3 Tips on Decorating Your House for the holidays when you’re selling your house

Updated: November 25, 2020

You’re selling your home over the Christmas holidays, your house is staged and looks amazing but you’re not sure if you should add some Christmas or holidays decorations to the house or not.  On one hand, the house will look more festive, especially since everyone, houses, stores, offices etc now decorate for the holidays.  Without ANY holiday decorations, the house looks stark.  But on the other hand, will it turn people off? Not everyone celebrates Christmas after all.

1. Keep the decorations simple & appropriate to the style of your home

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A couple of years ago, I was asked to do a quick stage and fluff for a house that was just coming on the market a week before Christmas. I was told by the realtor not to be shocked by the amount of the Christmas decorations because the family liked decorating for the holidays. She asked me if I could gently help the client scale back a bit. I pulled up to the house to find a very big sled on the lawn filled with wrapped “presents.” I walked through the house and found that every. single. room. was decorated. And I mean decorated. Even the boy’s room had a beautiful Christmas tree, and Christmas bedding to co-ordinate.

Whatever area you’ve decided to decorate,the decorations need to be simple, not too fancy or ornate, festive and appropriate to the style of your home. For example, if your home is contemporary, then your decorations should be contemporary.  Likewise if your house is traditional, your decorations should be traditional.

2. Pick 2 or 3 areas to decorate. Don’t overdo it!

It’s fun to decorate our house for the holidays.  We’re having lots of guests over and we want to show off our decorations.  However, if we have our house listed for sale during the holiday season, we want to keep the amount of decorations throughout the house down to a minimum. You don’t want to decorate every single room in the house like decorations down to a minimum.  e front for curb appeal with a wreath or an urn, or decorating the inside mantle, an entry table, a coffee table or putting up a Christmas tree,

Pick 2 or 3 areas at the most to decorate. Decorate your curb appeal, your entry way table and/or your mantel.

Decorate your front porch

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Curb appeal is important when getting your house ready to sell because a potential buyer could keep driving by if they don’t like what they see. You can make your curb appeal shine by using one or two of these ideas. But we careful, don’t overdo it like our first photo. lol

Make a beautiful planter by picking up some fresh evergreen and festive items at your local store and put them in your urn that were using from the summer.

Photo: Beautiful Urn by Your Space By Design

Pick up a beautiful wreath from your local store to hang from your front door.

Beautiful traditional wreath from  Pier 1 Imports

Your front hall entryway

Imperial Pine Wreath

Your front entryway is also a spot to make a good first impression. This area sets the tone of your home. It will either say welcome, come on in, or not. Again, decorative, fun and simple are key principles to follow here.

This entryway table idea above from Wayfair is festive and decorative but simple and elegant at the same time. It would be a shop stopper for your entryway or you could put this above your mantel instead.

Decorate your mantel

Your mantel needs some sort of decoration. It can be festive and simple like the fern below stretched across the mantel, an assortment of candles & candle holders, or the wreath in a picture frame idea that we see above from Wayfair.

Very a simple but effective decorative mantel.  Via This decoration would fit into either a traditional or contemporary styled home.

The Holiday Aisle® Christmas Wreath |

This wreath on a wood frame from Wayfair, is very decorative and festive. It would look really nice above your entryway table or your fireplace mantel. This style above would fit into a transitional, farmhouse type style, or traditional type of home. Remember that your decorations need to be appropriate to the style of your home.

Decorate your Christmas Tree

Of course a house wouldn’t be complete, without a Christmas tree. Make sure that your Christmas tree is fitting for your room in terms of size and style of decoration. Typically we’ll have a large Christmas tree to fit lots of decorations under the tree and it takes up the space of a large arm chair. Consider decorating a smaller tree this year, or perhaps you may need to move some furniture out if the addition of your tree makes the room overcrowded. This room on the left is too crowded making this family room look smaller than it actually is. The homeowner needs to either put in a smaller tree (preferable) or remove the wing backed chair to clear up some floor space and make the room inviting.

When decorating your house for the holidays, don’t overdo it! It will be a turnoff to buyers. Less is more. Pick 2 – 3 areas of your home to decorate. Keep the decorations simple & appropriate to the size of the space and style of your home. Don’t use religious decorations. If the decorations wouldn’t be appropriate for a store or an office, don’t use them in your home when selling your house over the holidays.

3. Keep It Neutral – NO Religious Theme

Do you remember when you staged your house that you had to remove all personal and religious items?  The same rule applies for holiday decorations.  Keep the decorations neutral.  All decorations regardless if its the mantelpiece, the urn at the front door or the Christmas tree, there can’t be any family or religious decorations.  That includes Johnny’s first hand-made Christmas ornament when he was five years old. That needs to be tucked away.3-tips-decorating-house-for-holidays-when-selling-your-home

Some people would argue that Christmas is a religious holiday and thus they can display their religious traditions.  The fact is however, the majority of people that celebrate the holidays do not celebrate the religious aspect to Christmas.  So unfortunately, your religious items need to be tucked away while your home is listed for the holidays.  Remember: you want to appeal to 80 to 90% of the population when your home is listed.

Designer Tip:  A question to ask yourself is would your holiday decorations fit into a store or office environment?  They keep their decorations very festive, very neutral and fitting to their environment so that they will appeal to 80 – 90% of the population.  If the answer is no, then you need to go back and change the decorations until your answer becomes yes.

Your listing photos should be taken before you decorate for the holidays.

At one house that I staged, the client was mentioning on my way out the door, that she was going to decorate her house for Easter to make it pretty for the listing pictures. I stopped in my tracks, and graciously explained that whatever the holiday is, whatever religion one celebrates, its important the photos look neutral. There should be NO holiday decorations for the listing photos because you don’t want to potentially turn off buyers, but more importantly, you don’t want to date the photos. If the house doesn’t sell before the holiday is over, unfortunately, you will have listing photos that show holidays decorations which will not only date the photos, it can give a signal to potential clients that you may be willing to accept a lower offer since the house has been on the market for awhile. You NEVER want to give the potential buyer a reason to come with a lower offer.

Hopefully you have some simple but inspiring ideas on how to decorate your front exterior of your home, your entryway as this makes an impact statement about your house, and your mantel.

Debi-Collinson. Interior Stylist. Color Expert. Stager. Real Estate Investor.

Hi! I’m Debi Collinson. I’m an interior stylist, color expert, stager and real estate investor. — My design advise to the world is … styling your home is the BIG secret in having an Instagram worthy home as opposed to a ho hum look.

— My superpower is about styling to make your home stunning all while adding value to your home at the same time!

— It all started back in 2006, at the request of a realtor, where I nervously staged my very first home. The sellers liked their newly styled home so much that they turned down an offer for full asking price and stayed. I went back to design school and the rest is history. I’ve been working my “magic” with hundreds of clients to create a stunning retreat whether they’re styling to stay or staging to sell!

In my spare time, LOL, I buy “fixer uppers” to fix up & either sell for a healthy profit or to rent. I’m currently living in my 9th “fixer upper.” Sign up to receive my e-mails on how to make your home your stunning retreat, how to sell your house for top dollar AND how to become financially independent one fixer upper at a time!

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