Design Tips for A Delightful Holiday Decor

Whether designing your own home or a clients’ elegant decor, here are some important tips to keep it simple and easy this year.

  • Choose a theme.  Experts design their holidays the way they design everything, for simplicity and focus.  Of course, whichever holiday may seem to be your ‘theme’ already, but sometimes the theme could be traditional to match the decor, or rustic/organic, homemade, even golfing “Santas” to highlight a collection.  Choose a theme and hold back what doesn’t go along with it…remember, not everything we have needs to be displayed at one time and sometimes absence allows special joy later.   Museums rotate collections for a reason, to keep things fresh (which sounds like an oxymoron now that I think of it: museum, fresh? hmmm).
  • Choose your colors thoughtfully. 
    • Choose 3 colors and stay with them:  60:30:10 is a sure-fire decorating scheme that allows calm as well as happiness.  A limited color palette will create calm and serenity.
    • Pick up an accent color already in your home and add a bit of old world homeyness  which is a beautiful theme this year: Old School Christmas is helping us enjoy warmth of our spaces and each other.
    • Look carefully at your favorite decorations from years gone by and try to find a theme color to pull it together in a coherent design.
    • A few color schemes that you might like:

      soft and subtle, the browns and natural greens of this color scheme can be accented by warm burgundy and and rich gold.

      • green-red-brown of nature allow natural items to be hung on the tree: dried apple slices, fresh cranberries and popcorn on a strung as garlands, large pine cones or bundles of cinnamon sticks tied with a dried orange and a ribbon
      • blue spruce trees work well with soft blue and rich red decor.  Presents wrapped in red and a touch of pure vibrant color like aquamarine or Tiffany blue…stunning and elegant.
      • Silver and platinum are strong this year…you can even try bronze instead of gold with indigo and white lights.
      • Indigo and orange are very lively and popular colors this year.
        Great colors for Christmas 2012: Indigo, gold and orange.
  • Create a focal point. This is a very important factor in design and Feng Shui (where your eye goes, energy goes).  Find one thing that you want to direct the attention toward and allow that to be the room’s HERO. Everything else will be supporting characters. If it’s the Tree, allow space around it so that it takes on a even more special role.
  • Grouping gives coherence and calm. Think about arranging your Holiday items in groups or themes: all the Santas together, displayed as if in an old-time Macy’s window, or all the Nutcrackers together or even all items of the same color or material. Rather than scatter things about, this thoughtful arranging will give them coherence and power in number.  Look for ways to turn a table or console into a beautiful display, honoring of what delights you. When buying new items, buy three and group them.  It makes a statement of design, impact and importance.
  • Don’t over ‘do’… if you have a lot of ornaments, consider separating them by color or by theme and decorating more than one tree.   A small tree in the entry or living room and one perhaps in the family room or a child’s bedroom or guest room; even one with old ornaments and one with themed ornaments like those gathered from vacations around the world.   Organize the ornaments on each tree and even create a themed tree for each child, in their bedroom with their own favorites.
  • Live with what YOU LOVE.   Don’t be afraid to discard or give away ornaments or items you don’t like. Only use decor that you love and makes you feel good. If something has a negative memory or is broken, depleting energy will surround it. Give it away and allow for beauty to fill the void where negativity once existed.
  • Engage All Senses.Scent creates emotional responses and memories. Simmer mulling spices on your stove, light a peppermint or evergreen candle, use clove or cinnamon ornaments or place potpourri in your linen closet and bathrooms. The warmth of these scents actually triggers our bodies to respond with seasonally characteristic coziness.
    One of my favorite smells: Orange and clove. Spiced Orange One of my favorite of these natural holiday decorations are the spiced orange ornaments. The combination of the citrus and clove smell is wonderful.  To make these you will oranges, or even the small Clementine oranges, whole cloves, ribbon, scissors and a skewer . First decide if you’d like a bow or hoop at the top of the orange.  Secure it by placing the ribbon between the orange and the cloves you insert.  Howto insert cloves: use the skewer to make the holes in the orange and just push a clove in each hole. You can use as many or few cloves as you like and in any decoration or pattern you choose.  I love it when the orange is completely covered by the cloves.  It smells great!
  • Use Your Feelings to Decorate   Whichever theme, color scheme or ornaments you choose, be sure to decorate with intention and purpose, thoughtfulness and joy. The energy with which we do things permeates those items or spaces – it is true. We are each powerful beyond measure and remember: “any sufficiently advanced technology is initially indistinguishable from magic.” You are magic – create it well.
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