overwhelming the space with your work will distract from the space, after all, you’re literally selling the walls, not your work.

Instead of picking your “favorite” pieces, try going for pieces that have the broadest appeal. I know that’s a complicated consideration for any artist to make, but my advice is to go with pieces you find calming and cool. Neutrally hued pieces if you have any. Or those that aren’t overly busy.

Well organized fiber arts studio with colored yarn, fabrics, and a work table.
Taking a break from art-making while selling your home allows you to organize a space for maximum aesthetic appeal.

Accept that your creative process will alter

You’ll still want to use your studio while your home is on the market. In fact, periods of change can spark creativity. But you never know when a showing request may come in, so keeping your art space as neat as possible is critical.

For some, this may not prove difficult, for most artists, however, the creative process tends to dominate a space. So this may be the time to focus on smaller-scale projects, or pieces that don’t require as many supplies or materials.

If you only manage to get your space 100 percent dialed-in and neat as a pin for one single day, make sure that day is the day when the photographer shows up for the real estate photos. Online images are critically important and making sure your art space looks neat, clean, and pared down will help your home sell quickly and for the highest bid possible.

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