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Fall seems to pass away too fast every year. One minute I’m packing away my scarier Halloween decorations, the next I hear Christmas music on the radio and see Christmas decorations in all the stores. The only comfort is that I love Christmas and Winter almost as much as I love Fall. Like my Fall décor, I like to approach Christmas and Winter decor the same way I approach interior decor, in “layers”. By looking at each area of your home as a space of its own, you can spread the seasonal joy throughout your entire residence. Themes are a great way to unify and perfect your signature holiday look. But how do you create a unified theme throughout your home?
What Mood Do You Want to Convey with Your Theme?
The first thing you need to decide is what type of mood you want your home to convey. If you have children or will have lots of children at your home over the holidays, you might want to go for a fun, colorful look. If children won’t be a central part of your holiday, you might want to choose a more elegant theme. If you prefer a quiet, cozy holiday, a rustic theme might work for you. A traditional theme works pretty much under any circumstance. You can see some of the popular themes for 2017 in my post here. You will want to select a color story and elements that support your theme. Try to repeat these colors and elements in every room and vignette.
What Do You Already Have?
Start with what you already have. Go through your old holiday décor and try to see items in a new light. Will any of them work with the theme you have selected? What other items do you have in your home that could be repurposed to work with your theme? Search dollar stores, thrift stores, and discount stores for any items that fit your theme, or that could be adapted to fit your theme. Candles, candle holders, mirrors, textiles, floral accents, and containers are all items to consider. And remember, with a little bit of effort and creativity, many items can be upcycled to fit your theme! Paint, embroidery, iron-on decals, glitter and ribbon can make magical transformations!
Your yard and home exterior
I like to keep my yard mostly uncluttered during the holidays, but if you are the type to go all out, Christmas is one of the times you can do so freely. Children love to see beloved Christmas characters year after year. I remember when I was growing up, my grandfather had an A-frame building for his office. Every year he would put wood cutouts of Santa in his sleigh, pulled by 8 reindeer and Rudolph with his red light nose. There was a spotlight on Santa, and I would get so excited once Santa was on the roof, because I knew Christmas was coming.
If you prefer something a little more subtle, you can opt for simple lights on bushes and trees, and maybe a wooden or wicker reindeer in your yard. Lanterns also create lovely subtle decorations for the holidays. Every year one of my neighbors lines her sidewalk with lanterns. They are on shepherd’s hooks and come on at dusk. She has a simple bow at the top with some winter foliage, and it is one of my favorite neighborhood decorations.
Use lighting: Use uplights to highlight vignettes you create, or even just your front door. Lights add instant impact and can be installed fairly easily with very little investment. Or go all out with motion and lights like these shooting stars from Martha Stewart.
Placed by either or both sides of the front door, topiaries can work year round. You can create stunning topiaries with a Christmas or Winter theme. Start with the container. The shape and size of the container will depend on the size of the space and related objects nearby. I usually prefer a pedestal urn or pedestal vase shape of a container for a topiary, but there are truly endless options. If you have a large porch you might choose a larger container. Typically, if you have a small door with a small porch or stoop you will want a smaller container. If you find a container with a perfect shape, but less than ideal color, you can probably paint it! I have painted cheap plastic containers with bronze and gunmetal spray paint and gotten fabulous results!
Once you have chosen your container, choose your topiary. Technically speaking, a topiary is a shrub or tree pruned into an ornamental shape. If you are planting an actual tree or bush, make sure the soil you choose is appropriate for your specific planting, and make sure the container drains correctly. If you are using a faux plant this won’t matter.
The next thing and last consideration for your topiary is decoration. Options are berry garlands, Christmas ribbon, and the kinds of picks you see in floral arrangements. Don’t forget to cover the base of your container (where the topiary meets the top of the container). This will hide any dirt, styrofoam, or supportive material you needed to secure your items to the base. You may also want to use white lights if you have chosen a tree or a shrub. I think white lights are elegant and add a little bit of magic to any setting.
If topiaries are a little too formal for you, Christmas “buckets” may be your thing. You can place bundles of greenery in a simple pail, basket, or planter, and insert various berries, sticks, and other winter items between the branches. Add some ribbon, ornaments, sprays, and lights, and you have a beautiful decoration for your entryway. A gorgeous example from Enchanted Garden:
Doorway-This will provide a nice transition from your “outdoor space” to your “indoor space”.
Use a wreath or swag. There are so many beautiful door adornments now! Just go on Pinterest or into Etsy and I’m sure you will find some fantastic ideas for a wreath or a swag. Lately, I’ve noticed several decorated picture frames and embroidery hoops on doors which is a fun twist!
Use a garland. If you still feel your entry is a little drab, you can always add a garland. Try to make sure the garland “goes with” the wreath or swag and any other decor near the door. It doesn’t have to match, but it should look cohesive. You may decide your entry looks fine like it is. White lights could work on a garland too.
Entryway/Foyer-to set the tone
If you have a small table in your entry, decorate it with seasonal foliage, ribbon, and/or winter accents or ornaments. A candle (or several) is always a cozy touch in an entryway, but make sure there is no chance that the flame will ever come into contact with dry leaves or ribbon that could catch fire. There are some beautiful battery operated candles out now that look real, so if safety is a concern you may want to take that route. Fairy lights in jars are a nice alternative to candles, and you can find them just about anywhere that carries holiday decor.
If you have a bench, chair, or any type of seating in your entryway, make it cozy! Pile on lofty throws in soft textures and throw pillows with holiday colors, sayings, or sweater stitches.
Here is an example of a lovely coastal Christmas entryway from Sand and Sisal:
Kitchen-the heart of the home
Holiday-themed textiles are a great way to decorate the kitchen. I use tablecloths, napkins, and placemats to bring more holiday color into the kitchen. If you have a breakfast nook or eating area in your kitchen, use a nice holiday centerpiece.
If you have a space above your cabinets, you can place greenery and white lights above your cabinets for a beautiful holiday look. Hang mini wreaths from ribbon over your cabinet doors and your kitchen will be festive and ready for guests! If you have a decorative or smooth hood above your stove, a swag might look nice (if it doesn’t get too hot or too much steam).
I have a weird affection for dish towels. They are available in so many colors, and with so many prints and sayings! I usually hang a couple of specially selected dish towels from my oven handle and the handle to the tilt out drawer face under my sink.
Dining Room- for entertaining
Pretty much everything I mentioned in the kitchen will work in the dining room. Since the dining table is likely the biggest piece of furniture in your dining room, choose a centerpiece that will command attention! If you want the “designer look”, set the table and include touches like a runner, cloth napkins, dishes in multiple patterns, and name place cards. If you have a buffet or china hutch, a couple of small decorations such as candles, small greenery sprays, and ribbon should suffice.
If you have a chandelier in your dining room, adorn it with greenery and ornaments, or hang ornaments from the ceiling. Candles (real or fake) in candelabras, on pedestals, or in tea light holders provide a warm glow for holiday meals.
A beautifully executed Holiday Dining Room by Rachel Parcell at Pink Peonies.
Family Room – for cozy evenings at home
Start with warmth and texture. Cozy throws and soft pillows will take the chill off a brisk winter evening. Include the colors from your holiday theme, and maybe some themed throw pillows. If you know how to sew, throw pillows are an easy and inexpensive way to carry your theme into the family room.
Fireplace- I like to decorate my mantle and fireplace surround for the holidays. I use garland, white lights (of course), glass ornaments, crystal garland, and flowers in a decorative container to spruce up my fireplace. Don’t forget the stockings and stocking holders!
If you are having house guests this holiday season, you may want to consider decorating the bedrooms. Even if you don’t have guests, decorating bedrooms is one way to take your winter décor up a notch. Start with bed linens. Holiday themed bed linens, or even sheets in a holiday color and a holiday throw across the bottom of the bed are festive and cozy touches. Want to go all out? Garland or ribbon on the bed frame, holiday prints on the walls, a stocking at the foot of the bed, and a wreath above the bed are all great holiday touches as seen in this gorgeous holiday bedroom on The Stone Gable Blog.
Most bathrooms are fairly small and don’t require a lot in terms of decoration. I like to have a scented candle, and possibly some greenery on the bathroom counter or stand. If you want to go a little further, drape some ribbon garland around your mirror and use holiday-themed soaps and hand towels.
This time of year, so many bloggers and craft gurus generously share their talent. One way to spread Christmas cheer throughout your home is to take advantage of these freebies (bonus, you will get on their email list and get more goodies throughout the year!) I like to put these in every room, and you can find images to match practically any theme. Below are some gorgeous freebies that would work for several themes from Designer Trapped.
Fragrance – for sensory reinforcement
The last layer in creating a holiday theme for your home is fragrance. The sense of smell is linked more closely to memories than any other sense. I like to use Bath and Body Works “Winter” and “Balsam” fragrance all over my house…using candles, Wallflowers, scented wax warmers, and air spray. To me, it instantly evokes the feeling of Christmas trees and apples. If you don’t like my choice, find your own favorite, and use it around the house for that final fall touch.
I hope you found some great ideas for creating a holiday theme for your home. I’d love to see your Christmas decor! Email me or comment on this post you share your creations, and be sure to include any of your own ideas that I left out!
Until next time,