What’s Your Best Holiday Decor Tip?

Halloween is over so now it’s time to get in the holiday spirit. I’m working on a slideshow for REALTOR Magazine online and I’m looking to feature some of your best tips for “tasteful” holiday decor. Let’s face it, home owners may still want to get in the holiday spirit even if they’re trying to sell a home. So what are some of your best suggestions for keeping a little holiday cheer in a home while not turning off potential buyers? For example, can home owners still have a Christmas tree without it serving as a distraction?

Send your best holiday decor ideas for sellers — and a photo of it, if you have one — to Melissa Dittmann Tracey at mtracey@realtors.org. Some of your ideas will be featured in an upcoming slideshow at REALTOR Magazine online.

Melissa Tracey

Melissa Dittmann Tracey is a contributing editor for REALTOR® Magazine, writing about home & design trends, technology, and sales and marketing. She manages the magazine's award-winning Styled, Staged & Sold blog.

More Posts - Website

  1. SmallSpacePlanner

    Hi there! I tend focus on staging/designing smaller spaces (i.e. apts, condos/townhomes) What I love to do for holiday decorating is developing color pallette that flows from room to room. Include small pops of seasonal colors and traditional decorations while not over doing. I like to use solid color candles, white or reds, maybe changing out a few wood picture frames with shinier metalics/metals, or changing out your everyday throw blankets with a holiday quilt or blanket. If your space can’t accomodate a holiday tree try placing a few bobbles/bulbs that complement your color pallette in a hurricane or two around your rooms. But don’t over do it!

    If you love the holidays but have small space pick a soft yet seasonal color pallette, combine a bit of traditional with personal touches, and DON’T over do it! Your small space and guests or potential buyers will thank you!

  2. I always have my clients add some holiday warmth to their homes during Christmas.
    As a realtor for the past 19 years , I always mention to my buyers “Just think of that gorgeous Christmas tree right here” Everyone loves Christmas no matter what their faith . It’s just a joyful time and let’s face it … showing homes in the midwest during the winter can be a real challenge. Isn’t it nice to open the front door and see
    lights and the christmas music playing with some cinnamon smells welcoming you??? It just says “Welcome , come in and stay awhile”

  3. There is nothing quite like the holiday time, with it beautiful displays of lights, aromas, happy faces and excitiment in the air knowing special times are ahead with family and friends. I find hanging small lights inside a home adds such beautiful appeal to a new homebuyer. For example, draping ( petite) small soft white lights across the mantle, window, or handrails going upstairs/downstairs adds such a festive feeling in the enviornment. The warmth,gentle sparkle and illumination helps to further reveal a home’s interior not to mention bring out a cozy and welcoming atmosphere.
    Lighting in general, is a staple in the business of staging so why not step it up a notch and add a bit more splash during the holiday season. It will make you feel better and offer an nice presentation to prospective home buyers…
    Have a blessed holiday season**

  4. Santa Claus

    It’s time that people become more tolerant of the Christian faith. Discriminitory behaviour, such as not wanting to buy a home because the occupants display decorations related to their faith such as a Christmas tree, should be frowned upon by the Realtor community. Buyers should be educated to be more tolerant of the customs of all faiths.

  5. Not only is it important that homeowners strike the right chord when it comes to the quantity of Christmas decorations they have on display in their house but it’s also a good idea to remind sellers to take down Christmas decorations shortly after the New Year. I’ve shown too many houses over the years whose owners leave Christmas decorations well into Spring or who quite clearly must have moved out sometime after the holidays yet they failed to remove their holiday decorations after they left. For example, once I showed a house in the middle of the summer that still had a huge Santa Clause on the front porch and a lit Christmas tree in the living room!

  6. Becky Jackson

    Don’t even go there. There is no need to even suggest that putting up Christmas decorations might offend someone. That said, using discretion is always a rule. Don’t get carried away and make your house look like the store display. And go by the age old ‘rule of thumb’ – dont’ put them up before Thanksgiving and take them down by New Year’s!!
    Have a very Merry Christmas everyone, give something to someone who does not ‘have’ and remember “Jesus is the Reason for the Season’!!!!

  7. Roberta Shoopman

    As we have ventured through our real estate careers, most of us have learned how to “help” our clients make the best first impression and keep them happy at the same time.

    Christmas is a tricky time of the year. You try not to hurt feelings as you make suggestions.

    I follow the “less is more” rule when it comes to making decorating suggestions about Christmas decor. Red or burgandy candles with some greenery, and white lights go a long way in making a simple, yet elegant Christmas setting. Use the suggestion that you would hate to have any of the treasured items damaged in anyway…possible they should stay put away this year…people will think that you are thinking about them and keeping their belongings safe, and you remain in their good graces.

  8. Less is more when it comes to decorating for any holiday while your home is for sale.
    Perhaps a scaled down in size Christmas tree might be better for smaller homes. I know a Lady who has a very small home and put a flat hanging tree on her wall. A tasteful table center piece, and perhaps a small touch of the Holidays in each room may be appropriate such as a simple sprig of greenery with berries on a bookshelf or a Christmas candle in a Bathroom. Some people add Decorations….what you should do is replace some things with the Holiday Decor keeping it a little more simple
    while your home is for sale!

  9. I advise scaling back if someone tends to overdo decorating – leaving the most elegant and beautiful pieces. Also, if a tree is taking up a lot of space, comparable furniture must be removed from the room to avoid overcrowding. A wreath on the door and/or a pot of spruce tips create a warm welcome. I also like something put on the deck (a weather-proof, tip-proof tree with lights or a simply a string of lights along the railing) as many showings are after dark in a Midwest winter.

  10. Melissa Tracey

    Thanks for the great comments and suggestions! I’m curious if you have any more thoughts on holiday curb appeal ideas too. Any outdoor lighting tips so your listing doesn’t become the Clark Griswold house on the block — or is that what you should shoot for?
    –Melissa Tracey, REALTOR Magazine and Styled, Staged & Sold

  11. I tell my clients to decorate it they want to but avoid creating clutter. With every holiday item displayed remove and box up a matching number of decorative items normally on display. I also find groupings of decorations tend to add less clutter than spreading everything throughout the home.

  12. I think that less is more when decorating a home for sale during the holiday season. A tastefully decorated tree with white lights adds warmth to a room. Adding a touch of greenery to a mantle can also add a nice ambiance . Don’t overdo the outdoor lighting. Santa and his reindeer are probably not going to add to the yard, expecially during the daylight hours. Seeing a bunch of extension cords laying around the yard can be a bit unsightly. One battery operated candle in each window also adds warmth and a welcoming feel. I really think that tastefully done decorating done to a minimum is the way to go! Happy Holidays!