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9 modern holiday decorating ideas to take your home to the next level this season


The holiday season is officially here and soon the gardens will be filled with dizzying lights and giant Santa Clauses. Interiors are decorated with kitschy cushions, Elves on a shelf and trees with ornaments from so many eras that decorating can also be a history lesson. But what if none of this reflects your personal sense of style or taste?

It’s not necessary to be a Scrooge, but it doesn’t mean your house has to look like Santa’s Workshop. It is possible to decorate in an elevated way that also suits the style of your home. Here are nine tips from interior designers and entertainment experts to tastefully decorate your home this season.

Don’t keep up with the Joneses

Decorating for the holiday season can feel like a competition no matter where you live. But your home doesn’t have to shine the brightest for the season to make sense.

“When decorating for the holidays, always keep in mind that the primary goal is for you and your family to love where you live. You shouldn’t feel pressured to have the most spectacular light display or the tallest, sparkling tree — unless you want to, and I’ll be the first to say, that’s totally okay,” says interior designer and owner of Kathy Kuo Home, Kathy Kuo.

Kuo suggests paring down your holiday decor to pieces that are most meaningful, “Your grandma’s heirloom glass ornaments or your kids’ homemade paper snowflakes—the things that are heart-opening.” From there, add the well-placed sprigs of greenery or your favorite warm twinkling lights, you’ll find it’s easy to get to a very meaningful and flavorful result.

Two trees is twice the fun

Christmas trees can feel like works of art. But as anyone with kids knows, art can get messy. So Kuo’s house has two trees, a “nice” and a “nice” tree. “The ‘nice’ tree is the tree that my children and I completely decorate together, as we have been doing since they were born. It holds all of our handmade souvenir decorations from holidays or memories we’ve shared over the years,” she says. color palette and theme.”

Accessorize your greenery


Designer and entertainment expert Joanna Buchanan recommends cutting sparkling critters into traditional greenery like trees and garlands. These accessories can be an alternative to ornaments or used together with them.

“[This gives] an unexpected flash of color and whimsy and it’s that attention to detail that can really elevate your holiday decor. I prefer not to use obvious icons – and prefer something more eclectic… like a sparkling bee,” she says.

Skip the red and green this year

While reds and greens are associated with Christmas and blues and metallics are associated with Hanukah, sticking to these standard palettes isn’t really necessary according to Liz Toombs, CID president and owner of Kentucky-based PDR Interiors. “To create a tasteful look for the holiday season, stick to more traditional colors like ivory, emerald green, red, eggplant, navy or black. For a playful, fun vibe, choose bright colors like pink, lime green, bright purple, or cobalt blue,” she says.


Toombs suggests going with colors that match the furniture and decor you already have in the space. “Your colors shouldn’t compete with the standard decor of your room. The colors should be harmonious, but not a match. They should work together in a way that supports the atmosphere for your holiday gathering.

Alternatively, Kuo likes to incorporate neutral tones. “Layered neutrals paired with shimmery accents or even pops of color work beautifully to create a festive atmosphere. Winter whites and warm creams are always a good base and can be accentuated with a soft blush or even an icy shade of blue,” she says. “And don’t be afraid to go beyond the traditional evergreens — mix olive and juniper twigs with eucalyptus sprigs and even dusty miller for a little subtle silvery tone and visual interest.”

Use dishes as a guideline

There’s more pressure than ever to create beautiful tablescapes these days. After all, there’s a reason so many brands make holiday-themed dishes and tablecloths. But you don’t need to buy them to create a festive table. “If you want to create an elegant aesthetic, use porcelain and crystal or cut glass cups in combination with cloth napkins and cutlery. I also recommend layering,” says Toombs.

The designer says to start with your tablecloth and add a placemat, charger, or both. “Then add your plate(s) and place a napkin in an eye-catching napkin holder. These layers will create a visual delight for guests without taking up much space on the table.”

Leave Santa at the children’s table

Santa Claus is a classic Christmas icon, but for adults he can be a bit kitschy. Choose, as Buchanan says, a chic mix. “A neutral mix of animal patterns with dazzling critter napkin rings and faceted glass place card holders…the palette is tight, but the impact is huge.”

Don’t use poinsettias

A vase full of poinsettias is not such a creative choice. So consider going for white flowers instead. “Paperwhites are my favorite holiday decoration. They smell great and the stems can take a bee clip very well,” says Buchanan.

Don’t like paper whites? Calla lilies, hydrangeas, or even white roses can also look pretty.

Go cosy

One of the reasons we enjoy the holidays so much is that our homes suddenly become cozier. So if you’re not sure what to do or don’t want to go over the top with decorating, Kuo recommends just mixing in extra cozy elements. “Finding time to take a break during the holidays is the ultimate luxury, and what better way to unwind than with cashmere blankets and faux fur throw pillows. Light a luxuriously scented candle to stimulate all the senses and enjoy the perfect touch of winter wonder.”

Avoid striving for perfection

While there can be a lot of pressure to make everything look perfect for your annual holiday party or your baby’s first Christmas, Toombs doesn’t think perfection should be the goal here. “Don’t worry about making every detail perfect. It’s okay if all of the decorative items in the garland aren’t symmetrical, or if any swag is a little off-center. Enjoy the joy of the Christmas season and don’t fall into the trap of overemphasizing the details.”