Tips for staging a (gingerbread) house

Building a gingerbread home is a popular holiday pastime for many families. It’s a source of creativity and a tasty treat.

You may recall, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is a big fan of gingerbread houses.

Much like selling a home, the real challenge of a gingerbread house build becomes: how do you stage your (gingerbread) home to stand out from the crowd?

We’ve rounded up a few tips to help you build a dazzling gingerbread house from the ground up – including a no-fuss recipe for royal icing.

Choose a colour scheme

Candy comes in every colour imaginable. You could make your gingerbread house a rainbow of festive sweets, but if you want to elevate your treat, try picking a colour scheme like silver and gold, red and green or mostly red treats with a few colourful gum drops thrown in for fun.

Go green

Curb appeal is important. Adding greenery can freshen up the exterior of any home—real or edible. You can try wrapping rosemary around a cone to make a tree or tie it together in the shape of a circle for a wreath. If you’d like to keep things sweet, you can also create greenery using green-coloured rice cereal treat, spearmint leave candies, tree-shaped cookies or by using green icing piped onto an ice cream cone.

Walk it out

You can create a fun pathway to your gingerbread house using candy bricks, Pez, peppermint candies or Nerds (for a faux pebble look). You may also be able to find rock-shaped candies. Make sure you “glue” down whatever candy stones you’re are using with plenty of royal icing.

Bonus tip: Try framing your path with licorice. It will give a nice pop of red and help keep your candies in place.


There’s nothing wrong with leaving your walls bare and letting the gingerbread cookie shine through. However, if you want your gingerbread house to have a more rustic look, you could adhere pretzel sticks to the walls to achieve a log cabin look.

Alternatively, slices of gum work well to create a brick-like appearance. You could also create a pattern using different shaped candies. It’s your gingerbread house, there are no rules!

Raise the roof

There are several ways you can create shingles on your gingerbread house: cereal, wafers, pretzel snaps, sliced almonds, peppermint candies or thin gingersnaps. Choose the treat that matches your theme.

To make your house look extra festive try piping some icing icicles along the edge. Start with a small dot of icing then slowly pull your icing tip down to create a peak.

Royal icing recipe

Adapted from a Canadian Living recipe.


  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3 egg whites


Sift the icing sugar and cream of tartar into a bowl. Beat egg whites for seven to 10 minutes or until icing is thick enough to hold its shape.

Bonus: If you plan on eating your gingerbread house you can experiment with adding vanilla, lemon or peppermint extract to your icing.

Knock, knock

Every home needs a door. You could simply create a door
silhouette using royal icing, but you could also use a long oval or rectangular
shaped cookie. Add a candy doorknob and icing details to make it more realistic. 

Add some sparkle

If you want your gingerbread house to have that magical,
sparkly, fresh snow look, throw a little white sugar over your icing. Voila!
Fresh glistening snow.

Whether you’re decorating a whimsical gingerbread house or
staging a quaint bungalow, strategically arranging furnishings and décor will
allow your house to look its best.

Do you have a tip for staging a home (real or of the ginger
variety)? Tell us about it in the Comment section.

Sarah Doktor brings her experience as a small-town journalist and national online editor to the Canadian Real Estate Association as a Communications Advisor. Sarah helps facilitate conversations between CREA and our members, boards, associations and the public via our online communities. She also helps coordinate the content presented to you here on the CREA Café. In her spare time, Sarah can be found at the gym, running on a trail or watching Netflix with her cat, Libby.

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