A Professional Stager’s Advice for December Sellers: Light This Cozy Candle for a Festive Mood
And avoid this kitschy decor.
Published Dec 5, 2022 1:40 AM
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String lights on the roof, stockings hanging from the mantel, stairways lined in garland—these are the signs it’s time to hunker down for the winter. But what if you are trying to do just the opposite? What if you’re trying to move?
Ask anyone working in real estate when the best time to sell is and they’ll tell you spring. Between tax refunds, warm weather, and school breaks, it’s the season that makes the most sense to list. But for those who don’t have the luxury of waiting and are looking to sell during the holidays, how you style your space matters. We went to Francesca Grace, the Los Angeles–based home stager you might have spotted on the Netflix show Buying Beverly Hills and asked her about the dos and don’ts of sprucing up your listing during December.
Focus on Faux Branches
When it comes to introducing seasonal flowers, Grace looks to warmer shades of orange, brown, and cream over traditional poinsettia. And if you’re expecting to have people touring your house over the course of a few weeks, consider buying faux arrangements; that way you don’t have to continue to invest in fresh bouquets. “I love faux berry branches that you can manipulate into any shape to make them sculpturally interesting,” shares Grace. “It gives that wintry and festive feeling and is reminiscent of the leafless, snow-covered branches.” Her pick? A $30 option from Pottery Barn that looks especially chic in a dark stoneware vessel.
Light Candles That Are Festive But Not Overwhelming
There is a reason many real-estate agents will stick a batch of chocolate chip cookies in the oven just before a viewing: familiar, feel-good scents are what make a house feel like home to a buyer. During this month, Grace suggests incorporating candles that smell woodsy with hints of spices. “The Shinola hand-poured candles are my favorite, and its No.4 candle with notes of black pepper, cinnamon, and cedar is perfect for the holidays and gets you in a festive mood,” says Grace.
Avoid Accessories With Words on Them
A green blanket here, emerald candle tapers there—these types of decorations fit the mood of the season without veering into cheesy territory. “Invest in [pieces] that reflect the holiday theme without any of the kitschy wording, which can feel dated,” notes Grace. In other words, stow your “Falalalala” accent pillow away until you’re settled in your next spot.
Add Cheer With Colorful Produce
Shop your refrigerator: “Fruit is a superfun way to add some color, and it looks beautiful placed in a bowl on a countertop or on the dining table next to a vase full of flowers,” advises Grace. “Don’t be predictable!”
Forgo the Tree
“The holidays are unique to each person, so you definitely do not want to be too specific in terms of decorating,” shares Grace. If you celebrate Christmas, you might want to skip the tree and front door wreath this year. And while you’re at it, remove any personal photos around your home during showings—a classic piece of staging advice that will ultimately help potential buyers imagine themselves living in your space, whether there’s snow on the ground outside or not.