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Decorating Your Home for the Holidays

Expert Tips and Tricks from an Interior Designer

Nothing signals the beginning of the holiday season like dusting off the old box of ornaments and stringing up twinkly lights. To beautifully decorate your home for the holidays, owner of EH Design and interior designer Erin Haugerud shares her expertise on bringing the magic and warmth of the season into your home.

Take Inventory

Before you hang a stocking or go wild with the tinsel, Erin recommends taking inventory of all your existing ornaments and decorations. Once you know what you already have, you can start formulating a plan for which decorations you’d like to use, devise a color theme, and decide if you need to find new decorations to create a different look for what you envision. 

When taking stock of your decorations, it helps to also think about the spaces in your home. Especially for those hosting guests, you’ll want to focus on the main areas, guest bathrooms and rooms, and the entryway. Picture where you could place each decoration. Erin advises, “Think beyond the tree. Banisters, chandeliers, hooks by the entryway, and flat surfaces like side tables or a buffet or hutch all offer opportunities to add decorations.” 

Not only will pre-planning help create a beautifully decorated space, but it makes decorating far less stressful. And none of us need more stress during the holidays! 

Create a Color Story 

“Red and green is always a great choice,” says Erin. “But, you can incorporate other colors you have in your home, like blues.” This year, Erin sees earth tones overtaking the grays with neutrals like creams, chocolate brown, caramels, and gold. Whichever colors you choose for the holidays, Erin recommends sticking with two accent colors to create a cohesive look.  

Use Texture 

Replace your throws with heavy, thick blankets and put soft knit pillow covers on your pillows. Satins, silks, velvets, and knits are all great textures that help transform your home for the holidays, creating that cozy feel. Erin shares one great tip: “Use ribbons to add texture. Choose different hues of one color and layer the ribbons for a warm and inviting effect.” And if you have a more modern style in your home, using texture over color to decorate for the holidays is a great option. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Add More

The holidays are the time to indulge. Even with your decor. Erin says, “Don’t be afraid to add. People think they have to take stuff away to make room for decorations. But you don’t have to rearrange everything.” Erin encourages you to put wreaths in unexpected places, tie ribbons to sconces and light fixtures, and toss bells or garlands in a bowl. By adding instead of completely redecorating and rearranging, you’ll avoid creating a staged holiday look and find it much easier to return your home to normal after the holidays.

Invest in Greens

If there’s one decoration to invest in, it’s greens. “You will always use greens,” says Erin. “You can do a lot with them. For example, if you don’t have the best tree, you can add greens to fill it out and make it look higher end.” Add twinkle lights to plain green garlands, or place stems in a bowl with inexpensive ornaments for a simple, elevated look. If you have mature bushes outside, don’t be afraid to clip those and use real greens. 

Pair Old with New

Even though your childhood ornaments may not have aged well and are scratched or falling apart, you should still pull them out of the box. “They tell a story, and passing on those family traditions is an important part of the holidays,” says Erin. “My parents gave me a new ornament each year, and now, I’ve picked up that tradition with my kids. I’ll decorate the tree how I love, and the kids will then add their ornaments on top — the old with the new.” Pairing older pieces with fresh decor brings new life to them and allows you to incorporate those sentimental pieces.

Engage All the Senses

Don’t just stop at eye candy. “We design for emotion,” explains Erin. “It’s not just about what you see. It’s the taste, the smell, the sounds, the feel. Decorate for all your senses." A familiar smell or favorite song can easily transport you back to childhood holiday celebrations. Evoke those fond memories, and pull out the thick, cozy afghans and add scents like sage or cinnamon with candles or reed diffusers. 

Stressless Storage 

Creating a storage system will make your life a whole lot easier. “Set yourself up for next year by taking a quick inventory, separating everything into categories, and placing your decorations in separate bins,” says Erin. Erin puts stems in one bin, greens and garlands in another, separates pillow covers and holiday blankets and labels everything. Erin also opts for ornament storage bins with individual compartments to safely store and organize ornaments. With a system in place, you’ll be ready for stress-free decorating next holiday season. 

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