By Kathy Franco
As a mother with two adult children who live out of state, I take a different approach to holiday decorating in my home. I’ve begun to simplify and decorate more for my taste. Gone are the endless days of opening boxes and littering every surface with holly branches and tinsel. Now, I find myself drawn to more calming decorations, like white lights, soft candles, greenery, and single-color accents. The holidays are so much more enjoyable when they are no longer bookended with stressful decorating in the fall and days of packing and repacking in the New Year.
When I was a young adult, I never understood why my mother kept all her beautiful holiday décor from my childhood boxed up in the basement. She would adorn a small tree with white lights and blue ornaments once my siblings and I were out of the house. Now, I understand what she was doing! Don’t get me wrong, a house bursting with holiday cheer is wonderful, but I’ve grown to appreciate simple décor that accents a home. This is especially important if you are trying to sell a home over the holiday season. Let buyers see your home for its beauty rather than as a decked-out winter wonderland.
Keep it neutral, keep it subtle
Opt for classic holiday décor that has a broad appeal. Be mindful that not every family celebrates holidays the same way. Decorate with wreaths and garland instead of incorporating too many religious themes. Single color accents and touches of holiday flair go a long way!
Highlight key features
Use your decorations as subtle beacons to draw attention to the best features of the property. A beautiful fireplace can be highlighted with lit garland or a small flower arrangement on the mantle. A custom front door should be adorned with a wreath to create a warm welcome. Use lighting wisely to highlight special areas on the property. A beautiful backyard should have hanging lights for buyers to imagine cozy nights on the patio, and accent walls should be well-lit, so they stand out.
Showcase the whole space
A home is more than just four walls! Decorating the exterior of the property with sidewalk lighting, front porch seating, or seasonal planters can enhance curb appeal. If there is a patio or a porch, stage it with outdoor seating and a charcoal grill. By allowing potential buyers to see the whole property rather than just the house, you’re creating excitement and enticing them to submit more competitive offers.
Appeal to all the senses
At Disney World, you smell popcorn as soon as you walk through the gates and suddenly come upon a popcorn vendor. When you’re in the vicinity of “It’s a Small World,” you can hear the iconic music from a distance and the nostalgia begins to well up within your whole family. Implement these same concepts in your showings and open houses. Boil cinnamon sticks or bake a small batch of cookies before the doors open and play light music through strategically placed speakers. Think of what a cozy night at home would feel like and emulate that in real time.
Safety comes first
Candles and wax melts are tempting, but open flames can pose a risk to families with curious children. Turn the lights on ahead of time so walkways and staircases are well-lit. If there’s a spill, clean it up right away and move something close to the site to be an obstacle to anyone who may unknowingly walk over a wet spot.
When my children come home for the holidays, I want them to still recognize our house as their familiar holiday home, just a bit pared down. I keep one tree with their handmade ornaments for all of us to enjoy, and simple décor throughout the rest of the house. In the long run, we all enjoy the holidays more without the stress. It also lets me keep my decorations up longer after everyone is gone!
Editor’s note: Kathy Franco is a licensed associate real estate broker with Coldwell Prime Properties. She can be reached at [email protected].