'Tis the season for warmth, joy, and, for real estate agents, the art of holiday home staging.
While you may be tempted to drench every room in festive glory, seasoned professionals know that subtlety is the key to attracting potential buyers when it comes to home staging, even during the holiday season.
This post delves into five holiday staging tips to ensure your listing is elegant, inviting, and festive.
Table of Contents
1. Keep Decorations Subtle
While some of us love to go all out for the holidays with decor, when staging a home, it’s best to keep things tasteful, neutral, and subtle.
One reason is that prospective buyers may celebrate a different holiday than you or the seller. For them to picture themselves in the home, it’s best not to have excessive decorations for one specific holiday.
Also, too many holiday decorations can distract from the home’s features. For example, if there’s a beautiful stone fireplace, you’d want to consider how you can complement it with a few festive decorations rather than covering it with loud, distracting pieces and taking the spotlight from this often sought-after feature.
Lastly, too much clutter in a staged home is typically frowned upon, as it can make the space feel smaller and more crowded. This same rule of thumb applies to holiday staging.
2. Focus on Parts of the Home That Shine Around the Holidays
When we picture ourselves at home around the holidays, specific areas, rooms, or features often draw our attention more than others.
For example, a room with a fireplace may be more appealing than a sunroom as colder weather approaches. Or, the kitchen/dining area may draw more attention as homeowners often entertain guests here rather than the backyard setup (if you’re working in a cold or snowy climate).
So, instead of trying to make every spot in the house stand out, think about these holiday hot spots and stage them to make them feel cozy and inviting.
3. Use Holiday Decor to Enhance Curb Appeal
If your listing isn’t the most eye-catching or beautiful home from the outside, the holidays offer an excellent opportunity to spruce it up and distract from the lack of curb appeal.
Even if your listing is bursting with natural curb appeal, decorating the outside can help this part of the home stand out even more. However, as we mentioned before, try to keep the decor tasteful and minimal if you're decorating the outside.
Here are some dos and don’ts of staging the outside of a home around the holidays to boost curb appeal:
✅ Invest in culturally neutral decorations
✅ Use static lights (e.g., ones that don’t flash)
✅ Choose a few decorations to complement the lights (e.g., a light-up figurine, tree, wreath)
Don’t:⛔ Favor one culture over another when choosing outdoor decor (e.g., avoid religious decor)
⛔ Put up tacky or distasteful decorations (e.g., large inflatable characters, an excessive amount of colorful lights)
⛔ Add flashing lights (these can be dangerous for some potential buyers)
In addition to adding a festive appeal to the property, outdoor holiday decor also allows you to boost the amount of lighting outdoors, contributing to a safer property for night showings.
4. Place and Decorate Trees Strategically
Around the holidays, a tree can be a focal point of the home. When done well, this can boost the overall holiday appeal of the property. However, if done poorly, it can be an eyesore that distracts from the rest of the room.
Here are some tips for making sure the tree complements and doesn’t distract:
- Keep the tree’s decorations uniform and follow one cohesive theme (e.g., gold and red, silver and white). Try to avoid decorating the tree with mismatched or homemade ornaments.
- Choose the space and tree for the best fit. If you’re working with a smaller space, choose a smaller tree so the room doesn’t feel cramped. Or, if you’re working with a larger room with a high ceiling, choose a taller tree so it doesn’t feel out of place.
- Invest in an artificial tree. Picking out a real holiday tree can be an exciting family event. However, when staging a home, it’s best to stick with artificial trees as they often look more polished.
- Keep clutter around the tree minimal. While a train, a climbing Santa, and excessive presents can be inviting when celebrating a holiday, these items are best left out of a staged home. Feel free to wrap a few faux gifts with wrapping paper that matches the tree’s theme. However, try to avoid going overboard and cluttering the tree's base.
5. Remove Personal Decorations
It’s common for families to decorate their homes with personalized holiday items. While the baby footprint mistletoe and homemade ornaments can hold a special place in a family’s design scheme, these items are best left out when staging a property to sell.
There are a few reasons to leave out personal holiday decorations:
Protecting Personal Identities
Holiday decor created at school may have personal information that shouldn’t be shared online (e.g., school name, child’s name, pictures of children, etc.).
If your listing is on a popular site, it’s best to protect the identity of the family members living in the home.
A parent’s homemade decorations from their children are priceless and adorable. However, to a stranger interested in the home they may just add clutter to the property.
Impacts the Illusion of Prospective Buyers' Life in the Home
Part of the reason it’s recommended to keep staging neutral to a home is because the goal is for any prospective buyer to be able to envision themselves in it.
If the property is covered in personalized holiday decor, it can be harder for them to picture their own furniture and decor in the home.
As a listing agent, it’s your job to advise clients on the best practices for selling the property quickly and for top dollar. However, be sensitive when advising clients to take down sentimental decorations for the sake of the property sale.
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By keeping decorations subtle, focusing on the home's holiday hotspots, enhancing curb appeal with tasteful outdoor decor, strategically placing and decorating trees, and delicately removing personal touches, you're not just staging a home—you're creating a canvas for a buyer's dreams.
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