Believe it or not, the holidays are fast approaching. There’s one question that we hear often this time of year — how do you provide an inviting environment, and a classy backdrop to your holidays beyond decorating your tree, and without resorting to simply blanketing your house with Christmas knick-knacks? Our answer is to use the same decorating principles that you use year-round, and layer in a “holiday feel” one design choice at a time.

Your first step is to pick the key colors you want to weave into all your designs. If you feel adventurous, you can move beyond the classic red and green, and focus on gold or silver paired with ivory or other neutrals. Pillows are a great way to begin incorporating your colors, while making your space cozy for guests. With pillows, you want to bring in different patterns and textures — updated plaids or velvet throw pillows add great holiday ambiance. Custom pillows offer you the opportunity to mix-and-match colors, trimming, and textures to create a unique look that highlights your personal style. You can further utilize color, and texture by layering in other textiles — an accent like a soft knit throw blanket draped over your sofa is a great touch and is perfect to cuddle up to while watching your favorite Christmas movie. These touches will make any seating area look more inviting and intimate. 

Natural greenery (or at least natural-looking greenery) is a great way to incorporate some classic Christmas color to your space. The fireplace is the clear focal point in your living area — it’s the first thing guests will look at when entering the room and practically begs for decoration. We love to drape a lush green garland across the mantle and let it sweep down to the floor on either side of the fireplace. You don’t have to stick to evergreen garlands — faux magnolia-leaf garlands provide both color and a nod to our Southern locale. Finish the mantle with pretty metallic accents — gold candlesticks or silver mercury glass hurricanes will really complete the look. After you have mastered the mantle, layer your greenery up your banister, or in decorative wreaths. To add more finishing touches, embellish the garlands with accessories like twinkling lights, fabulous plaid ribbon, or mix in other faux foliage like holly, ivy, and berry branches. This enables you to create a coordinated design between all elements in your space. Think beyond the front door with wreaths — almost any door, window, or wall can be enhanced by a single or trio of wreaths.

When it comes to accessorizing your tables and shelves, you don’t want to overdo it with Christmas-specific items. Accessories made of mercury glass or antiqued mirrors are great options. Decorative lanterns and candle holders allow you to incorporate candlelight to provide a warm and cozy atmosphere. You can dress up lanterns with small twinkling lights or by adding greenery or berries. Finally, you want to personalize your space with family photos in silver frames, and a few heirloom (or child-made) decorations. 

As an example of how these elements can come together, think of your dining table. You can create a gorgeous centerpiece for your dining table by mixing in a variety of candle pillars in different finishes such as gold, mercury glass, and champagne. Use an assortment of shapes, heights, and textures to add visual interest to your centerpiece. Complete each setting by adding garland as a runner, and attaching holly leaves or cinnamon sticks to napkin rings to achieve a timeless look. Make sure to use subtle dinnerware so it doesn’t overpower your decor. 

By incorporating each of these elements you will not only provide a festive look, but a feeling of warmth and holiday cheer.