This topic, is one of great debate, for Professional Stager’s, Realtor’s and Home-owners alike. The controversy seems, to lie between two points of view and a universal perspective from the Realtor.



‘Why should I get rid of my family photos, doesn’t it make it look like home’?


‘It is best to remove your family photos, so your buyer can visualize themselves in your home’.


It seems that Real Estate Agents, have varying points of view. Some are very much for the De-personalize aspect, while others feel they create an emotional response.

Removing Personal Attachment

Since you are in the business of selling your house, lets look at this objectively, in order to come up with the best solution, for a quick sale!

As a Professional Property Stager, I do agree with that creating a sense of emotion within the house is best practice. But, I also feel in my professional opinion, that it is important to detach yourself from the home, so that your buyer can visualize themselves in your house and make it their home. So where do we go from here?

Well, there are several ways that you can ‘layer in emotion’, without using personal photos. A Professional Property Stager, will have the tools to do just that! So, keep in mind, that family photos, are not the only method in achieving that result. For example; selecting attractive art pieces and mimicking a photo gallery is a successful strategy in achieving the suggestion that, this wall would be a great for a photo gallery.

your total home

Using Personal Photos Effectively

Here is what I think about using personal photos… you can include them in your showcasing if  it is executed correctly.

For example; you can keep a wedding photo on a bedside table in the master bedroom. This evokes a sense of love and is harmonious… a really great energy, for this particular room.

In some cases, family photos can look like art, especially when done by a professional photographer, therefore would be acceptable. For example; black and white close ups of babies feet (who doesn’t like to see babies feet), a pregnant mother’s stomach with dads arms around her etc… make beautiful statement pieces, and are almost generic in that, we actually buy art with babies in them. 

your total home

Personal Photo Tips

Its’ important however, to remember a few key elements, when including this kind of art.

  1. The photos should be larger and proportionate to the scale of the wall.
  2. Close ups are best, to avoid any background clutter, in that, the image is simple and clearly defined. So it looks like art.
  3. Keep the quantity to a minimum number in a grouping, 2, 3 or 4 are best – providing that once again, they are to scale on the wall.
  4. Choose one or two rooms at the most, where you would like to have your personal photos. One in the master bedroom on a bedside table and perhaps one in the babies room. Or select 3 – 4 in a hallway. Less is more! If your groupings are larger numbers, remember to select art that is minimal in detail.
  5. I would not recommend that you use anything smaller than a 16 x 20 frame when making groupings of 2 or 3 on a photo wall. The frame will most likely have a mat and would house an 8 x 10 photo. So the image in a frame this size is already small, it is not beneficial to have an image that is too small, that you cannot actually see it unless you are close up. Or you can remove the mat and just have your 16 x 20 photo occupying the entire frame. Anything smaller will look like visual clutter. Especially in personal photos. Best case scenario is to have your black and white printed on canvas or in a large frame and mat.

Visual Clutter

So I mentioned visual clutter. What is visual clutter? To put it simply… its BUSY!

It is distracting and overwhelming and often creates confusion to the eye. Keep it simple. After all, your buyer is there to see scale and proportion of the room. A great piece of art to create a focal point is perfect for its intention, but anything overdone, just looks clumsy and messy. This is especially true when selling, after all, you don’t want your buyer to walk away remembering your photo gallery and not the house you want them to buy!

Do you notice the beautiful staircase or does the photo gallery take center stage? This is ok in decorating for your style and taste, but to sell, you need to create a focal point for what they are there to see. In this case, it would be the beautiful staircase.

your total home

Final Thought

As a Professional Property Stager, our objective, is to assist your buyer in visualizing themselves living there.

Buyers have to ‘mentally move into your house before they will make it their HOME’. Typically, removing yourself from the equation is best practice.

Buyers only remember what they see, not what it can be!

Depersonalizing means you are ‘moving on‘…it becomes a clean slate for your buyer to personalize it their way and add their emotional touches.

What are your thoughts on depersonalizing? Do you see the value in creating a space that your buyer will visualize as their own?

As always…helping you in caring for your Total Home!

Best of luck on a speedy sale for top dollar!!

Cindy Charbonneau
Professional Property Stager & Interior Decorating

* I have worked with Kat Durant in the past and have had great results