No matter what style of home you live in, holiday decorating can bring it to life. It doesn’t really take that much: a garland here, a few candles there, touches of evergreens, a few spangly baubles.
Whether you go for glam or for more homespun, dialed-down expressions, it’s all about creating a little coziness — something that makes it all magical for you, your family and guests. Sounds like the jingling of bells or strains of Silent Night or I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas, plus aromas of pine, balsam or fir, or freshly baked cookies trigger that warm and wonderful sensation for many people.
However you light it up — with thousands of LED sparklers, holiday cheer throughout every room of the house or with minimal punctuation — there are plenty of places to go for direction. Some like to take cues from public spaces, such as hotels, restaurants and shops, or even city or town streets and squares — with some scaling down for home applications.
Whether you’re looking to add to your traditional decor repertoire or start fresh, there’s more design advice than ever before, not only from shelter magazines but retailers with catalogs or online blogs. For those who stare at the front of their homes and don’t know where to start, Pottery Barn invites: “Call us today and we can help. Free design services.” Its website offers online how-to articles and videos. Wisteria has a storyboard holiday blog with
suggestions, including four ways to design a mantel.
Neiman Marcus (and Pottery Barn) breaks down its decorations according to theme (like luxe lodge, classic, elegant or coastal), which makes it easier to identify the looks and colors you like. CB2 dishes personal decorating advice from the hip design duo of Robert and Cortney Novogratz. “Every Christmas we hang a giant peace wreath on the front door to welcome our friends and family. While the design is rustic and understated, the message speaks volumes.” (A lighted vine peace wreath from their collection was sold out well before Thanksgiving).
And WE (West Elm) riffs on the song Have Yourself (a Merry Little Christmas) by inserting its own sentiment: ”a holiday that’s carefully crafted just for you.”
Craft and curated are key buzzwords these days — in the sense of creating a personalized look, one that at least appears to be one of a kind, something done by hand. Flipping through a stack of holiday catalogs that could be a record weight this year, we found a number of interesting themes.
Outdoor decorating has ramped up. We’ve always seen the wreaths and garlands, lit and unlit. But this year, there are more options for treetops glistening. Restoration Hardware is selling what it calls starlit trees or winter wonderland trees in snow and bark or wrapped with birch. A cool alternative to green, these minimal twig-like forms, battery-lit with LEDs, are absolutely enchanting en masse. They can be used indoors or out. Grandin Road’s outdoor lights include large shooting stars with light trails.
In addition, there are a surprising number of outdoor accoutrements — kind of prop-y objects that you might see in retail displays, such as stacks of colorful presents. Grandin Road’s range up to 201/2 inches square by 24 inches tall and these “artisan gift packages” are crafted from hand-painted, stressed wood with aged tin bows. At Neiman Marcus, there’s a big sleigh that looks like molded iron, with is actually a synthetic mix. There are reindeer, and nearly life-sized figures, including a bronze-like Santa (581/2 inches) and a 3-foot-tall angel and nutcracker. The idea is to decorate the front stoop, veranda or steps as you might with pumpkins for Halloween, creating ambience before you step inside.
Artisan-made decorations in felt, needlepoint or fabrics that are appliqued, stenciled or beaded seem to be even more plentiful this year. They add warmth and a soft touch. Perhaps drawing on that softness, you'll see plenty of critters— owls and other fuzzy animals as ornaments or motifs on pillows.
And reindeer are having a bigger moment than usual. The silhouette can be part of mantel or table decor; and antlered deer heads create a nice anchor for wreaths. The most over-the-top example is one 7-inch-tall reindeer studded with thousands of bronze, silver and gold Swarovski crystals; it’s available at Frontgate for $4,695.
If you’re taking the time and making the effort to decorate, you’d best be entertaining. One of the most fun ideas is West Elm’s party in a box, offered in white with silver and gold or in bold colors. Included are statement decorations, champagne coupes, a cocktail shaker and even confetti.
Happy New Year signs may not be the only messages you see. The trend of vintage illuminated marquee letters has been translated for the season. Restoration Hardware jumped on it with PEACE, JOY and LOVE words that stand just over 13 inches tall (they start at $149). There also are green topiary style letters that spell out NOEL. At Pottery Barn, there’s 3-foot scale wall art in iron with bronze finish that spells LOVE in the style of the first LOVE postage stamp in 1973. Also, your choice of real moss letters, available for $79 each. Just spritz to keep fresh.
Script also is popular on pillows, with sentiments such as “All is bright” (that looks like it has been written on a blackboard). Or ”jingle,” in Old English style message in red on jute, with a few bells attached for fun (both at Pottery Barn).
If your wall space is limited (or if you’re looking for a more intriguing way to display decor), consider hanging something from the ceiling. The most dramatic suspension: a tree from Grandin Road (it also can be placed upside down in a stand). At CB2, a wreath converts to chandelier, with lights, ornaments and greenery laced through.
Of course, garlands on mantels, doorways and stairs in a range of decorated greens are a standard, but how about changing it up with glittery ball or felt garlands? Dress-ups like festooning the backs of chairs have graduated from DIY fare to magnificent ready-made fabric wraps and adornments at Grandin Road. The idea of adding a bit of holiday spirit to
chairs is especially appealing for kids. PB Kids has slip-on chair covers in the form of Santa hats, heads or letter holders for Mr. Claus. Wreaths of any kind also are an easy spruce-up, either on bare or slipcovered chairs.
Seasonal themes like poinsettias, winter berries, snowflakes, snowmen and trees are favorite motifs for pillows and bedding — and changing them out for the holidays spreads the cheer throughout the house. Don’t forget powder rooms and bathrooms; embroidered hand towels with traditional or whimsical motifs such as the offbeat elf or fanciful reindeers of Patience Brewster might even be teamed with a few decorations — garlands or small ornaments hanging from a mirror.
Anything reflective adds welcome sheen to the decor. That’s why metallic accents in gold, silver and copper are huge, as well as mercury glass (votive holders, bowls) and anything glittery, such as sequins and beads. One of the most mesmerizing objects of the season is what’s described as a 1920s French glass cloche, available in several sizes (up to 30 inches tall) at Restoration Hardware. They’re shown in the catalog and online filled with “starry string lights,” teeny lights in amber on copper wire or diamond with silver wire, bundled up in a tangled web, looking as if thousands of miniature fireflies were captured within. Utterly beguiling.
Beyond the glittery, the bright and nontraditional hues are here to stay. Shuffling the deck with orange, hot pink, violet, turquoise and cobalt adds a jolt of fun, and the expansion of color palettes suits a variety of home styles. One of the more unusual wreaths is crafted with iridescent peacock feathers, glittery cedar twigs and ornaments in apple green and turquoise on a bed of leaves, cedar and myrtle. It’s available at Gump’s, which also sells a set of similarly hued, small, feathered trees dusted with glitter.
If you have DIY skills, a feathered wreath is the kind you might tackle yourself. Of course, Martha Stewart still is the reigning diva of stylish DIY holiday decorating. (Check out www.marthastewart.com and nose around for Christmas crafts for everything from paper snowflakes to star projects, pine cone crafts to gingerbread houses, even snow globes!) Another excellent source is Real Simple (www.realsimple.com), where you'll find, for example, details on fashioning a wreath out of kumquats, clementines and limes, colorful and sweetly aromatic. Some ideas are really simple— filling apothecary jars, for example, with small colorful ornaments or red or green and white mints, foil-colored candies, cranberries or colored glass marbles.
When all is said and done and you’re delighted with your efforts, you may want to boast about them on Pinterest or Instagram. Most of all, sit back and soak in every moment of this enchanting season.
CAPTIONS AND CREDIT
(NOTE: These photos are for ONE-TIME use ONLY. At Home photos,
with the proper credits, are to be run ONLY with At Home stories.
Conversion to black and white is OK.)
Caption 01: Outdoor decorations are taking a more creative turn,
adding more options to wrapping trees with lights in the garden.
Here the focus is on shooting stars, each cluster with five 11- to
20-inch diameter stars and three tails and 500 lights. The
double-sized has a 16- and 20-inch diameter star and five tails. The
17 1/2-foot-long cluster is $99, as is the double cluster at 18 1/4
inches; both from Grandin Road. Credit: Grandin Road
Caption 02: The scarlet hue is as much an attention grabber as
the unusual floppy felt shapes of these trees. Composed of hand-cut
leaves with pinked edges, the trio stands from 14 to 25 inches tall.
The set of three, designed with snap-open bottoms to nest for
storage, are available from Olive & Cocoa for $198. Credit: Olive
Caption 03: An upside-down tree? Why not? Grandin Road gives you
the option of displaying the cordless tree anyway you want it,
indoors or out, right-side up, upside-down in stand or hanging from
the ceiling. The cordless four-function tree features a six-hour
timer and eight light settings. Hanging cable is included (ornaments
are not). The 7-foot, 42-inch-diameter tree is $399. Credit: Grandin
Caption 04: A garland of silver balls in varying sizes looks
modern on a dark-stained traditional bannister – especially with
its bendable neon pink taped wire. The 6-foot-long garland, from
CB2, which sells for $19.95, will add pop and glimmer wherever you
put it. Credit: CB2
Caption 05: Varying shades of green, especially with squirt of
lime, are especially effective mixed with white. An assortment of
ornaments, glistening globes, beaded baubles, snowflakes, glass
jewel and silver disco are available from Wisteria; they range from
$19 for a set of 6 or $39 for a set of 4. The 20-inch-square,
green-on-white Otomi pillow cover was inspired by ancient wall
paintings. It’s $69. Credit: Wisteria
Caption 06: Adding a bit of sparkle can be as subtle as the
scrolled silver and gold patterns on these linen quatrefoil
screen-printed stockings. The 20 1/2-inch-long stockings are $29
each from Ballard Designs. The mantelscape is elegant and balanced
with rustic touches such as birch logs topped with votives. Credit:
Caption 07: Silk-like wraps are decorated with substantial
ornamental sprays and patterned ribbons to dress dining chairs. The
wraps, which also come in green, black and lime, sell for $19 at
Grandin Road. A variety of adornments to top them also is available.
Credit: Grandin Road
Caption 08: PARTAY in a box! This West Elm package includes five
paper balls, two paper fans, six champagne coupes, a stainless steel
cocktail shaker, a lacquered serving tray, six votive holders and
confetti. This set shown in snowdrift is $149; also available in
multiple colors. Credit: West Elm
Caption 09: As minimal as it gets, here’s a tree reduced to
strictly linear form in glass. Crafted from beaker glass, in tonal
green rods, the mod evergreen tree is $14.95 from CB2. Credit: CB2
Caption 10: These rich purple, pink, blue and teal ornaments ($8
each) from West Elm are crafted from dyed, natural agate. Hang them
on a tree, at a window or from a chandelier. Credit: West Elm
Caption 11: Brights are an entire category at Neiman Marcus, and
here the unconventional hues appear in a fashion-forward chevron
pattern, as sparkly decorated glass ornaments. A set of three 3-inch
balls is $60. Credit: Neiman Marcus
Caption 12: From its traditional decor style category, Pottery
Barn shows the old-fashioned tree, simple and elegant (especially
when your wrapped packages are coordinated!). Credit: Pottery Barn
Caption 13: This outdoor scheme from Pottery Barn’s ski lodge
group features a wreath, garlands and trees decorated with sturdy
spheres of red and silver that look like metallic finished glass.
Malta lanterns in bronze and lit rustic trees of rattan are a casual
balance. Credit: Pottery Barn
Caption 14: Fade-resistant, flocked wreath, garland and stake
trees look like they’ve just been dusted with fresh snow.
Battery-operated lights are convenient when there’s no outlet
nearby. Egg and dart all-weather fiberglass and resin planters also
are available, all from Grandin Road. Credit: Grandin Road
Caption 15: Pillows with seasonal themes, such as this snow pine
bird and deer in snow, are sewn from cotton and linen, available
from Pottery Barn. Some pillows, including the peace style shown,
have beaded embellishments. Credit: Pottery Barn
Caption 16: Reindeer are enjoying their 15 minutes of fame; this
set of majestic deer heads is packaged by Grandin Road with garlands
and some ornaments for statement decorating. Credit: Grandin Road
Caption 17: Stocking holders that look like pretty wrapped
packages are crafted out of hand-painted metal; they come in
harlequin, polka dot, cheetah or striped patterns. The vintage style
boot-cut stockings are hand-appliqued and trimmed with pom-poms and
leopard ruffle cuffs. From Ballard Designs. Credit: Ballard Designs
Caption 18: Ornaments in a bowl, such as these milk glass globes
from Wisteria, are simple, eye-catching decorations. Credit:
Caption 19: Clear glass hanging orbs threaded with fishing wire
lend a bubbly festive and light note. The set of 21 orbs (3 inches
and 7 1 / 2inches in diameter) from CB2 come on a 90-inch strand for
$49.95. Credit: CB2
Caption 20: Festoon it around a small tree, a white branch as
shown, wrap it around a chair back or wear it! The fetching
red-and-green felt scarf from Crate and Barrel is sewn from mixed
lengths of red and tonal green felt joined by strong red thread.
Credit: Crate and Barrel
Caption 21: The magnificent beadwork of Kim Seybert finds its
way on a distinctive tree skirt. The Spectrum skirt is a generous 64
inches and it’s beaded in tones of copper on rust. It sells for $545
from Neiman Marcus. Credit: Neiman Marcus
Caption 22: Patchwork bedding is merry and bright in seasonal
themes of red green and white, with trees, chevrons and polka dots
from Garnet Hill. Credit: Garnet Hill
Caption 23: Critters like this owl and squirrel are particularly
popular motifs this holiday season. This set of stockings from
Pottery Barn’s Woodland group features hand stitched details, some
beads and faux fur. Credit: Pottery Barn
Caption 24: Children will love the playful touch of a Santa
head, hat and pouch for letters to Mr. Claus on the backs of chairs;
chances are, adults will find it fun, too. From Pottery Barn Kids.
Credit: Pottery Barn Kids
Caption 25: Switch out a lumbar pillow cover for a seasonal
pattern; this one (16 by 26 inches) from Pottery Barn is embroidered
with holly and berries. Credit: Pottery Barn
** ** **
(For editorial questions, please contact Clint Hooker at
chookeramuniversal.com or the Universal Uclick Editorial Department
COPYRIGHT 2013 UNIVERSAL UCLICK
1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106; 816-581-7500