How to Decorate your Home for the Holidays so it Won't Hurt your Sale

How to Decorate your Home for the Holidays so it Won't Hurt your Sale

  • Kelli Ide
  • 10/26/22



How to Decorate Your Home for the Holidays So It Won't Hurt Your Sale


    Keep interior fall decor clean and simple                                 Exterior decor should be very simple for showings              

The days are getting shorter, there’s a nip in the air and the holidays will soon be upon us. The holidays are an especially festive time in the historical Finger Lakes region of New York. It’s a known fact among realtors that the holidays can be a quiet time for homebuyers, but the buyers who do come out are often extremely motivated.


While you may have gone all out to decorate your home for the holidays since you can remember, this year is different - because your home is up for sale. The question is, should you continue to display all those cheerful lights and holiday items that mean so much, or should you tone it down when you expect to welcome homebuyers who come to look at your home?


You may have heard the term “staging” when it comes to making your home appealing to homebuyers. Staging is such an important factor when you put your home on the market that many sellers hire a professional to do it right.


When you decorate your home for the holidays while it is on the market, it makes sense to keep the principles of staging in mind. Staging is the process of creating the illusion of a lifestyle that will attract your buyers so they can imagine themselves living in your home.


Staging is not the same as decorating. When you decorate your home, you express your interests and your personality with items that create an inviting space for your family. When you stage a home, you want to depersonalize it to attract the widest range of buyers. You create the impression of a comfortable lifestyle so homebuyers see themselves living there.


 While you don’t have to forego all the holiday decorations, experts say that you have to be mindful of the items you choose to display so you don’t turn off potential buyers.


Of course, if you live in a neighborhood with a lot of holiday decorations and you think your home will attract like-minded buyers, you might want to indulge in more holiday decorative items. However, if like many others you live in a neighborhood with people who hold different religious beliefs, you would be better off using more generic “season’s greetings” type decorations instead of promoting a specific religious holiday.


Here are some tips to keep in mind when you decorate your home for the holidays so it won’t hurt your chances of selling. Remember, you want potential buyers to be able to visualize themselves living in the home.


  • Depersonalize

First and foremost, depersonalize. Remember that you are trying to appeal to a wide range of buyers who may not share your beliefs. Overly religious items and over-the-top decorations can turn buyers off. Why take the risk? Keep religious and personal items like Christmas stockings with names on them packed away to display in your next home.


  • Less is More

You have heard the expression “less is more,” and that is certainly true when you decorate for the holidays when your house is on the market. Simple touches can make a festive holiday statement, but when you decorate when your house is up for sale avoid an overabundance of multicolor lights and decorative items. Instead, consider an elegant wreath on the door or on the mailbox to make a classic festive holiday statement. 


  • Ditch the Kitsch

Over-the-top holiday decorations can become a distraction when you want buyers to focus on your home’s attributes. We’ve all seen flashing lights in every color, an inflatable Santa with his reindeer on the roof and other kitschy holiday items decorating a home. While some may ooh and ahh at the display, others may be turned off. Use simple white lights if you must have holiday decorations. 

  • Box the Greeting Cards

Holiday greeting cards from friends and relatives are a joy, but displaying them in your home can create a distracting mess. And it goes without saying that dusting the table underneath becomes a real challenge.

  • Light a Fire

If you have a woodburning fireplace, now is the time to light it up for an inviting holiday effect. Even an electric fireplace can set the holiday mood, celebrate winter and warm your visitors when they come to see your home.

  • Add Scents of the Season

The wonderful aroma of cookies baking in the kitchen and cider simmering on the stove can impart a festive atmosphere when homebuyers come to look. But ditch the overly scented candles- like apple cinnamon spice or anything that smells like baked goods- those scents can be off-putting to some people. The real thing is much better!

  • Save the Tree for Next Year

If you are used to having a tree to celebrate the holidays, think twice. A large, decorated tree can distract homebuyers, make the room appear small and make your space seem crowded – something you really want to avoid when selling your home. And a sad little tree will probably not convey the festive holiday feeling you are trying to achieve. 

Decorating Advice When You’re Ready to Sell During the Holidays

It pays to get holiday decorating advice from a professional when you prepare your home for sale during the holiday season. Doing it right can give you the best chance to sell more quickly and get the price you are looking for. Kelli Ide can help you make smart decisions when you put your home on the market during the holidays.

Kelli offers a unique, concierge-style approach to real estate in the Finger Lakes region, including staging, photo styling and market preparation services exclusively for clients to give them an edge over the competition. For further information about buying or selling a home, visit




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