Living Room Staged For Holidays

7 Tips For Staging Your Home During The Holidays

Katie Ziraldo5 minute read
December 16, 2021

While you might think of November and December as a time to get cozy for the holidays, it’s still an active period in the housing market, with nearly 6.8 million homes sold during December 2020. But staging during the holidays can get a little tricky. Should you trim your tree, or do you need to leave your home bare? Can you bring out some family holiday decor or will that turn off potential buyers?

In this article, get some expert answers to all your questions about selling a home during the holidays.

Selling Your House At Christmas: How To Add Holiday Cheer To Your Home Staging

Spring is the most popular time to sell, but there are a few distinct advantages to choosing to sell your home during the holiday season. First and foremost, because it’s a less popular time for homes to go on the market, there is less housing inventory, which means your home inherently has less competition when appealing to prospective buyers.

Still, it’s always a good idea to take steps to make your home stand out, so let’s look at some of the best ways to stage your home for the holidays.

1. Consider Curb Appeal

The leaves are falling and things look a little drearier outside at the end of the year, so focusing on boosting your home’s curb appeal is a good place to start. Curb appeal refers to the attractiveness of a property when viewed from the street, and because this is what potential buyers are going to see first, positive curb appeal can have a serious impact on your home’s image.

In addition to keeping your front yard tidy, we recommend keeping up with current trends in plants and planters and getting expert input when possible. Ashley Baskin, a licensed real estate agent and advisory board member for Home Life Digest suggests ways to bring festive elements outside. “Use some holiday decor to add pops of color that draw attention to the entryway,” she says. “Consider poinsettias and evergreens in planters, gourds and pumpkins on the front porch or a nice wreath on the front door.”

2. Focus On Lighting

Lighting is an important consideration when staging your home, and during the darker autumn and winter days, you’ll want to add additional focus here. Walking into a terribly lit room doesn’t create the inviting mood you want to help showcase your home to potential buyers.

“Nothing is more inviting than a softly lit, cozy atmosphere where home buyers can imagine themselves curling up on the couch with blankets and Netflix,” advises Marty Basher, designer with Modular Closets.

And pay attention to the hue you choose. “Proper lighting not only promotes the mood sellers wish to evoke, but also they trick the eye with how buyers perceive a room,” says Basher. “White light mimics natural light and makes space feel more expansive, perfect for small bathrooms and bedrooms. Yellow light, on the other hand, promotes that comfy-cozy feel that homeowners want for their TV rooms or larger bedrooms.”

3. Holiday Decorations Are OK In Moderation

Feel free to break out your box of decorations, though you might want to be a little selective with what you showcase. Too many decorations can start to make a room feel smaller. Baskin says to remember that keeping the space open can give the interior a larger feel.

You also might want to steer clear of spiritual items. “Avoid overtly religious decor so that the home will appeal to the widest pool of buyers possible. Fall decorations lend themselves well to this – minimal, but noticeable,” advises Baskin.

Create your seasonal decor with a little Mod Podge and natural elements, suggests Basher. You can create “a number of inexpensive and colorful decorations that capture the season’s spirit – from gold leaves in frames for the wall to delicate leaf bowls for apple-cinnamon-scented pinecones. Fill a clear vase with golden winter wheat and dahlias for the dining table, or try pumpkins dipped in silver glitter, or any desired color.”

4. Be Strategic With The Tree

Don’t want to skip the Christmas tree? Don’t worry, you can still include it, and it can even be used to highlight certain assets in your home like vaulted ceilings. Brett Elron, lead interior designer at BarterDesign.co, offers suggestions to help you get the right tree for your home.

“If you are staging a home that has high ceilings – 9 or 10 feet plus – then I love to show them off with a tall tree,” he advises. “That being said, if you are going to display a tall tree, I tend to lean toward tall and skinny trees. The width of a large tree can actually make rooms look smaller and more cluttered as the branches take up significant space.”

If the room is small or lacks high ceilings, you might want to forgo having a tree to avoid making the room feel smaller.

As for decorating, Elron suggests sticking with a singular pattern, like a simple red theme with garland and red ornaments. But he offers words of caution about specific kinds of decorations. “Don’t put up any personalized ornaments like child-created ornaments or family ornaments; it can actually detach potential buyers from the home.”

5. Think Cozy

Holidays aside, this season is the time of year when you want to hunker down and get cozy. And what says “cozy” better than blankets and pillows? Rather than focusing solely on holiday décor, consider balancing out the decorations you have with some cozy items. “Think winter and cozy versus just holiday season when staging during this time, along the lines of chunky, furry throws and pillows, oversized hurricane vases with votives and large festive hot chocolate mugs displayed in the kitchen,” recommends Basher.

6. Light A Fire

There are few things more comforting than a roaring fire on a cold day. If your home is in a colder climate and you have a working fireplace, take the time to show it off. If its wood burning, it can be a good idea to arrange a few logs even if they aren’t lit.

And if you really want to kick things up, have a fire going when you show your home – just make sure to check local guidelines for no burn days.

7. Engage The Other Senses

While you might be focused on decorations you can see, don’t forget there are other senses you can engage when staging a home.

Amy Freedman, a real estate expert and broker at UpFlip, has had sellers find success when they play music at open houses. “A little touch of music in a bright interior is sure to engage a potential buyer,” she says. “Playing soft music at a low but audible volume can make your home look more peaceful. When mingled with glittering interiors, quiet music can make a place seem more lively and remarkable. This is also a trick which some sellers use in charging more than the value for their home.”

And what’s better than being greeted with the faint scent of the holidays? “Use potpourri, bake a pie, or heat some cinnamon and water on the stove,” suggests Lori Brasseur, an interior decorator, stager and home/DIY blogger at Our Repurposed Home. “I use pine-scented sticks in my artificial tree to bring in that fresh-cut tree smell. Just don’t go overboard with scents – a potential buyer may have sensitivities to fragrance.”

Staging your home for the holidays takes a little more thought, but using just a few simple holiday staging tips, you can make your home feel warm and inviting. Boost your curb appeal, be strategic with your tree and engage all the senses to truly make your house stand out to prospective buyers through the holiday season.

Need more help selling your home? Learn about the benefits of selling with an agent.

Katie Ziraldo

Katie Ziraldo is a financial writer and data journalist focused on creating accurate, accessible and educational content for future generations of home buyers. Her portfolio of work also includes The Detroit Free Press and The Huffington Post.