Maybe the holiday spirit compels you to cover everything with ribbons and lights and you start your countdown sometime after Labor Day. Or you are like us, and you want the feeling of a festively decorated house, but want to get the most bang for your buck with as little effort as possible.
We recently spoke with Erline Altamira, one of the genius designers from Twenty/One/Seven to get her best tips on decorating for the holidays without breaking the bank.
Don’t be afraid of color
Traditional red and green, or blue, white, and silver will never go out of style, but don’t be afraid to go the unconventional route and decorate your home with bright colors like pinks, purples and turquoise. Bright colors not your thing? Try a monochrome or black and white look. With a few fresh boughs and a pop or two of red as an accent color, black and white can be very festive.
Consider the style of your home when choosing your outdoor decorations
We are never going to tell you to put down the inflatable Abominable Snowman. We salute all you Clark Griswold wannabes. If, however, you want a more subtle look, try matching the style of your decorations to the style of your house (makes sense doesn’t it?). So if you have a mid century modern, go for the old fashioned big bulbs and accent all of those clean rooflines. Living in a Spanish bungalow? Try lots of white lights to enhance the warm glow and texture of the stucco. Tudor? You should be reaching for fairy twinkle lights and making your house into the biggest gingerbread house on the block.
Use everyday items in unexpected places
Maybe you have a set of skis that has seen more dust than snow lately. Don’t be afraid to pull them out and use them to enhance the cozy, wintery feeling we attach to the holidays. “Borrow” some stuffed animals from your kids and tie a bow around them or add a Santa hat and put them around your house. Add a touch of sparkle with ribbons and glass ball ornaments to the decor pieces you already have in the house. Little touches can make a huge impact.
Think about how people will use a space
If your parties always have people hanging out in the back yard (don’t you just love winter in LA) consider decorating the back yard with as much attention as the front. Add lights to your bushes, or run some lights across your back fence. It gets dark early in December so a little extra light not only adds a festive touch, but makes people feel comfortable walking around.
Create a beverage station (alcoholic or otherwise) away from the kitchen so people have to walk around the party and socialize. Bonus, if you are trying to get some last minute food preparations done, Uncle Joe isn’t in your way making a cup of his lethal eggnog.
Pictures or it didn’t happen
Picture it. Everyone is opening presents. You are trying to capture the exact moment little Ralphie unwraps his official Red Ryder, carbine action, 200-shot, range model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time. What is in the background of this picture? Is it a beautifully decorated tree or mantle that sparkles just so? Or is it an open door looking into a messy kitchen because its 6am and Santa came and you didn’t finish cleaning up the dishes because “some assembly required”. Don’t show off your mess, just keep the good stuff in the frame. So put your kids in a place where each picture will show all the wonders of the season, and you will forget all about that casserole with the burnt on cheese you are “soaking”.
It is so easy to go overboard for the holidays, but you don’t have to buy (and then store) boxes and boxes of stuff to give your home a festive feeling. Keep it simple and only do what you want to do. Your holiday decorations should match your personality. The most important thing to remember is that if it makes you smile when you walk into a room, you are doing it right.
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