Home Design for the Holidays: Tips and Tricks

Tips and Tricks

With the holiday season approaching, it's time to put the finishing touches on your seasonal decorating - or start the process if you've been putting it off. Need some inspiration? Try these 10 decorating tips to inject some festive cheer into your home.

1) Bring In the Outdoors. Don't stop at just a tree. Bring a natural wintertime look into your home with fragrant garlands of greens, small potted trees, branches, and pinecones displayed alone or in a bowl or vase. This look is perfect for farmhouses, country homes and any home design with a laid-back, rural feel.

2) Showcase Metallics. Deep reds and greens can be overwhelming if the whole house is decked out in them. Instead of going overboard on vivid colors, try a color palette of mostly white with gold, silver or bronze accents. A few nods of red or green will really pop when they're not the dominant color in the space.

3) Explore Vintage Decor. Pull out treasured family heirlooms and ornaments and use them to create an atmosphere that's not only welcoming but also reminds you of cherished loved ones every time you see them. Vintage ornaments don't have to be limited to the tree - try hanging a few from a garland strung across the fireplace or place a few in a small bowl on a side table. A few vintage or vintage-inspired€ additions, like punched tin ornaments or interesting candlesticks or napkin rings from an antique store, round out the collection.

4) Channel Colonial Charm. Decorating a stately older house for the holidays? Embrace colonial-era traditions to create an atmosphere befitting the home. Citrus fruits (a popular stocking stuffer for children in Colonial times) and pineapple (a traditional symbol of hospitality) make charming and edible companions for a centerpiece of greenery.

5) Incorporate Enticing Edibles Gingerbread men on the tree are just the beginning. Simple garlands made of cranberries and popcorn have been decorating Christmas trees since early American settlers embraced the evergreen tradition, especially since cranberries are native to North America. Fill out the other branches with candy canes or ribbon candy. The canes can even multitask thanks to their handy hooked shape; try hanging them from loops of ribbon attached to entryways or other high spots that are out of reach for children and pets.

6) Embrace Cozy Textures. Think about your favorite seasonal clothes, from flannel shirts to Fair Isle and cable knit sweaters, and utilize elements of them in your holiday decorations. Abundant throw pillows and soft blankets folded on the couch let guests know they'll be comfortable in your home. Colorful plaids need not be confined to flannel wear - instead, spread the cheery pattern throughout the house. Your favorite knit patterns can get in on the fun too with the addition of Christmas balls (round knitted ornaments that you can knit yourself or purchase ready-made) for your tree.

7) Broaden Your Floral Horizons. Classic poinsettias and evergreen boughs are perennial favorites for holiday cheer, but what about breaking from tradition in favor of a more diverse floral arrangement? Roses, carnations, lilies, amaryllis, and chrysanthemums in deep red and stark white deliver the same burst of color, but using varying types of blooms adds extra texture that's visually interesting.

8) Use Lights in Unexpected Places. Trees and doorways are a great start, but small strings of lights in subtle locations can give the whole space a magical, twinkling appearance. Try weaving them through a wreath or intertwining them with garlands of evergreens wrapped around stair rails or across the mantle of a fireplace.

9) Take a Design Cue from Existing Hues Draw your holiday color palette from your everyday decor. For instance, if you have a treasured collection of blue and white china, incorporate some blue ornaments or glass into a centerpiece or tie a bow of wide ribbon onto a wreath.

10) Welcome Wildlife A woodsy or rural setting is the perfect fit for a woodland animal theme. Polar bears, reindeer, and Cardinals all make charming additions to a folksy decor scheme. An antler or two will look great on the mantel or incorporated into a table decoration. Figurines are another easy way to add an animal presence to your decorations.

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