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The Ultimate Holiday Home Staging Guide

The Ultimate Holiday Home Staging Guide

…You’re finally waking up from your tryptophan-laden nap (you know, from all that Thanksgiving turkey)…and as soon as you rub your eyes, you realize: the holiday season is officially here!!

If you haven’t already filled your home with its usual holiday décor, take pause. Base your strategy this year on these key “dos” and “don’ts” plus some fabulous staging tips that will keep guests more comfortable when they come.

As it turns out, holiday staging requires a delicate balance. Yes, you might want to go CRAZY with lights or outdoor inflatables some years. Whatever your décor instincts, though, you have to think about the function of your home when people come in to visit.

Here’s everything you need to know…


Holiday Staging “Flow” Tips

The calendar is packed with holiday parties…some of which YOU might be hosting!

Have you stopped to think about how the function of certain spaces in your home changes from its usually flow to a new one for entertaining?!

  • Will people naturally congregate where you want them to, for example?
  • Is the living room ready for 20 people?
  • Will guests be comfortable where the congregate?

Here’s how you make that happen…

1: Visually, highlight the fireplace mantel with your favorite holiday décor. This acts as a sort of magical magnet to keep guests in the living room. This makes beautiful use of this classic amenity, too, so that your mantel can really take center stage…

2: Have your gameplan in place for treats. Do you already know what you’ll be serving your holiday cookies in? Don’t just throw them on the table, either—plan ahead for where you’ll set goodies out, and then you can BET guests will stay in the parts of your home you meant for them to…

3: Clean up…DEEP. Deep clean spaces like the fridge and the guest bathrooms. Make sure everything is in tip-top shape so that guests won’t find themselves awkwardly wondering if they were “supposed” to see a certain room or space. Messy means “off-limits!”

4: Mind the tree! However tall or wide your tree is, if you do put one up, make sure it doesn’t overwhelm a clear walking path. You can save space with a skinnier tree if you set it up in a smaller room. Always factor in the additional floorspace needed for gifts, too…

5: Set up a bar cart. To add some real “oomph” (and cheer) to your holiday hosting, create a festive bar station (on wheels if you can). This can travel from space to space when you have guests. Include some fun, seasonal items for added cheer, like peppermint schnapps or crème de menthe, plus your favorite candy dishes…and don’t forget the napkins!


These staging tips help you not only herd guests but ENJOY your own time more when they come over! That bar cart, for example, gives them everything they need without you shuffling back and forth.

Only after your home is properly staged is it time to get more into the décor…remember: DON’T decorate until your staging is done!! Your decorations compliment the amenities, not the other way around.


Holiday Décor Dos and Don’ts

For every BRILLIANT decorating idea, there’s an equally bad one…yes, a LOT of this comes down to style. There are some best practices, though, that will save you regretting your decisions later.

And remember: before decorating for the holidays, remove extra personal items like photos or clutter, especially knick-knacky stuff…and touch up any scratches, holes or dents, too. These are MUCH easier handyman fixes to address before your holiday décor is out.

Besides, don’t you want that “honey-do” list knocked out before someone comes over?!

  • DO think about the appeal of your décor at night and during the day. Ideally, décor will look good during both! This is especially true for outdoor decorations.
  • DON’T keep your holiday decorations in just one room! This will not generate a festive feel for your family or guests…
  • DO use greenery. Yes, the tree is NOT the only thing that should be green!! Think about a wreath at your front door accompanied with a standing potted plant…or place some greenery throughout the house as a trim. You can even use some lush greenery as a centerpiece!
  • DON’T stick to just red and green décor, no matter how much greenery you use!! Red and green don’t always mix with your home’s existing color palettes. Consider other holiday-friendly colors like white, silver, gold and mercury, then decide which combinations play the best off of your existing décor. (Not sure about your style? Take our interior design style quiz!)
  • DO use your creativity at the dining room table. Think about who will be sitting with you at those most important holiday dinners…then let your personality and affection shine through. What eye-catching details like flowers, linens or mixed-and-matched table wear can you set out?!
  • DON’T damage your home’s interior by using nails to hang decorations. Even if you put the same décor up year after year, your walls and trim don’t need extra holes…the adhesives you can use to hang things should be safe for each surface type, too, or you’ll have a sticky mess when decorations come down.

Decorating your home for the holidays is all about the personal selections that evoke feelings like nostalgia, comfort, and familiarity.

Decorating comes AFTER staging, though, which should be strategic to make your holiday events flow that much smoother.

Use these staging and décor tips to take this holiday season to the next level. Just think, last year in 2020, most families were lamenting not being together at all thanks to a global pandemic. This year, take a little extra time to think your staging and décor through. You and your guests will ALL benefit, and this holiday season can be even MORE about spending quality time with those loved ones we’ve missed!!

Keep reading to learn how to winterize your home before the holiday season, too.

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