Holiday Decorating - Do's and Don'ts / by Margaret Chambers

If you're still perfecting your home's holiday look for Christmas 2015, here are some do's and don'ts you can keep in mind. We've included photos from a home we decorated in Highland Park in Dallas which is featured in a 16-page spread in the Christmas issue of Southern Cottage.

A red ribbon gives this tree an abundance of color. Notice how many of the ornaments are in matching shades of gold, too.

A red ribbon gives this tree an abundance of color. Notice how many of the ornaments are in matching shades of gold, too.

Lanterns are another mantel accessory that you might not have considered.

Lanterns are another mantel accessory that you might not have considered.

To start with, you can give your Christmas tree a cohesive look by choosing ornaments that complement the rest of the room's colors. Varying the ornaments in three basic sizes will also create interest. Ornaments with metallic finishes scatter light and create a feeling of depth when mixed with matte finish ornaments. Even if your ornaments are coordinated, don't forget to include at least a few unique ornaments you treasure. Adding a garland draws a viewer's eye across the tree and up to your prized tree topper. Extra ornaments can be used to fill decorative bowls.

Garlands can also create a focal point across mantels, stairway banisters, and over doorways. Embellish your greenery with ribbons, flowers, faux berries, and hanging ornaments. When decorating your mantel, don't overlook your all-season accessories like candles, porcelain, and crystal. Wintry accessories include pinecones, vintage ornaments and tree toppers, and cedar greens. Regardless of which accessories you choose, you should make sure to vary the height of the objects to create interest and rhythm. 

No matter what style of home you have, a wreath is a must for holiday decorating. But a wreath doesn't have to be traditional in its colors and materials. Paint a variety of globe ornaments in the same metallic color, then hot-glue them around a wreath of wire or grapevine for a modern alternative. Mixing different kinds of greenery in the same wreath is a more organic tone-on-tone look.

When choosing your table decorations, be careful not to pick tall accessories that could block conversation between guests. A single pillar candle flanked by smaller candles is enough. Meanwhile, a wreath displayed flat on the table and adorned with bells or bows is a classic Christmas centerpiece. Consider buying charger plates, and take out any nice glassware out of storage if you have it. If your dining ware is colorful, you will want to make sure your centerpiece complements those colors.

The candles in this Highland Park kitchen are tall, but not tall enough to block the view between guests.

The candles in this Highland Park kitchen are tall, but not tall enough to block the view between guests.

There's no need to go all out in every room. Instead of spreading your Christmas collectibles throughout the house, group them into smaller vignettes for impact. While you should focus your decorations in high-traffic areas, you can also add small red and green pillows to some rooms for an inexpensive holiday update. Soaps and towels in holiday colors can be used to make the downstairs powder room feel more festive.

It might seem like Christmas decorations need to always be the same colors and imagery, but you can evoke holiday nostalgia in unexpected ways. A rustic Christmas home could feature real boxwood garlands, wooden candle holders, cedar branches, and figurines of woodland creatures. Meanwhile, a contemporary Christmas home might use decorations in icy blue, black, and white, with mercury glass and metallic reindeer figures.  Not all Christmas decorating needs to be red and green. Jewel tones, metallics, and rich colors like deep purple and blue will be right at home too.

As you can see, it is more important how you display your collectibles, than what those collectibles are. There are many different ways to use the collections you already own to make a perfect holiday home.  

 

Our client's cross-stitch hobby provided us with tons of Christmas art to display

Our client's cross-stitch hobby provided us with tons of Christmas art to display

It might seem like Christmas decorations need to always be the same colors and imagery, but you can evoke holiday nostalgia in unexpected ways. A rustic Christmas home could feature real boxwood garlands, wooden candle holders, cedar branches, and figurines of woodland creatures. Meanwhile, a contemporary Christmas home might use decorations in icy blue, black, and white, with mercury glass and metallic reindeer figures.  Not all Christmas decorating needs to be red and green. Jewel tones, metallics, and rich colors like deep purple and blue will be right at home too.

As you can see, it is more important how you display your collectibles, than what those collectibles are. There are many different ways to use the collections you already own to make a perfect holiday home.