Staging Your Home for Sale During the Holidays

home staging holidays

One of the most exciting decorating seasons is finally upon us! Most homes look their best (and certainly their most festive) during the holidays, but if you’re staging your home to sell, your decorating goals should be a bit different. You want to convince buyers to buy your home–not spend a morning opening presents with you. Because early nightfall, cold wet weather, and holiday distractions typically make December a slow time for real estate sales, paying special attention to how you stage your home during the holidays can make a big difference in convincing potential buyers to get out and take a look!

Declutter, Clean, and Stage

Adding holiday decor on top of an already messy house is a recipe for disaster when selling. First, pack away the excess, scrub, and dust, rearrange furniture if necessary. Then you can think about adding decor.

Think “Seasonal,” Not “Holiday”

Pack away nativity scenes and menorahs for this year, as overtly religious decor may be distracting for some buyers. Warm wintry touches like candle arrangements, pinecones, and cozy throw pillows and blankets are a great way to nod to the season instead. Hopefully, next year you’ll be celebrating the holidays in your new home, complete with any religious/holiday decor you choose! Special note: Keep ANYTHING holiday-related or even seasonal out of your listing photos. Leaving holiday decor in your photos is a giant time stamp letting buyers know exactly how long your house has been sitting on the market. If you need to put out some decor, do it after photos!

This is a good example of seasonal decor that’s not necessarily holiday-specific. But again, wait until after photos are taken to display this. If the market slows way down and your house is still on the market in February, you’ll be sad to have listing photos with pine tree decor.

Light the Way…Gently

A few strings of white lights that highlight your home’s architectural features are ok, but leave it at that. Avoid inflatable penguins and plastic Santa/reindeer displays in the yard.

Use a Neutral Palette

If you absolutely must have holiday decor, add a few touches in a neutral palette (and again, add it after your photos have been taken). Simple ornaments in gold and silver are more neutral than bright red and green decor.

Set the Mood

When staging your home for sale during the holidays, romance your buyers by making them feel at home! Invite them to stay with a cozily heated atmosphere (or if you’re in Texas like me, with the A/C turned to an appropriate level), soft classical or light jazz playing throughout the home at low volume, and a small plate of homemade holiday treats (if you’re not worried about crumbs or stains). Note: Don’t go overboard on artificially scented potpourri or candles. Research shows that simple, natural scents, like pine or cinnamon, can be more effective at enticing buyers. Take a look at our recipes for holiday-inspired simmering potpourri for an inexpensive way to add a gentle, natural fragrance.

Less is More

Tone it down while your home is on the market, especially for the photos! Remember: your listing photos may stay on the Internet long after the holidays are over, making it easy for buyers to know exactly how long your home has been sitting on the market.

We Can Help!

If you need help staging your home for sale during the holidays, take a look at the services we offer homeowners all across the country!

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About Vannessa Rhoades
About Vannessa Rhoades

Vannessa Rhoades is the author of Just Right! Easy DIY Home Staging: Second Edition and founder of Three Bears Home Staging®. She is an HSR Certified Professional Home Stager™ and Certified Expert E-Designer™ and has staged and consulted on hundreds of properties in person throughout the Houston metro area and virtually across the country.


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