Design at Altitude column: Decorating for the holidays
This time of year beckons to us to decorate. Maybe it’s the long nights or waning light, the soft glow as snow falls outside or the general feeling of “peace on earth.” Whatever the reason, decorating for the holidays can be fanciful, traditional, colorful — whatever suits your mood this year. Decorating can come with a few challenges — incorporating family traditions, family decor and melding it with your own taste. Add in animals and children, a glass of eggnog and getting just the right look for your home could be more of a time of stress than a time of peace and joy.
We’ve put together some of our favorite tips for turning your house into a holiday home. The best part about this time of year? Really, there are no rules to follow and it lasts such a short time that if you don’t love the look, it won’t be around long.
Here are a few of our favorite tips to bring the season into your home. Mix and match, maybe try something new along with one of your old favorites — it will transform your room and get you in the holiday spirit.
• Vintage or vintage inspired. Pull out grandma’s china or the delicate crystal and use it. I know it’s a little nerve-wracking to use plates that have been in your family for decades. What if one breaks? Better to break one while enjoying it than letting them collect dust in the china cabinet. If you aren’t up for using the entire set, then mix and match a few pieces: I use the square bread bowl for nuts and serve ice cream in tea cups. My kids think it’s really special and love helping set the table.
• Create an interesting centerpiece. Fresh flowers are always lovely this time of year, to add nature to a room. But there are so many other ways to jazz up a table: Put all different ornaments in a hurricane for instant cheer. Repurpose a few greens cut off the Christmas tree, add a few branches (with our without berries) and it’s an instant piece of holiday. Pinecones are kitschy but trendy — and it could become a family tradition to hunt for the best pinecone. Put a little live tree, decorated with small ornaments or even cranberries, on the table; keep it alive till May and plant it. Set out lots of candles — in a variety of heights and widths but all in the same color palette — to add softness and a glow. Add a few greens and voila — Christmas on the tabletop.
• While on the topic of centerpieces, try a little sparkle. It might be a bright silver bowl filled with glass ornaments or berries. Cute silver trees grouped together add bling but won’t take up much space. Now is the time to pull out candlesticks that you’ve had hidden away since your wedding — heavy gold candelabras with white candles, slinky silver candlesticks with bright red tapers; mix and match colors, heights and styles.
• The scent of nostalgia: Create, or recreate, an aroma that will gently waft through the air throughout the holidays. For many of us, it is the pungent, sweet smell of an evergreen tree. For others, it’s the rich smell of hot cocoa, the scent of gingerbread or even the cold mountain air. It’s surprising how a certain aroma can bring back memories. Not up for baking? There are candles and scent diffusers that mimic almost any holiday scent, and they are just as pretty to see as to smell.
• Just as scent can bring us back to a time or place, color ties into memories, too. Find a color that speaks to you. If you have young kids, you might like to incorporate lots of color — any color, the more color the better.
There’s still time to incorporate new holiday traditions. Try something new — you just might be creating a new family tradition.
The Slifer Designs team collaborated on these holiday tips. Their best piece of advice? Stay true to what you like!