Let’s face it: Holiday decorations can be a bit gaudy. All that glitter and tinsel is just too much. And don’t even start with those teddy bears in holiday sweaters sitting on a mantel.
What to do? Never fear. I’m here to steer you from garish to gorgeous with a few simple ideas that will make your house look its very best this holiday season.
Because everyone’s house is different, I’m going to concentrate on three major themes that you might want to choose from to decorate for the holidays: traditional (which, by the way, is not your grandmother’s idea of traditional), minimal/modern, and whimsical – a fun, out of the box décor I’m hoping you’ll enjoy.
In terms of traditional décor, I like to bring in traditional elements but have them dispersed and presented as you see in these photos. In the first one, you see that the home is not overly cluttered yet has elements of traditional décor within the space.
Part of what makes home décor traditional is bringing in vintage or heirloom pieces. I love decorating my tree with pieces my kids, who are now grown up, have made over the years. When you do that, it adds a warm spirit and a lot of history to your home, and I encourage you to do that, and to do it plentifully…but, only on the tree. (This way your home won’t look like a DIY project!)
When it comes to holiday decorations a la Nina, I would like you guys to start using asymmetry in your décor. This will make your rooms look very elevated and chic. If you look at the room in this picture with the navy wall backdrop, you can see the design elements are asymmetrical. You’ve got a big magnolia tree/branch on the mantel which doesn’t have a twin on the other side. And you have an uneven number of these beautiful stockings. The look just gives a sense of design that a lot of people really lack when tackling traditional holiday décor. And by the way, you have all of these things already. There’s no need to spend a lot of money. Just styling what you have in the right way will make a huge difference.
Another way to approach traditional holiday decorating that I love can be seen in the photo from top interior designer Bunny Williams. She has put together multiple pieces in different shapes and sizes but all in the same tone. She sticks with all the beiges and natural and neutral tones, and because of that, it allows her (and you) to go a bit heavier on the decoration, because a lot of different colors are not vying for the eye. The resulting look is very chic.
Another elegant way to spruce up your traditional décor is to pay particular attention to your gift wrapping. This applies to all three themes of holiday decor but is especially important in traditional decorating. Your gift wrapping needs to be thought out carefully and thoroughly. If you look at the image, the wrapping on the gifts is very simple, but very traditional and chic. I recommend buying coordinating wrapping papers – maybe pick one or two colors and then one or two ribbons – and keep to those. Essentially, make the gifts almost part of the décor. If you have to buy all these presents and spend all that money you might as well integrate them into your home instead of placing them under the tree in an array of mismatched wrapping paper from various stores.
Modern minimal décor is probably one of my most favorite things on the planet and can be applied to holiday decorating, too. Look at this photo from the Canada home of designer Gillian Segal. She has a gorgeous entrance with a very small table but it looks like a million dollars. It’s casual yet not fussy, the opposite of traditional. In traditional decorations, you often have a lot going on but here you can be playful, as she has been. You can have your gifts falling asymmetrically all over the floor, and this beautiful garland draped over the banister. It’s all done so artfully and is what I call perfection.
Dining rooms are the hubs of homes during the holidays so this is an important room that you must consider when doing your holiday décor. If you happen to have a dedicated room, even better, but if not, it’s fine to have dining space within another room and then go ahead and decorate the chandelier, for instance. If you do nothing else but the lighting for decoration, that is plenty and sufficient in traditional and modern décor. Buy a garland and some fruit and stick them stylishly into the chandelier. I know it sounds crazy but it’s going to look great.
One of my favorite sources for modern holiday décor is CB2. The brand is dialed in and you can’t go wrong with anything from their decorations chest. Look at this gorgeous room. You see small travertine tables and little Christmas trees. But are they really Christmas trees? No, they’re cement cones in the silhouette of a Christmas tree, and they look fantastic.
In this same picture from CB2’s catalog is a great idea for your ornaments, which is placing them on an existing tree in your home. If you don’t want to cut a tree or you don’t have time to get a tree, or perhaps you’re not religious or you’re of a different religion, maybe you want to put ornaments on a tree without having Christmas. This is a great way to do it.
Not everyone has a grand, walnut-paneled room, but you can still hang up your stockings and then add some minimal décor. In this image, for instance, you have a round mirror above the fireplace. If you place a round wreath that layers over the mirror, then you’ve just created Christmas with your own items.
For a whimsical look, there’s Boho Chic. I especially love it because it’s probably the most difficult for me to execute so I do appreciate it when it is done artfully and correctly.
For instance, look at this fun pink Christmas tree. You can create one. Why not? Why should everything be green and red and boring? So do a pink Christmas tree. Add fruit to your chandelier garlands, add fresh flowers to your tree.
These are all really fun looks. They don’t have to be featured everywhere, but maybe play a little with colors.
Pick hues that are a little bit out of the ordinary to create what I call the pastel whimsical Christmas look. And again, don’t forget the dining room. Just look at this how pretty this pink Christmas dining tablescape is!
The best part? It’s unexpected and you’ll win the star for originality.
Check out some of my favorite holiday picks below and even more in the new Holiday section of my affiliate shop. Happy decorating!