11 Inexpensive, Simple Holiday Decor Ideas

Easy ways to add holiday decor to your listings without breaking the bank.

November 1, 2010

Want to create a budget-friendly, classy holiday look? Try these simple suggestions from real estate and staging professionals.

But remember: “Decorations should accent not dominate the room,” says Lynn Caison Johnson with Lynn Johnson Realty Inc. in Fulton, Texas. “Expressions of holiday decor should highlight the room's features and not distract from selling the home.” (Read: 6 holiday staging principles in Add Some Holiday Charm to Your Listings)

1. Ornamental decor: Showcase decorative ornaments in baskets or snuggled among towels, suggests Johnson.

2. Sparkling interiors: Drape small, soft white lights across the fireplace mantle, windows, or handrails going upstairs and downstairs. “The warmth, gentle sparkle and illumination helps to further reveal a home’s interior -- not to mention bring out a cozy and welcoming atmosphere,” says Janet DiTroia with Long & Foster in Doylestown, Pa.

3. Ribbons: Tie holiday ribbons -- such as in red -- around candle holders and place them throughout the house, such as on vanities or alongside the bath tub, Johnson suggests.

4. Unexpected fun touches: Hang a wreath on the bed frame or add a Santa hat to the bedroom furniture, Johnson suggests. Or, wrap and decorate a box and place the “gift” in the middle of the bed for some unexpected, subtle touches throughout the house, Johnson says.

5. Window appeal: Small branches along window sills and placed like dollies on trays add instant holiday appeal, says Joanne O’Donnell, president and CEO of Chic Home Interiors.

6. Wreaths and garlands: Wreaths and garland used for both indoors and out can keep decor balanced and not overly religious, says Linda Zukowski, Prudential Starck, REALTORS® in Palatine, Ill. Red berry garland can also add pops of color along handrails or mixed into centerpieces.

7. Candle glow: Candles can add holiday charm and warmth. Don’t want the fire hazard of a flame? Try a safer alternative: Battery-operated candles. Betty Cunningham with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Schaumburg, Ill., says they are so real looking that if you put them in a votive holder, you'll swear they are really burning. She scatters them everywhere in the house.

8. Holiday party ready: Let buyers envision themselves entertaining their friends and family at the house by setting the dining room table with holiday place settings and centerpieces, suggests June Lizotte with June Lizotte Real Estate in Milwaukie, Ore.

9. Art display: Choose one section of the home with a feature wall and switch out the art to put up Christmas artwork -- that is, if you have some nice quality pieces, says Lizotte. For example, you might have artwork depicting a wintery scene with touches of holiday decor mixed in. But whatever holiday decorations you hang up, be sure to use removable plastic hooks for putting anything up on the walls and perhaps even the outdoors, suggests Zukowski. “They are quick easy removal without putting any holes in the walls,” she says. 

10. Simple centerpieces: Collect a few baubles -- such as shiny red ornament baubles -- and add them to a hurricane or glass bowl, sprinkling such festive displays around the house. Or, add pine cones to a clear glass bowl or basket with a ribbon -- and maybe even mix in some shiny baubles for sparkle.

11. Sweeten the deal: Offer holiday-themed candy by placing it in a festive bowl on a coffee table in the great/living room, the kitchen counter, and on tables located in any room, recommends Che’rell Bilquist with Staged To Show ‘n Sell in Lenexa, Kan. Fill the bowl with gourmet chocolate truffles, fudge or candy cane fudge, Hershey Kisses, or Christmas Krinkles.

Or offer fresh-baked holiday treats for your visitors and even complete the look by having a holiday cookbook displayed on the kitchen counter. The magazine-worthy arrangement will make visitors feel right at home, says Valerie Torelli, Torelli Realty in Costa Mesa, Calif.


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