AT ANY OTHER TIME OF THE YEAR, personal style dictates décor: the color schemes, the motifs, the artwork. Why should the holidays be different? Although the season’s traditions may edict red and green, snowflakes and stockings, holiday decorating doesn’t have to be one size fits all. A few top designers shared tips for decking the halls with personal style.
In a home featuring simple silhouettes, clean lines and restrained color schemes, traditional trimmings can feel out of place. For those who yen toward minimalism or modernism, let holiday decor follow suit.
A good place to start is by narrowing down the color palette. “Choosing one or two colors at the most can make a great statement in more modern spaces,” said Jennifer Huson-Maywald, principal of J. Clayton Interiors in Seaford. Her picks are bright shades of blue, red or green paired with white. For an approach that’s both contemporary and classic, she said to skip color altogether and create an all-white scheme accented by silver, gold or champagne tones.
Incorporate textures to ensure a pared-down, modern look still evokes the coziness of the season, said Debra Gildersleeve, owner of the furniture, décor and clothing emporium RENEE’s in Mattituck. “You can create an inviting atmosphere with soft linen, cotton or wool pillows and a comfy faux fur throw.”
For chic centerpieces, Huson-Maywald suggested stocking up on large, simple glass vases and hurricane candleholders. Fill them with bunches of evergreen branches spray painted a metallic shade, or try glass globe ornaments intertwined with battery-operated string lights.
Prefer retro looks and eclectic vibes? Take a cue from Christmases past by putting a vintage twist on holiday décor. “A vintage look is a great option for those who may be decorating on a tight budget or who have inherited some childhood ornaments or nostalgic family pieces,” said designer Erin Andrews, owner of Indigo House Interior Design in Bellmore. “It’s also a good choice for anyone who likes décor that is less than perfect, but beautifully coordinated.”
The goal is a timeworn, inviting space. “Patterns like buffalo check and ticking stripes in slightly muted versions of classic holiday colors are always nostalgic, as are polka dots, paisley and toile,” Andrews said. For texture, she suggested incorporating elements like woven baskets, brushed velvets and metallic finishes with patina, such as antique brass, slightly tarnished silver and galvanized tin. Finally, on the table, mix-and-match china patterns, crystal candlesticks and silver serving pieces.
“Try turning small antique-looking picture frames and family photos into ornaments with pretty vintage ribbon,” Andrews added. “Print photos out…in black and white or sepia tone. Or, add ribbon or hooks to small family keepsakes like silver baby cups, rattles and teething rings.”
TOTING THE TRADITIONAL
If both the home and the holidays are steeped in tradition, there’s no reason to abandon the tried-and-true look. But, that doesn’t mean the classics can’t be reimagined.
“Red and green are musts for traditional holiday decorating,” said Peggy Guerrin, owner of Interior Designs by Peggy in Garden City. “Incorporating ribbons made out of plaid or tartan fabrics and garlands of greens with faux fruit like oranges, apples, grapes and lemons is classic but not something you see everywhere.”
For a sophisticated spin, combine seasonal, natural elements like holly, magnolias and pine cones with details such as velvet, mercury glass and crystal, advised designer Lillian Morea of Lillian C. Morea Interiors in Fort Salonga. “Avoiding characters and sticking to the season’s symbols like pine branches, pine cones and snowflakes will also ensure traditional décor feels elegant, not kitschy.”
For an easy DIY project that instantly adds a traditional polish: fill a silver bowl with clove-studded oranges for an eye-catching centerpiece. Or make a garland of popcorn and cranberries for the tree or table.