The Dos and Don’ts of Holiday Home Staging

Home staging

While decorating a home is focused around personal selections for those living in the space, staging a home means removing these personal items to create a neutral space that appeals to potential buyers.

However, just because your home is listed during the holidays, doesn’t mean you need to damper your merry spirit. It is possible to maintain a festive feel while facilitating an environment that helps buyers envision their own future holidays in the home.

Employ these seasonal home staging “dos and don’ts” to gain an extra selling edge this time of year.

Don’t decorate until the home is staged

Let the holiday decor be a subtle complement to staging efforts, not the other way around.

Before minimally decorating for the holidays, ensure the home is properly staged: remove all personal items such as photos and anything overtly religious; clear clutter and knick-knacks; eliminate extra furniture; touch-up scratches, holes and dents; and add more light sources, if necessary.

Then, incorporate subtle nods to the holiday season.

Do keep the decor neutral.

Maintain neutrality in color, decor and symbols. Focus on a winter theme, not a holiday-specific theme that could alienate potential buyers who celebrate different holidays and cultural milestones than you do.

Keep your treasured holiday collections packed away until you move into your new home, and avoid displaying greeting cards this year.

This will ensure your home looks less kitschy, and more like a home ready to receive multiple offers.

Don’t ignore proportions

If displaying a tree is your tradition and you just can’t skip it, make sure its size is in proportion to the room.

A large tree in the main living space may make the room appear smaller than it really is, so opt for a smaller decorative tree.

However, if you have tall ceilings or a two-story family room, a tall tree may positively accentuate the size of the room.

Additionally, scale back on tree trimming; hang several strings of white lights, but omit your ornament collection this year.

Do create a consistent color scheme

Create a uniformed look so buyers can focus on the unique home features, and not the different patterns of your nutcracker collection.

Coordinate the minimal holiday decor with the existing color palette to create a streamlined look. If your home is mainly decorated in light, neutral hues, stick to a natural seasonal theme by incorporating greenery, birchwood and white lights.

If your home’s decor has a bolder, richer color scheme, lighten up the space by hanging white lights on the tree, mantle and doorways.

Don’t show a lifeless home

Winter showings are the perfect opportunity to help potential buyers envision themselves relaxing by the fire, enjoying a meal, or hosting a gathering. Arrange fresh evergreen on the mantle to highlight this focal point — but skip the stockings.

Set the mood with a simple inviting centerpiece on the dining room table and a spiced cider on the stove to help potential buyers envision their next holiday in the home.

Do accentuate to sell

Display holiday decor strategically to accentuate your home’s best selling features.  Do you have a beautiful staircase? Hang garland and a string of lights along the railing.  Or what about a stunning bay window? Display electric candles to light up the room.

Don’t outshine the neighbors

Dim the exterior holiday lights to focus on winter warmth, instead of holiday overload. Eliminate lawn ornaments and colorful bulbs, and use minimal white lights to frame the front door or the home’s perimeter.

If outdoor decorations are a must for you, hang a simple winter wreath on the front door for a welcoming first impression.

Written by Deanna Kane
Deanna Kane is an interiors, home decor, and real estate writer. She enjoys taking on her own home renovation and design projects, and staying current on the local real estate market.