Holiday Decorating Tips

Above: Laura Hartman
Fischer Evans

Be creative with place card holders.

Look around and instead of using a regular place card holder on a little stand, try something different. Here we used silver julep cups filled with greenery and floral accents. Think outside the box – for example, I’ve seen people attach a guest’s name to an antique tea cup with a simple, thin satin ribbon. You can give the arrangement to your guests to take home as a little favor.

Incorporate everyday dishes.

These reindeer dishes come from a stoneware line out of Portugal called Casafina. Their white and earth tones easily mix with everyday dishware to transition any table into an enchanting Christmas spread. They’re festive, and each plate has a slightly different motif.

Carry the theme throughout. 

This antler tray by Mariposa continues the woodland theme and is excellent for serving or using on an ottoman or bar. This resin antler bowl also ties in with the theme, and can be filled with berry balls, pine cones, fruit, or mercury ornaments.

Reflect nature’s beauty. 

Barware essentials by Frances Stoia – including an ice bucket, pitcher, and wine coaster – coordinate with the table setting’s chargers. Featuring a tree bark texture, the complementary pieces add a touch of nature’s beauty. The chargers work well for layering with dinner plates or using as serving trays.






Haskell Matheny, ASID, CAPS
Haskell Interiors

Layer your pieces.

Think vertically when designing your table. Stacking several bowls on top of each other for height will add drama. Take two cake stands, like these by Ralph Lauren, and place one on top of the other. It looks elegant and will give you more serving space too.

Use natural materials.

At this time of year, there is an abundance of wonderful materials right outside your door to use for decorating. Fall leaves, large tree branches, berries, and nuts are all great items to bring fall and winter beauty into your room. For extra sparkle and glamour, apply gold or silver paint!

Play with contrasts.

Avoid a boring room by mixing items on opposite sides of a spectrum. Think of smooth with rough, shiny with dull, dark with bright, and casual with formal. Opposites, such as this leather-and-metal by Ralph Lauren, will make your table more interesting and unique. Have fun with your decor!





Jimmy Adams
Nell’s Home, Gifts, & Interior Design

Use mantelpieces as a centerpiece.
Not only do mantelpieces bring great color to a fireplace, they make wonderful
centerpieces since they are low profile and don’t block the view of your guests across the table. Keep candleholders low or incorporate votive candles in pretty glasses.

Mix glassware shapes and patterns.

Festive glassware with red or metallic trim can dress up the simplest of place settings. Don’t be afraid to mix a couple of different shapes or patterns as long as there’s continuity.

Use unexpected greenery.   
A classic holiday wreath can take on a special look with a touch of unexpected greenery, such as magnolia leaves, sparkling gold lotus pods, or dried crimson hydrangeas. It makes for a nice, unique welcome on a front door.






Kimberly Varner, ASID
Kimberly Varner
Interior Design

Utilize the room’s strengths.
This room’s deep-hued walls, dark leather chairs, and dramatic horse painting from Stamper’s Furniture lend themselves to more delicate accessories. Here, light-colored holiday décor plays to the room’s strengths and doesn’t overwhelm the senses. The overall look is elegant, yet casual dining with untraditional holiday décor.

Go beyond traditional hues.
Instead of going with orange and yellow for fall, I went with more feminine, subdued colors here. These dried hydrangeas have an elegant look, and their pastel colors complement the dark woods and walls. They add softness, as do the white gourds. Try something a little untraditional and go for a nice fresh feel.

Add layers of light.
These hollow pumpkins with etched glass come in a set of three at Stamper’s Furniture. They tie in to the autumnal holiday theme, and are battery operated to give a layer of light and a soft, warm glow for the evening.

Use mini-runners.   
I turned these linen placemats into mini-runners. Their metallic etched leaves and pumpkins give them an autumnal feel.  They add a little sparkle and another layer, and they are a little unexpected.






Dolores Wolfe
Wolfe Studio Interiors

Mix greenery for garland.

I mixed several different kinds of greenery and stems to create more visual interest. There are frosted pieces which catch the light, snowy pine, gold eucalyptus, and pinecones. I may even go back and add a few white flowers! I like things to hang off the mantle because it looks more lush.

Blend frosty accents with gold.

If you’re doing a frosty theme, know that gold will blend nicely with the silver throughout. I found this gold deer recently and love it with the gold on the art and mirror frames. I like using deer, angels, and candles on mantles to add some height.

Mimic the room’s colors. 

Since this room uses cool blues and creams, I decided to channel that look into Christmas décor. I did that with frosty accents. I used frosted branches on the tree and some snow-covered pine cones with balls tucked in. The look is wintry and very festive, especially with the sparkly ribbon.

Hang wreaths on mirrors. 
A mirror’s reflection will give the illusion of more decorations in the room. It’s especially nice if you light the wreaths – they add more sparkle that way!






Joe Jumper
The Clay Pot

Decorate with peat pots.
Here, I kept it very organic by using pinecones in the pots, which I placed in a cluster. But you could put anything in them, from a festive ornament to a small flower arrangement. You can even use them as place card holders or as votives for small candles.

Use containers for a smaller tree.
Many people don’t want the hassle of putting up a big Christmas tree. These containers are great for smaller trees and you can get them from any nursery. I put pine needles around the base. Then just decorate them during the holidays, and keep the tree in place year-round.

Use candle-lit lanterns.
Lanterns will add a nice ambience to any setting, and it’s easy to fill them with items to fit any season. Here we’ve used mood moss and pillar candles in cylindrical vases, which keep the wax from pooling. Try filling your lanterns with tiny pumpkins in the fall or Christmas ornaments during the holidays.


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