Holiday Decorating Trends: My favorite holiday interiors are those that conjure up the magic of childhood. We’ve all fallen victim to the latest trends in holiday decor that are yesterday’s news by the end of the season, only to start again next season making the same mistake. I find vintage Christmas ornaments and decorations a timeless way to transport a space back to simpler times.
Antique and flea markets are the best place to start your treasure hunt. Don’t begin your voyage in search of perfection or you’re sure to be disappointed. And don’t feel pressed to buy a truckload of items to complete your look the first season. Take the time to browse around and see what’s out there. Pay attention to the colors, the handcrafted elements, and more importantly the charm and personality. You’ll soon find yourself being drawn in to the magic and can begin collecting the items that strike a personal chord.
I’m fond of the vintage Christmas “elf on the shelf”, small foil Christmas trees and retro Coca Cola stuffed Santa dolls. My best find to date is a 1950’s sign that blinks “Merry Christmas” in colored Christmas lights and marks the entry to my living room holiday experience. So much of my holiday joy is in sharing the delight I see on my friends’ faces when they unexpectedly encounter that decorative element that elicits their own treasured childhood memory.
While we all love the traditional symbols of the season, there is no reason to limit your color scheme to red bows, green garland and gold ornaments. The holidays are a celebration and a time to express yourself. I still love my big fir Christmas tree but I add sparkle in unexpected places by sprinkling small brightly colored foil trees throughout the house. A tabletop silver foil tree with brightly colored ornaments is a wonderful unexpected twist and a fuchsia or aqua bow on your traditional wreath will have the neighbors talking.
Fabric makes the most dramatic tree skirt and can show your unique personality and style. I love texture so fake fir fabrics in mink or leopard prints are a great way to add something lush and sophisticated. Tulle fabric is another elegant alternative and can be found in an array of wonderful colors to express your “glam” side.
Turning your dining room into a holiday celebration is easily accomplished by using things you have around the house year-round. I like to start by bringing out my antique linen tablecloth and draping it across the dining room table as an elegant canvas. Create a centerpiece by arranging a collection of wine decanters or silver pitchers and set place settings using charger plates in bright metallic or high gloss colors. Dust off your favorite wine or martini glasses and polish a few pieces of your grandmother’s silverware for a little sparkle. A colorful glass ornament on each plate and your dining room table is transformed into a festive holiday setting.
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With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, the daunting task of holiday decor looms around the corner, threatening to transform the gaiety of the season into something more reminiscent of a Friday afternoon conference call . . . . . . the day before vacation. The job can be especially frustrating in small spaces where the results often fall short on cheer and long on chaotic. Fortunately a few simple techniques can guide you in forming a game plan that will help you find the right balance between festive and functional.
- First and foremost, I suggest using a monochromatic color scheme in your interior decor. In simple terms, that means using various shades of the same color throughout to create a consistency in your decor and a flow through the space. Too many colors introduced in a small space will appear cluttered. Adding a sprinkling of metallics in gold, silver or even copper tones will highlight your color scheme without adding confusion. For a really elegant look, try using only gold and silver decor and spicing it up with hints of white.
- Transform your kitchen or dining room table from sensible to sensational. An exquisite table setting can add pizazz without sacrificing function. Set the stage with a crisp linen table cloth in a neutral shade and everything on it will “pop”. Create your centerpiece with a collection of wine decanters and perhaps a bottle of wine. Add place settings with your favorite decorative dinner plates, wine or martini glasses, and silverware. I love to use my mother’s antique depression glass dinner plates on high-gloss metallic charger plates with linen napkins and decorative napkin rings. Top off your plates with a beautiful decorative holiday ornament and your table is not only stunning, it’s ready for holiday entertaining.
- Forego the 8′ fir Christmas tree and add a little sparkle with small tabletop foil trees. They are small enough to use almost anywhere, ranging in size from 10″ to 3 1/2 feet tall, and are available in a multitude of colors to compliment any decorative color scheme.
- Introduce clear holiday lights but do so sparingly and in focal areas where you want to highlight a vignette or architectural element – across a fireplace mantel or intertwined around a collection of tabletop foil Christmas trees.
- Adding a luxurious throw or changing out decorative pillows on your sofa for the season is a simple modification that packs a significant decorative punch. Don’t go for the embroidered Santa or or felt reindeer. Instead, look for lush, decorative fabrics, textures and detail – faux firs, silks, and ornate trims. Check out your local fabric stores. Some of the more sumptuous faux fir fabrics can be purchased by the yard for pennies on the dollar compared to the pre-made throws you’ll find in your local retail gift store.
- Replace your cocktail table books with a spread of vintage holiday record albums or old holiday children’s books. Tabletop plate stands are another great way to display albums and books for optimal viewing. Either way, these classic items have such wonderful nostalgic artwork and are certain to strike a chord with holiday guests.
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This year, avoid the media blitz with its high dose of sensory overload and cling to the old adage “less is more” as your mantra for seasonal decorating. Make a plan for your home, keeping it simple, personal and appropriate to the functional needs of your family.