Creative Holiday Decorating
- Categorized in: Carroll Home – Past Issues
For an interior designer, a home during the holiday is a blank canvas.
Holiday flare might unfold down the front walk. Or guests’ attention might be captured in the foyer or around the fireplace. Whether you are working with a big budget or thrifty items, designers will assure you that decorating the home for the holiday can, and should, be joyful.
“Some people try to decorate the whole house. That becomes overwhelming,” said Corrine Zweiselberger, of Creations By Corrine LLC in Sykesville. “Most of the time, more is not better.”
The only exceptions to the rule, for most designers, are candles. Any room, any location, at any height – candles calm, they said.
Create holiday vignettes, Zweiselberger suggests.
“A corner in the kitchen area, a chandelier, or even the powder room: these vignettes are great places to create a holiday mood,” she said.
Start Where You Gather
“I encourage clients to think about the area in which they spend the most time. The family room? The kitchen? Start there,” said Sheri Hirsh, who recently joined Perry Commercial Draperies, Inc. to open Carroll Street Décor in Westminster. “If you are overwhelmed by the thought of the whole house, start in the foyer.”
Mantels offer a great backdrop for pine branches or holiday sprigs. “Nature softens the corners and warms up the room,” said Martha Bubert, a staff designer for Mercer Floors in Westminster. “The branches don’t have to have leaves. It’s fun to introduce contrasts, like the contrast of shiny ornaments or tiny mirrors hung from a branch without leaves.”
“You don’t have to know what you are doing to do that,” said Bubert. “Everything looks good.”
Sometimes the best starting point for actual décor begins with a treasured collection.
“Bring something that you love and treasure into the room where you gather the most,” said Bubert. “When everyone gathers, you can show off your collection, and the collection might spark good conversations.”
Bubert recalls a friend who liked to collect wooden cigar boxes. During the holiday, she filled the boxes with holiday items and displayed them across the mantel. Other clients have opted to showcase their collections by nestling them into or around their Christmas trees.
Family Traditions Can Create Focal Points
If there is one item that defines the holiday for you or your children, select a decorating theme or focal point from it, Bubert advised.
“It might be a collection of ornaments that belonged to a great-grandmother, or one specific holiday accessory that, if it was not on display one year, your family would be devastated. That item, or that tradition, is a great place to start.”
Music is key to the Bubert family, for example, so one Christmas the focal point for their holiday decorations included presents wrapped in old sheet music and bound in cloth ribbons with musical notes. Bubert played on the 12 Days of Christmas theme and gathered music-oriented ornaments – brass horns, drums, saxophones – to garnish a tree.
“I took something that was important to our family and built my décor from there; the kids loved it,” Bubert said.
Simple Changes to Existing Conditions
If you want a quick holiday lift, pillows are probably the easiest change in a room.
“I encourage clients to dress up their dining room chairs, too, or play with overlays on skirted tables,” said Hirsh. “Introduce fabrics with rich colors and patterns and consider adding beading.”
Another holiday favorite is filling glass bowls or large containers with holiday balls or potpourri and tiny lights, said Denise Landes, owner of Inside & Out in Westminster. Landes also likes to layer cranberries and orange slices in large glass containers before topping them off with water and candles.
“The goal is to create a home that everyone looks forward to,” said Landes. “I like bringing the outdoor in as much as possible – especially with tree décor.”
Colors Other Than Red and Green
“Work with the colors in the room rather than the reds and greens often linked to Christmas. Use cranberry or pick neutral golds,” said Zweiselberger.
The designers recommend pulling out colors like royal blue, silver and burgundy, too.
“Think about the metals – copper and bronze – and think shiny,” said Bubert. “Think shiny other than silver and gold. Oil-rubbed bronze colors are popular.”
As you consider how to fill your blank holiday canvas, each designer encourages you to, as Zweiselberger notes, “be true to yourself – your own style.
“If you think that you have no sense of style, find one that works and mimic it. What matters is that you have fun. Try to relax – and enjoy your friends and family.”