Have you ever thumbed through a magazine to admire the Christmas decor and fallen in love with a sophisticated look but figured you couldn’t pull it off at your house? You may have thought that elegant holiday homes are only possible when you’ve got a team of decorators who know just how to pull the look together. But that’s not the case. The truth is that you can create an elegant and sophisticated holiday look throughout your home by following a few simple tips. Yes, Virginia, you too can create a simple and elegant holiday decor for your home.
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Many of us start pulling out our Christmas decorations and hardly even notice how many colors and patterns we’re working with. In addition to the traditional red and green, we may have thrown in gold…and silver….or perhaps a color that coordinates with our preferred decorating scheme. In addition to all of the colors, we’ve probably got a lot of different patterns too. Plaids mixed with solids interspersed with snowflakes.
The result is definitely colorful – like a quilt.
Who are we kidding, the result is overly busy and distracting. It’s not elegant and no one will ever accuse us of having that sophisticated, decorator touch.
Elegant holiday decor doesn’t go overboard with color
Probably the biggest single mistake we make is using too many colors or using colors that don’t work together.
You want the colors to work together and cool colors are always more elegant than warmer ones. For example, red and green decorations, while traditional Christmas colors, when placed together, don’t project an air of elegance.
First, pick your neutral color that you’re going to use consistently throughout your house. Top holiday choices are gold, silver, or white. These colors “up the ante” when paired with any other single color.
Now, the simplest idea is to use one main color with your neutral in every room. This creates a very elegant look that is easy on the eye and doesn’t cause abrupt changes that are jarring.
However, it’s possible to use different colors as long as you use only one color in each room while using the same neutral throughout to tie the look together. Your kitchen might be decorated in red and silver while your living room is decorated in blue and silver while a bathroom is decorated in green and silver. The silver is the unifying color that gives your home a cohesive look as you move from room to room.
Keep holiday decor simple by using coordinating patterns
The secret to working with patterns is to keep the color scheme consistent.
You don’t need red Santas with brown reindeer with snowmen on blue backgrounds. It’s too much. However, if all of these patterns are on the same color background then you’ve got a cohesive color scheme that works without being visually overwhelming.
Keep it simple.
Decorations don’t have to be cutesy…or overtly “Christmas-y”
Instead of choosing poinsettias as your flower to decorate with, choose dozens of white roses and put them in delicate glass vases throughout your house. For a table centerpiece, place white pillar candles on a mirror base. Cover the edges of the base with gold or white ribbon.
Ribbons and bows in a consistent color can be added to chandeliers, doorknobs, lamp finials, etc.
Decorate the corners of the rooms with different wrapped gifts. Make sure the gifts are wrapped in the color scheme you’ve chosen if you want them to make a statement and serve as part of your decor.
Make an impact with less decorations
You really don’t need to have every surface of your home covered with Christmas decor for your home to look seasonal and attractive. In fact, sometimes too many decorations dilutes the effect and you’d make more of an impact with just a few carefully chosen pieces.
For example, one big Santa or snowman on the fireplace hearth will make more of a statement than will 50 tiny ones. It’s more dramatic, not to mention that it’s so much easier to pull out (and then store away) one item instead of lots of little ones.
Take a collection of Christmas balls in your chosen color (or your chosen color and your neutral) and place them in a large, heavy glass or wooden bowl. Place the bowl in the center of your coffee table.
A few other decorating ideas
- Replace all of the different colored guest towels in each of your bathrooms with thick white ones. Lay a small hand towel beside each sink and place a gold ribbon around the middle of it.
- On your walkway outside, use white luminaries along the walkway and leading up to the front steps or porch. For elegance in electric lighting, never pick the bigger lights. Opt for the smaller ones inside – and yes, even outside your home.
- Candles are inexpensive but when clustered together make a big impact. You can create visual interest by varying the size and shape of the candles, just be sure to use the same color throughout.
- Any collections you have make a statement when grouped together rather than spread around and displayed individually.
- Have you ever noticed how some restaurants use those tiny white Christmas lights all year round? That’s because those lights project an elegant dining experience. When you’re placing lights on your tree, use the smaller lights and use as many strands as your tree can comfortably hold.
- When you are choosing dinnerware or china, white is a great choice. You can easily change it up for different holidays and occasions by simply changing out place mats, napkins, and your glasses. For years I had one set of white china with several sets of glasses: red, green, blue, and purple. My table could look appropriate for any situation.
Make your holiday home one that YOU love!
Now I’m going to admit that I don’t always follow these rules.
When my kids were younger I went for a different look. They loved the bright colors and going for “a look” wasn’t my primary concern – seeing joy and excitement on my kid’s faces was. The bottom line is that it’s up to you to decide how you want your home to look and feel during the holidays and that will most likely change as your situation changes.
Ultimately the most beautiful holiday home is the one that makes you – and your loved ones – feel happy, content, and ready to celebrate the season.
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