Christmas Lights

Fire vs. Ice: Seasonal Design Tips for Your Home

Professional home stager Barbara Bliss explains how to approach decorations when your home is on the market.

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It can often become confusing when deciding whether or not to adjust a home’s interior that’s on the market as seasons change and the holidays approach. Is it okay to add a Christmas wreath to the front door? What about fall decorations around the house?

ESTATENVY spoke to Barbara Bliss, a professional home stager with Showhomes, to get her insight on adding seasonal decorations to your home as well as basic tips to keep in mind when selling in a specific season.

Focusing on winter, it’s important to clear the front lawn of debris or snow and keep the area well-maintained. One of the first things a buyer notices when they pull up to a house that they’re touring is the front yard, and making that first good impression is key. It’s also crucial to sweep up all of the cobwebs around the front porch and make sure to stay on top of falling leaves around the yard and in tree beds.

Bliss, who owns the North Shore-Barrington Showhomes franchise in Illinois, says it’s a great touch to update homes for each season, but to keep a strict mindset of moderation.

“In September, I often still see pictures of a house that’s covered in snow from last winter! The house becomes stigmatized if it sits, so keeping it up to date and including photos with the current season helps keep it fresh,” said Bliss. “It is nice for a house to feel festive, but less is best. A few elegant decorations and nice holiday accents go a long way. But try not to overdo the holiday decorations when a house is on the market. Save the full-blown holiday décor for your new house.”

Think in terms of subtle festive accents; adding a simple wreath to the front door, a small festive centerpiece to the dining room table or a vase of foliage does the job. With Christmas and other religious holidays, it can be enticing to put up a Christmas tree or brighten up a listed home by decking it out in holiday lights and stockings. However, Bliss warns against decorating the home to this degree.

“Keep it neutral. Don’t focus on any one religious holiday because that may turn off potential buyers. The property should appeal to any nationality or faith and feel inviting,” said Bliss.

Every person wants to purchase a property that they can envision themselves in. Creating a cozy atmosphere during the colder months sets the tone for the winter season and contributes to a specific vision of home. Add a folded throw draped over the couch and cozy pillows to the sofa. If there’s a fireplace in the property, make sure it’s thoroughly cleaned and place firewood either by the side or inside the fireplace. But don’t light the fire, since you don’t want to leave it unattended before buyers enter the house. Also, look to add more light in the home to create a bright and radiant effect that contrasts the gloomy, dull winter days. And if it’s a chilly day and you want to go the extra mile, brew some cider and bake some cookies to present on a kitchen countertop or island. Added bonus: your space now smells like freshly baked cookies.

Along with winter design tips, Bliss warns not to forget the basics of shoveling the driveway when snow falls, getting rid of icicles and salting sidewalks and entry paths so people don’t get injured or have a difficult time entering the home. And once temperatures start warming up, Bliss says that spring is prime time to list your home on the market if you have the option.

“Early spring is the best time to add your home to the market. Spring blooms new flowers and buyers come out of hibernation ready to spend the holiday bonus,” said Bliss.

Even though spring may be the best time to sell a property, every season is full of opportunity if your home is properly decorated, clutter-free and clean. Adding festive accents and decorations is by no means a must for a home; it’s a supplement. Key design tips to keep in mind include keeping your home neutral so it fits the style of every potential homeowner. Paint the home in colors like gray and beige, and avoid any pieces of furniture or décor that make the space look cluttered or feel out of touch. If you do choose to add festive accents, Bliss emphasizes moderation, moderation and moderation.