Updated: Sep 29
As October begins and the pumpkins start showing up in our homes, this is the perfect time to address the question of whether to use holiday decor in staging a home. This is a question we face often while doing our Walk & Talk Consultations at occupied homes. When staging a home, it's quite tempting to use colors and decor items that reflect the season. It feels fun and relevant. But is it a good practice? The answer is yes and no. A little bit of color from the season is ok but the art is in knowing what's acceptable and what isn't when it comes to decor.
Most obviously, seasonal decor can date your home in photography. It can make your home feel like it’s been on the market way too long. You always hope that your property will sell quickly but it’s important to be prepared to have it take some time. During that time, seasons may change and holidays may pass. If you have decorated your home for summer and had it photographed and then someone is looking at your listing in October, it will make it too obvious that your listing is getting stale. The same goes for pictures taken during winter (especially exterior pictures with snow). Once spring comes, those pictures will give an impression of property that is lingering. This can affect buyer interest and also make them question whether there may be a problem that others have discovered that is preventing you from getting a sale.
Second, try to avoid seasonal decor that is overtly religious. It can reveal religious and cultural information that makes buyers uncomfortable. It is very important to maintain a neutral environment. That doesn’t mean boring but it does mean that you want a space that appeals to the broadest audience possible. If you decorate with items that lean toward a particular point of view, it may make some buyers feel excluded (it can be very subtle). You always want to avoid anything religious and yes…that includes holiday decor. So no Christmas tree, Chanukah menorah, Kwanza display, etc. Don’t worry about ignoring holidays in your staging decor. Add a t will ensure that your listing feels timeless and appealing.
It may not work to highlight the fixed elements in the house. When staging a property you want always complement and highlight the features of the property. This means coordinating your decor choices with elements like flooring, countertops, cabinetry, etc. So if your holiday decor clashes with the elements that should be the most attractive and appealing to buyers, then you are actively working against your best interest.
It’s easy to go from just right to distracting. What starts out as a small piece pf seasonal decor here and there can easily escalate and very quickly starts to feel like clutter. Part of this is because these things are designed to entice people to buy them to perk up their homes and part of it is because these things are often used in addition to non-seasonal decor instead of replacing other decor. So you end up with twice as many accessories and the message to buyers is no longer about open space, works surfaces and possibilities.
So the answer to the question about seasonal decor is ..yes and no. Using seasonal colors is great! But, put down the pumpkins and avoid the Christmas tree, especially in photos. If you are a fan of seasonal decoration and DIY projects, we are offering decorating classes at our Staging Laboratory from October December, www.staginglaboratory.com . For more staging advice and to schedule a consultation contact us.