Decorating choices are endless during the holiday season. Whether you prefer a whimsical, rustic, or classic look, there are many options for incorporating decor into your everyday living spaces. With this plethora of themed selections, what is the best way to find your true holiday style and feel comfortable decorating for this most wonderful time of year?
“Look to your inner child when trying to find your holiday decor style. … Think back to what you loved about the holidays when you were young,” said Lisa Escobar, lead designer and stylist at Lisa Escobar Design. “Was it the pretty lights that captured your attention, the tasty cookies and treats you’d bake and decorate with family, the cheery music and caroling, or was it the anticipation of Santa coming to visit?
“Focus on what feels good and use that as a starting point. Years ago, my dad found my holiday wish list from when I was 6 years old, and he framed it and gifted it to me. I fondly display it every year around the holidays as a reminder to celebrate innocence and gratitude.”
For Kimberly Joi McDonald of Designing Joi, the holidays are all about keeping the joy and happiness of the season top of mind.
“Your holiday decorations should be consistent with your current style,” she said. “You want to feel harmonious and wonderful when you’re in your personal space and when items are competing for attention, you won’t.”
She continued, “That doesn’t mean that you can’t have different collections of items throughout your home. You can even have groupings of items that are of a similar style, in different locations.”
As in fashion, the eclectic look is always in style, as long as the art of design comes into play, McDonald said. “You can even start a tradition where every year you buy a new piece or two to add to your collection. This can be a great way of passing joy down to the next generation.
“Things from your childhood can be automatically incorporated into your design,” she said. “I always want my clients to have the things around them that they cherish most.”
McDonald notes that when adding to your existing holiday decor, you should buy the best that you can afford. “Quality really makes a difference, but you can still make things have a million-dollar look on a small budget.”
She also explained that properly storing such items after the seasonal display means they’ll be preserved for future years and family members.
What if you can’t make up your mind about which colors best express your festive feelings?
“Sometimes it’s difficult to narrow down these holiday style interests,” said Debbie Amosa of Lisa Escobar Design. “What intrigues you, what part of the holidays do you like, what colors are you drawn to? Maybe it’s white and gray and you lean more toward a winter theme instead of a traditional red and green Christmas.”
McDonald concurs, saying that people should put some thought into their color palette.
“It can be as simple or adventurous or glamorous as you want. Choices abound — from metallics to organic/rustic elegance to rich jewel tones. Some people even choose to decorate all in one seasonal color, like red. However, you don’t want it to look inconsistent with what you already have.”
She said crystal and its corresponding sparkles never go out of style, and the monogramming of items is always popular.
For Austrie Messer, Lisa Escobar Design’s junior designer, it’s the gift packaging that makes all the difference.
“One of my favorite decorating tips is to not overlook wrapping gifts,” she said. “Putting a little thought into the paper color and bow selection will make a statement under the tree. Choose a few solid colors or minimal patterned papers and combine with a coordinating bow. Adding an accessory to the bow, such as a small ornament, candy cane or pine tree needles will be the finishing touch.”
She continued, “Sparkle, glam and luxury may often seem over the top, but it can all be done with class. If your furniture and interior is modern and minimalist, a little glam will definitely spice things up. You can do so through mixing throw pillows, blankets or Santa hats with some sequins or velvet textures. Of course, it’s always a treat to add a little tinsel too.
“One of my favorite things to do is to collect from Mother Nature and bring the outdoors inside,” Messer said. “Items like branches, sticks, swags, and pine cones are perfect for glittering, embellishing with white tips using paint, or filling in vases.”
She also suggests switching out displayed family photos for ones with winter scenes and that “tying ribbon around anything brings color and festive feelings.”
While getting the right “feel” in your home is important, safety also needs to play a major role, McDonald said.
“Something many may not have thought about as far as decorating goes is safety. You need to make sure the traffic flow throughout your home is not obstructed, and there are not extra items in the way. Really put some thought into how you will live in the space with the holiday decor,” she said. “You can still have beauty without compromising safety.”
She noted that some guests might be allergic or have conditions such as asthma that won’t work with some decorations, like perhaps a live Christmas tree.
“Be mindful of the true spirit of the holidays,” McDonald said. “A nice balance of things can keep you uplifted and, ultimately, leads to a well-designed lifestyle.”