Essential Guide to Holiday Decorating - 5 Simple Tips for a Bright and Easy Season

Everything looks so beautiful during the holidays, but decorating just adds to the already enormous list of work to be accomplished, including gift-buying, present wrapping, and card sending. This year, be smarter. Your festive embellishments can convert from Thanksgiving to the winter holidays a bit easier if you bedeck the halls with a few items that can remain all season long. Then you can simply add in just a few trends to stay contemporary and fun. Here's five simple ways to get your home cheerful and bright.

door wreath

Swap in a bit of glitter and pine and remove the pumpkins to keep your wreath appropriate for each holiday. Photo credit: Sean Wells/Unsplash

Update Basics for Each Holiday

Yes, you can decorate for Thanksgiving and the other winter holidays at the same time. It’s all about putting up things that represent all seasons. The key is not tying all your elements to one holiday. “Small additions/subtractions can be made from one holiday to the next in the same way you add different colored pillows to a neutral sofa to give it different vibes throughout the year,” said Lynne Tocchet, Director of Interior Design at Pacaso, a service that helps people buy and co-own luxury second homes. 

By creating a baseline décor, you can maintain a festive look for months without an enormous amount of work. The key is using specific holiday accessories that can easily be rotated out. For example, Tocchet, suggested that a long wooden bowl filled with pine cones can sit on the center of the dining room table for many months. “In the fall that arrangement may be sprinkled with rust, orange, and earthy colored potpourri representing the accessory of fall and the dropping of the leaves,” she offered. “Moving into winter, those earth tones may be replaced with red and green, blue and white, silver and gold, or any other color combination that represents the winter holiday season to you. Keeping the foundation of the decor the same and just changing out the ‘accessory’ layer keeps it simple and easy.”

After all, the main goal of seasonal decorations, pointed out Aino Heinasuo, an interior architect and a game artist for the interior design game Redecor, is to create a warm and welcoming ambience in your home. Using a color palette of neutrals, red and gold is definitely good for the winter holidays. Plus, you can use evergreen touches, festive lights and ornaments, too. “With a simple and minimalistic approach you can keep the decorations up for the whole winter season if you like,” he said. 

pine cone centerpiece

This lovely centerpiece can decorate your table all winter long - just take out the pine and throw in a few fall leaves for Thanksgiving. Photo credit: Pacaso

 Neon candy cane

A little neon goes a long way. Photo credit: Custom Neon

Up the Ante by Using a Few Trends

Don’t be afraid of embracing trends … 2021 is the year of cozy and organic, and its vibe will feel fresh for several holiday seasons. “We are seeing lots of monochromatic natural elements with eco vibes such as wooden sculptures in the shape of pumpkins or trees in combination with the quintessential hue of green,” said Tocchet. “Creating a simple and elegant decor that is soothing and inviting is clearly the winning choice this season.”

Good decor is personal though as well as trendy. “What's least likely to go out of style is what is most personal,” advised Jeanette Chasworth, interior designer at The Color Whisperer. “My leaf tree I have had for 10 years and each year I change it a little, and it's still very much me. It doesn't look dated at all.” She suggested purchasing a few "investment" pieces each season; those are fad-proof and will look good every season.

Lighted Christmas Tree in Living Room

Fairy lights make it festive. Photo credit: Custom Neon

Let There Be Light ... and a Focal Point

Nothing says the holidays like hundreds of twinkling lights and houses that sparkle — inside and out. Neon, which coincidentally, is one of Pinterest’s top 2021 trends of 2021, is a perfect way to up the illumination stakes, said Jake Munday, the co-founder of Custom Neon. Plus, LED neon products are currently all over TikTok and Instagram as well and became popular as a way to bring some cheer during the pandemic. “As ‘staying home’ became the new going out, people looked for innovative ways to brighten their homes and gardens,” he said.

Decorating with lights is generally a good idea anyway since these sparkling strings can stay up for several holidays, even through the spring if you work the add-ons and finishing touches correctly. A bit of luminescence always makes it festive no matter the time of year.

Keep in mind that when decorating, whether you are indoors or outdoors, you require a center-of-attention point that everything else works around, offered Chasworth. So ask yourself, what are is the main focus? Is it the fireplace? The tree? Then work your decorations around that main area.

skate on door

Imagination creates lovely holiday displays. Photo credit: Paul Solomon/Unsplash

Recreate Holiday Memories in Your Decor

Homemade decorations and recycled material are the go to for the season, according to Tocchet. “Heartfelt handmade trinkets as well as larger scale folksy wall decorations exemplify the timeless household traditions we cherish so much,” she said.

After a holiday spent social distancing, this year will feature families celebrating together and embracing decorations and pictures from other times. “It's really going to be about celebrating now and appreciating the past,” said Chasworth. 

Plus, supply shortages will get everyone thinking out of the box. “Maybe there will be a return to more old school/ home made ornaments like popcorn garlands or paper ring garlands.”

Think of other ways to trim the tree. “Step away from traditional themes for your tree,” said Chasworth. For example, if you love dolphins then use them. If you’re a book lover, put some of your favorites on the branches, literally or with images. Rope your children into the fun, by reading a holiday book every night before the big day for a week. This can become a yearly, and beloved, tradition.

wooden pumpkin decorations

Replication can offer a distinct look, especially if you  play with texture and materials. Photo credit: Pacaso

Play With the Traditional

Greenery never goes out of style, pointed out Tocchet. “The farther we get into the winter season and the less green we have surrounding us by nature, the more we want to be reminded of a warm summer day and see our interior decor screaming green,” she said. “No matter what other trends are circling around it, or layering in, greenery is alway at the epicenter of winter decor.” This is a theme you can play with when decorating for the holiday.

White is another representative color for the season. We all dream of a white Christmas and winter often comes with ice and snow. “The color white is versatile to combine with any other shade,” said Heinasuo. “With a minimalistic approach you can keep the decorations up for a longer time! And it’s more than okay to keep festive lights, evergreen garlands and plaid patterned textiles the whole winter season.” We also like to cuddle indoors during those colder months so don’t forget piling on the cozy blankets. Candles always work, too. A little bit of flickering light makes everything ethereal all season long.

Play with the classics and update them so the decoration can last more than the actual holiday you’re celebrating. For example, everyone loves their Christmas wreath but by the end of the holiday it comes down, along with a bunch of pine needles. Instead, try using something that represents winter, suggested Heinasuo, like ice skates. You can hang these on your door instead of a traditional wreath for several months and it will never leave behind a spruce trail either.

Featured photo: Element 5/Unsplash

You know what makes a great holiday gift? Something custom made for the person you love. Read more about how that's done.



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