Creating big style for the holidays can seem daunting. After all, decorating for Christmas can open up a potential minefield of emotions that run through the danger zones of budget, space, time and traditions.
Over the many years she’s worked as a buyer for Golden Acre Home & Garden, Rowena Bell has given customers advice and tips on everything from how big their tree should be, to how to layer ornaments for maximum impact, to colour schemes (bring photos of your house she says), to how to create a custom tree topper using artificial blooms and branches. “Don’t be afraid to ask for help,” she says.
Here are some of her tips.
Whether you’re starting from scratch or trying to update your seasonal collection, the first thing to consider is the everyday style of your home. “Whatever style your home is in already, stick with that so that the look is cohesive,” says Bell. “Create consistency of style and colour among the decorations, even from the front door.”
Whether your home is modern, traditional, country or urban, creating consistency will help increase the impact and make the decorations look like part of a larger whole, rather than just a bunch of items inserted into your space.
Cluster and repeat an element (such as snowflakes) or a colour to make the impact bigger – a cluster of four reindeer will have more impact than the same number spread out throughout the house, and will also have more impact than a cluster containing a single reindeer, a Santa, a snowman and a stocking.
Consistency with your existing decor will also help you repurpose some of your everyday pieces for your holiday theme. “Some of the things you already have can be used as seasonal decor by adding a Christmas element such as frosted branches, fresh evergreens or ornaments,” Bell says. You can display ornaments or vintage Christmas bulbs in large bowls or vases or even hang small ornaments on your houseplants.
Repurpose existing pieces
Another way to incorporate your existing pieces is to use them as a starting point. For example, instead of assuming that Christmas must be red and green, coordinate it instead with the colours of your dishes, accessories or furniture and go with holiday decor that’s blue and white, gold and brown or pewter and grey. Frosted items come in a range of shades and are “super popular this year,” notes Bell. Silver can be paired with just about any colour. There are also an increasing number of holiday decor items out there in non-traditional colour options, such as purple, pink, teal and black.
Tips for trees
As for the tree, artificial models are great from a decorating standpoint as they are often designed to be tall and slender. But real trees can be pruned to make them more decor-compatible. Golden Acre even carries a topiary-style artificial tree that has a small ball of branches at the top, making it a perfect fit in a bedroom, hallway, or small condo space.
If you want your decorations to be big but you don’t have the floor space for a huge tree, just look up. Consider adding boughs or swags of greenery (real or artificial) along the ceiling line, interior doors, railings, mantel pieces or along the tops of bookshelves. Add wreaths to your windows or big bows or to the backs of dining chairs. And don’t be afraid to remove furniture or decor items and put them away for the season.
Find new ways to honour old traditions
Christmas is all about tradition and for many that means using the same decorations year after year. If your personal style is chafing against the restraints of generations’ worth of decorations that have lost their lustre for you, try finding a new way to give them a place of honour. “Children’s ornaments can be featured together on their own smaller tree or on a wreath to allow for more focus on them,” says Bell. “Or you can put grandma’s special ornaments into a vase all together, where they will be safe. It can make them even more special.”