Holiday pillows on couch

by Maren Anderson, designer, Tai Pan Trading 

Decorating for Christmas goes hand in hand with the sounds, scents and spirit of the holiday season. By using a few key elements, you can turn your home into a space that embraces and invites friends and family into your celebration.

I recommend three areas of focus to make decorating stress free and fun: the buffet, the fireplace mantle and a seating area.

The buffet or entrance table, along with the front door, is your home’s opening statement. It’s not only a place where you express yourself and your personal style, but it is also a way to show your family and guests that you want to add a little magic to the season.

Apothecary jars filled with ornaments

Fill an assortment of apothecary jars with bells, artificial snow and pinecones, ornaments and peppermints, or build a snow globe within them. Add a bit of garland that curves and drapes across the buffet to add interest and movement. Tying bows around the jars using coordinating ribbon adds a lot, too. It’s an easy design to put together that translates across many holidays — just coordinate the contents of the jars to the season of celebration.

Mantles are often the focal points of our living areas. The key to decorating them is layering and adding textures. I like to start with a pine garland; the artificial ones are all wired and make a great base for combining elements. Many people are hesitant to put any nail holes or scars on their mantle anyway. I recommend using a long, skinny nail and placing it in the seam at the back of the mantle where it meets the wall. Attach a 12” wire to the head of the nail and use it to attach the garland to the mantle area in a graceful swag. Layer a berry garland or poke floral stems between the pine boughs, and cross the wired pine pieces over each other to secure the additions. Hang ornaments from the artificial pine, add bits of fresh cedar to the garland and light it up to really wow the crowd.

The seating area can be the easiest place to add a festive spirit. It gets the most action in the home during gatherings, so you don’t want to add too much that may block the view of “the game” or end up in a heap because of happy, rowdy children. A Christmas throw, pillow or runner will add a pop of color and style without getting in the way of the fun.

Use holiday decorating to express yourself, add warmth and spirit to your home, and show your friends and family they are special to you.