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Staged to Sell

This holiday season, present your home in its most beautiful light

Getting ready to sell your home during the holiday season can be a little more complicated than it is during the rest of the year. Homeowners are always advised to declutter to make rooms look bigger and brighter, but December is when we are more likely to add more to give our home that festive feel.

Here to help sellers balance the desire to decorate with their wish to sell are three experts from Stone & Story Real Estate Group in Topeka: Darin Stephens, CEO and broker; his business and life partner, Brian Laird, Realtor® and director of creative services; and Kelli Higgins, marketing director and home stager.

“You have to be in the house, you might have kids, so yes you can celebrate and decorate for Christmas, but you don’t want to unpack everything when you’re about to move,” says Brian. “Keep it simple.” He suggests leaving the trains and holiday villages packed up.

He also believes it’s best to stick to the same holiday color theme throughout the home, and have that theme be a little more neutral. For example, hues of gold, silver and deep green blend together beautifully and are tasteful and less distracting than, say, bright reds and greens.

Darin and Brian actually used their own beautiful house to showcase the smartest ways to decorate a home to its best advantage and garner the most premium selling price.

Upon arriving, visitors will first notice their deep red front door which is the perfect backdrop for a variety of evergreens, gold jingle bells, and large silver lanterns filled with silver ornaments. It’s the perfect first impression.  

Once inside, you’ll see a mantle covered in green and white tipped garland and artfully arranged silver ornaments and rustic pinecones. Small white lights and candles add a bit of sparkle and the stockings hang from whimsical gold reindeer heads.  

The sofa is adorned with fun holiday throw pillows, while various sized silver and gold Christmas trees are grouped on a small round table. If sellers have children and feel that a traditional Christmas tree is needed, they should choose one that is narrow and keep ornaments to a minimum. You don’t want a tree that’s going to detract from the size of the room.

“I would also recommend not using any decorations that sit on the floor since that will also make the room feel smaller,” says Kelli.

In the kitchen, the large bay window showcases a simple battery-operated wreath with gold accents, and the countertops are adorned with large glass candle holders that are filled with pinecones and ornaments and topped by fat white candles.

Another thing for sellers to remember, says Darin, is that they may have a lot of people coming into their house who have different faiths. “You have to keep the holiday décor as neutral as you can so that it will appeal to the broadest number of people. Tone down the religious symbols such as crosses.” Buyers need to be able to see themselves living in the home, so keep the focus on the structure and the features of the house.

Kelli also advises to be mindful of scents. “A lot of people have sensitivities to smells, especially cinnamon.”

“Use a professional,” says Darin. “Consult with the Realtor you hired to get the best look. This is what we do for a living.”

With these tips, selling your home this holiday season just got a little easier. And although there may be fewer buyers during this time, the people who are looking are serious buyers. So, make your home its most attractive, and receive the gift of a fast sale.


Holiday decorations to avoid:

Large Christmas trees with lots of ornaments

Floor decorations

Personalized ornaments or decorations

Blinking lights, bright colors, too many colors, or anything that distracts from the home

Scents, especially cinnamon

Christmas Village houses and trains

Overly religious symbols

Inflatable lawn decorations

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