Home (Staging) for the Holidays

Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays, but homes are often on the real estate market during this time.  If you’re tempted to decorate for the holidays like you have in the past, you might want to rethink that.  By the very nature of the word … decorate … a critical principle of good home staging has been violated.  Remember … home staging is NOT decorating.

So what are you to do?  Skip the holidays??  Well, not exactly, but you’re going to have to show a significant amount of constraint.  You can still make your home festive, but you will need to follow a few guidelines:

  • A festive wreath on your front door is fine, but no Christmas lights or wreaths in every window.  Keep the wreath to simple greenery and organic elements of the season like pine cones and berries.                                                                                                               
  • Instead of the typical poinsettia plant in the entryway, try a beautiful Christmas lily.  If your home’s color palette already has pops of red, a red-streaked amaryllis can be festive and welcoming, but no-fail white will work too.                                                                                      
  • Decorations in the main living space should be limited as well. Think greenery and organics.  Showcase a beautiful stairway with an evergreen swag, but skip the Christmas tree this year.                                
  • If you can’t live without the sparkle and shimmer, a few well-placed silver or gold candlesticks on the dining room table may have to do or purchase a few shiny baubles that complement your home’s color palette.  Again, don’t get carried away.  If your color palette includes blue, fill a large, clear vase with blue and silver ornaments.  A carefully crafted display on the mantel will let a beautiful fireplace be the star of the room without hanging any stockings with care.                                                                                                   
  • Confine interior holiday decorations to the entryway, the main living space, and the dining room table.  Again, think minimalist with your holiday additions.  You will also want to keep your religious artifacts packed away this year.

Speaking from experience, your home is NOT going to feel like its holiday self if you use these guidelines.  If you are accustomed to your home dripping in holiday décor, these suggestions probably just annoy you.  But you do have options.

If you already have your home listed, ask your realtor to remove your home from the market until after the first of the year.  Many realtors will simply amend/extend the contract. Likewise, don’t list your home with a realtor until after the 1st of January. Decorate until your heart is content, and enjoy one last holiday blowout in your home.

Whether you refuse to accept the “restricted holiday decorating” premise or not, at least be sure that your real estate photos are taken BEFORE you add any holiday décor.  Nothing says “stale listing” like seeing a photo of a living room with a Christmas tree in the middle of January.

A special note to builders and investors who have had their properties professionally staged:  resist the urge to call your Home Stager and ask for holiday décor to be added.  I doubt that any Home Stager will refuse to add holiday décor, but you will probably be emphatically discouraged from this request and met with additional cost for the installation, the rental, and the timely removal of the décor.

Selling a home is stressful enough without compounding those feelings with holidays that just feel wrong.  Many realtors may disagree with these guidelines, but as a Home Staging Professional, I cannot recommend otherwise.  So, as the holidays draw near and you want to be happy in a million ways, for the holidays you may just want to wait a bit to market your home sweet home.

I just read "Home (Staging) for the Holidays" at Suite Effects.com. Check it out!

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