Here’s how to decorate your home while it’s for sale during the holidays:
Avoid the kitsch: Inflatable snowmen, reindeer on the roof, a gazillion angels flapping their wings, or life-size Mike Pence mannequins can seem in poor taste and turn off potential buyers.
Classic is always best: Hang an elegant wreath on the front door, rather than a “Santa stops here!” sign, says Jamie Novak, author of “Keep This, Toss That.”
Don’t overdo lights: Simple white lights can add a festive touch without blinding buyers during walk-throughs.
Skip the tree: You can’t win with a tree. If it’s too big, it distracts viewers and can make the room seem small. It can also block the flow and make the space seem crowded. And if it’s tiny, it’s depressing and sad. Decorate a tree only if you have a great room and you want to show off a high ceiling.
Box up the greeting cards: Holiday cards on tables make the room look messy. Stick them in a drawer.
Protect presents: Don’t stack gifts under a tree or put them on display. The last thing you want this holiday is for a stranger with sticky fingers to walk away with a present. Lock the presents in your car trunk, especially during an open house.
Choose scents over scenes: The smell of simmering cider or baked cookies will delight the senses more than garlands strung over everything that doesn’t move.
Light a fire: A roaring fireplace during a weekday showing is a cozy way to celebrate the winter and warm visitors as well.
Pump up powder rooms: Place peppermint-scented soaps and candles in the bathrooms along with a few tasteful, holiday-themed towels. They give the rooms some spirit and interest.
Celebrate your tradition with color: This may not be the year you display the religious symbols of your holidays, but you don’t have to forsake them altogether. If you celebrate Hanukkah, hang a wreath with shades of blue. For Christmas, your wreath can be made of evergreen boughs and pine cones. For Kwanzaa, add red berries to a green wreath.
In the end, the most important holiday decision you’ll make is whether to keep your home on the market during Yuletide: You’ll have fewer house hunters, but more motivated buyers. Ask your Realtor whether you should consider delisting your home for the holiday season, and starting fresh after the new year.