Home staging in winter may require a bit more creativity than at other times of year. After all, daylight is noticeably shorter, homes are more often shown after dark or on dark days, and even in warm climes it tends to be chilly.

1 – Think outside in

Planning your staging from the outside in is even more important in winter than the rest of the year, particularly in areas where there is snow and ice. You want to check out all the approaches to the home for both visual appeal and ease and safety of access.

It may make sense to add potted plants and flowers in winter to brighten things up. There are colorful and hardy plants available in winter – check with your local plant nursery for suggestions.

Consider adding an outdoor light or two to brighten things up, and to make walking around the outside of the home safer.

2 – Warm and comfortable is the feeling you want

While cooling breezes are a seller in the heat of summer, they can doom  a sale in the colder seasons. You want buyers to have a sense they will be warm and comfortable in the home.

Keeping heating on can be more than worth the expense – this is particularly true for the absentee owner. Remind the owner that people are unlikely to buy a home where they feel physically cold.

If the home has a fireplace, it can really help to have it burning when you’re showing the home and for open houses. Instant logs work well in this situation.

3 – Light is super important

Making sure the home is light and bright is important. Remember, you have shorter daylight hours and the angle of the winter sun may be such that the home feels dark. Open drapes and curtains throughout the house. Add lights where you need to so the home feels bright.

Adding an uplight here and there, or an extra lamp or two can make all the difference in how warm and welcoming the home feels.

4 – Decorate with sensitivity

Holiday decorations are fine and can even help sell a home provided they add warmth, elegance and don’t overwhelm. This is NOT the time for the owner to try and win the neighborhood ‘best holiday lights’ contest!

While it’s important for sellers who are still living in their home to honor their own traditions, they can do so with an eye toward sensitivity, recognizing that various faiths express the holidays differently. Loudly laughing Santas, huge manger scenes, and other large and/or noisy symbols are better scaled down or not used at all.

Help your owner understand the balance they need to strike.

5 – Add warm colors

If the home is painted in a cool palette, you can do a great deal to warm the look by adding warm colors. Throws, throw pillows and table clothes and runner in warm colors are an inexpensive ways to change a cool looking home to a warm looking home.

Flowers, provided they are fresh, always add charm and warmth to a home, particularly in winter.

6 – Remember snow removal

If you’re showing homes in areas where it snows, pay attention to snow removal. The sidewalk in front of the home needs to be free of snow and ice as does the walkway and any front step or stoop. If ice is forming, make sure the areas where people walk are salted.

Any back steps, yard, deck or porch also need to be either completely free from snow if possible, or have a path cleared so the prospective buyer can get a real sense of the yard and deck.

It may well be that you or the homeowner needs to hire regular snow removal during the selling season. Making the property visible and safe can make the sale.

Of course, if you’re not in snow country, consider how lucky you are.