Selling Houses: 8 Tips for Tasteful Seasonal Décor?

It’s tempting to want to pull out the stops and decorate with family traditions in mind. After all it’s the last Christmas in your soon-to-be-old-home. But conventional wisdom tells us that houses for sale mustn’t be overly personalized or cluttered at any time. Too much “decorating” for the holiday season will hide the home’s architectural details and its overall condition.

The aim here is to show off the home, not to make holiday decorations the prime focus. Your décor should enhance your home’s best features and make buyers wish this were their home for the holidays.

Traditionally, listing houses during winter has always been a drawback; everyone knows summer is the best time to move residential real estate. But there is a big plus to tapping into the winter market you may not realize. Buyers actively looking at this time of year are serious!

All the tips and tricks for a summer market apply here but with an abundance of poinsettias, decorations and festive music signalling the holidays are near, here’s some guidelines for getting the trimmings right.

We all know that the right decorations can be an advantage to a sale but “taste” is a very individual concept, so we turned to the design pros for a definition of what good holiday taste is. Words like “elegant,” “simple,” and “discreet” kept popping up as did suggestions to take a minimalist approach.

Isn’t minimalism anti-decorating anyway? No, not entirely. It seems one wreath, one tree, one dining table centrepiece (only) all fit within these parameters. Most seem to define holiday taste as avoiding clutter and working with the homes’ proportions. An example would be using a tall narrow tree that will highlight a room’s height and save floor space – making the area seem larger.

The Eight Tips:

  1. Use the one-in-one-out rule, to dodge clutter accumulation. For every seasonal accessory you add to the home, take one non-holiday item out.
  2. Don’t avoid embellishments altogether, your visitors will expect to see some decorations and they do add seasonal warmth.
  3. Visual clutter isn’t only about objects. Too much garish color can go wrong, making your interior look busy, not peaceful. When in doubt, a color scheme of beautiful greens, silver, gold and classic white will suit most homes.
  4. Happy homeownership is implied by home entertaining. One expert advises staging a kitchen as if the owners are about to have a cozy holiday party. Most people don’t want things to looking stark and cold during the festive season. Remember you’re trying to make buyers wish this were their home for the holidays.
  5. Don’t decorate with presents and family heirlooms. These should be kept out of sight to avoid distracting buyers and it’s also is a smart preventive measure for open houses. Not everyone who comes to view is on the level and trustworthy.
  6. Don’t keep the decorations up too long. If your decorating has been very effective you may want to spin-out the holiday spirit but a maximum of two weeks before and two weeks after Christmas is the longest your trimmings should be up.
  7. The season is synonymous with sparkling lights and crackling fires adding warmth to dreary winter landscapes. Lights are particularly important in winter when many showings take place in the dark and a cozy fire will always make the home seem warm and inviting.
  8. One of the most important factors to get right is the effects of odor on you visitors. Aromas such as baking gingerbread and seasonal greens enhance holiday décor with their delicate and subtle scents. Leaving out a plate of holiday bakes is a good move as most will connect this to a spirit of holiday giving. Avoid extra strong or artificial smells; many buyers are put off by them.
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